Arkham Knight’s PC port is missing “key visual effects”

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Adam

It’s really becoming quite sad that the brouhaha surrounding Arkham Knight’s piss-poor PC port is overshadowing what a great damned game it is. It’s the culmination of years of experience crafting the finest in Batventures, and that’s being lost in the hubbub around how godawful one of the three available versions is. And it’s set to get worse.

As you already know by now, the PC version of the game has been yanked from sale by Steam. Physical sales have also been halted, even here at the tip of Africa – and it’s because PC gamers have been stiffed with a truly horrendous port. How bad is it though? Many have reported having a pretty good experience with the PC version, especially once they’ve manually unlocked the game’s frame rate.

According to the wizards at Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, it’s pretty damned bad. They say that the PC version of the game, other issues aside, doesn’t even look as good as the console versions running on inferior hardware.

“…PC lacks key visual effects seen on PS4 even at its top settings. Ambient occlusion is cut from the game, bokeh depth of field is noticeably dialed back,” they say, adding that “the transparency layer used for raindrops is cut from all surfaces as well. Gotham City is stripped of a great deal of atmosphere as a result, with areas appearing lighter without SSAO in place – despite this setting clearly being enabled in the .ini file.”

The delicious rain effects that give the game’s hero and his ride that shimmery wetness are wholly absent from the PC version.

“Likewise, rain doesn’t appear on Batman or the Batmobile as it does on PS4. The reflective, dewy sheen is missing across the city, though specular and normal maps remain identical to the console release. The PC’s highest settings show very little difference otherwise to Sony’s console, barring a tweak to motion blur velocity settings.”

So even on its highest settings, the PC version of the game just doesn’t look as good as the PS4’s one – which, given the relative lack of power in Sony’s console shows what an appalling port job it was.

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Interestingly, those rain effects do make an appearance in Nvidia’s Gameworks trailer for Arkham Knight on the PC, which has led to many crying foul. There’s some speculation that the video, which promises 60fps gameplay was recorded in theatre mode, if not sped up to reach the delicious frame rate. Dubbed Chipmunkgate, the video seems to show evidence of being sped up – but really, that’s a whole different discussion.

The PC port of Arkham Knight should never have been released in its current state, and it’s a good thing that it’s been removed from sale – but that’s hardly consolation to those sitting with a bum copy of one of the year’s most anticipated games.

To sum up, Eurogamer says:

“With its crippled frame-rate, poor streaming, pared back feature set and bloated minimum and recommended hardware spec, Arkham Knight is bitterly disappointing and should never have been released in this sorry state. There’s a massive amount of work required to get this version of the game into shape – as things stand, the experience is totally unacceptable.”

Last Updated: June 25, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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