Arkham Pretties: Nanananananana Patchman!

Batman is the patch, and the thug is Windows 7 32-bit users

Batman: Arkham City arrived on PC crazily late, and launched with a pretty much borked DirectX 11 mode. Which didn’t make a lot of sense, given what a song and dance NVIDIA and Warner were making about its graphics, and if forum-hounds’ apparent discovery that the release build was compiled back in September is to be believed. Finally, though, a patch has arrived which purports to fix it, for the price of 190MB. Unless you’re running 32-bit Vista or 7, in which case it makes DX11 performance even worse. To the point that you’re advised to only run the game in DX9 mode. Sigh. Another patch is apparently due, though.

A few other wotsits have been rejiggered too – full details below. No, they haven’t removed any of the preposterous levels of DRM, sadly enough.

Performance / hitching issues have been greatly improved for running in DX 11.
An issue with players running out of Video Memory or encountering a Rendering Thread Exceptions has been address. This was primarily affecting 32-bit Operating Systems.
A progression block after defeating Ra’s Al Ghul has been fixed. This was issue occurred primarily on lower end computer setups and described as Batman not readying his Reverse Batarang.
A crash that occurred when scrolling between the Character Bios and Arkham City Stories has been fixed.
A crash that occurred when selecting “Press Start” immediately when available at the Title Screen has been fixed. The issue was described as crashing/hard locking around the DLC (Downloadable Content) check.

Steam should do the auto-updating thing next time you run it. I’ll give it a spin in a bit (in Win 7 64 bit, mercifully) and see if things are any better than they were.


  1. The Tupper says:

    Without wanting to sound like *too* much of a luddite, the fact that Skyrim runs so beautifully (in both senses of the word) on a relatively old system like mine makes me wonder how valuable the more recent iterations of Direct X really are.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      I really believe that the advancements DX10 and DX11 have brought are pretty superficial, and I’m perfectly willing to sacrifice them for a significant FPS boost if a game allows me to play it in DX9 mode instead.

      About the only DX10 effect I miss in DX9 rendering is the soft water edges seen in the second two Stalker games.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      The age old problem – optimization vs. innovation – when you optimize, you rarely add something really new and when you innovate, you lack the time to properly optimize as you push on…
      And yes, the whole post-DX9 era seems a bit dull – no real revolutionary innovation, like in the case of DX7 vs. DX9

    • DJJoeJoe says:

      There wasn’t very much added with DX 10 and 11, even more so most of the things added can and are often just implemented with DX9 though through more sloppy and inefficient methods. You have to remember that adoption of dx10 and 11 are worthless for anyone wanting to run their game on a 360, which was released ‘just’ before DX10 released. There are hacks and what not developers can do to push some dx10 and 11 features from their dx9 engines but like I said, it’s often inefficient compared to if the game were to just adopt dx10-11 fully for these things. These are the reasons you still see the majority of games running dx9 engines, and only ‘sometimes’ offering dx10-11 versions after the fact, and in shotty fashion.

      I believe what dx9 did with shaders was a significantly more massive leap than the features from dx10 and 11, mostly being stuff like tessellation recently with 11, thus you can really still get perfectly fine looking games out of dx9.

    • sneetch says:

      I just picked this up in my local PC World here in Galway (they are hilariously unpredictable in terms of pricing: they’re actually trying to sell Duke Nukem Forever for €70 and yet I got this for €32, mad as a box of frogs). I’m looking forward to seeing the differences between DirectX 9 and 11 here. I think DirectX 10 and 11 have a lot to offer, but most games don’t make use of it yet for many reasons the main one being that it was difficult to justify that time and money for a section of the market that was so small when development began.

    • Prime says:

      *laughs at PC World*

      Stepping into one of those shops is like crossing into an alternate reality where people don’t actually understand what they’re selling, who they’re selling to or how to charge for it. I’m genuinely astonished they’re still in business after all these years.

    • DrGonzo says:

      There is a big difference between poor use of direct x 11 and direct x 11 being poor.

    • Carra says:

      Skyrim runs surprisingly well on my 3.5 year old PC, it looks good and tabs very well.

      Still, when I’ll buy a new PC I’d love to see some real improvements.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Wondering just the same. I actually went and checked screen-by-screen comparisons between DX9, 10 and 11… and didn’t find anything other than a very very minor, barely noticeable difference. It seems to me that there’s not much in terms of technological breakthrough in that, and yes I’m thinking about that well known trick for Crysis, in which you just swap the .ini files for very high detail and normal and voila… former DX10 only graphics working perfectly in DX9, and 20% better actually.

    • widowfactory says:

      As a professional game developer, i can unequivocally state that there is an absolute massive difference between DX9 and DX10/11, and just because a certain game appears to look the same when put in ‘DX9’ and ‘DX11’ mode doesn’t mean jack. Please stop stating assumptions as fact.

    • The Tupper says:


      The only fact I stated was that Skyrim looks great on my Dx9 system. I made no other assumptions.

    • Phinor says:

      On the topic of Skyrim, I actually really dislike how it runs. I get 200-300fps indoors and 25-30fps at times outdoors. That’s poor coding or terrible drivers in my opinion. Probably the latter as I’ve and ATI card (6970).

      But DX11 seems really difficult to get right. Many games are absolutely useless on lalunch with DX11 enabled. Just last month Arkham City and Saint’s Row the Third. That is, all the games I bought that month that supported DX11 in the first place.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think a big problem is that we won’t see games designed for later versions of DirectX on a newer version of the Unreal Engine until the next generation of consoles comes out.

      Even then, I think that even then we’re coming really close to the ceiling of how much a noticeable improvement is cost effective, and after that there will be another ceiling of what the human eye really can notice.

    • Brun says:

      @Internet Batman:

      Are you telling me that the trailer for the new Unreal Engine Epic is working on didn’t look appreciably better than current graphics?

    • somini says:

      Oh, come on, that Epic trailer was pre-rendered. Even if it wasn’t it was just an animation or a cutscene, not really a game per se.

      And for a game that look MILES better on DX10, I say Assassin’s Creed 1.

    • John Connor says:

      Shogun 2 runs better in DX11. Properly built DX11 games should outperform DX9 every time. It’s when they try to shoehorn DX11 on top of DX9 that it doesn’t work.

    • Zyrusticae says:


      Whether or not it was gameplay is completely irrelevant; it was footage of the New Unreal Engine running in real-time @ >30 FPS on 3 GTX 580s.

      Really, it is incredibly silly to suggest that we don’t have a long ways to go for real-time graphics to catch up with pre-rendered CG. We still take a TON of shortcuts – our hair is still modelled with planes rather than individual strands, likewise with grass and foliage; our lighting systems are either pre-baked or use crude approximations of global illumination; draw distances are either heavily constrained or the game itself uses very low-resolution assets to compensate for the long view distance (compare Skyrim to The Witcher 2); the physics in most games are STILL rather crude and simple, with things like dynamic environment destructibility being relegated to gimmicks in specific games (Force Unleashed comes to mind here), and even then the physics objects just disappear because of memory/CPU conservation requirements; and of course, we’re still using polygons, though thankfully tesselation is helpfully reducing the occurrence of jagged edges in the future. Oh, and wtf is object motion blur not yet ubiquitous? You’d think devs would jump on the one thing that separates film running smoothly (visually, not accounting for input lag) at 24 FPS versus games being dodgy at the same level…

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    As I mentioned in another article, GFWL has made this game almost unplayable for me. The game also has many other issues, like crash-to-desktop if I press “start” too quickly at the main screen.

    Skyrim starts in seconds, and I’m playing within 30 seconds. This game takes minutes and often requires restarts, and has the ugly and atmosphere-killing GFWL UI popping up.

    Disappointed considering how polished the PC port was of the previous game.

    • DJJoeJoe says:

      I’ve never had issues with the GFWL overlay in games, you’ve obviously tried wiping it clean from your system and re-installing it to hopefully work out any kinks it may have had right? The worste thing I can say about my experience with GFWL is that it overlays itself over the intro company logos… then is gone before it hits the start screen. There really is no other way besides going the root of Steam and having a larger client that runs outside a game, but then you have 2 clients running with separate games lists and all that jazz.

    • sneetch says:

      I’ve been “blessed” by GFWL, it’s always worked flawlessly for me but after hearing all the grief that others have with it I’m pretty disgusted that Microsoft, the same company that made Xbox Live (well, kinda, different divisions and all that), has created such a load of shite. I hope that them rolling GFWL into XBL is the start of some serious improvements there.

    • HybridHalo says:

      Anyone who was getting the start screen crash – the fix was to wait until GFWL had signed you in and gave you the number of friends that are online and only after then, press start.

    • jezcentral says:

      I have to disable my firewall to log into GFWL. I shouldn’t be having to do that EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’ve tried the port-forwarding thing, but it made no difference. :(

    • coldvvvave says:

      I’m no tech expert but most Firewalls has a Learning feature which lets you connect wherever you want to once and then create an exception to let the traffic through next time you run GFWL or whatever. No need to disable firewall.

    • Milky1985 says:

      OP says – “GFWL has made this game almost unplayable for me. The game also has many other issues, like crash-to-desktop if I press “start” too quickly at the main screen.”

      Story says –
      “A crash that occurred when selecting “Press Start” immediately when available at the Title Screen has been fixed. The issue was described as crashing/hard locking around the DLC (Downloadable Content) check.”

      Might want to check what your posting in before you start ranting about GFWL, as if you are implying that the two are related, the fact that gfwl wasn’t patched btu the game was patched might show where the problem was!

    • Lars Westergren says:


      I wrote “The game also has many other issues,” which I thought indicated that I was talking about the polish of the game in general rather than GFWL specifically. But if what HybridHalo writes is true, that would indicate that it is in fact GFWL which is behind my crash-to-desktop issue also. So, *slow clap*, to whoever took the executive decision to include GFWL in the game.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Didja try that xliveless mod? I think it was out for Fallout 3, but I used the .dll for things like Arkham Asylum and Red Faction Guerrilla with great success. As in, loading times cut by nearly half, CTD’s almost completely a sad memory, and a slightly better overall performance to boot. I dunno if it would still work on Arkham City, though, but worth a try. Be warned that you lose any multiplayer obviously – not a damn problem if you are playing a damn single player only game like Fallout 3 and/or have no interest in multiplayer.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      You can turn the GFWL notifications off. Then you will never see it, ever. Set up an offline profile, tell it to auto-login, then turn off notifications. It’s existence will then be completely invisible for all time.

      Never had GFWL issues personally, and I have played like 20+ GFWL games.

    • zakihashi says:

      Sometimes, quiet often I need to admit, I think all the complaining about GFWL is issues laying other places, and not necessarily in GFWL it self.
      I don’t know anyone who has had issues with GWFL, and firewall issues, obviously isn’t GFWL’s fault. That’s either bad port forwarding, or your doing something else wrong somewhere in there.
      I haven’t had a single issue with GFWL, and tbh, I’ve had more issues with Steam it self then GFWL. Plus, you can turn GFWL off unlike steam if you want to with a simple mod file. I got no idea how many GFWL game’s I’ve played, but it’s starting to become quiet a few, and never had any issue related to GFWL.

    • InternetBatman says:

      GFWL worked fine for me in Arkham Asylum, but god did it have problems with Fallout 3.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      I use an offline profile for playing any GFWL games and don’t have any problems apart from the occasional crash when I click start, as Lars mentioned. I only use my online profile for updating the game.

      Mind you, I never play multiplayer or use online components in most games so it doesn’t affect me. For multiplayer GFWL’ers, I imagine it is a whole different story.

    • Kefren says:

      I’m currently playing Fallout 3. It’s irritating that every time I launch the game (quite often due to crashes, despite patching) a GFWL box pops up and I have to click on the close gagdet. A small thing to some, but it always ruins the atmosphere of the music and intro slides for me. And no, I’m not creating an account to try and disable GFWL or do some offline mode thing (I couldn’t work that out when I was playing Fuel either with a temp account). I should be able to play a game without having to see login boxes at all.

  3. The Sombrero Kid says:

    The Start Screen crash was infuriating.

  4. Kdansky says:

    Running 32 bit Win7 is a good reason to reinstall. Not to speak of Vista.

    I recommend link to when you do so. It saves you about an hour.

  5. Prime says:

    Nice to see people saying positive things about Skyrim’s PC performance rather than the usual moaning, scoffing and cries to the mod community to save them. For me, Skyrim has been beautifully behaved – one of the best releases I’ve played this year, if not my actual Game of the Year. Just a shame that Batman: AC apparently hasn’t received the same polish.

    This has been a rather bad year for big PC releases.suffering poor coding and needing serious patching before people can enjoy them. Here’s hoping 2012 shows a marked improvement. Meanwhile, I’m going to wait until the problems with Batman: AC have been ironed out before purchasing.

    • The Tupper says:

      While Skyrim (now) runs smoothly and beautifully on my Dx 9 machine I still have to use the clumsy (Edit: Windows Xp) workaround that involves Win 98 Compatibility mode and resetting core affinities. Two patches in and nothing resolved. Fingers crossed.

    • kororas says:

      I’m loving skyrim, its visuals to me have justified DX11 as I look in awe most days i play at the landscape. Anyone been to the Lost-Valley-Redoubt ? If you havent yet I’d do so.

      Skyrim still has its faults, but its the fan fixes and community and technical achievement that give it merit and i’m perfectly willing to overlook the problems because of this.

    • Kal says:


      “I’m loving skyrim, its visuals to me have justified DX11”

      Skyrim is a DX9 only game.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ kororas

      Yes, you’ve inadvertently re-made my original point more eloquently than I could manage.

    • Caleb367 says:

      ^This. My machine is by no means a monster and I have XP SP3, but Skyrim works beautifully on more than max detail (yes, I tinkered with the .ini files, and DAMN) without a single glitch or CTD, and by now I’ve put in it way more hours than I should have. Oh, besides: google skyrim config 1.1, it’s a nice little utility that lets you tweak graphic settings above and beyond the settings menu limits, somewhat like Fallout Mod Manager.

    • kikito says:

      Boum! Headshot.

    • jalf says:

      Yes, you’ve inadvertently re-made my original point more eloquently than I could manage.

      Your point? …This would be the point that you just denied that you are actually making?

      The only fact I stated was that Skyrim looks great on my Dx9 system. I made no other assumptions.

      Any chance you could make up your mind? Are you saying that Skyrim looks nice while being a DX9 game, or that there’s no point in DX11 because DX9 is as good/better?

    • The Tupper says:

      Okay, once out loud for the cheap seats:

      The ‘point’ of my original post was that I ‘wondered’ how ‘valuable’ recent ‘iterations’ of ‘Direct X’ are over ‘older’ versions. The chap above, while thinking they had a number ’11’ after them, simply loved the visuals, reinforcing my previous wondrous wonderings.

      Apologies for any confusion.

    • Eolirin says:

      @Tupper, Skyrim would very greatly benefit from DX11, actually. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by terrain detail, dramatic pop in, especially of waterfalls, and the lighting model is nothing special. Tessellation alone would make a dramatic difference, and the DX11 optimizations over DX9 would allow them to increase the framerate enough that they could push draw distances out further or increase the quality of the lighting model, without reducing FPS from where they are currently.

      It’s not as huge of a difference as DX7 to DX9 – nothing is going to ever present that huge a leap again, we’re well past the point of diminishing returns on graphics – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a lot better, at least when you build your engine from the ground up for it. Of course, that means you can’t port Xbox360 code as easily, since that’s built around a DX9 feature set. And that’s why you’re not seeing very much use of it and why so many of the DX11 games are buggy. The development resources are just not being focused there.

  6. Gnoupi says:

    This title is so easy, simple… And yet made me snicker for 5 minutes

  7. TheLordMoosey says:

    Anyone else having issues with cutscenes stuttering to a ridiculous extent? I rather hoped that patch would fix it, but no dice.

    • beikul says:

      I had this problem when I first installed AC but updating my Nvidia driver to 285.79 fixed it

    • TheMightyEthan says:

      I’ve been having that problem too, I’ll have to check about updating my driver. I thought it was up to date though.

  8. MeestaNob says:

    SOUNDS like it fixes absolutely everything that was bothering me about the initial release, fantastic.

    Also, anyone who has built/bought a new PC in the last 12 months SHOULD be running a 64 bit OS, there really is no excuse not to now.

  9. sneetch says:

    BTW A “Reverse Batarang”, so a batarang that comes back to you before you… throw it? Buh?!

    Actually never mind, I’m sure it’s spoilery.

  10. James1o1o says:

    It’s simple. We, uh, kill the Batman.

  11. mondomau says:

    Such an obvious pun, yet I laughed like a lunatic.

  12. oceanclub says:

    Any idea when the patch comes out for those who bought retail? (Non-Steam)


  13. Lambchops says:

    My poor little lower end system suffered that Ra’s Al Ghul progression block, had to mess around with lowering settings and windowed mode, with the usual travails of having to search fr ages to find the configuration settings as they aren’t readily available after the first time you start the game up.

    Good game thoguh. Biff! Bam! Pow!

  14. Premium User Badge

    ChaosSmurf says:

    So I pirated this game, discovered it crashed a shit load and assumed it was the crack then bought it because jesus fucking christ is it a good shitting video game, holy fuck.

    Sadly, it was only partly the crack.

    Usually I don’t make this kind of song and dance but rocksteady have pretty much made it so that I’m unlikely to buy a game on release for another long while, probably until I get a new computer. I assumed the crashing when you press start thing was a personal issue only, but having it across multiple users is ridiculous, as is just random in-game crashes coming up with, as was said, september dated QA messages.

    It’s still bloody brilliant and worth whatever you consider a new game to be worth (which isn’t £35, Steam, even if I paid you that much). This kind of low support for PC titles really is getting to be too much though. Might buy an xbox.

  15. wodin says:

    Does the game have a Direct X 10 mode? If so do i need the Direct X 11 patch to get the Direct X 10?

    • ItalianPodge says:

      No you don’t need the patch to use DX10. I found it quite crashy with DX9 so tried forcing 10 and it worked.

      C:\Users\\Documents\WB Games\Batman Arkham City\BmGame\Config


      Post patch benchmarked everything on highest with DX9 at Min 26 average 41
      DX11 Min 6 average 36

      I can see a bit of difference with the amount of splinters and fragments flying around but not really worth the hit if I’m going to go as low as 6 FPS. I have a GTX 570 so I’m a bit disappointed that a game made so closely with nVidia performs like this.

  16. airtekh says:

    Good that things are being fixed.

    Apart from the start screen crash I haven’t had any major problems, and I’m running 32-bit Windows 7.

  17. Abundant_Suede says:

    No, they haven’t removed any of the preposterous levels of DRM, sadly enough.

    I had this game on my Christmas wish list, and actually removed it when I found out about all the DRM layering. That’s right…even if it’s free, I dont want Securom on my machine (tell people who bought The Witcher 2 Securom version it has no adverse effects), object in principle to limited activations, and GFWL is a complete non-starter.

    There is simply no good purchase option on the PC. I can think of no rational reason why Steam DRM wouldn’t be sufficient to do whatever good any DRM ever does. Layering Securom on top of it is asinine. Even if I go retail, no game is worth GFWL.

    It really is as if they don’t want anyone to buy it. It’s difficult not to read some sort of conspiracy to suppress PC sales into the whole business, so they can claim no audience, and kill the platform development altogether.

    • michal.lewtak says:

      That’s what Ubisoft’s trying to do, but fails, because people keep stubbornly bying their games no matter what.

    • kikito says:

      “I can think of no rational reason why Steam DRM wouldn’t be sufficient to do whatever good any DRM ever does.”

      Because they don’t get paid by Microsoft that way.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      well it didnt get cracked for ages.
      it still hasnt got a proper scene crack.

  18. kororas says:

    Jingle Bells, Batman smells
    Robin laid an egg.
    The Batmobile lost a wheel
    and the Joker got away (Hey!)

  19. <]:^D says:

    Thank God they fixed the crash-to-desktop if Start is pressed too quickly. The game already takes so long to start up that I read a book while I wait so when it crashes and I have to go through the process again I got extremely annoyed.

  20. Outright Villainy says:

    Hmm, I have the retail copy, how do I grab the update?

    • <]:^D says:

      I just started up the game and GFWL downloaded and applied the update.

    • oceanclub says:

      Cheers. I hope it’s possible to download it standalone though, just in the case the GFWL updating process goes wrong.


    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      …which it did, just a “we will look into it” statement from their forums-person.

      puzzling, really, but I’ve played quite a few GFWL games and never really had trouble with them, until now that I have to let it update my game, instead of steam. The downloaded file just says it doesn’t work, and for every try i have to fire up Arkham City again, which takes 1,5 minutes at least to LOAD!

  21. StingingVelvet says:

    SecuROM activation is preposterous levels of DRM now? Because that is all the game has unless you buy it from a retailer that adds more on top of that from their own shelf of horrors. Don’t say GFWL is DRM, it will only make you look super ignorant. Use an offline profile… no activation at all through GFWL.

    And related to that, why do you act like Steam is the only place people buy games? Is this patch also coming out through other means?

    • Kaira- says:

      Well, SecuROM has some seriously bad aspects (limited activations, not getting uninstalled with game, etc etc), but it’s still definetly better than Steam, which just tells you “no, you can’t lend this game, or sell it forwards”.

    • Fierce says:

      I beg your pardon Kaira? I think one doth protest too much.

      Look, I know this all boils down to Opinions vs Opinions vs Opinions, but I am honestly confused when people say “Seriously bad, made to sell confidence to companies not functionality to game players, possibly illegal rootkit > Steam” just because it ‘allows’ for completely arbitrary and optional features like reselling or physical lending of game discs. I mean, this is SecuROM we’re talking about here. This is the DRM model that wouldn’t let you launch your game if you had Process Explorer running at the same time, which you know, experienced users might want to run to chase down a game crash or some other such intelligent activity.

      Even putting aside the long list of player benefiting features of Steam, which I understand is irrelevant in this context as it isn’t the core of your argument, reselling a game or being able to lend it to a friend are quaintly optional allowances to vindicate something like SecuROM. Perhaps its just my age (late 20s) that allows for this, but I don’t need to resell games in order to finance new game purchases nor do my friends (or little cousins in middle school) require my charity in order to get their first look at a game.

      But don’t get me wrong! I agree with you that the Used Games market should and has a valid purpose for existing. I just don’t see its continued existence threatened more by DRM like Steam than any of the far more malicious attempts to curtail it, especially to the point where one gives a reluctant pass to SecuROM and it’s ilk citing them as The Devil You Know. And as for lending games and ideas of ownership over them, I consider it doing my friends a favor not to lend them a SecuROM infected title, even if having the physical disc allows me the option to do so. Again, maybe my age and disposition makes all of that unnecessary, but I cannot see such corporate-centric DRM (SecuROM) being approved of in any way over something player-centric merely because it doesn’t allow one to save a few bucks or snuggle themselves to sleep alongside their game DVD.

  22. bfandreas says:

    The DX11 troubles don’t surprise me. I can’t see how one can write code for two different core APIs. The only thing that springs to mind is some horrible abstraction layer between the DX9 code and DX11. And I bet you one million trillion of my soon to be worthless Euro $ that this is a leaky abstraction layer with modifications and lotsa IF forks for DX11 stuff in the core game code. That’s really, really nasty.

    The only way to get rid o DX9 is to shoot that horrid, dated and frankly superfluous XBox 360 thingie. As long as PC versions are only ports we will never get true DX11 games. Just DX9 games with novelty code to work around the limitations. XBox 360 is tech from 2005. The platform hasn’t changed. It was amazing then but now it is amazingly awful.Microsoft intended to stick to it for 10 years. That’s right. 2015.

    Console ports.
    I’ll wait another month until I play BAT:AC. It’s not as if my games in-box isn’t overflowing or anything.

    I enjoyed BAT:AA, I’ll love BAT:AC to pieces and the only thing that’ll really annoy me is Catwomans not fully zipped jump suit. But that’s just between me and my OCD.

  23. Mark says:

    Gotta say, pretty glad I didn’t preorder this buggy POS. And now I don’t think I ever will unless it drops price down to 15 quid or lower. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t trust a publisher when their track record has been atrocious, regardless of what they claim.