Five best Steam Deck games for your commute

MGS V Phantom Pain running on Steam Deck
(Image credit: TechRadar)

While many game consoles are judged on the exclusive titles they bring to an audience, the Steam Deck does things a little differently. In fact, while it may lack exclusives, it arguably has the greatest launch lineup of all time, with hundreds of Steam Deck-verified games right out of the gate spanning forgotten classics to AAA releases from 2022.

Sometimes, though, it’s just nice to find something to play in short bursts – there’s something cozy about handheld gaming in that way, whether you’re on the sofa, or commuting to work.

With that in mind, we’ve highlighted some of the best games you can play on Steam Deck while traveling, dipping in and out like an everlasting gobstopper you can return to time after time.

Elden Ring

An Elden Ring player squaring off against a boss

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

While the Steam Deck’s contemporary in the handheld space, the Nintendo Switch, launched alongside one of the all-time greats in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Valve’s console arrived in the same month as possibly 2022’s finest adventure.

Available on Steam for $49.99 / £49.99 / AU$54.99, Elden Ring is a huge, dense, and often very challenging open-world action RPG, but it’s also ideal for quick bursts, too. While it may take some time to reacquaint yourself with where you left your Tarnished in the world every time you hit the sleep button, Elden Ring lets players explore at entirely their own pace.

Your twenty-minute bus ride could be just as easily spent battling a huge boss as it could be exploring a new dungeon or simply roaming the world, farming runes and items to give you an edge in your next battle. When a game encourages exploration as well as Elden Ring does, there’s no wrong way to play. In fact, we’d argue that Elden Ring could be looked upon as a very important game for the Steam Deck’s early life in the years to come.

Metal Gear Solid V

Metal Gear Solid 5

(Image credit: Konami)

Hideo Kojima’s acrimonious departure from Konami may have dominated the period following the launch of Metal Gear Solid V back in 2015, but there’s never been a better time to check out the franchise’s final mainline entry — particularly if you have a Steam Deck.

Both the Phantom Pain and the introductory Ground Zeroes campaign are verified for Steam Deck, but it’s the former that gets our vote. The game’s huge open battlefields are split into drop-in and drop-out missions, where you find yourself landing in a war zone to free a hostage or eliminate a high-value target, making MGS V feel like a modern-day version of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Building up Mother Base through quick supply runs is fun, too, and the game plays beautifully thanks to the still-excellent Fox Engine which runs like a dream on the Deck. It really is just as good as playing on the TV, but the aforementioned ability to break this mammoth game into chunks of your choosing makes it the best way to play.

Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman Blood Money

(Image credit: IO Interactive)

While its more recent incarnations may be prettier, Hitman: Blood Money remains the franchise’s peak – and it runs well on Steam Deck (if you don’t mind some incorrect icons popping up and the occasional small text).

Hitman: Blood Money is an excellent jumping-on-point for the franchise, with a really fun tutorial that then leads into an array of Agent 47’s finest missions. Whether it’s wandering the Mardi Gras-filled streets of New Orleans tailing a trio of targets in bird costumes, wandering the halls of the White House, or the surprise ending that’s since been rehashed in recent games, Blood Money is a great example of tone and gameplay going hand-in-hand.

For our (blood) money, nothing comes close to the Christmas-themed “You Better Watch Out” mission. Playing out in a huge, cliffside mansion with a glass-bottomed swimming pool, the mission has 47 hunting two targets, avoiding an assassin, and potentially dressing as Santa.

Divinity Original Sin II

Beach level in Divinity: Original Sim 2

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Divinity Original Sin II is regarded as one of the best RPGs of the last few years, and for good reason – it’s one of the most thoughtfully crafted, impressively written examples of the genre. 

Not only is the story great, but the choice-based nature of dialogue extends to the in-game action, too. Decide to play as an undead character and the townsfolk will flee in terror, but the poison will actually heal you. You could also play as a character that can speak to animals and unlock new dialogue options in the world around you to help you on your way.

Combat is similarly choice-driven, but it’s also impressively challenging. Using your environment is key to survival, by electrifying pools of water, or setting fire to flammable liquids to control areas of the field.

Not only is Divinity Original Sin II Steam Deck verified, but you can play it in co-op with a friend, too, which makes it an ideal Deck title to play with a friend while on the go.

F1 Manager 2022

F1 Manager 2022

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

A few franchises have attempted to take the tactics and drama of the Football Manager franchise to new sports, but F1 Manager 2022 might be the best one yet. This detail-laden management sim has you building your racing team over dozens of seasons, going from back-of-the-pack upstart to building a winning dynasty.

While there’s an incredible amount of information to understand in each race, the game’s slick UI does a solid job of ensuring you have everything you need – even on the Steam Deck’s display. It also has gamepad controls, so if you’d rather use the buttons than the touch screen, you can do so with ease.

Each race weekend can take some time, particularly if you’re managing each individual aspect, but menus are slick, the on-track action looks great, and it loads quickly – ideal for short bursts.

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