Can The Steam Deck Run Crysis? Sort Of

While the original 2007 Crysis won't work on the Steam Deck, its recent remaster is a different story.

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Every new gaming PC has to answer an age-old question after it is first revealed: Can it run Crysis? For Valve's new Steam Deck handheld system, I'd say the answer is yes, sort of.

In a new report by Digital Foundry, the video game benchmarking group installed Crytek's classic--and originally badly optimized for PC--2007 first-person shooter, discovering that it was virtually unplayable on the handheld. Testing saw the game boot up into an infinite loading screen, keeping the game stuck in limbo for eternity or until the Steam Deck battery runs dry.

For Crysis Remastered, it's a different story. Digital Foundry ran the latest edition of the game at almost 60 frames-per-second under handheld-optimized settings. The team wanted to put the Steam Deck through the Crysis crucible though and applied the optional "Can It Run Crysis" graphical setting to see how the hardware performed. That naturally dropped frame rates down dramatically, while other visual compromises popped up on the resource-constrained hardware.

Digital Foundry's attempts to find a sweet spot for the optimal balance of image quality, performance, and fidelity eventually led the group to discover that the best graphical settings for the game are the standard 1280x720 resolution and 30fps mode.

"The medium preset is closest to the original Crysis at very high, with additional tweaks higher to surpass the OG rendition of the game," Digital Foundry explained, via Eurogamer. "Set post-processing to high to allow access CryEngine's really nice per-object motion blur, which greatly enhances the flow of the 30fps experience. This also gives access to other enhancements such as screen-space reflections, which really help out the fewer shinier surfaces in the game. I'd also recommend the high vegetation setting, which gives us far better foliage coverage than the original Crysis."

The final verdict is that the Steam Deck can run Crysis (Remastered) in a way that's both visually impressive and won't hit the device's battery life too hard, but there are some caveats attached to this. An upcoming 40Hz update for the Steam Deck shows the potential to increase performance, but the more extreme solution is to mod the unit with an external GPU. If you don't mind losing portability, that is. As for Crytek's signature FPS franchise, a teaser trailer for Crysis 4 was released back in January.

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