System Shock Remake on Steam Deck Review

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Is System Shock Playable on Steam Deck?

The System Shock remake is playable on Steam Deck at a smooth 60 frames per second. 

System Shock Steam Deck Performance

System Shock on Steam Deck runs clean. Expect a smooth 60 frames per second, with minimal drops on medium settings. 

Visually, System Shock has been designed to stay true to the original while also feeling fresh and modern. Expect plenty of pixelated elements, which isn’t going to be for everyone but I’m of the mindset it helps to make the game feel more authentic. Fight me.

There will be frame drops when things get busy on-screen, but it’s only a handful of frames at max. I only noticed it due to playing with the Steam stats overlay turned on and I’d wager most wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. 

One thing that’s worth touching upon, it’s possible to activate the Steam Deck’s in-built FSR by changing the window mode to windowed. This cuts off the top and bottom of the screen and replaces them with black bars, but the trade-off is extra crisp visuals. 

If you can’t stand black bars, by all means leave it as is. But if you’re after a nice visual boost, I’d definitely recommend turning it on to see the difference. 

System Shock Best Settings

Screenshot from System Shock on Steam Deck showing a cyberpunk corridor of a blue hue. The main character is holding a metal pipe as a weapon.

The settings below are what I recommend to get a stable 60 frames per second without sacrificing visual fidelity. Everything set to medium runs well and leaves you some wiggle room should you need to adjust anything later on.

It is possible to drop the TDP down to eight watts, but I found that to be somewhat inconsistent during my testing. 10 watts is the sweet spot and that nets you around three hours of playtime before needing to plug the Steam Deck on to charge. 

What is slightly annoying is System Shock doesn’t let you manually set the in-game resolution. I’m not sure if this is a problem with running the game on the Steam Deck, but even with windowed mode turned on, I couldn’t change the resolution. You can change it from the launch options, but that’s a step that really shouldn’t be needed. 

System Shock (In-game Settings)
Ambient Occlusion Medium
Fog Quality Medium
Post Processing Quality Medium
Texture Quality Medium
Shader Quality Medium
Shadow Quality Medium
Effects Quality Medium
Foliage Quality Medium
Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)
TDP: 10 Estimated Battery Life: 3 Hours
Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×720 FSR: On (Docked Mode)
GPU Usage: 62% Temperature: 68 degrees
Battery Drain: 17.4w Tearing: On
Extra Info
Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen Yes
Valve Grading Unsupported
Performance Rating: 4/5

Bugs and Issues

Screenshot from System Shock on Steam Deck showing the cyberspace world made up of mostly green shapes.

While bugs are few and far between, there are several quality-of-life improvements that are needed. Sometimes settings don’t save, text isn’t as legible as it should be, pressing ‘B’ to exit a menu forces the player character to crouch, and there isn’t an option to toggle sprint, meaning you’ll need to keep the L3 button held in to run. 

There’s also an issue with button prompts not correctly aligning during the tutorial phase. Oh, and hitting spider-bots doesn’t always register swings on melee weapons. 

All of the above issues are annoying, but they weren’t deal-breakers for me. The game runs well and can be enjoyed regardless. Plus a lot of this stuff can be fixed with patches down the line. It’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world, either. 

Verdict

Screenshot from System Shock on Steam Deck showing a cyberpunk corridor in shades of blue and brown, with a rusted metal robot slumped over.

System Shock is a faithful remake. Take that how you want to. For some, it’s going to be a trial in patience – there’s lots of backtracking, dying, and trial and error. For people expecting Doom-but-new, you won’t find that here. 

But if you’re after a genre-defining game, with elements that helped shape modern gaming, System Shock is an experience worth going back to. The remake hasn’t modernized much outside of the graphics and that, to me, makes it one of the most faithful remakes to date. 

Recommended Badge

All screenshots captured on Steam Deck. | Review code provided by the publisher.

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.