Kena: Bridge of Spirits on Steam Deck with the new Anniversary update – review, best settings, performance guide [+ improved anti-aliasing guide]

Kena: Bridge of Spirits has finally arrived on the Steam Store with a major “Anniversary” update. The game unexpectedly turned out to be one of the best titles of last year, offering beautiful graphics and fun gameplay that drew inspiration from series such as The Legend of Zelda or Pikmin. What has changed, and is it worth getting interested in Kena: Bridge of Spirits on Steam Deck?

If you’ve finished the game and are thinking about coming back, this is the best time. One of the main highlights included in the “Anniversary” update is the New Game+ mode, which expands the gameplay quite significantly. 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits on Steam Deck with the new update – native Steam version performance

In Kena Bridge of Spirits, the creators did not go the easy way, and apart from transferring all the progress of character or weapons upgrades, they also changed enemy encounters and added new abilities to bosses.

One of major new features are Spirit Guide Trials. As the story progresses, you will get the opportunity to test your dexterity and fighting skills in challenging trials. The reward for passing the trial are new outfits for Kena, as well as Charmstones – collectible items, which not only improve the character’s stats, but can further increase the game’s difficulty. 

As you can see, Kena: Bridge of Spirits has been significantly expanded, and most importantly, the update is free for all owners of the game

If you haven’t had a chance to play, this is the best time to give the game a chance, especially since the Steam version is clearly better for Steam Deck owners. The game itself is a very enjoyable platformer with an extensive combat system and beautiful visuals. 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits on Steam Deck with the new Anniversary update – review, best settings, performance guide

The version available on the Epic Games Store runs quite well on Steam Deck offering gameplay at 30FPS on low-medium graphics settings. Unfortunately, the game is plagued by rather annoying stuttering, which cannot be eliminated. The Steam version not only offers significantly better fluidity of gameplay, but additionally you can play at slightly higher details. 

Thanks to Valve’s technology, which pre-compiles the shader cache, we have far less stuttering during gameplay here. 

Window Mode: Fullscreen
Resolution: 1280×800
Graphics API: DirectX 12
V-Sync: On
Motion Blur Intensity: personal choice
Quality: Custom

Advanced Graphics
Dynamic Resolution: Enabled
Dynamic Resolution Target: 40 FPS
Visible Rot: Low
FPS Limit: Unlimited
Motion Blur: Medium (or off)
Volumetric Fog: Medium
Ambient Occlusion: Medium
Post Processing Quality: Medium
Textures: High
Foliage: Medium
Shadows: Medium

The most important thing is to change the API in the graphics settings to DirectX 12 after launching the game. Remember to restart Kena: Bridge of Spirits for the changes to take effect. 

Due to the dynamic resolution, I recommend turning on motion blur, although this is your individual choice. It will reduce artifacts resulting from image scaling.

Improved Anti-Aliasing with 40 FPS – Advanced Graphics Settings

I managed to find a way to significantly improve antialiasing in Kena: Bridge of Spirits on Steam Deck (Steam version). With my help, you will enable the advanced TAAU image scaling technique in the game and significantly reduce sharpening.

In Desktop Mode, go to:

/home/deck/.steam/steam/Steam/steamapps/compatdata/1954200/pfx/drive_c/users/steamuser/AppData/Local/Kena/Saved/Config/WindowsNoEditor/

Download Engine.ini file and put it here. [LINK]

You can also create a text file yourself, name it Engine.ini and paste the following lines:

[SystemSettings]
r.PostProcessAAQuality=4
r.TemporalAA.Upsampling=1
r.TemporalAA.Algorithm=1
r.ScreenPercentage=70
r.Tonemapper.GrainQuantization=0
r.DepthOfFieldQuality=0
r.SceneColorFringeQuality=0

[ConsoleVariables]
r.Tonemapper.Sharpen=0.5

When you are ready then return to Gaming mode and launch the game. To maintain better performance I recommend changing the graphics settings to:

Window Mode: Fullscreen
Resolution: 1280×800
Graphics API: DirectX 12
V-Sync: On
Motion Blur Intensity: personal choice
Quality: Custom

Advanced Graphics
Dynamic Resolution: Disabled
Screen Percentage: 100
Visible Rot: Low
FPS Limit: Unlimited
Motion Blur: Medium (or off)
Volumetric Fog: Low
Ambient Occlusion: Low
Post Processing Quality: Medium
Textures: High
Foliage: Medium
Shadows: Low