Diablo IV Steam Deck Report: The incendiary performance is worth the install

Plus it runs on your average desktop PC, it wasn’t until I started playing Diablo IV on the Steam Deck that its diabolical hack really clicked for me. Largely because this was my first experience with gamepad controls, and using the thumb sticks and face buttons to move and cast spells feels more… idk, straightforward? gay In reality Take control of necromancers and their bodyguards, not just click a unit and watch their animation.

It helps that Diablo IV’s Steam Deck performance is surprisingly fast, with fast framerates of 45-60fps on hand even when the majority of the graphics settings are left at Ultra quality. Unlike all the other Steam Deck games, there’s no native support for its Battle.net launcher, but with some trick it should only be a temporary hindrance.

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Tell you what, let’s go over that setup process first. Since it’s only on Battle.net, you can not only buy and play Diablo IV on your SteamOS handheld – but there’s also nothing in the game itself that makes it completely incompatible, as is the case with some Battle.net colleagues like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and renegade anti cheat. If you can run Battle.net, you can run Diablo IV.

Our guide to installing Battle.net on Steam Deck has all the details, but in short, you have a choice of two methods. One involves relying on Proton GE to make the launcher’s Windows installer act on SteamOS, while the other uses it lotres: A comprehensive Compatibility Center that can make your GOG and Humble Bundle libraries playable on the Steam Deck as well. There are pros and cons to each – I prefer the Proton GE way, as Lutris is essentially a launcher that adds an extra step when launching games, though I’ll concede that installing the latter is generally simpler.

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Both mods will end up with Diablo IV being fully playable on SteamOS, which leaves one additional concern: requiring it to always be online. Unless you intend to hook up your Steam Deck to your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot, or pull out a Starlink dish on wheels, this will unfortunately limit when and where you can perform some handheld hellspawn takedowns. Basically coming home, on the couch, the bed, or during a very serious shower you’ll be on deck.

Diablo IV’s battery drain is on the high side, though it’s also adequate for a AAA giant. With screen brightness and speaker volume at 50%, I could play for 1 hour 47m before drying off, and that was without any other power-saving measures, such as limiting the screen’s refresh rate.

Honestly, this is one you’ll want to keep at 60Hz. For a game without official Steam Deck support, Diablo IV adapts to the hardware brilliantly. Again, the gamepad controls look great, and even the relatively thin text and prompts are easily readable on the screen’s native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Performance, in most areas, is impressively silky, too. Diablo IV defaults to low settings on the Steam Deck, but you can hit most of those settings and still get 60fps in loads of dungeons, small towns, and wild spaces.

The PC recommended settings are perfect for the Deck as well, with one plus: the FSR 2 upgrade. Keep this in Quality mode and there’s not much downscaling at all, keeping everything legible while helping massively to keep Diablo IV at a level. 60fps. The only times I’ve seen it drop too low in these settings are while exploring major hub cities or during more chaotic dungeon monster battles. Even then, the worst you can expect is something like 45-50fps, which is still more than enough for smoothness.

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Diablo IV: Best settings for the Steam Deck

  • FSR 2: Quality
  • Shadow quality: mode
  • SSO Quality: a little
  • Fog Quality: a little
  • Chaos quality: mode
  • Engineering complexity: a little
  • everything else: Preset Ultra EQ

And that really is. There are no weird audio or video errors to report, and no other settings changes necessary to make it work. Diablo IV may not be the most mentally rewarding RPG out there, but once Battle.net is up and running, it fits on the Steam Deck as much as any other game out there.

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