Batman is so depressed in this screenshot that he's even dragging the framerate down.
Steam’s refund system will be put to the test today. Arkham Knight, by most accounts (65% of accounts going by Steam reviews at the time of writing) is a piece of ill-optimised garbage. Now, I don’t own the game – I’m not a big fan of the Arkham games and, above all else, thou shalt not pre-order. I did not, and I am very happy for it, but I just had to write something about this not least because I now have one of my friends being very angry, for a variety of reasons related to the game.
Rock Paper Shotgun’s Adam Smith details the problems, including video evidence here. This is not good by any stretch of the imagination. Some people seem to find it ok, and such people should share their magical powers.
The problems are very simple and caused by one thing: the game was not optimised. According to most reports, having a view more than a block in length causes the framerate to dip to single digits. Cutscenes cause framerate dips, down to about 20fps on GTX 980 Titans – the best card on the market and into single digits for anything less than a GTX 970. Why am I talking about Nvidia cards only? Heh, about that.
The game won’t run on AMD. It crashes.
[Edit: AMD has released new drivers for Knight, with mixed effect]
Let’s take a look at the fallout:
On the Steam Reviews side, things are civilized-ish. There is understandable outrage, combine this with some shifty behavior and the actions of Warner Bros/Rocksteady become unacceptable. Here are some of the more confusing problems, confusing in the sense of ‘what in Batman’s balls were you thinking!?’ kind of confusing.
-30fps lock (in 2015 on PC, seriously?)
-AMD crashes (how did you miss this?)
-Single digit framerates on any rig (indicative of no testing whatsoever)
-Holding out on information on the Harley Quinn DLC for Nvidia GTX customers
That last one is worth a little bit of discussion. People who bought an Nvidia GTX card in the leadup to release got a free copy of Arkham Knight. It was asked repeatedly if that came with the Harley Quinn DLC – nobody ever responded to such a request, which sucked, and is poor form even for a AAA company. But at least in that case it was free.
There were also no review codes for the PC (at least Rock Paper Shotgun and PC Gamer, the two biggest PC gaming sites, did not receive any) which was cause for alarm, and an instant loss of a purchase from yours truly. Never, ever pre-order a game that has either a review embargo that lasts until at least launch or that does not give review codes – you are almost certainly going to regret it.
It is also worth pointing out that the base game is £35, not £40 or even £50 (which is $80 – yes that is what some companies have started charging in the UK now), which makes the whole thing marginally better. That is the silver lining: at least it didn’t cost as much as Unity, even if it plays as badly.
So keep this in mind:
Thou shalt not pre-order
Thou shalt not purchase without reading reviews
Thou shalt not trust pretty screenshots
Thou shalt watch for review embargos
Thou shalt not pre-order