Dragon's Dogma 2 is an amazing game; but you won't be running it on a Steam Deck

With Dragon's Dogma 2 releasing later this week, it's clear that there's been a ton of interest in how the game might run on a variety of PC hardware. While we briefly went over performance in our review, we figured it was worth relaying it in a separate piece just how demanding the game is. There's not a PC out there that can completely lock the game to 60 FPS inside cities, but crucially if you were expecting to play the game on a Steam Deck - or an ROG Ally, or Legion Go for that matter - we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but you'll want to figure out a different way of playing the game. Outside of streaming the game from another PC or a console, you won't be playing Dragon's Dogma 2 on most handheld gaming PCs.

The core of the issue comes down to RAM; on Steam Deck, the game will use 13GB of RAM for system memory, and will use 5GB for VRAM - even at the absolute lowest settings. Since the Steam Deck only has 16GB of RAM total, this means that the game suffers massive performance issues at all times. We're talking framerates south of 15 FPS, with massive stuttering; while we haven't tested the game on an ROG Ally or a Legion Go directly, considering that those handhelds offer the same amount of RAM, it's very likely that you'll run into the same issue. If you want to play the game on a handheld, your best bet will likely be to go for an Aya Neo with 32GB of RAM; at least right now, anything else is completely unplayable.

As for general PC performance - when I played the game, I spent most of my time on my desktop with an RTX 4090, 64GB of RAM, and a Ryzen 7 7700x. At max settings, 4K and DLSS set to quality I generally had anywhere between 80 to 100FPS outside of towns, with towns and cities hitting a CPU bottleneck around 60~ FPS, with Vernworth in particular having regular dips to 50~ FPS. On my laptop with a Ryzen 7 5980HX, 32GB of RAM and an RX 6800M - the game generally ran at 30~40 FPS at 1440p, high settings. My laptop closely matches up with the recommended requirements, which state that the game should be playable at 30 FPS, high settings, at 2160i; so we can confirm that Capcom's performance estimates are, if nothing else, reasonably accurate.

While it's definitely disappointing that the game won't run on a Steam Deck, Dragon's Dogma 2 is one of a few true next-gen exclusives that makes full use of the hardware available to it. Although players will have to wait for newer PC gaming handhelds to release to fulfill the dream of playing the game on the go, it should be an excellent showcase for a Steam Deck 2 - whenever the hardware allows for Valve to release one. For now, players will have to make do by playing the game elsewhere.