Holy fun, Batman!
Batman Arkham City From: Warner Brothers Format: Windows PC RRP: $ 100 Classification: R16 Score:
If there is one thing I have learned from my time with the Windows version of Batman Arkham City, it’s that I need to upgrade my computer. Deep down, I knew I needed to anyway.
At times, my ageing Nvidea Geforce 8600 GTS graphics card (which, unfortunately, falls under the minium recommended specs) would splutter and cough as it tried to render the detailed game world of Arkham City and the Caped Crusader. Note to self: time to upgrade my PC.
I’ve already reviewed the console version and the story is unchanged – parts of Gotham City have been turned into a prison for Arkham’s worst offenders, Joker is back and Dr Hugo Strange is up to something called Protocol 10 – but the PC version brings some features not found in the console version, namely higher-resolution graphics and support for Nvidia’s Physix processor on its top-end video cards (real-time physics modelling is handled by the graphics card not the computer’s CPU). However, the game also uses the pain-in-the-backside Games for Windows Live service.
Arkham City PC is available in two flavours: either as a retail disc or through Valve’s online delivery service, Steam, which is how I got the game (it’s around 16Gb in size so make sure downloading it doesn’t kill your monthly data cap).
PC gamers will gloat to console gamers that PCS have superior graphics – and they’re right – and that’s evident in Arkham City, which look better than the console versions. But, be warned, the recommended minimum card is an Nvidia Geforce 8800 or an ATI Radeon 3800 and you’ll want at least the minimum as, thanks to my 8600 GTS, I had to play the game in a window, rather than full-screen, capped at a resolution of 1024 by 760 (medium detail, no dynamic shadows, no lens flare, no motion blur) and I had to endure frequent pauses during gameplay, especially when a lot is going on at once.
Also if you have a compatible Nvidia graphics card, you can turn on the Physx effects, which means scenes will have more details and atmosphere (mist will be more realistic, there will be more debris around, cloth and material will behave more naturally).
The game supports a game pad but I decided to keep it real and play it how PC games should be played: using the mouse and keyboard. It took a few moments to reacquaint myself with the keyboard layout but it soon became second nature and, doing things such as the in-game Augmented Reality missions (which afford Batman upgraded gadget capabilities), proved easier to complete using the mouse and keyboard than controller.
Batman Arkham City is a great game on PC but I was surprised that you could only adjust the game’s graphics settings in the game launcher before you play and not using in-game options. I’m also not convinced that Games for Windows Live (think of it as the Windows version of Xbox Live) has any merit.
Batman Arkham City is one of my top games of 2011 on Xbox 360 and, if you’re got a powerful enough computer to do it justice, the PC version would be the pick of the bunch. That said, if you just meet the minimum requirements it’ll still look great.
If your PC can handle just about everything the game will throw at it, you’ll see it’s one of the year’s best.
Batman Arkham City for PC: Make sure your PC is powerful enough to reproduce the the caped crusader’s graphic action.