Batman: Arkham Knight still doesn't run well on PC, and it's not clear when (or if) that might change anytime soon. The public statements from Warner Bros. aren't helping matters, either.
If you're just catching up with this story, here's the short version: Arkham Knight runs like crap on the PC. It doesn't matter if you're using an AMD or Nvidia card, the experience is terrible on everything but the beefiest machines around. Most telling? The game is locked to 30 frames-per-second, unless you dig into the game's INI files and manually unlock the frame rate.
Personally, I played 60 hours of The Witcher 3 at 60 frames-per-second with most settings turned up, and I'm barely able to maintain 30 frames-per-second in Arkham Knight. The moment I'm inside the batmobile, it's not surprising to see it dip to 15 frames-per-second.
Can I play the game? Sure. Is what players should settle for? Definitely not.
Warner Bros. told players it was working to "make sure these issues get resolved as quickly as possible," in a statement yesterday, but it didn't provide a timeline for a patch. That hasn't changed. The company has issued a second statement, one that tries to clarify what settings players should be playing the game on, but that's mostly succeeded at inciting more anger.
First, there's the vague acknowledgement of what's going on without getting into any specifics.
"We are aware that there are performance issues for some users playing Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. WB Games is working diligently with our development teams, NVIDIA and AMD, to identify and fix the issues as quickly as possible.
What follows is a list of recommended settings to play the game at — each one capped at 30-frames-per-second, mind you — that feel disproportionate to what should actually be required.
Here's what they're saying about "minimum":
- Resolution: 1280x720
- V-Sync: Off
- Anti-Aliasing: Off
- Texture Resolution: Low
- Shadow Quality: Low
- Level of Detail: Low
- Interactive Smoke/Fog: Off
- Interactive Paper Debris: Off
- Enhanced Rain: Off
- Enhanced Light Shafts: Off
And these are the specs being recommended to play the game at 720p resolution:
- OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2 GB Memory Minimum) | AMD Radeon HD 7950 (3 GB Memory Minimum)
- DirectX: Version 11
- Network: Broadband Internet connection required
- Hard Drive: 45 GB available space
That's not a shitty machine. You shouldn't expect to be playing at the best settings, but below 1080p and every available setting at low seems...extreme. I'm more than hitting the recommended requirements and my frame rate is all over the dang place.
Even though both Nvidia and AMD users are having issues (for the record, I'm sporting an Nvidia GTX 970), it does seem there are even more serious issues on the AMD end:
With these settings on Min Spec AMD GPU's, users can expect some minor texture pops, occasional loading symbols during fast-paced scenarios, and some hitches & stuttering when gliding or driving the Batmobile.
With these settings on Rec Spec AMD GPUs, users can expect some minor texture pops, occasional loading symbols during fast-paced scenarios, and some hitches & stuttering when gliding or driving the Batmobile. To help alleviate this, AMD users using Rec Spec GPU's should turn Texture Resolution, Shadow Quality, and Level of Detail to Low. We continue to work closely with AMD to resolve these issues as soon as possible; make sure you have the most current drivers and check back here for updates on when the next driver version is available.
Like I said, we still don't know when a patch might arrive — it could still be a few days — but they have promised to address streaming performance on mechanical hard drives. They do recommend people install the game on a SSD, if they can. (I need to buy a bigger SSD...)
To Warner Bros.' credit, the company actively points people to Steam's refund page, in the event they're unsatisfied with their copy of Arkham Knight:
If you purchased your copy of the game through Steam and are not satisfied with your experience, you can request a refund at help.steampowered.com (Steam refund policies can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds).
And it appears Steam's recent refund decisions may start moving the needle at other online retailers. Green Man Gaming isn't quite offering refunds just yet, but the company announced it would offer them if Warner Bros. is unable to get the game running smoother through patches:
We're aware that a number of users have been having issues with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, and we're talking to Warner Bros who are resolved to address these concerns. You can find WB's official response to the issues here.
Warner Bros. are currently working on a patch which we are hoping will be released soon. We want you to enjoy your game, but if after the fix has been released, you still cannot play your game, we will process refund requests for the game.
It'd be nicer if Green Man Gaming just outright offered refunds for a game that runs badly right now, but hey, progress is progress.
PC owners find themselves at a frustrating impasse, especially if they don't have access to a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. (The game is supposed to be spectacular on PS4.) If you want to play Arkham Knight, you're stuck with a busted version of the game. If you want to make a statement, you can ask for a refund, but you can't play the game you've been psyched for.