Back in June, I reviewed Arkham Knight on the PC and while I tried my damnedest to be objective and respect the ethics in journalism and all that nonsense, that game was a train wreck. Not long after, due to poor response, terrible optimization, and a slew of refunds, Warner Bros. pulled the game from PC shelves with the promise that it would be fixed.
Yesterday, Warner Bros. released an apology and announced they were sorry for all the mishaps and boo boos and they would make it better by offering PC owners free stuff. You can find the full announcement here, but the gist is this:
“If you own Batman: Arkham Knight for PC or purchase it before November 16, 2015, you will get:
- Free digital copies of games from the Batman: Arkham library.
- The “Community Challenge Pack” DLC.
- The Batman: Arkham inspired Team Fortress 2 items created by the Batman: Arkham community.”
A patch or ten were put into place and Arkham Knight was finally back in the hands of PC gamers. All was right with the world.
Except it wasn’t.
I’d love to debate what WB offered gamers as a peace treaty and how most gamers who pre-ordered Arkham Knight probably already owned the previous Arkham games so free games means squat, but that’s not even what I’m most upset about. The problem lies in the fact that WB didn’t actually fix the problems plaguing PC gamers.
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.
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.
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.
Did I read that correctly? Twelve, as in ten plus two, gigs of RAM are a MINIMUM for playing this game on the PC? What other game requires such a monumental amount of memory? I’ve modded Minecraft to hell and back and not needed that much memory. MINECRAFT, PEOPLE. The King of the Memory Drain!
Players are reporting the game to still be unplayable with dropping frame rates, stuttering gameplay, bugs, and down right freezing. On top of requiring more RAM than all newly released games currently on the PC, WB didn’t even bother fixing the memory leak issue or bugs halting players from finishing side quests. The latter is exactly why I stopped playing Origins and it looks like WB poor solutions will keep me from finishing Arkham Knight as well.
On top of this, because WB “technically” pushed back the game’s release date, all those negative reviews detailing the failings of the game are filed under Steam’s “pre-release” category, so technically they don’t “count.” Talk about shady marketing.
I know there are some gamers out there who will probably make snide remarks about playing only on consoles (ahem, Rob), but this is a huge deal that we, as consumers, should not ignore. The Xbox One and PS4 versions respectively can only use, at MOST, 5GB of RAM. The developers took the lazy route when it came time to port to the PC and nearly doubled that minimum and then sold that poorly optimized game to PC users without even a hint of hesitation.
And don’t let that price tag fool you, either. At $49.99, the game may be $10 cheaper than at launch but I can almost guarantee you that if the game hadn’t been pulled, it’d be selling for $30 average on Steam and this re-release is another marketing ploy to try to con PC gamers into believing the issues have been fixed.
Luckily, I was able to beat the game back when I first reviewed it (not without many, many complications) so the only pull I have to load up the game again is to try to complete all those pesky side quests. That being said, I tried playing the game last night with the new patch and it’s still a hot mess. Twenty minutes now constitutes an “extended gameplay session”, forcing me to restart the game to fix the paging issues. Driving the batmobile still remains the bane (heh) of my Batman existence because no amount of graphics setting changes seem to improve that FPS drop. Overall, the FPS issues seem improved but band aids don’t do much for a broken leg and this game is crippled.
Long story short: Warner Bros. and Rocksteady should be ashamed and no amount of Team Fortress 2 hats are going to make up for what they’re doing to PC Arkham fans right now. At this point, WB seems more focused on getting out DLC than fixing a broken game and we should all be outraged.