We’ve been pleading with Square Enix to port Final Fantasy Tactics to PC for a while now. It has yet to happen, but they finally delivered so many amazing games to us PC gamers in 2022 that we didn’t see coming at the start of the decade.
Square has shifted its focus from huge video games to smaller role-playing games, which could not have come at a better time.
All of Square Enix’s games for 2022 appear to be tailor-made for Steam Deck.
- New games usually require minimal system specifications, such as DioField Chronicle, Harvestella, and Triangle Strategy.
- Remastered versions of Chrono Cross, Tactics Ogre, and Crisis Core can be played on a toaster.
- If you’re looking for great, in-depth tactics games that work well on a device with a sleep button, you should try Tactics Ogre, Triangle Strategy, and DioField Chronicle.
- Harvestella and Various Daylife are life sims intended for playing while relaxed on the sofa and watching TV.
Indie developers have made the most of Steam Deck’s popularity in 2020 by showing off that their games are “Deck Verified” and seizing the opportunity to get on board with Valve’s handheld PC.
In a summer trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade, Square Enix became the first major publisher to announce Steam Deck compatibility. They even displayed an image on a live stream before the Deck was available for purchase in Japan.
When the FF7 Remake was first released on PC in December 2021, we found it to be a huge letdown due to its lack of graphics options as well as its inability to turn off an unstable dynamic resolution-changing feature that caused stuttering.
A few months after the release, an Nvidia driver update managed to reduce some of the stuttering issues, but it still didn’t make for a great PC port of a big-budget game. On the other hand, it was a great showpiece for a handheld PC.
With some extra effort to install a mod that eliminates Remake’s unflattering resolution scaling, you can enjoy one of the most beautifully-designed last-gen games on your handheld PC with up to 40 fps and around two hours of power.
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The best thing about the Steam Deck is its versatility: You can play free of the 30 fps bounds found in many console games, and pretty much any mod or tweak allowed playable on gaming PCs can also be done on the Steam Deck.
Even though Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s PC port didn’t quite live up to expectations, it is still remarkable to be able to play such a lavish, high-budget game on a handheld. It likely wouldn’t perform well on the Switch, for example.
Square Enix’s 2022 games, like the Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster released at the start of this year, are proof of Steam Deck’s versatility; though, its awful font choice makes them far from perfect.
It took us approximately 10 minutes to mod the font on my Steam Deck and replace it with a retro pixelated font similar to the Super Nintendo version of the game. Everything is now in its right place.
In both these cases, Steam Deck’s versatility benefited Square Enix’s games, as well as Square Enix returning the favor.
During the final months of the year, Deck has seen a surge in popularity, unveiling many games that fit it to perfection.
The DioField Chronicle
The DioField Chronicle, which was an ambitious mix of tactical RPG and real-time combat, didn’t receive much acclaim. PC Gamer contributor Leana Hafer even reviewed it for IGN and stated it would be perfect for a Switch or Steam Deck game to pass the time.
Triangle Strategy, which was moved from Switch to PC in October, earned favorable reviews.
Digital Foundry, who did a tech review of it when it first came out on Switch, said mostly positive things about it but noted a couple of issues such as the blurry sprites and its 30 fps target.
On the Steam Deck, you can run the game at 60 fps (or a more stable capped 30 or 40 fps for better battery life), with max settings.
With its talky nature and unfocused combat, Triangle Strategy can’t take the place of the crown prince of strategy RPGs; even with its script, it fails to match up with games like Final Fantasy Tactics.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn
Nevertheless, Square came out with Tactics Ogre: Reborn a month later, remade from one of the greatest strategy games of all time.
It was an exhaustive remake and includes changes to classes, leveling, balance, AI, combat mechanics, and graphics with YouTube videos dedicated to explaining all the updates that Square made.
Despite our distaste for the sprite filtering in Reborn, we are still delighted by how much love and thought went into this remaster.
Square has so often taken their older titles and freshened them a bit to port them to different platforms, it’s encouraging to see a team (including the original director Yasumi Matsuno) put serious effort into making a definitive version of one.
A few months ago, the PSP version of Tactics Ogre was the ideal game to emulate on Steam Deck; now it is one of the best games to purchase for the Steam Deck.
Though we haven’t had a chance to play Square’s life sim Harvestella yet, Steam reviews seem to indicate it’s an enjoyable combination of RPG and farming simulator which is slightly better at its RPG aspects than Rune Factory 5, but not as effective when it comes to farming.
If you’re a fan of classic role-playing games, be sure to check out Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song – it’s part of a series of remasters that have caused many players to appreciate how great these decades-old games truly are. (And don’t forget 2018’s Scarlet Grace!)
Other than Tactics Ogre: Reborn, which ranked near the bottom of the Steam Deck top charts in November, none of Square Enix’s games released in the fall have been listed on Valve’s monthly charts.
We are not surprised by this, as none of them are as user-friendly as the popular Vampire Survivors, or as exciting to finally have on PC like #2 for November, Persona 5 Royal.
However, none of the other developers produced any games this year that were so great that we believed they’d be good for the Steam Deck.
Hopefully, Square Enix’s 2023 game lineup won’t rely on low-budget RPGs as much and the era of Square Enix-published Tomb Raiders, Avengers, and Outriders will come to an end.
It would be more beneficial to have a Final Fantasy Tactics-like game and a new Dragon Quest Builders, plus some strange experimental RPGs released every year instead.
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