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Fallout 4 on Steam Deck completely devalues Valve’s Verified rating

A Verified rating for the handheld gaming PC now apparently involves crashes, frame rates halving, and inaccessible graphics settings.

An unhappy Vault Boy against a Fallout background on a Steam Deck

Fallout 4 on Steam Deck is now officially Verified after the new ‘next-gen’ update, but frustratingly performance on the Valve handheld is now decidedly worse, the graphical options are now inaccessible, and crashes are more frequent. This isn’t the first example of a game getting worse on Steam Deck as its rating improves, but there are now some major questions that Valve needs to answer or risk its rating system falling entirely into chaos.

While the Steam Deck OLED is still our pick for the best handheld gaming PC, it’s also the model of the Deck most impacted by this new Fallout 4 update. The most obvious ‘improvement’ is the removal of the Bethesda launcher, but this gave you the only way to adjust the graphical settings, meaning it’s now impossible to make any changes at all.

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On top of this, the frame graphs within the performance overlay are reporting inaccurately. So when you’re seemingly running the game at the full 90Hz capability of the OLED Deck, the game is instead running at 45 fps. A fix for this has been identified by a user on r/SteamDeck, but it shouldn’t be necessary for a game deemed ‘Verified’ by Valve.

Finally, frequent crashes have made their way into the game, with them seemingly happening at random. This has all disappointed a lot of Fallout fans who thought the new Verified rating would mean positive changes. Instead, it’s the exact opposite.

Upon booting up our Steam Deck OLED to test the claims and complaints that we’ve seen online, it didn’t take long to encounter our first crash and there was no discernable reason for it. I was wandering through the Commonwealth, no enemies nearby or cutscenes triggered, and the game closed down leaving me staring at the game page in my library.

The frame rate is also noticeably lower than what the Deck is reporting, and the frame graph in the performance overlay is incredibly erratic. While the game still feels okay to play, it’s frustrating to encounter such issues in a game Valve deems worthy of its highest verification.

This raises further questions about the status of other games. When we tested Horizon Forbidden West, we were able to get great performance on the Steam Deck OLED after making considerable, albeit expected, adjustments to the graphical settings.

However, for some reason, Valve has only given this game an “Unsupported” rating. Many Steam Deck owners take Valve’s word as golden, trusting that its testing is comprehensive and accurate, but these latest issues endanger that trust. Instead, the Steam Deck compatibility criteria now appear to be just a tick list that carries very little meaning. Perhaps it’s time for Valve to readdress how it handles game testing.

For a look at the best Steam Deck games, check out our comprehensive guide with each game tested on performance and compatibility.