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Can You Solve The Riddle Of Batman's System Specs?

Beyond minimum

The wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding Batman: Arkham Kerniggut's PC port continues, as the publisher/developer's first attempt to improve matters involves essentially telling everyone to turn all the settings right down for the time being, then make do with a game running in 720 at 30 frames per second. Oy gevalt.

So, hardware which many feel should be capable of running the game with most of its bells and whistles on is now deemed capable only of much lower settings, and ones which fall a long way short of the console version. This might be but a short-term measure, but it does feel a little like being told to eat your posh dinner off a paper plate.

Here are the settings Rocksteady/WB Games now say you should expect if you want a mere 30 frames per second on minimum hardware:

Resolution: 1280x720
V-Sync: Off
Anti-Aliasing: Off
Texture Resolution: Low
Shadow Quality: Low
Level of Detail: Low
Interactive Smoke/Fog: Off
Interactive Paper Debris: Off
Enhanced Rain: Off
Enhanced Light Shafts: Off

I.e. Rockbottom rather than Rocksteady. Minimum hardware, by the by, is this:

Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (2 GB Memory Minimum) | AMD Radeon HD 7950 (3 GB Memory Minimum)

Not a cutting-edge system for sure, but not a bad one either. Everything on minimum, only 720p and 30 frames per second seems pretty punitive. The resolution's a particular misery, given upscaling 720p to 1080p (or higher) monitor tends to look like someone threw a Pot Noodle at your screen.

Recommended specs and settings is where it gets really murky, though.

Resolution: 1920x1080
V-Sync: On
Anti-Aliasing: On
Texture Resolution: Normal
Shadow Quality: Normal
Level of Detail: Normal
Interactive Smoke/Fog: Off
Interactive Paper Debris: Off
Enhanced Rain: Off
Enhanced Light Shafts: Off

Quite a few compromises there, and that's for this system or thereabouts:

Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 - 3 GB Memory Recommended

That fairly beefy system would, according to Rocksteady, get you "an experience on par with the current generation of gaming platforms." I.e. not as good as a good PC should be capable of, and even then only at 30 frames per second. Not too much more should perhaps be expected from a 760, though it does give PS4 and Xbone a run for their money, but the lack of 60FPS is upsetting and you're not going to feel good about your i7 CPU. If you're an on AMD card at Recommended, things only get worse: "users can expect some minor texture pops, occasional loading symbols during fast-paced scenarios, and some hitches & stuttering when gliding or driving the Batmobile. To help alleviate this, AMD users using Rec Spec GPU’s should turn Texture Resolution, Shadow Quality, and Level of Detail to Low." Oof. They also advise against a resolution higher than 1080p, which is bad news for those of us with 1440p screens.

Exactly what settings entail 'Ultra' hasn't yet been revealed, as Rocksteady have gone back to testing to work out what's capable of what, but they do say you'll need this hardware:

Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
Graphics Memory: 4 GB

That's a lot of a graphics card, and as yet they're not talking about 60 frames per second - in fact, they actively recommend against editing ini files to remove the 30 FPS cap.

Various other advice and warnings can be found here, but while some people are claiming to have few problems on their mega-PCs, plenty of others are deeply unhappy that they need to play a game on very low specs when they feel their hardware is more than capable of more.

It is, however, important to note that this advise is just how to get the game running better right now, without any meaningful patch yet released. Matters may improve later on: "WB Games is working diligently with our development teams, NVIDIA and AMD, to identify and fix the issues as quickly as possible." WB/Rocksteady also note that, so long as you've not played too much of it yet, you're entitled to a Steam refund if you're unhappy. That may well be worth doing if you don't have faith that everything will be cleared up, but clearly it's a giant bummer.

For the record, if you care about the size of my e-genitalia: I've got a first-gen i7 running at 4GHz, 8GB RAM and an overclocked-to-near-980-levels GTX 970. If I leave the 30 FPS cap on it's mostly happy at 1080p with every setting at max, but to run it at my monitor's 1440p native I need to turn all the Interactive/Enhanced doohickeys off, and that's just for 30FPS. If I turn anti-aliasing off too it tends to sit around 45-50 most of the time. None of this is quite a deal-breaker, but it looks awful if upscaled from 1080p and I am distracted by not having all the whizzbang stuff turned on.

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