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Ghost of Tsushima runs well on Steam Deck, making its PSN nonsense all the more annoying

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Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut running on a Steam Deck OLED. The RPS Steam Deck Academy logo is added in the bottom-right corner.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut is now out and about on PC, sadly with the requirement of signing into a PlayStation Network (PSN) account in order to play the samurai action-adventure’s Legends co-op mode. The same requirement, you might recall, that Helldivers 2 players recently lobbied Sony into abandoning. No such luck here, and as previously warned, the need for said PSN sign-in to happen over Windows means that Ghost of Tsushima is essentially missing a chunk of itself on the Steam Deck.

To be clear, you can still play the singleplayer campaign (and the bundled-in Iki Island expansion) on the SteamOS handheld, but multiplayer is a hard no-no. Which is especially irritating, even by the usual account login pile-up standards, as Ghost of Tsushima is quite a tidy Steam Deck game otherwise.

Its weighty, methodical swordfighting handles beautifully on the Deck’s controls, and performance is up to snuff. I’d suggest dropping from the default Medium settings down to Low, keeping FSR 3 on Dynamic mode, but doing so will typically keep you in within the comfortable 30-40fps range. These settings still make for a pretty-looking game on the 800p display, too, with few visible signs of the upscaler in action. HDR is also supported, a nice little treat for Steam Deck OLED owners (just as with previous Nixxes-made PS5 port, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart).

It does get rather battery-hungry, wolfing down my own OLED model’s full charge in 2h 10m. That’s level with Helldivers 2 (hah) as the second fasted battery drainage result I’ve seen. Likewise, a classic LCD-screened Steam Deck went from full to flat in 1h 21m, also very much on the shorter side. At worst, though, that’s just an inconvenience – unlike the PSN requirement, which outright blocks you from playing a significant part of the game you’ve bought, on the grounds that its bolted-on collector of personal info doesn’t know how to talk to your widely-used and otherwise completely compatible choice of operating system.

The main menu screen of Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, running on a Steam Deck. The PSN sign-in option is greyed out.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

A damn shame, this is. Even if you can put aside the bonus ridiculousness of the requirement also forcing Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut off sale in the 170-odd countries where PSN isn’t available (including Japan, the game’s own setting). We’re told that imposing a PlayStation account on PC players is necessary for Legend’s PC/PlayStation crossplay feature, but this is only in beta itself, so there isn’t actually any inter-platform matchmaking going on unless you invite a friend directly. At the same time, PSN seems entrenched deep enough in Ghost of Tsushima that there’s probably no real hope for a U-turn anytime soon.

Again, if you’re solely of the singleplayer persuasion, you can turn a blind eye to the PSN gubbins and just set about katana’ing baddies on the Steam Deck in peace. I do worry, though, that ignoring this kind of account creep – at a time when PC gaming already demands a little black book’s worth of different launcher logins – is tantamount to encouraging it. Even when it’s not as egregious as Sony’s attempt to crowbar PSN into Helldivers 2 post-release, should we be normalising the surrender of our time and our personal details to the online service of an entirely different platform? Preferably not, right?

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