The recent release of the "Tekken 8" demo on Steam has been a significant talking point among gaming enthusiasts, especially for those using the Steam Deck. From firsthand experience, I can attest that "Tekken 8" showcases impressive performance on the Steam Deck, though it's not without its minor hiccups.
Firstly, an issue that stood out was the lack of audio in the start cutscenes, accompanied by a background hiss in other audio segments. These are likely minor bugs that should be addressed in future updates. However, these issues aside, "Tekken 8" runs exceptionally well on the Steam Deck.
An important point to note is the game's default settings on the Steam Deck. Initially, it sets a benchmark of around 50, with graphics settings turned to low. This includes a bicubic upscaling method at a 50-70% render scale. While this makes the game playable, it results in a somewhat blurry visual experience. But, by tweaking the settings to AMD FSR 2 quality mode for upscaling, while keeping other settings low, the game maintains a solid 60 FPS in most scenarios. This adjustment significantly enhances the visual clarity without compromising performance.
Despite the overall stable frame rate, there are instances of micro stutter, and some cutscenes are capped at 30 FPS. This inconsistency is not pervasive across all cutscenes and seems to be an area still under polish as this is an early demo.
From a gameplay perspective, the Steam Deck's controls are extremely responsive. This is particularly evident in both local co-op and player versus CPU modes, where the game consistently maintains 60 FPS. The cutscenes in "Tekken 8" are elaborate and add to the immersive experience.
I used the Steam Deck OLED model for this test, and it's worth noting that the performance is similar on the LCD version. However, the OLED model boasts a superior screen and slightly better battery life, drawing around 21 Watts compared to the 24-25 Watts of the LCD model.
An interesting addition to "Tekken 8" is the arcade mode, which blends traditional fighting gameplay with an RPG-like progression system. Players can move around in a Memoji or Wii U-style avatar, engaging in battles, learning new moves, and leveling up.
While this demo only offers the first chapter, it's a promising glimpse into what "Tekken 8" will offer, especially in terms of online multiplayer and story development. The full game is set for release in early January, and I am eager to provide a comprehensive review once it's available. For now, the demo is available on the Steam store, and I recommend giving it a try.