Escape from Tarkov Steam Deck - how to play and performance

Escape from Tarkov Steam Deck performance settings - picture of a mercenary in hazmat
Credit: WallpaperCave

Escape from Tarkov Steam Deck performance settings - picture of a mercenary in hazmat
Credit: WallpaperCave

Escape from Tarkov is a highly realistic military sim game, and it can even be played conveniently on Steam Deck. However, before you try Escape from Tarkov on Steam Deck, you must use the best settings to ensure great performance.

Additionally, it’s important that you understand that Escape from Tarkov is not your average military shooter. It’s not like Call of Duty Warzone where you can respawn with your items and gear intact. In Tarkov, dying will cause you to lose everything such as gear, ammo, and looted items.

Aside from the game's steep learning curve, it also suffers from occasional errors like Error 208 (wrong region) and Error 232 (wrong major version).

In this article, you’ll know how to play Escape from Tarkov. Plus, you’ll also learn about the best Steam Deck settings for the game.

How to play Escape from Tarkov on Steam Deck

You can't play Escape from Tarkov on Steam Deck straight out of the box, as the game's anti-cheat doesn't work on SteamOS.

However, you can play the FPS game if you install Windows 11 on the handheld, as the main issue lies with Valve’s Linux operating system.

Here are the steps for playing Escape from Tarkov on Steam Deck:

  • Install Windows on your Steam Deck.
  • Add the game to the Steam Library as a non-Steam game.
  • Open the Steam Big Picture mode to run the game.
  • Adjust the keybinds so you can play properly.
  • Test the game first with Scav runs.
  • Adjust graphics settings to hit 30+ FPS during online raids.
  • Start practising to get accustomed to playing Tarkov on Steam Deck.

You must be extra careful if you're playing Escape from Tarkov on Steam Deck. Don't rush, and always set up early ambushes to put you ahead of the game as you're familiarising yourself with Tarkov's Steam Deck setup.

Escape from Tarkov Steam Deck performance

Escape from Tarkov's performance on Steam Deck is acceptable as long as it is played on medium settings.

According to some players, maintaining 30+ FPS is possible by lowering the quality of textures and shadows. However, fully optimizing the experience might be tricky because Steam Deck uses an APU (accelerated processing unit) instead of a dedicated GPU.

If you're just planning to do Scav runs or stash management on Steam Deck, then you'll rarely encounter lagging and slowdown issues. But if you intend to do a couple of PMC runs in one sitting, you'll have a smoother gameplay experience by adjusting all settings to low.

Escape from Tarkov Steam Deck best settings

Even though Escape from Tarkov is best played on PC, it can still work remarkably on Steam Deck. You need to tinker with some performance and compatibility settings before running the game.

Here are the best settings for Escape from Tarkov on Steam Deck:

  • Frame Rate: 30
  • Resolution: 1280x800
  • Screen Mode: Fullscreen
  • Texture Quality: Low
  • Shadow Quality: Low
  • TDP Limit: 10
  • Half-Rate Shading: Off

Using the aforementioned settings for Escape from Tarkov will help you enjoy the experience more. Feel free to tweak the settings until you find the settings that suit your liking.

How to play Escape from Tarkov as a total beginner

Right off the bat, you need to know that Tarkov is not an easy game. If you’re a beginner, you’ll get killed many times before gaining continuous win streaks. Also, you need to get the ‘hoarding mentality’ out of your mind. In Tarkov, your loot means nothing if you die.

Here are some tips on how you can survive in Tarkov as a beginner:

  • Finish your Trader Tasks as soon as you can. This will help you get better deals in the long run.
  • Don’t forget your bandages! Bandages can stop bleeding, and they mean life and death after a firefight.
  • Try to stock up on Surgical Kits as soon as possible.
  • Be careful looting bodies out in the open. A dead body in the middle of the open can be a trap set up by a camper or an ambusher.
  • Don’t dash towards the Extraction Point right away. Observe your surroundings because some campers might be lurking just around the corner.
  • Unused bullets will get wasted, so make sure that your clip is nearly empty (or empty) before reloading.
  • Remember the golden rule: do not reload if you’re exposed. Find cover first, and then reload.
  • PMCs (main characters) appear with green camo. Scavs (playable NPC roles) appear with mostly blue camo. Know your target priorities.
  • Try your best to be stealthy by walking slowly (press Capslock). This will mitigate noise, allowing you to set up ambushes.

There are many more tips for Escape from Tarkov. However, the best way to get good at the game is to experience the action first-hand!

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