July 18, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Gaming

Steam Deck is one of the best ways to play Elden Ring, and now Shadow of the Erdtree as well

Elden Ring about him steam cover has long enjoyed a fluidity that desktop gaming lacked. Not so much in simple frame rate terms (the handheld spends a lot more time around the 30fps mark than it does crashing into Elden Ring's 60fps limit), but thanks to a Proton Compatibility Update In 2022, he is drastically less prone to the flow-breaking stuttering that still affects the role playing game in 2024. That now applies to Shadow of the Erdtree Also, judging by my laptop time in the new expansion.

There are a few spots that will stretch the Steam Deck's simple internals, and I'd recommend the setup guide below if you want to keep that consistent 30fps. But overall, Shadow of the Erdtree gets a fair shake of health from the portable hardware, continually benefiting from that anti-stutter patch and longer battery life on the newer, more efficient model. OLED Steam Cover. It's like Crowded House once said: wherever you go, always take Messmer with you.


Resting in a place of grace in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, on a Steam Deck.
Image credit: stone paper shotgun

We've known for years that Elden Ring's controls are a great fit for the Deck, so let's jump right into performance. Shadow of the Erdtree is neither more tolerant nor much more demanding than the base game, so while super slick frame rates were never in the cards, it's easy to achieve a stable base 30fps, with occasional boosts into the high forties. Sometimes even the fifties, in some of the tightest interiors of the Kingdom of Shadows.

It may not seem like much when even graphics cards with minimal gaming specs can approach 60fps on the desktop, but it's enough. Also, I swear on the life of my ghost horse: anyone who has played on both PC and Steam Deck will notice the lack of stuttering on the latter. Yes, FromSoftware improved but never fixed The Elden Ring Upheaval, and the various quality of life improvements Shadow of the Erdtree makes do not include such a remedy. On the Steam Deck, however, one has existed for years. Valve themselves stepped in to update Proton, the compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux-based SteamOS, so that on Deck and, ultimately, only On deck, this stuttering would not be as frequent. As of now, you may still see the occasional stumble, but overall it's a more stable and consistent runner than you'd get on even the most broken high-end PCs.


Approaching the stairs of the Belurat Tower settlement in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: stone paper shotgun

Shadow of the Erdtree also adds just over 15GB to Elden Ring's storage space, so it and the base game still fit on almost all Steam Deck models. SSD (64 GB owners, I hope you have a micro SD card). In battery durationHowever, the Steam Deck OLED claims to be a long-awaited victory. I had previously clocked an original Deck lasting 1h 33m when running Elden Ring at 50% screen brightness; a new test at Shadow of the Erdtree was a little shorter, 1h 25m. Both pale next to the 2h 14m of the OLED, also in SOTE. Obviously, that result doesn't last very long either, although it is pretty much in the middle between large 3D models. open world games.



Fighting an angry plant in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, on the Steam Deck.
Image credit: stone paper shotgun

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Steam Deck Setup Guide

For presets, I would say Medium is the best option for Steam Decks. Low may shoot a few frames per second faster, but visually it suffers from inferior lighting, a lack of anti-aliasing, and an unpleasant flickering effect inflicted by low-quality shadows. But! In fact, you can keep some of the individuals at High or even Maximum, without significantly impeding performance.

Here is the full configuration combination I would recommend. It consistently outputs 30fps in most of the expansion's open world, with higher (and visibly smoother) performance in caves and castles.

  • Ray tracing quality: Off
  • Texture quality: Half
  • Antialiasing quality: High
  • SAO: Maximum
  • Depth of field: High
  • Motion blur: Off
  • Shadow quality: High
  • Lighting quality: Half
  • Effects quality: Half
  • Volumetric quality: High
  • Reflection quality: Maximum
  • Water surface quality: High
  • Shading quality: High
  • Global illumination quality: Half
  • Grass quality: Half

I've opined elsewhere that it would be ideal not to go below the maximum shadow quality, just to avoid that distracting flicker, but it's actually much less noticeable on the Steam Deck's smaller, lower-resolution screen than it is on a large monitor. . . Maximum also seems to cost more frames than on desktop hardware, so Alto ends up being a viable compromise.

Since you probably won't hit more than 50fps, outside of a handful of points, you may also want to reduce your Deck's refresh rate/FPS cap (via the slider in the Performance menu of the SteamOS overlay) at something like 45 Hz. This won't make Elden Ring run slower; Basically, you're just preventing the screen from refreshing more frequently than necessary, which could add a few minutes to your battery life.

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