When a major publisher refuses to give out PC review code for a game ahead of its launch, it’s usually a bad sign but the truth always comes out eventually. By now, you have probably realized that Batman: Arkham Knight on the PC is not very good, with major issues hitting both AMD and Nvidia users. Here is our look at exactly what is wrong with the game.
I have been messing around with the game a bit this morning and last night when it first launched. Both AMD and Nvidia have driver updates for this game specifically but unfortunately, Arkham Knight’s issues run much deeper than GPU drivers. First lets take a look at the options menu:
As you can see, graphical options are extremely limited, with about half of the settings being Nvidia specific. Texture quality does not go higher than ‘normal’ and while Vsync is an option, there is a 30 frames per second cap on the game by default, despite the fact that Arkham Knight actually had 60 frames per second YouTube trailers to help market the game ahead of launch.
If you would like to unlock the frame rate cap then it is easy enough to do, just head in to your installation folder then find the folder titled ‘BMGame’, then head in to the ‘Config’ folder and find the BmSystemSettings .ini file, once you are there you can change the ‘MaxFPS’ value to ‘MaxFPS=99999.0000’.
Unfortunately, the problems don’t stop at a 30 frames per second cap. It is clear that Rocksteady has not made much of an effort to optimize the Arkham Knight engine to run at above 60 frames per second as the frame rate can fluctuate rapidly on a wide range of hardware, from AMD’s R9 series cards to Nvidia’s own 900 series GPUs.
Above you can see my benchmark results at 4K, 1440p and 1080p respectively with a GTX 980Ti using the same graphical settings you see in the options menu screenshot above. As you can see, even at 1080p, Nvidia’s flagship GPU is not enough to stop the game from having sharp frame rate drops. The stuttering only gets worse in actual gameplay scenarios too. Simply moving the camera around is enough to bring the game down from 60 frames per second in to the low 40’s. Driving around and gliding over the city appear to be the worst case scenarios, with the frame rate dipping to around 23 frames per second at points.
Observing MSI afterburner showed that regardless of resolution, the game was eating up as much as 5.5GB of VRAM so it can be quite the resource hog. As you would expect, all of my testing has been done with the latest patch and driver updates installed. I used my own personal rig for this test featuring an Intel Core i7 5820K, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a Kingston V300 Now SSD and a GTX 980Ti. Since I’m not part of the KitGuru hardware team (though I do review the odd peripheral), I do not have an AMD Radeon GPU on hand to test out performance. However, a quick look at the Arkham Knight steam user reviews reveal that users with AMD R9 cards are also having their fair share of issues with massive frame drops.
It is worth noting that the latest Nvidia driver did add in SLI support for the game but it seems that right now it is not working properly as single card performance appears to be higher than dual GPUs. This video from ‘Joker Productions’ shows off the in-game benchmark running in single card and SLI formation. Additionally, if you want to see how bad the stuttering can really get, THIS video from Jim Sterling has audio breakages and stuttering galore, although do be aware of potential spoilers.
To top it all off we have random graphical glitches, like textures not loading in properly. It is worth noting that if you don’t mind running the game with the frame rate cap turned on, the experience is a tad smoother, although it is still not enough to escape the random frame rate drops, which really do kill the experience and often cause the game to ‘lock up’ for a second or two.
In all, Rocksteady has supplied us with a pretty shoddy PC port. If you are a PC gamer and wanting to run this game with the frame rate unlocked, then it might be worth waiting a couple of weeks for some updates as right now, I would not consider this game playable above 30fps with the amount of stuttering that occurs, regardless of resolution.
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KitGuru Says: Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady’s final game in the series has fallen flat on its face at the last moment. The game runs fine on consoles but unfortunately, the PC version has been heavily neglected, which is evidenced by the abysmal options menu alone. This is definitely not ‘the way it’s meant to be played’.