Graphics, consolitis, bugs
You want to play the game? WELL, TOO BAD!
Sadly, it’s too possible that all of Arkham City’s positives can be overshadowed by the game being a bit of a sloppy console port. Prior to the first patch, I couldn’t play the game for two whole weeks after it was released. I would crash due to some random memory leaks, a corrupt file that requires a reinstall, Games for Windows Live being the retarded software that it is, or SecuROM not letting me start the game for no reason at all. Oh, by the way, you only get five activations and the revoke tool hasn’t been released yet. I guess I shouldn’t have reinstalled my game twice to make it work. Whoops…
I’m sure that, by now, you’ve heard the news about the game’s broken DirectX 11 implementation. Apparently, Rocksteady released an older DX11 build by accident, so everyone got some horrendous stuttering no matter the hardware. The latest patch improved it, but does not completely fix the problem for everyone, and so I’m still having issues. That’s fine, though, as DirectX 11 really doesn’t add anything noticeable to the game world. Nevertheless, the graphics are gorgeous. This is the finest looking Unreal Engine 3 game ever made. A lot of attention to detail was put into it and I commend Rocksteady’s artists.
As for the consolitis (independent of the bugs) Arkham City has, by virtue of the genre, some pretty poor keyboard and mouse controls. The layout is very cumbersome and will get in the way of more complex maneuvers, so a gamepad is highly recommended. In spite of this, the game performs well enough on a keyboard that I never found myself swearing at the controls, even during some of the largest and most complex combat segments. The game’s performance is perfect on DX9 and, if you are an NVIDIA user, the PhysX alone is enough to get the PC version over anything else... even if those effects are comically exaggerated at times.
Batman: Arkham City
’s awesome soundtrack deserves props, as well. The sound effects, on the other hand, could use a little bit of work. It just sounds like a cartoon (though that may have been their goal). Instead of having more debris and everything behaving as if it were on the moon, PhysX could have been better utilized by implementing dynamic weather. I kept wishing for the snowfall to accumulate on the ground or something. It irked me how running on a few roofs produces a snow-crunching sound despite there not being any snow. However, I really liked that the visual condition of your suit degrades over time, as it did in Arkham Asylum
. It’s an excellent touch of detail that very few games bother with.