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Dead Space now works great on Steam Deck after a post-launch patch

Smaller screen, still scary

Isaac Clarke, wearing the RIG suit, moves through the fleshy halls of an infested part of the USG Ishimura in the Dead Space remake. Image: Motive Studio/Electronic Arts
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Dead Space is a terrifying game that gives players the tools of an engineer, puts them inside a massive planet-cracker ship, and asks them to survive. The Dead Space remake did not launch on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, with developer Motive Studio focusing on a starkly lit and visceral current-gen release. For a title that relies so heavily on building an atmosphere of dread and tension, players might wonder if it runs on Steam Deck, Valve’s portable platform.

The Steam Deck did not support Dead Space at launch, as reported by our colleagues at The Verge, but the game has been patched by a Steam Deck developer with a hotfix to Proton, the program that allows Windows games to run on a Linux platform. (The Dead Space remake is not among Valve’s list of “Steam Deck Verified” games, though the 2008 original is.) The Dead Space remake is now very playable on Steam Deck, and Polygon tested the experience.

Does the Dead Space remake work on Steam Deck?

A slow survival horror game like Dead Space is a good fit for the Steam Deck’s controls, whereas a more frantic co-op shooter like Warhammer 40,000: Darktide can feel clunky and uncomfortable. The Steam Deck’s controls make it feel natural to guide protagonist Isaac Clarke through the USG Ishimura — the setting for Dead Space — and while the experience is less immersive than playing on a PC, the Steam Deck does a perfectly fine job at depicting the flickering lights and streams of gore on display.

One part of the game felt better on Deck than PC: the zero gravity sections, like navigating around a centrifuge or through a part of the ship that’s been exposed to the vacuum of space. There’s still plenty of room to completely mess up an encounter, but at least I never found myself losing track of a Necromorph or dying to surprise projectiles. The one troubling exception I found was that using Kinesis — an ability that allows Isaac to control items and obstacles with his RIG suit — on the fly felt a little less intuitive, which means I flubbed a couple of fights.

Running from Necromorphs as Isaac while I hid under a weighted blanket in the dark, cozy as a dormouse wrapped up in an acorn, was a fantastic way to pass the weekend. If you bounced off Dead Space on the Deck at launch, it’s worth giving the Ishimura another shot.

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