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Can Fallout: New Vegas Actually Work On the Steam Deck?

Can Fallout: New Vegas Actually Work On the Steam Deck?

When searching for a game to play on your Steam Deck, you’re faced with two main options: a green icon claiming that your particular game was certified to work on your deck or (and this is far more likely) a little yellow exclamation point. This means that even though a particular game hasn’t gotten the official Valve seal of approval, it might still work fine in theory. There’s also an equal chance that the controls won’t work at all and you’ll crash your whole Steam Deck. Fun!

Unfortunately for me, most of the games in my Steam library have the yellow exclamation point of purgatory — Obsidian Entertainment's beloved Fallout: New Vegas is no different. Having played it on PC before and itching to try an RPG on my Steam Deck, I decided to risk its unverified status and try it out.

Fallout: New Vegas is praised as the favourite golden child of the Fallout franchise, even 13 years after its initial release, and is still used by many players as a baseline for the rest of the series. The story certainly holds up, but it's never the story that's the issue when replaying older games — it’s if the game is even playable.


Many of the more popular games, Fallout: New Vegas included, have unofficial ‘necessary’ modding recommendations to keep them stable enough to run on a modern PC. While modding is possible on a Steam Deck, it's a bit of a convoluted process, particularly if the Steam Workshop isn’t supported. To no one’s surprise, due to the particular age of Fallout: New Vegas, the Workshop wasn’t an option. After one short — albeit lazy — attempt to install mods through a few known workarounds, I decided to go full vanilla on my first run.

So, is Fallout: New Vegas compatible with the Steam Deck? The short answer is yes. It’s compatible and playable. The long answer? It’s not just playable; it’s extremely enjoyable.

As is par for the course on Steam Decks, the buttons are set to the mapping of an Xbox controller, making controls pretty intuitive if you’ve played on any console game in the past. 

Performance-wise, the game only crashed three times in 40 hours; once when I was leaving Goodsprings, another as I was leaving Mick and Ralph’s after getting a forged note, and one other time when I was trying to save from a previous load. With the rate that this game autosaves by default, it was never more than a minor inconvenience. Overall, I was pretty impressed, given that I’ve had modern releases crash twice as much, if not more.

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As an added bonus, the game also only requires 8 GB of storage to install. You don’t have to worry about it hogging up all your room if you’re playing on a  smaller 64 GB model.

Battery life was what impressed me the most with this game. A worry many people have when it comes to the Steam Deck is how quickly the battery drains. In general, how much you get out of one full charge seems to hang a lot on what game you’re playing. For example, Cult Of The Lamb nets me about an hour and a half of play time before I need to plug in, so I expected about the same or worse on an open-world, unoptimised RPG. I’m happy to report my original estimate was gleefully wrong.

When starting from a 100 percent charge, I'd get about four to five hours of non-stop playtime when bingeing Fallout: New Vegas — the longest runtime I’ve found on any game I’ve played so far on my own deck.

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All in all, Fallout: New Vegas was still as kick-ass now on the Steam Deck as it was in 2010. It flew high above any expectations I could have had and reignited my obsession with the Wasteland again — probably not enough to play Fallout 76, but hey, you never know.

Tina Vatore

Tina Vatore

Staff Writer

“That's what I'm here for: to deliver unpleasant news and witty one-liners."

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