PC’s Arkham City Is Looking Definitive

By John Walker on August 15th, 2011 at 11:37 am.

On PC for maximum shiny.

Word flies in from all directions that the PC version of the forthcoming Batman: Arkham City is to be by far the definitive one. Details scavenged from October’s PC Gamer (oh, magazines) reveal that it has been super-enhanced for various bits and bobs of tech that the consoles don’t support. So of course there’s 3D, for anyone mad enough to have bought a 3D monitor. But more excitingly, it’s supporting DirectX 11 and PhysX. And other stuff too!

Fansite ArkhamCity.co.uk has a few quotes from the magazine. Bits the PC only version is getting include tessellation, fog, and… more loose trash in the streets! YES! I hate it when my gaming streets are all clean. But the unnamed PCG hack goes on to say, “holy crap, do the console textures look poor by comparison.”

PhysX effects mean things will smash and explode more impressively, which in a game that’s primarily about punching people through walls is extremely important. As the article goes on to note, “If you happen to be near a wall or rail, Batman transforms it into an instrument of justice by slamming a goon against it.”

I’m so glad I was right about 2011 being the beginning of the PC’s latest shine-time. At the end of each console generation it’s inevitable that developers will want to make their games look as pretty as possible, and the PC is the only place where that can happen. 2012 could be the most amazing year for the PC in terms of leading the way. Ending with a splat as the next gen consoles appear and everything’s equal again for about ten minutes.

__________________

« | »

, .

77 Comments »

  1. Dasos says:

    YUM

    • Cinek says:

      Hopefully the next generation of consoles will come as late as possible. I wouldn’t mind even 2056. I want to keep that “YUM” impression and be the one playing a PROPER version of the games as long as possible ^^

  2. KauhuK says:

    Well, Arkham Asylum had some PhysX effects too. They were quite taxing and quite useless to be honest.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Yes, the way that PhysX is specific to nVidia cards means that games can’t use it for anything that affects gameplay, since that’d be missing a huge swathe of the game’s audience. So instead we get ludicrous amounts of extra particle effects when glass shatters and suchlike. It’s pretty, but pointless and often overdone.

    • Aemony says:

      That sure wasn’t what I felt. The Scarecrow boss fight felt completely different with bricks flowing all around him with the PhysX effects activated. In fact, I have kept away on replaying the game on my temporary ATI card simply because the PhysX effects makes such a more immersive and alive world.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Well maybe I’m just being all defensive because I’m an AMD/ATI person these days :)

    • kael13 says:

      I agree with the Aemony fellow.. I sure missed it when I switched over to ATI cards. Striding through the library without the disturbed strewn papers billowing behind my cloak spoiled the atmosphere somewhat.

    • PoulWrist says:

      You can use a AMD card for video and a nVidia card for PhysX. You just need a bit of a hack to do it as nVidia put in a block in their drivers that detects if you’re using an AMD card and disables physx accelleration if that’s the case.

    • KauhuK says:

      OK, FINE! It looks like it has more emphasis than I thought. But I had much weaker card at the time. Also I didnt quite finish the game (got stuck at poison ivy boss battle). So maybe I will try again with physx on this time.

    • Amun says:

      PhysX is a scam, btw. Nothing that it does can’t be done by the CPU.

    • Vandelay says:

      True, but try and run Arkham Asylum with it enabled without a Nvidia card and see how far you get. I tried it on a Q6600, thinking a quad core CPU would be able to handle it and it wasn’t enough. I tried it on my i5 Sandy bridge, but still a stuttering mess whenever you go near smoke.

      It might be a con, but it is a con that some developers are supporting and not looking for alternatives from. Thankfully, it isn’t something many developers are going with and only a few games support.

    • Vagrant Zero says:

      @Jams O’Donnell PhysX can function for ATI cards too so you don’t need to draw a hardline in the sand about it (depends on how the devs code it into the engine). Age of Conan for example is about ready to release a complete redux of their server side physics utilizing PhysX, and it will be brand agnostic. Here’s BM: AA running PhysX on an ATI card. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUOr4cFWY-s

  3. skinlo says:

    Awesome news! :)

    It usually takes around 2-3 years before the average PC is equivalent with the consoles.

    Of course the top end is usually more powerful even when the consoles come out.

  4. Bungle says:

    I can’t say any of those features are terribly surprising, as they’re all a part of the UE3 engine anyway. I’m glad they’re making use of the DX11 stuff though. Time to move beyond the stillborn DX10 and forget about the dark years.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Ofc, it’s worth re-stating that DX11 is just a super-set of DX10/10.1. All it adds to DX10.1′s established feature set is stuff like the much-quoted runtime tessellation & multi-threading support for DX11-capable hardware.

    • Bilbo says:

      Unreal Engine 3 Engine!

      :D

  5. mlaskus says:

    I played through Arkham Asylum this weekend and absolutely loved it. I’m definitely looking forward to this.

  6. Fierce says:

    Uh oh. I hope this doesn’t support DX11 too much. When it’s included just for whiz-bang effect and not optimized properly, DX11 features such as tessellation can really kill a framerate. See Lost Planet 2 for reference.

    Otherwise, ditto on the vastly superior texture quality possible on the PC compared to the Detached Entertainment Modules. I still fondly remember going to a friends house and him showing off Fallout 3 on X360 with pride, before I absolutely crushed it by showing him 1080p Fallout 3 PC with Fellout and Hi-Res Texture Mods applied. Good times.

    • Cinek says:

      ROTFL :D

      Oh.. I love these moments when consolers realize what REAL 1080p is.

  7. coffeetable says:

    Which was the game a while back that was using footage from the much-prettier PC version to advertise its console releases?

    • GenBanks says:

      You were probably thinking of something else but wasn’t the Far Cry 3 footage running on a PC?

    • jezcentral says:

      It’s standard practice to do this. Hell, BF3 used the PC version exclusively for months for it’s demos.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Well, in BF3′s case it’s because the PC is the lead platform.

  8. mjig says:

    I loved Arkham Asylum on PC. Everyone will probably call me crazy for this, but I much preferred the mouse and keyboard controls to the gamepad. For me, it was proof that third person action games can still do just fine with M&K as long as the developers put in some effort.

    • kororas says:

      i preferred keyboard + mouse too, teh only thing i find the gamepad useful for is racing.

    • Christian says:

      Strange. It was the exact opposite for me, I finally gave in and bought a 360-gamepad because of this. I just couldn’t manage the fighting in the later game with just kb+m.
      And I must say: for me, this improved the experience by so much. I’m still convinced that in most games, a mouse will always be superior..nut sometimes, it really is nice to be able to use a controller.

    • Renfield says:

      I echo the sentiment on a controller being best for this one. In any game where different buttons correspond to different ways to successively batter someone, a keyboard tends to feel a bit clinical (by comparison).

    • I4C says:

      Agreed i found it much more enjoyable playing with K+M.
      Only thing i don’t use K+M for is for, games that don’t support K+M well(I usually use controller in this case) or driving games, where i normally use a driving wheel + pedals(much better then controller for driving games imo).

  9. The Sentinel says:

    Even when graphical capability is equivalent there are still other things PCs do better than consoles: more RAM, faster loading/saving, backwards compatibility…We just rule. :)

  10. Ginger Yellow says:

    It feels a bit wrong to play what is basically a brawler on the PC, but if they’re doing a proper souped-up version I’m definitely going that way. I’m so fed up of developers/publishers not using hi-res textures and such in their PC versions. Don’t you want your game to look as good as possible?

    • kororas says:

      in order to do this they have to consider producing an extra set of better quality resources for the PC platform, of which they first decide whether its worthwhile to do so (time and financial).

      I can only guess that Arkham Asylum must have sold well enough on PC for them to justify exclusive PC improvements to Arkham City .

    • Optimaximal says:

      I think you’ll find that, in the majority of cases, all of the assets are produced at an obscenely high quality and then reduced down to fit on the consoles with their relatively meagre shared graphics memory.

      The fact that the PC doesn’t always ship with the original quality assets is more likely version-parity and/or laziness

    • PoulWrist says:

      How does it feel wrong to play this? Everything feels right to play on the PC. The end.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      It’s not a huge thing, but all else being equal there are quite a few genres I prefer to play on the sofa with a controller. Sports games, fighting games, brawlers, most third person shooters. Conversely, given the chance I’ll always play strategy games, first person shooters, RPGs, management games and puzzle games on the PC.

    • Thants says:

      You can play PC games on the sofa with a controller too.

    • Nosslak says:

      Yeah, Optimaximal is right. You always work with textures that are at least double the size of the target texture.

    • Flukie says:

      Yeah I played this in bed on my 40 inch LED TV/Monitor with my controller, its a better than console experience honestly, don’t limit yourself to a desk.

  11. Merus says:

    I imagine some of these improvements will also find their way into the WiiU version, so that’s probably part of their calculus.

  12. Bilbo says:

    yeah, the PS3 doesn’t support 3D at all derpderp

  13. GenBanks says:

    I’m thinking of getting a 3D monitor… not really for the 3d though (I have an ATI graphics card) but for the 120hz refresh rate. I’ve heard it makes a noticeable difference. Any of you have experience with one?

    The downside though is that all 3d monitors are TN panels, and I’m thinking for my next monitor of trying out something with better colour quality like an IPS. Decisions decisions…

    • Arclight says:

      Been using a 2233RZ for a while now. Even though I was really opposed to getting an LCD, I have to admit it’s hard to fault it. Some minor backlight bleed along the bottom, which is only noticeable when that area is completely black. No complaints about the colors either, at least not after calibrating it. Haven’t seen any ghosting at all.

      Can’t compare to other LCDs since this is the first one I have owned, but compared to my old CRT I can’t say it has disapointed.

      There’s very little on offer though. I wanted a 120Hz 16:10 monitor, of which Samsung had exactly 1 model. There are a few newer models that are quite a bit better (I guess, reviews are highly subjective) but they are all 16:9.

    • Toothball says:

      I’ve been using 3D hardware for a while although I almost always play with the 3D on, which works out as 60Hz per eye rather than 120Hz total. I have heard workmates evangelising about 120Hz displays though, so it’ll probably work out well.

    • Boozebeard says:

      You are only going to see a difference if you can actually run the games you play at over 60 fps. So for old FPS’ like quake and CS then you might notice the difference but unless you have some kind of monster machine or you run the graphics really low you probably wont be able to take advantage of it on new games.
      I just recently bought a Hazro 27″ 2560×1440 IPS panel and it’s an amazing monitor, no regrets other than I’ve since seen the Dell equivalents on special offer for slightly less! The pixel density is incredible, everything is so sharp and the colour accuracy and lack of tinting compared to my old TN is great.

    • 7rigger says:

      The 120hz refresh rate does make a difference when you first use a 3d monitor, but eventually you do get used to it (like the 3d effect)

      I only ever notice how smooth it is when I’m looking at someone else’s system.

      Plus the 120hz refresh can make them eye-bleedingly bright, alt-tabbing from Amnesia (Unfortunately not 3d compatible) to a web page will toast your retinas

  14. Patches the Hyena says:

    Mouse + Keyboard definitely, and Arkham Asylum was optimised extremely well for the PC. I have very high hopes for (the already pre-ordered) Arkham City.

  15. Mist says:

    I bought an awesome gaming PC earlier this year with an ATI card and went “wow, now I can replay all those games that used to stutter etc on the highest settings!”.

    Then it was time to replay Mirror’s Edge and I became depressed.

    aka I don’t like PhysX. Game makers incorporating features that only work on 1 type of hardware (when there is no clear requirement for it – I can understand 3D effects only working for people who bought 3D screens. But physics only working for people with a particular graphics card? pfff) is bad for the community/industry/humanity/etc.

  16. kwyjibo says:

    It’s not just because consoles have peaked in terms of power, but that digital distribution has lifted the margins on offer on PC. Hopefully, given console licensing fees, that’s an advantage that will last forever.

  17. Burning Man says:

    Collector’s Edition. Artbook.

    Now all I have to do is mentally convince myself that it’s a sensible way to spend all that cash…

  18. deadstoned says:

    Game still uses GFWL, maybe when its on sale then :-/

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      I’m having a hard time choosing … Better looking, but GFWL? Or the hassle-free PS3 version?

  19. Shooop says:

    How convenient I’ve been meaning to move to a nVidia card lately since The Witcher 2 is eating my Radeon alive.

  20. Cognitect says:

    “PhysX effects mean things will smash and explode more impressively, which in a game that’s primarily about punching people through walls is extremely important.”

    If Arkham City is like Arkham Asylum, those effects will run like shit if your PC does not have an nVidia graphics card (the CPU PhysX implementation in AA was intentionally crippled to make nVidia look good).

  21. Toothball says:

    I picked up Arkham Asylum cheap because it had 3D support, and very nice it was too. Quite keen to see this one now too.

  22. Plushpants says:

    Another chance to bash the consoles!!!

    Another shameless attempt to generate traffic on RPS!!!

    Shock! Horror! Scandal!!!

    …truth be told, I love a good old gloat as much as the next man :)

  23. WolVenom says:

    Coool. If only it switched GFWL to Steamworks, all would be perfect

    • shoptroll says:

      My guess is they either have a contract with MS for GFWL in their titles, or they’re unwilling to rewrite the game to use Steamworks

    • 8-bit says:

      yep, its a shame that its using GFWL because that pretty much means that it wont be the definitive version, and also guarantees that I will be buying it on my ps3.

    • Kaira- says:

      I’d rather take online-activation than Steamworks (or GFWL/Origin/what have you).

    • Thants says:

      Isn’t this a single-player game? Why does it need either?

  24. AMonkey says:

    A actiony game like Arkum I feel plays best on consoles. Really though, that just means I should hook my PC up the the TV and play with a wireless 360 controller.

    • matrices says:

      You already corrected yourself there so I won’t correct you too much, other than to say that playing Arkham on a console after seeing the textures on the PC is like punching yourself in the face and suffering from blurred vision. 360 wireless controller and you’re good to go.

  25. shoptroll says:

    Couldn’t care less about PhysX (seriously, it’s been almost a decade and we still don’t have a cross-hardware physics engine?), but DX11 enhancements are good to hear :)

  26. evilmatt says:

    Eyefinity please! Arkham Asylum was great in 5760×1080, hopefully the new one won’t need ini file tweaking to work properly. And Unreal Engine is normally a pile of turd for multimonitor as well, AA was a pleasant change.

  27. Demiath says:

    PhysX is a bit “meh” (yes, I’ve seen the video clips linked to in previous comments and I do have a supported video card), but tessellation could be awesome and sexy…

  28. I4C says:

    I am really glad they went for GFWL instead of steamworks( DRM free would be better, but oh well).

    I have been only having problems with steam…

  29. Iskariot says:

    The PhysX effects in Batman Arkham Asylum were brilliant. It really added to the atmosphere of the dusty asylum. I would never want to play without it. And I had never trouble running it.

  30. Lahanas says:

    And when PS4 and the new Xbox come, it’s back to obscurity for you guys and your PC’s. Just accept it, consoles are the center of gaming, at least in this day and age. Sucks for you elitists, doesnt it…

    • Dionysus says:

      The centre of gaming will always be a dew-touched grassy field.

      I think the moral of the story is, shove whatever notions you were trying to convey up your ass.

    • Flukie says:

      Yeah I’m sure my PC atm isn’t better than the next generation of consoles…

      This is stupid, consoles use hardware thats around a year old at the time of their release. Seriously I remember just as the PS2 was dying down we got Half Life 2, that game alone looked stupendous compared to the console games at the time.

      Then a few years later the Xbox 360 comes out that still struggles to run it more than PC’s did at the time. (Yes it has HDR but still.)

      Now console fanboys are saying that their consoles will look much better than our PC’s, pff they will look the same or worse simple. Sure the launch may look better than a few PC titles but thats just because there arn’t that many big budget titles developed with PC in mind but to say the consoles are a superior platform is just silly. Yes I love the consoles but PC is just better as a gaming platform.

  31. matrices says:

    A 3D monitor? Surely you jest.

    I run THREE.

    No seriously though, a few games do look truly insane in 3D, and Arkham is among them (as are JC2 and Metro 2033). For everything else, the 120 hz smoothness in 2D is goddamn amazing.

  32. Nallen says:

    Batbiff is best played with friends and as such will be purchased for the Playstation Wii60