For the past few weeks, I've been knee deep playing and preparing for my Great Ace Attorney Chronciles review. It's a long old game - around 60 hours between the two adventures - and holy moly, I have never wished so hard to be able to play them on Valve's portable Steam Deck instead of being sat up at my PC the whole time. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles does bring some welcome improvements to Capcom's Phoenix Wright series, such as a new auto-text function so you're not endlessly clicking your mouse to advance the text, but what I wouldn't give to have the chance to play that game cosied up in bed or lying down on the sofa. Honestly, the Steam Deck can't come soon enough.
While there are plenty of other games I'm looking forward to playing on the Steam Deck sometime next year, it's visual novels like this that I'm looking forward to playing the most. I know it might seem slightly daft spending upwards of £400 on a piece of hardware specifically to turn it into a portable visual novel machine, but I'm not gonna lie. The thought of playing some of these games sat at my desk for hours on end is precisely why I've been endlessly putting off other great VN gems in my library such as the Danganronpa series (of which I own 1 and 2), as well as Zero Escape creator Kotaro Uchikoshi's latest game, AI: The Somnium Files.
Of course, the simple answer to a lot of these questions is increasingly, "Well, why don't you just play them on Switch instead?" And that's a totally valid point - and if I'd been more sensible about where I'd actually bought half of these games that are now clogging up my Steam library (and not been so taken in by years of endless Steam sales), then I probably would have done exactly that. But as I cast an eye over the ever-expanding number of games in my Steam backlog, I'm becoming increasingly aware that having something more portable like the Steam Deck is probably the only way I'm ever going to make a proper dent on it.
And I really felt it with The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. As much as I enjoyed playing it on PC, there were moments where I'd be approaching the climatic moments of a case, only for the clock in my office to be screaming, "It's way past your bedtime, missus!" and I'd have no option but to hit save and pick it up again the next day. Likewise, the auto-text feature really makes for an excellent cosied up in bed experience, too, as you'd literally be able to deposit the Steam Deck in your lap and let Chronicles' beautifully written text and dialogue play out like reading a book at bedtime.
Heck, if I wasn't playing Chronicles for review, there's a very strong possibility I would have just bought it on the Switch when it comes out tomorrow, because, whisper it, that's clearly the most sensible platform for a game like this right now, for all the reasons I've described above.
But the great thing is that soon this problem of "What thing should I buy it on?" won't be a problem any more. While I've yet to grasp a Steam Deck in my own two hands to see if its heavy chassis is going to turn my wrists in a paste of crumbled bone dust, the idea of me being able to pick and choose my platform depending on where I can get my games for the best price is a very appealing one. The Steam Deck isn't going to replace the Switch, not by a long shot, but anything that gives me more choice about where I can play my favourite games is always going to be a good thing in my book, and I look forward to the Steam Deck's full release later this year with relish.