Sony is doing a great job releasing more of their exclusives to PC. Returnal is another great game on the PC, even if it has some flaws, but is one of those flaws Steam Deck compatibility?
First, what is Returnal?
It follows the story of Selene, an astronaut who crashes onto a hostile alien planet and is forced to relive her death repeatedly in a never-ending time loop. The game features fast-paced, third-person shooter combat, platforming, and exploration elements.
How does it run?
Returnal runs great on a decent PC and it looks fantastic. The game runs ok on the Steam Deck at around 30 - 40 FPS in the beginning with the correct settings but gets a little rough later on in the game. Some areas can see drops into the 20's. My stance right now is that it is playable, and with a few bug fixes, you will be able to play this at a more consistent 40 FPS with low settings. We recommend holding off until we see it become more stable.
Recommended Steam Deck settings for Returnal
I tested out several different ways to get the best performance, maintain decent visuals, and reduce stutters. In the end, the settings below are the best we can do for now, but that will hopefully change with a few updates from the developers.
Steam Deck Performance (QAM)
Framerate Limit: 40
Refresh Rate: 40
Game Graphics Settings
Overall Setting: Low
General > Vsync: Off
General > Max FPS: 40
General > Screen Optimizations: Resolution Scaling
General > Resolution Percentage: 70%
Returnal does run on the deck. Screen resolution needs changing, graphics quality at low and proton 7-48. Framerate limit at 40 and 40 refresh rate. Now in game is really up to you but this works and is fun! - Lorus
Should you play it?
The game is a fun sci-fi take on a roguelike dungeon crawler where you have to step through the bodies of your past to get through the story and levels. If you like repeating yourself and enjoy a challenge, this game is great on a decent PC and is palatable on the Steam Deck. I enjoy playing it on the Deck, but you might want to pass on this or stream it through your main PC to your Deck if you want to play it on the go.