Review: Steam Controller and Steam Link

Everything works really well!

I was able to play XCOM 2, Trails in the Sky SC, The Witcher 2, Undertale, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Cities: Skylines with it.

  • The controller is well-built. It feels great in the hands and it has good, responsive buttons.
  • In addition, the controller has four physical things that I like: the twin touchpads (seriously), the grip buttons (essentially L3 and R3, making stick presses L4 and R4), the gyroscope (like a phone’s, but better) and haptic feedback.
  • The touchpads and haptic feedback are impressive. They work like universal controls and can be configured to mimic either a joystick / analog stick, a trackball / mouse, a screen (absolute positioning), and a universal menu that can be configured up to 12 buttons.
  • Configuration is highly flexible. The Steam community lets you contribute your own layouts to the public and nearly every aspect of the device can be configured – from touchpad deadzones to outer rings to mode-shifting and more.
  • The learning curve is quite high, and is a turn-off for most people. It’s a device intended for those who are willing to actually use something completely different.

  • The Link is just as great. It’s a plug and play experience: Just connect it to your network, make sure your PC is running Steam and it can stream to your TV. You just need a great PC and a strong home network.

  • Response rates are impressive. I don’t notice any lag nor latency when pressing buttons and all of the game is played out on the screen as if it was my PC.

  • It has occasional hiccups, either Steam disconnects or Windows interferes with your game session or if the game itself crashes and locks things out. With the Link and the Controller, I was able to achieve exactly what Valve intended for it: PC games on the big screen, without a bulky mouse or keyboard. It’s not necessarily better at PC or console games (sometimes it is, sometimes it’s worse), but at least it fits in a single device.