The Red-Faced Knight Returns: Batman’s Back On Steam

So, let’s try this again. After a three and a half month hiatus, Batman: Arkham Knight [official site] is now available on Steam again. It was pulled off sale in July after criticisms of the PC version’s poor performance reached fever pitch, but I don’t think any of us really expected it would take this long to return. But now it has, along with all the DLC released for the untroubled console versions in the meantime. Warner are also offering all previous Arkham games for free to folk who purchased Arkham Knight between its initial release and November 16, along with a forthcoming Community Challenge Pack DLC and “Batman: Arkham inspired Team Fortress 2 items created by the Batman: Arkham community.”

The re-release hasn’t gone completely smoothly, however. SLI and Crossfire aren’t playing nice, and some folk with single GPUs are even reporting issues on newer drivers. Meanwhile, “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.” Holy high disposable incomes, Batman – 12 Gigabytes?

That’s the first time a game’s ever asked for that much, isn’t it? I’ve ‘only’ got 8, and all my RAM slots are full so going to 12 would be a pretty major undertaking. I, er, might just put up with a bit of stuttering, I guess. Earlier Windowses doesn’t have quite such eye-watering requirements, but “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.” The devs also say they’re working with NVIDIA and AMD to sort out the SLI and driver issues. A few more details on that are here.

As for the freebies, they comprise Steam codes for Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY, Batman: Arkham City GOTY, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. I’m guessing quite a few Arkham Knight players own those already, so it strikes me that offering free season passes for Arkham Knight DLC might have been wiser?

However, anyone who bought or buys Knight before Nov 16 will also get the aforementioned Community Challenge map pack, and the PC playerbase as a whole will have access to that a week before consoleland does. The Team Fortress 2 stuff relates to a contest Valve and Warner are running, in which people can submit Batman-themed items to Steam’s Team Fortress 2 Workshop. Winning entries will receive a whole raft of Warner games, as well as “being featured as the Genuine-quality items awarded for Arkham Knight Steam purchase.” And, quite possibly, a wodge of cash if the items sell well after the Nov 16 window closes and anyone what then wants them has to pay. More details here. I’m relying on you to make a Danny DeVito/Oswald Cobblepot outfit for The Heavy.

We’ll delve into the re-released Arkham Knight to see how its second time in the sun is working out ASAP, but in the meantime I’m delighted to see all those Michael Keaton and Adam West costumes now available, along with three chunks of story DLC. It’s a shame that stuff isn’t freesies for first-time-around-the-block purchasers, but hey, at least the thing’s back at last.

85 Comments

  1. Joe The Wizard says:

    Lackluster re-release. My interest in this title has long since passed.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      so it strikes me that offering free season passes for Arkham Knight DLC might have been wiser?

      Problem with that is what do you offer anyone who’s bought the season pass ?

      • Premium User Badge

        Matchstick says:

        Damn, that should have been a stand alone comment not a reply.
        Sorry :(

      • mao_dze_dun says:

        A refund?

      • Flopper says:

        Dear author. 2008 called, they want their RAM back… Who the hell uses less than 16GB of RAM in 2015?

        And LOL @ the disposable income statement. RAM is almost free now it’s so cheap. No excuse to have less than 16GB unless your MB doesn’t hold that much… In that case, again, 2008 called they want their MB back as well.

        • Premium User Badge

          john_silence says:

          Yeah, no excuse you filthy peons! In my humble opinion people with less than 16 Gb of RAM shouldn’t even boot their PC.
          Dear commenter. Common sense called, said it’s time for a brain upgrade. 8 Gb is enough in the immense majority of scenarios. I only got 16 to maybe edit video down the line, and those extra 8 Gb are the most useless element inside my case 2 years later.

          • Saiko Kila says:

            I quite often run out of memory with my “8 GiB max” motherboard. And a single game. Of course, the running out of memory usually means only a slowdowns and hiccups, because swap memory kicks in. I got a real out-of memory error maybe 5 times in the last 5 years. But the problem is there. With one game, one web browser (for references, since I like strategies and RPGs), some additional programs like FRAPS, antivir, Total Commander (for handling savegames and such) I sometimes run out of memory for OpenOffice (calculators for strategies), and have to kill some services and what not. And I sometimes feel like a peon, because I can’t really afford a good replacement for now. But if someone can, I fully understand him and his feelings.

          • LionsPhil says:

            >OpenOffice

            Well there’s 8GB down the drain right there. :P

            I’m still chugging along at 4GB, and it’ll game just fine with Steam and Skype in the background and only marginal swapping. (Firefox will get paged out if running.)

            e-peen waving has been even more ridiculous since the mid-’00s slammed the brakes on the mandatory upgrade treadmill.

        • Asurmen says:

          Dear Flopper,

          1999 called and wants its meme back.

          Also 2008 needed 4-6 GB.

        • Jay Load says:

          Dear Flopper,

          Waving your PC Master Race e-peen around just makes you look like a dick.

          A Flopper one.

          Sincerely,
          The Internet.

        • iainl says:

          You might well ask “who the hell buys less than 16GB in 2015”, since it makes more sense than buying 8GB now and possibly having to replace that memory later.

          But practically no games need more than 8GB. Nor is there any real cause to upgrade a processor that was high-end 4 years ago for merely gaming purposes. There’s not even a lot of reason to do it if you’re running Photoshop since they offloaded a lot of the work to the GPU, though you might well want that memory you mentioned in the first place.

          So with the exception of this one game, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be happily playing PC games in 2015 with a box you bought/made back when 8GB was the sensible amount.

        • Jediben says:

          16GB? Peasant. I demand at least 32GB for all systems I build.

        • MisterFurious says:

          “Who the hell uses less than 16GB of RAM in 2015?” A LOT of people, you pretentious douchebag. In fact, I’d wager that it’s the vast majority of people.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It’s a pretty good game, bat-tank sequences notwithstanding.

      Definitely superior to Origins. At least equal to Arkham City, maybe even better in some ways.

      All the various mechanics are tighter and smoother than ever. It plays really well. The writing is decent. Voice work is excellent. It looks great. It’s functioning pretty well for me now (it played horribly for me at release).

      The detective stuff is still pretty much railed, but it is far better at at least conveying the feeling of having to figure out events.

      It’s a strong entry in the series.

      • socrate says:

        arkham city got me more into it with a better story and better villain selection at least for me…drone tank is too much at this point in a batman universe for me..its becoming a bit too silly,it seems to have no more structure and goes all over the place all the time now just to impress 12 year old or to try and surpass everything that as been done..its also not truely open world like city was,also nvidia user seems to have tons of problem on the forum.

        Question did they make this run still on 30fps?or did they improve that cause…thats just silly console bullshit limitation

        • Procrastination Giant says:

          Nope, it’s not locked to 30 fps and most certainly doesn’t look like some shitty console port either – It’s definitely one of the more impressive looking games on pc right now.

          I played it shortly after they released their major performance patch in september or so (the game’s been perfectly playable for 2 months now, and has had a proper pc options menu since then – they just haven’t “re-released” it on the steam store until now) and it ran at a (mostly) rock solid 60 fps, with everything but the silly interactive smoke maxed out. “mostly” because i very rarely had minor frame hitching when really pushing the engine by zipping across the city like a madman.

          (For reference: i7-4790K@4.6 ghz, 16gb ram, single Nvidia 970 – but it’d probably run just aswell on an i5 or similar… 970 got pushed pretty hard, though, and it easily eats 3gb+ Vram at 1080p, so i wouldn’t expect it to run all that great on something like a 960 – It IS a pretty demanding game, but certainly looks gorgeous when maxed out)

          (Oh and yeah, i liked it better than City despite a couple of foibles here and there… Better pacing, a couply of really brilliant moments, works better as an open world-ish game and i rather have the occasional tank battle instead of all those shitty pattern based bosses in City… of which Knight has almost none, thankfully.)

          • Asurmen says:

            He didn’t say anything about how it looks being a console limitation. Also it may have been playable for you,not necessarily anyone sleep because there was still things to fix.

          • Asurmen says:

            Sleep = else.

  2. SparksV says:

    Man, Warner Bros messed this one up. This is even worse than the Mortal Kombat X PC launch. Offering free batman games for those who probably own every other batman game. They could’ve offered Shadow of Mordor or Mad Max.

    • ButtonDownMind says:

      Agreed. As someone who owns the other games and stuck it out with this one till it was patched, this seems like lackluster compensation. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think WB owes me anything; I was given the opportunity to get a refund and chose to wait but I’m not going to instantly forget the bad taste the original release left in mouth because they’re giving me (and many others who kept the game because they were invested in the franchise) a bunch of games I already have.

      • welverin says:

        Alec mentioned codes, if that’s the case you could at least give them to someone else.

        It works for me a bit since I don’t have Oranges or Blackgate.

  3. silentdan says:

    Yeah, I’m not paying launch-day prices for something that badly botched. I’ll give it a shot when it’s $20 for the GOTY.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I don’t think it deserves a GOTY version.

      • jonfitt says:

        A GTCOTY version? (game that came out this year)

      • Shadow says:

        GOTY is such a watered-down term these days.

        It primarily means “complete edition” and has little to do with actual game quality.

        • Jay Load says:

          …did it ever mean anything different? I mean, Game of The Year was always a primarily publisher-applied title, wasn’t it?

  4. Deano2099 says:

    Just to be clear, it doesn’t appear to be “Steam codes” – they would at least have resale value. The news item says “watch your Steam library”, so they’re just being added in as games.

    So if you already own the others on Steam, you literally get nothing.

    • Jalan says:

      Seems like a prime scenario for them to give gift copies to those who already paid for the titles. Probably won’t happen due to some convoluted excuse, but still.

  5. chumbayaa says:

    Even with 16GB of RAM on Windows 10, I still got out of memory warnings on my attempt to re-play this re-heated pile of baby’s sick. One hastily adjusted page file allocation later I could dive right in to more horribly suboptimal performance and still no SLI support.

    WB’s attempt at compensation is backhanded at best but then again, even if they were giving away Shadow of Morder or Mad Max I wouldn’t bother playing them.

    • melnificent says:

      Same here, win 10, 16gb ram, no page file, running from SSD and it’s stuttering worse than ever.

      It’s long been put in the scary backlog of half remembered games. So by the time I get round to it I might have some luck… kind of like Crysis now :D

  6. liquidsoap89 says:

    I’m going to be honest here… The TF2 freebies are tempting me far more than they should.

    • Jalan says:

      You’d save yourself money by waiting for those items to appear on the Steam community market if they’re really what you’re wanting instead of the game itself. Even less if you wait it out until they start circulating on the TF2 trade circuit.

  7. Det. Bullock says:

    12gb?
    For a game that’s been developed with TV boxes that have only 8gb between main and video ram combined?

    • Mokinokaro says:

      The consoles are running much slimmer operating systems with far fewer background processes than your average PC.

      Plus of course the fact theit versions of the game only need to run on one set of hardware so they can be better optimized.

      • subedii says:

        And yet I can’t name a single other console port (or even dedicated PC game for that matter) that actually requires at least 12GB of RAM to run properly.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          It does have a bunch of silly and probably memory hogging PC exclusive graphics options

    • welverin says:

      Yes, they have 8 GB of physical RAM, but a significant portion of that is reserved for the system, so at most games can access~5.5 GB.

      • Det. Bullock says:

        Exactly.
        Most gaming PCs built in the last two years have 8gb + 1gb video card at least, and win7 with firefox (two windows with two tabs each), Excel and the calculator running at the same time at the moment is using a whopping 2gb of RAM according to task manager.
        I find really difficult to believe they couldn’t adapt the game to run on 6/7gb of RAM plus 1GB of Video RAM, unless they really hardcoded it so it doesn’t work properly when having separate video RAM but then the implication is they knew the game couldn’t be properly ported without rebuilding parts of the engine from the ground up which doesn’t really implicate good things for WB, Rockstar or whoever is resposible for this mess.

        • fish99 says:

          It’s not a problem you can just program around though. The consoles do have significantly more vram available for textures than most PC GPUs. The fact that PC has loads of system ram available doesn’t fix the problem because transferring from ram to vram isn’t quick enough to avoid some stuttering, and textures need to be in vram for the game to render optimally. The only solution to avoid stuttering would be reducing texture detail.

          • Det. Bullock says:

            Yes, because god forbids that they put some low res texture to accomodate the PC peasants who don’t possess the latest 3GB video cards.

          • gunny1993 says:

            Well really we don’t know how much RAM the console is using an VRAM due to the 8gb in consoles being unified system memory so unless you really worked hard to look we have no idea if 1 gb or 7 gbs are being used to host textures.

          • Geebs says:

            I’ll wager the geometry, rather than the textures, is actually a bigger part of the reason why the PC differs so much from the consoles in this case.

          • Asurmen says:

            A rather smart cookie on the AK Steam discussion found out it was entirely to do with textures and a dumb way it was decided how and when they should move in and out of memory.

  8. montorsi says:

    Any news on whether they’ve improved performance in the last patch? Or is “free up more memory” the extent of it?

    I guess I could simply play the game but the news wrt SLI has me leery.

  9. SuicideKing says:

    “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.”

    Even if I ignore the TWELVE gigabyte requirement on Win 10, this just sounds like either a terrible engine or a game that’s still not fixed completely.

  10. welverin says:

    Based on a previous article here, bad engine.

  11. jonfitt says:

    12Gb required on Win 10, memory leakage on Win 7? Ouch.
    It sounds like they just gave up. They tried to fix it, and did the best they could and punted.

    Not the Batman we deserve, and not the Batman I need right now.

    I’ll go in for $20 max in a Steam sale over Christmas.

    • Palimpsest says:

      Makes me wonder what other types of product or service would have someone saying “It sounds like they just gave up”, “not what we deserve” etc., then still saying they’ll hand over cash for the product when it’s a bit cheaper?

      • ShDragon says:

        Movies, perhaps? In my group of friends lots of movies get rated as “I’ll catch it on Netflix.” or “I’ll wait for the DVD.”. Not worth seeing at the theater, but worth watching later when it’s cheaper.

        • jonfitt says:

          Yeah, it’s probably the equivalent of “I’ll watch it on DVD”. I like the Arkham formula, and if someone says that there’s a chance it’ll play acceptably then it’s worth a small gamble of money to me to try it.

    • fish99 says:

      It’s been available for $15 pretty much since release.

      • jonfitt says:

        It’s showing as $50 on Steam right now. I obviously haven’t been looking for it since it was pulled for being busted. Is there a $15 deal right now?

  12. mechabuddha says:

    Oh, screw this. I’m an Arkham fan, which is why I bought the game in the first place. So of course I already have every single previous Arkham game. Serious loss of confidence in WB.

  13. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    I don’t quite understand why everyone is shouting about the RAM recommendations. It’s less than 70 quid for 16GB, and considering most reading this site will have around 8, you’re looking at 35 notes for more than you’ll need for years.

    • mao_dze_dun says:

      It’s a matter of principle, mate. 12GB of RAM just reeks of bad optimization. Not to mention some people game while having background processes in Windows. The trust it in recent years, developers have been using the more powerful hardware as an excuse not to properly code their games. Nvidia and AMD are mostly fixing programmer blunder than anything else with their drivers.

      • Geebs says:

        16 GB is a solid investment for any computer, and complaining about how “expensive” it is when it costs less than 512 kilobytes did 20 years ago, or 4 GB five years ago is kind of whiny.

        Given how bloated the web is these days, that much RAM is a solid investment for people who do nothing more than keep a few tens of tabs open in Chrome.

        In the final analysis, saying “if you have more physical memory in your computer you will generally get less paging” is not particularly controversial.

        • Asurmen says:

          You’re still missing the point. Don’t need 16 GB. I’ll buy it when I need it for all games, not because one terribly coded game needs it.

    • Nereus says:

      That’s not how RAM works.

      You require spare lanes inside your machine if you are looking at just the additional ram costs. If you have 8GB in 2x4GB configuration you need two spare lanes, not a huge problem since most motherboards should have this. However If you have 4x2GB you’re looking at scrapping all of those just to get to 16GB. Plus the fact that memory can be picky and not like to work with modules from different brands, you can’t necessarily say that the cost of an upgrade will be the lowest possible price when you already have RAM you need additions to be compatible with.

      Also, 35 quid for a game that costs 30 quid, with an additional 32 quid for the season pass. I guess if 97 quid for a game is perfectly fine to you then congratulations, you’re clearly better off financially than a good 98% of the gaming community.

      • Geebs says:

        When you consider the sunk cost of buying a computer in the first place, and the relatively tiny cost (as little as about 90 dollars for 4x4Gb sticks) to get the whole thing running much better *for any purpose, not just gaming*, it’s questionable to claim that a game now costs 95 quid because you need a bunch of RAM to play it at its best.

        For all the pleas of poverty I bet a fair number of those complaining have an SSD and a > £150 graphics card.

        • Nereus says:

          That’s a terrible argument though, costs relative to other costs. It’s like saying “Half of you have a mortgage, why can’t you afford to pay $200 every few weeks for a video game?”. I have a relatively expensive video card (or it was when I bought it last generation). I also have a fairly cheap SSD. But I also went without to afford those. If you have a job and enough disposable income to comfortably shell out 100 quid a week that’s great, but many of us don’t. If you look at the steam analytics less than 1% of users have more than 10 games on their account. This tells me most gamers don’t have much disposable income. A select few have plenty, but many are not that fortunate. If you look at reasons why annual sports games are often graphically inferior, the main reason is because the userbase on average doesn’t have very expensive computers.

          • Geebs says:

            For general purpose computing, which is a good reason to own a PC over a console, a decent amount of RAM will make the entire computer work better; in a sense, you’re wasting some of the potential of, and therefore the money spent on, the good components in your box by skimping on RAM. Modern operating systems take advantage of plentiful RAM in a way that XP and Vista didn’t.

            I have 24 GB in my desktop and 16 GB in my laptop – which is for work, not games. Happens to come in handy for general purpose computing and gaming as well.

        • picatju says:

          “When you consider the sunk cost of buying a computer in the first place..”

          That’s the thing about sunk costs. You don’t consider it.

    • Colthor says:

      The reason not to go out of your way to have >8GB for games is because it doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference:
      link to techspot.com

      Even though they had Chrome running in the background.

      • Jediben says:

        I like to play multiple games at once. How does that work eh?

  14. Henas says:

    I assume the PC version didn’t get the extra environmental effects available on the PS4 version either? Primarily in relation to the rain and ‘wetness’ of objects.

    • Xzi says:

      The PC probably got more effects options. Was the case with all of the previous Arkham releases, anyway.

    • fish99 says:

      PC got everything PS4 had and then all the nvidia gameworks stuff on top. Unfortunately some effects were broken at release but those were patched a few days after release.

  15. icarussc says:

    Since nobody else has said so, I will: this is a really great game. I have enjoyed the whole series, and despite a misstep or two with the execution of the Batmobile, Knight is easily my favorite of the four. Pick it up — it’s a fantastic ride!

    • jonahcutter says:

      Agreed, though Arkham Asylum still holds up as the tightest narrative. But that’s mostly because it’s not really open-world, just kind of pretends to be. So the focus can’t wander.

  16. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    The cherry on top of the shit sundae: WB (or Valve?) has marked all of the previously earned Steam reviews as “Pre-Release”.

  17. Frank says:

    Sure am glad I got 32 GB RAM on my new computer (which came with an Arkham Knight code). Maybe that’s why it ran so smoothly.

    Hope my code entitles me to the further freebies, too.

    Not a bad game, for an open-worlder/theme park.

  18. Timbrelaine says:

    “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.”

    That’s a textbook memory leak they are describing. Wow.

    • Premium User Badge

      syllopsium says:

      It is, and given the history you’d suspect the fault might be with the application. On the other hand, it may be the GPU drivers.

  19. Optional says:

    This game still runs poorly @1080p on i7 4790k, gtx 980 overclocked, 16gb ram and an ssd. Running latest drivers (Even rolled back to last)

    The textures are still subpar and in some areas blurry.

    Batmobile performance is awful.

    Refunded it. Again.

    Definitely will NOT be purchasing it or any other game from WB again.

    • Procrastination Giant says:

      Odd, i played it on a similar system shortly after the performance fix patch in september (same cpu, clocked to 4.6 ghz, overclocked 970 instead of a 980, 16gb ram, ssd) and had absolutely no problems whatsoever?

      No crashes, no blurry textures, stable 60 fps with or without batmobil and only minor hitching when zipping across the city with a maxed out grappling hook. The only setting i had to disable was the interactive smoke, since that’s simply not worth losing 15-20 fps for, regardless of how ridiculously good it looked.

      Did you have the game installed prior to the performance patch and tinkeed with its settings back then? Your problems sound awfully similar to all those reports from people who still had a manually modified, pre patch ini kicking around… (But yeah, might just be compatibility lottery)

  20. Sinjun says:

    So performance basically hasn’t improved at all since the patch earlier this month, and the Tumbler/Burton Batmobile packs are a load of shit. You only get to use them in challenge maps that aren’t even very fun in the first place. At least I only payed $4.00, but still…

  21. Jp1138 says:

    Hmmm, so people who got the game free with Nvidia cards get the freebies too?

    • melnificent says:

      Mwhuhahahahahahahahaha – WB.

      No, Nvidia code users get nothing…. like how they removed the DLC from those codes hours before the practice launch (June) too.

  22. epeternally says:

    Performance is still bad but more tolerable, however this actually seems less stable than the interim patch. My first experience of trying to run it was CTD, CTD, CTD, reboot, play for about an hour before hitting a progression breaking but, and then when I went to exit the game another CTD. 14GB DDR3 1600, GTX 760 (factory OC), and a Phenom 965 – not exactly high end, but not outrageously terrible either. I got the premium edition for under $20 and I still feel ripped off, seeing how unlikely it seems that they’ll put the effort into additional patches at this point. What a mess.

  23. Vast_Girth says:

    Working fine for me now on a i5 3570 / geforce 970 / 8gb RAM. Solid 40-60 fps at all times. Most things on max detail and all gameworks stuff turned on. I get about 1 one second pause when it first loads a new area, but other than that pretty much flawless so far. I’ve only played about a couple of hours though, so might get issues if i play for longer.

    Not liking the batmobile though.

  24. Vast_Girth says:

    Oh i did get a weird issue when i first played and no city or characters loaded! I was just starting at a foggy sea with buildings in the background! A restart fixed it though.

  25. OmNomNom says:

    I can’t remember the last time a game launch went this badly.
    When was the last time a triple A title was pulled after release for 3 months.
    Has this ever happened before?