Batman: Arkham City PC Review

sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2011 , Posted by admin at 1:34

Batman: Arkham City PC Review

The definitive version of Arkham City... eventually.
With console reviews claiming that Batman: Arkham City is one of the best games of the year, the extra five week wait for PC gamers has been interminable. Being spoon-fed details of the PC version's enhancements hasn't made things any easier, but the wait is finally over. Now that we've finally played the PC version, I'm happy to report that it will be the definitive version of Arkham City... eventually.

I won't go on at length about the core gameplay experience, as you've probably already read 17 reviews of the console version; instead I'm here to focus on the PC version's differences. For those living in a bat cave that missed the glowing accolades heaped on Batman -- like so many unconscious thugs after a particularly huge brawl -- here's the quick version: Arkham City is the action game of the year. The PC version has inherited the same fluent and fantastic combat system of the consoles, and set in one of the most content-crammed cities in recent gaming memory. It's got everything I loved about the original, but has been given a shot of Titan, making it bigger and better in every way.

So then, Arkham City on the consoles is very, very good, but what about the PC version? Obviously, the first difference is that it can be played with a mouse and keyboard, but you'd have to be an absolute joker to do so. This game has been carefully crafted to be played with a control pad, and plugging in an Xbox 360 controller provides a vastly superior experience than the PC's default control scheme. Combat flows perfectly with twin analog sticks, but turns into a drunken brawl when I'm wrestling with a mouse-controlled camera. The focus on fisticuffs means we don't need the precision of a mouse to pull off 1,000 yard headshots, so put that mouse to the side and get comfy with a control pad.

As NVIDIA has rubbed in our faces for the last couple of months, the other major difference is the way the PC version looks. This is no mere console port where the flaws of low-resolution assets can be seen in HD resolution; it's obvious that Rocksteady has gone to great lengths to maximise the PC's power. After spending around ten hours with both versions, it's amazing just how much more I've noticed on the PC version thanks to the intricate detail provided. From tattoos on the flexing biceps of thugs to glowing neon signs that remain readable from the other side of the city, the PC's visuals are leagues ahead of the consoles.

Those of you packing DirectX 11 hardware are in for even more of a treat, with advanced lighting techniques that make this game look almost pre-rendered. Smoke and fog swirl around character's feet, while Batman's cape flutters with the authenticity of a real piece of material, but his arm spikes still jut through. Tessellation is used extensively to bring surfaces to life, with once flat surfaces now bristling with bumps and spikes. When it's running well, everything purrs by at 60 frames per second, making combat exponentially more responsive. Playing on hard, this increased control allowed me to blaze through sections that proved to be frustrating roadblocks on the console. Simply being able to see the animations more clearly due to the high resolution made it easier to anticipate what the circling thugs were about to do.

Unfortunately, this silky smooth frame rate is a rarity, as the game is plagued with horrific performance issues. I'm packing dual NVIDIA GTX 580s paired with a 4.5GHz i5 2500k, a system that NVIDIA's PR told me would demolish the game during a recent NVIDIA demo. Yet every time I enter a new area, the game slows to a crawl, hitting lows of two or three frame per second as some broken code tries to catch up with my demands. Once everything's loaded and cached things zip along at the speed of a juiced-up batarang, and it's not much of a problem when I'm inside one of the city's many buildings. However, the problem is at its worst during the best part of the game; as I'm gliding high above the city, the game frequently coughs and splutters, ruining the otherwise magnificent vista.

Considering that this is arguably NVIDIA's flagship technology title of the year, alongside Battlefield 3, these performance woes are nothing short of a major embarrassment. The solution is to disable DirectX 11, removing the advanced lighting and tessellation that we were told would make the PC version so special. Rocksteady has already publicly admitted there are performance issues but that didn't stop them from releasing the game in this state. When it's running well -- which is about half of the time -- Arkham City is the best looking game of the year. When it's not, it's a series of pretty screenshots running in a slideshow.

Those of you with a loathing for DRM will probably also disagree with the triplicate systems in use -- Steam, Games for Windows Live and Securom (with its paltry 5 activations). I didn't notice any problems with these though, and having to paste the CD key into a couple of different windows wasn't particularly painful.

Those of you without DX11 cards are sure to enjoy Arkham City, as you're still getting an attractive HD version of the console game, albeit one that doesn't look anything like the spiffy NVIDIA video above. For the rest of us packing serious DX11 hardware, it's going to take some patching or driver updates before Arkham City lives up to the amazing potential that we know it has, so we recommend holding off on your purchase until everything has been fixed.

Batman: Arkham City PC Review


Video// Youtube

Article,photographs and video taken entirely from the web http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/