Lin in Starfield.
Screenshot by Destructoid.

Best Starfield Steam Deck settings

Don't do it.

Starfield isn’t Steam Deck Verified at launch, which isn’t a surprise, as it is a AAA open-world game that attempts to push graphical boundaries. Nevertheless, Valve’s handheld has managed to punch above its weight several times and play games that it seemingly shouldn’t.

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Unfortunately, Starfield isn’t one of those games, and it taxes the Deck far too much. You won’t enjoy pleasurable space exploration on the Deck, nor will you get a consistent framerate. If you do insist on playing on the Deck, there are a few ways to make the experience a little more bearable.

Vladimir in Starfield.
Screenshot by Destructoid.

Best settings for Starfield on the Steam Deck

Before loading up Starfield on the Steam Deck, there are a few things you should be aware of. The recommended specs for Starfield exceed what the Deck is capable of, and it’ll show during gameplay.

One of the biggest problems is that the game is easily larger than 120GB, yet it requires an SSD. Consequently, unless you’ve upgraded your Deck’s internal SSD you’ll probably be forced to download the game to a microSD. You’ll get subpar performance from this solution, including audio occasionally not loading in time to match lip-synching. If you insist on playing on the Deck, be aware you’ll have to face the following problems:

  • long loading screens
  • unstable framerates
  • extreme framerate dips and freezes during explosions and gunfights
  • game crashes

Testing was conducted prior to launch, so some of these issues could be addressed by a day one patch or future updates. To make your experience on the Deck better, you’ll have to crank down pretty much all the available settings. This’ll rob you of the full visual splendour of Starfield, and you’re still going to have low and unstable framerates. Try these settings:

  • Dynamic resolution – On
  • Render resolution scale – Lowest
  • Graphics preset – Low
  • Shadow quality – Low
  • Indirect lighting – Low
  • Reflections – Low
  • Particle quality – Low
  • Volumetric lighting – Low
  • Crowd density – Low
  • Motion blur – Medium or High
  • GTAO quality – Low
  • Grass quality – Low
  • Contact shadows – Low
  • VSync – Off
  • Upscaling – FSR2
  • Enable VRS – On (optional)

Starfield astounds with both its visuals and gameplay, and you prevent yourself from experiencing this when you play on the Steam Deck. It’s highly recommended you play the game on the Xbox Series X/S or a capable PC, as even the lowest settings overwhelm Valve’s handheld.

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Smangaliso Simelane
Staff Writer - Smangaliso Simelane is a writer with a passion for all things related to video games. He has been writing about video games since 2020.