Upon its release, Batman Arkham knight has been getting slated by pc gamers for it’s close to unplayable port that rivals, and in many opinions beats the Assassins Creed: Unity fiasco. As a PC user, I bought the PC version of the latest batman game with the knowledge that my PC is far more powerful than the consoles, with the hopes of a smooth 1080p and 60fps experience… oops.
The game is riddled with bugs and glitches, some game breaking, and can even crash your system as I experienced. On my first boot up of the game at 1am on day of release, I went through all the settings and saw that everything was set to high already, a good sign. On a side note, the graphics options are appallingly lacking, but I digress. I proceeded to turn the Gameworks features on knowing my NVidia graphics card would likely handle them with ease, and ran a benchmark. After it had ran I was pleased to see I get a healthy 60fps average, but there was a lot of play between the minimum and maximum, getting as low as 40 and as high as 111. The in game result of this was screen tearing up the wazoo, so I had to turn vsync on. I soon find out that the benchmark is in no way an accurate representation of what the game actually runs like. So into the game I went and the floodgates opened to a heap of problems. First of I noticed horrific frame drops, some hitting single digit region, this was mostly happening when interacting with the main USP of the game, the bat mobile. I spent a good while playing with the settings, assuming the issue was I had been too overzealous with them, turns out I was wrong. With the settings lowered, I called in my ride and I juddered in. Ready to go I revved the engine to be on my way, with the game freezing up. This wasn’t just a freeze though, after a few moments I was greeted by my old friend the blue screen of death. The game had caused a serious crash and I had to restart my system. Needless to say after this I went to bed, frustrated I couldn’t deal out my bone breaking justice.
I have been able to play the game for a good while now, clocking in close to 15 hours, and haven’t had a blue screen since my initial incident. However the frame rate can still be atrocious, and the vsync locks the game at 30fps. While the game locked to this frame rate by standard, you can edit this in the .ini file, but I wouldn’t recommend it, lest you bring forth further issues. But I, in the grand scheme of things, am one of the lucky ones. For many people, many of whom use AMD graphics cards, the game is downright broken and unplayable. The evidence of which can be seen on the steam page for the game, where it has a mostly negative rating. But wait! There’s more….
Even with these inexcusable issues aside, it would seem that some of the effects are missing from the PC version of the game. Ambient occlusion, depth of field, and the lack of rain interaction being big ones. At this point in time, PS4 users have in part, a better looking game than what the best pcs can produce, simply because of the lack of effects available to them. The port is terrible, but it turns out there is a reason. Rocksteady have revealed that the PC port wasn’t done by them, but rather outsourced to a console studio made up of only twelve people. This small studio, Iron Galaxy, also don’t seem to have experience in PC development, with most of their projects being for consoles. It’s also worth noting, these are the same guys who did the port for Arkham Origins. So by the looks of it the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight was doomed to fail from the word go, with inexperience and lack of manpower resulting in a stumbling mess.
With all of this, the PC version of the game has been voluntarily removed from the steam store, until such a time that Rocksteady believe the game will be fixed and to the expected standard. They are also referring pc users to use the steam refund option if they wish. In a way this is rather admirable of them. For once a company is standing up and saying that the game isn’t ready, and removing it from shelves, rather than leaving it available and promising quick patches. The one question is, didn’t they know the game was in this state in the first place, if so why not hold it back to avoid the entire storm they made themselves. It’s a shame because the game itself is good, if you can play it that is.