When Warner Bros. decided to start telling Batman: Arkham Knight on PC again, you might have thought this disastrous story was finally over. Not quite, as it turns out. Despite months of patches, the game still has significant problems.
First up, remember how older user reviews were being branded as "pre-release?" That changed overnight, and the label was mysteriously removed.
The new problems can be tough to diagnose. Different PCs will respond differently to patches. Kotaku's Luke Plunkett, for example, was always able to run the game fine, even before Warner Bros. took the game down from Steam.
What we do know is that anyone playing on Windows 10 now needs more RAM.
For Windows 10 users, we've found that having at least 12GB of system RAM on a PC allows the game to operate without paging and provides a smoother gameplay experience.
For whatever reason, the game requires a whopping 12GB of RAM to run smoothly on Microsoft's latest operating system. The game's minimum system requirements, by the way, are 6GB of RAM, while the recommended is 8GB.
But maybe you just need to buck up and buy more RAM, dude.
Yes, RAM is cheap. Yes, more RAM helps. No, that doesn't make this OK.
Even if you're on Windows 7, there are issues, if you, uh, play for too long.
After extensive testing, a hard drive paging issue with some GPUs on Windows 7 may occur after extended gameplay sessions. If you encounter this, simply re-launching the game will resolve the issue.
When in doubt, turn it off and on again.
And if you happen to be a hardcore PC player wanting to take advantage of SLI?
We are still working with our GPU partners to add full support for SLI and Crossfire. In addition, we are working with these partners to address stability issues on certain cards related to the latest drivers.
My time with the game suggested a higher overall frame rate, but one that still wildly fluctuates between 60 frames-per-second and 30 FPS. When I enter the Batmobile, the frame rate tanks. Previously, it would drop as low as 14 or 15 FPS, now it's in the high 20s and low 30s. That's an improvement, but it's way lower than what I'm getting out of other high-powered PC games like The Witcher 3.
(Granted, Arkham Knight is a seriously demanding game, but still.)
PC Gamer, for example, has a similar setup to my own PC and saw few problems.
I seem to be one of the lucky ones, though. I've just finished reviewing it for PC Gamer — you can read it here — and I had no problems, bar a few sporadic frame-rate drops when the screen got really busy. This was on a PC with a 4GB GTX 970, an i7-950 CPU clocked at 3.0GHz, 16GB of RAM, and Windows 10.
I played 25 hours at 1080p with everything but the NVIDIA GameWorks settings maxed out, and it maintained a steady 60fps throughout. Compared to my first attempt to play the game when it was first released, it's a massive improvement. But everyone's setup is different, and others are finding the game unplayable.
It was less promising at Rock Paper Shotgun, though.
That said, the new version of Arkham Knight is not exactly a revelatory experience on my PC. I've got a Windows 10 system running a GTX 970, a 4GHz i7 and 8GB RAM, and oh boy, the stuttering is no fun. I wouldn't actually call it deal-breaking, but it is extremely distracting, and the new graphical options sadly haven't reinstated enough eye-pleasing goodness to take the sting away. I'm not about to go out and drop £30-odd on upgrading as I will see quite literally zero benefit from it in anything else I use my PC for, and frankly I'm finding this particular game increasingly tedious anyway.
In any case, 12GB (and the restart advice in Windows 7) simply doesn't seem like a reasonable ask: no other game needs it, the stuttering/paging issue doesn't exist in the console versions of the game, and those boxes certainly don't have 12GB. (However, it must be said that Xbone and PS4 use RAM in a very different way to PCs, especially as they don't have a honking great version of Windows chewing up a portion of it).
This video, comparing the frame rates between the two versions, accurately reflects what it's been like when I play the game — good but not great.
Some players can't even get the game to boot anymore.
Warner Bros. is currently soliciting feedback for the patch, which has resulted in a 63-page thread on Steam that's not exactly full of happy, satisfied customers.
It's unclear when Warner Bros. might deliver another patch to the PC version of Arkham Knight, but at some point, it will be too little, too late. Maybe it already is.