Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered Steam Deck Impressions: An Impressive Achievement

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is no longer completely exclusive to PlayStation as it has made the jump to PC. If that wasn't exciting enough, Insomniac Games and Nixxes have also ensured that Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is verified for Steam Deck, meaning the game is portable. Of course, the Steam Deck is new technology and has hardware that makes compromises to ensure it's an affordable, portable device. So, how does this bad boy run?

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is another win for PlayStation when it comes to both a solid PC and Steam Deck port. While you're obviously going to have the best experience on a nice gaming rig or a PlayStation 5, the Steam Deck is a surprisingly competent way to experience Insomniac's acclaimed superhero story. Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered's default Steam Deck settings are, by no surprise, the game's medium presets. While this is probably the best way to play the game, the game can be bumped up to High settings and still runs really well. You're going to see some more frequent FPS dips on High settings and it will drain the battery a bit faster, but it's certainly a valid option for those looking for some nicer visuals. I wouldn't advise this for long periods of play, not that the battery would really allow that unless plugged in, as the Steam Deck got excruciatingly hot when I tried to play it like this.

The game still looks fine even on very low settings so long as you're ok with some blurry walls and objects like pictures when shown up close. It gives the game a decent performance boost, but not one that really felt worth it given the game does look a bit muddier. When the FPS is left uncapped, it can go between high 30s to low 50s, but it never touched 60 as far as I saw, and it jumped up and down quite a bit mostly sitting in the high 30s or low 40s. This could be a reasonable trade-off if it had a significant effect on battery life, but it didn't seem to have any notable effect whatsoever. 

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On medium and lower, even with customized changes like turning off motion blur and a 30FPS cap, you're going to get about an hour and a half to two hours of playtime on Steam Deck. It's not amazing, but not the worst thing in the world either. You can make good use of this on a short plane ride or a daily commute, but anything beyond that is probably going to require some kind of portable charger. 

Although it's a pretty consistent experience, the issues it does have can be severe. On multiple occasions, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered crashed the entire Steam Deck. Given this is new and expensive technology, it can be pretty stressful to watch everything go silent and dark, hoping that nothing damaging occurred during these moments. It's one thing if a game crashes back to the home screen, it's another when it shuts down the entire system without any kind of warning. Thankfully, this never resulted in any noticeable issues, but it does make your heart skip a beat.

On the less intense side, there are also visual hiccups such as a weird fuzzy/static-y look around the eyes when characters blink. It's brief but can be distracting and make you realize how much someone blinks which is probably the last thing you want in an emotionally charged scene. Issues like this exist, but are only minor detractors from how impressive this whole experience is and can likely be fixed with relative ease.

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It's worth noting that the game has received a number of major updates since I got it, really improving and optimizing the experience. At one point in the review process, there was a bug that caused exposed hair to tank performance in cutscenes. This was quickly addressed along with other issues, creating a significantly smoother experience. With that said, it's likely it will only improve as time goes on.

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If this is your first time playing Marvel's Spider-Man, PC and PlayStation 5 will be the most optimal way to really engage with this emotional, action-packed story. Those versions will have the best FPS and overall visuals, but the Steam Deck still retains the meat and potatoes necessary to really appreciate this game. This version made me remember how much I love this game and how fun it can be even when you're just jumping in for 20-30 minutes, and more importantly, it showcases the potential of this device. One of the best games of the decade –previously only available on PlayStation consoles –is now portable, and aside from a less than ideal battery life, it's not making many compromises to make it happen. It's truly an achievement that any of this is possible, and Steam Deck owners should definitely add it to their library.

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is scheduled to release on PC and Steam Deck on August 12th. A PC review code was provided by the publisher.