Now that Batman: Arkham Knight is available once more on PC, Digital Foundry decided to give it a go again. The verdict? It’s rather disappointing.
The report goes into all sorts of technical aspects, as usual, so you should give the full thing a read.
In short though, there have been improvements made when compared with the launch code, but “the changes do not go far enough.”
“The level of optimization has not moved on much at all from last month’s interim patch,” reads the report. “That’s not to say that there aren’t any improvements at all [as] paging too and from memory does seem to have got better.
“However, this barely makes a dent on general in-game performance. In terms of hitting 1080p at 60fps, again, there’s improvement compared to the launch code, but even now, pairing an overclocked Core i7 4790K with either an R9 290X or a GTX 970 isn’t enough to stop occasional glitching – even with the Nvidia GameWorks effects turned off. Even moving up to a GTX 980 still sees noticeable stutter beneath 60fps.
“It’s not game-breaking, but it’s certainly annoying and intrusive. The problem is that below this formidable threshold, we still face exactly the same problems that limited our choices way back in June.”
In order to play Arkham City at high settings with normal quality textures on par with the console versions and the lack of “brutal stutter,” Digital Foundry said players will need a graphics card with at least 3GB of VRAM, and 4GB.
The report says one of the more “disappointing” aspects of the PC version is that scalability hasn’t improved much since launch.
“For those with entry-level and mid-range enthusiast gaming PCs, the developer’s inability to produce a solution for optimising streaming for 2GB GPUs is simply not good enough,” said Digital Foundry. “Effectively, locking to 30fps is the only way forward as it helps to mitigates the stutter, but it means that for cards like the GTX 960, plenty of GPU horsepower is left untapped.
“Even those at the absolute top-end will be left underwhelmed – the GTX 980 Ti exhibits exactly the same sub-60fps stutter as the GTX 970 and GTX 980. It’s not game-breaking and it is preferable to a locked 30fps across the run of play, but the fact that we are seeing it all with high-level parts demonstrates that there’s no way to power past all of this game’s issues.”
In conclusion, Digital Foundry said there were hopes of a “marked, tangible improvement” with the re-release of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC, but “unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
“Assuming your PC is robust enough and you have enough VRAM, you can buy this game and get a decent enough console-level experience – but bearing in mind the continued lack of respect for the PC userbase, the question is whether the developers and publishers deserve your support at all.”
That said, it’s worth noting various PC setups could factor in to some of the issues many users are experiencing. Warner stated earlier this week it would address stability issues related to the latest drivers issued for various video cards.