The Steam Deck is a powerful little handheld capable of playing a lot of amazing games. OK, well it’s not that little, but it makes up for its bulky size with sheer power and Steam’s seemingly endless library of software. For our Top 10 Steam Deck Games list, we wanted to set up a few parameters for our recommendations, including the kind of games it’s capable of running, how well it runs them, and portability.
Sure, you can run games like Vampire Survivors or Tunic on it, and we’ve sunk our fair share of hours into each, but part of the spectacle is that the Steam Deck can run huge triple-A games on the go. There are a few caveats, of course. Some of these games are pretty massive in file size or require an initial internet connection, and even some mild tweaking in the settings to get running well, but hey, it wouldn’t be PC gaming without those things after all.
So, without further ado, here are our Top 10 Games for the Steam Deck!
10. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear Solid is an ambitious stunner, and the Steam Deck has no troubles at all running it in silky smooth 60 frames per second. And that is a very good thing, because the sandbox available to you is every bit as detailed and sophisticated as you can hope for.
While another Kojima game, Death Stranding, is heavily advertised as playable on Steam Deck, Metal Gear Solid 5’s tactical espionage action could be the Kojima game worth checking out on the Steam Deck instead.
9. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
When it comes to 100-hour epic RPGs, you can’t beat the convenience of playing on a handheld device. It’s just so nice to be able to play anywhere in the house or on the go. And action-RPGs don’t get much more epic than the space-faring trilogy collected in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
The trilogy’s incredible storytelling stands the test of time, and the updates made to the trilogy, most notably to the original Mass Effect, help modernize the gameplay experience, too. While it’s a small hassle to sign in with EA Origin each time you open it on Steam Deck, that’s a small price to pay to play this incredible collection of games in handheld form.
8. Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Because of their turn-based gameplay, JRPGs are almost perfect for gaming on the go, and getting to play one of the best JRPGs on console and PCs anywhere is a true treat. Yakuza: Like a Dragon may have exchanged the series’ beat ’em up mechanics with a crazy, over-the-top turn-based combat system, but the experience on the Steam Deck feels like an evolution from playing RPGs like Pokemon on the Game Boy. Except instead of using cute monsters, you’re summoning gangsters and vagabonds to help you climb to the top of the criminal underworld in a gorgeous RPG.
And if turn-based isn’t your style, the other Yakuza games play perfectly well on the Steam Deck too if you rather just punch and kick people instead of waiting for your turn.
7. Doom Eternal
The Doom franchise has been synonymous with PC gaming from the jump, pushing hardware and evolving the first person shooter genre with rips, tears, and chainsaws through hell. So it’s only natural that the latest entry in the series totally kicks ass on the portable PC Steam Deck as well.
Aside from some tiny text that may have you pushing your screen a little closer to your blood soaked visor than expected, Doom Eternal is an absolute blast in handheld form and definitely a step up from 2020’s Nintendo Switch port.
6. Devil May Cry 5
Capcom’s legendary ultra-stylish action game Devil May Cry 5 first launched in 2019, but it practically feels brand new as a handheld game on Steam Deck. The bite-sized stages and gargantuan bosses are totally rife for infinite replayability, challenging players to top their combos and scores as they gun down, slash, wire dash, air hike, and enemy step their way through hordes of nightmarish beasts and bad guys.
The combat is simple in design but totally limitless in execution, encouraging players to experiment with endless combinations of attacks however they please. Devil May Cry 5 absolutely rules, and you owe it to yourself to play it if you really love action games.
5. Resident Evil Village
Yes, we know that the latest entry in the Resident Evil series is currently not verified for Steam Deck. However, several IGN staffers that owned a copy on Steam installed it on our Steam Decks and found it runs surprisingly well despite not being verified.
It is a superb out-of-the-box experience, allowing you to endure Ethan Winter’s latest brutal, violent, and campy survival horror journey from start to finish without going into the handheld’s settings to tinker with things to get it running. While it is just as fun to play the single-player campaign in all its glory, The Mercenaries Mode is especially enjoyable as its arcade-style concept makes it feel right at home as if it were a handheld title.
Control is a monster of a game that even gave the PS4 Pro some trouble when it launched. But the Steam Deck is handling Remedy’s paranormal action game with gusto. You may have to lower a few settings, but on the smaller screen, Control looks awesome and getting to play through Remedy’s maze of a game on the go is a true joy.
The brutalist architecture meets sci-fi action is a total trip, as is the fantastic story that definitely goes to some places that you won’t see coming. Another trip through The Oldest House might be just the perfect start to your new Steam Deck.
3. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Combining some of the best elements from games like The Legend of Zelda, Metroid Prime, Dark Souls, and Uncharted, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order delivers the planet-hopping single player lightsaber adventure game Star Wars fans had been hoping for.
After a quick install of EA Origin, the Steam Deck runs Fallen Order smoothly, and the game is a blast in handheld form, whether you’re curled up on the couch or traveling across the galaxy in your Stinger Mantis. If you’ve never played Fallen Order or you want an excuse to revisit Cal Kestis’ and BD-1’s action-packed journey against the dark side, the Steam Deck is a fantastic place to play.
2. Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5 is a game you’ve almost certainly played before, perhaps for hundreds of hours. And yet the ability to take this old, familiar game with you anywhere somehow manages to breathe brand new life into it. In many ways, the sandbox world of violence and crime it offers is well suited for on-the-go gaming. It’s easy to lose yourself in the many distractions Los Santos offers, and passing time on a real city bus while you hijack a GTA city bus is a rare level of portable-gaming inception.
There’s a new feeling of magic having the world of GTA5 shrunk down, and its age actually works in its favor, performance-wise. You can turn every setting, and we mean EVERY setting, to its highest levels and it still runs great. Since it’s on a small screen, you won’t even notice it’s at 1200×800 resolution. You’ll just take note of the smooth gameplay as you jump a sports car into a crowded intersection just because you feel like it.
1. Elden Ring
Somehow, From Software’s Elden Ring manages to run pretty darn well on the Steam Deck, and in our opinion, even sometimes plays a little bit smoother than its PC counterpart. With tons of hours under our belt, the Elden Ring on-the-go experience has been a delight. All the same praise Elden Ring earns while playing on PC or console applies to the Steam Deck experience.
The vastness of the world you can explore, the build options you have as a player, the surprises around every corner all come together to create one of the most incredible action RPG experiences of all time, easily placing Elden Ring at the top of the list of our favorite Steam Deck games.
And that’s our list of the top 10 games on Steam Deck! We hope you brought along a pretty big micro-SD card because you’ll definitely need it to download all of the games we just mentioned, plus the ever-growing list of Steam Deck Verified games! Also maybe Windows, Photoshop, MS Paint, Spider-Man Cartoon Maker, and pretty much anything else you wanna throw on there. It is a pretty powerful and portable PC after all.
Do you have a Steam Deck? Are you still refreshing Valve’s pre-order waitlist page waiting for yours? Or do you maybe want to get one down the line? Let us know what games you’ve been playing or what games you plan on playing when you get your hands on a Steam Deck. Until next time, for all things gaming – at home or on the go and on small handhelds and gigantic ones – keep it right here on IGN.