PC Gamer

Every so often we get a reminder of the Bad Old Days. A wobbly port like Arkham Knight or, more recently, No Man s Sky, that reminds us PC gaming was once the seven-toed forgotten child of formats, scuttling around in the crawlspace of our hobby, screaming for the love so cruelly denied to it.

Sometimes we need to revisit those dark times, lest we forget how handsome, well-adjusted and lucky we are now. That s not to suggest things are perfect you re right to look red-faced, Mortal Kombat X but consider it a lesson in humility. A way of reminding us how things used to be much, much worse.

Three years. That s how long Ninja Theory had to make a PC port of lush, post-apocalyptic Andy Serkis chimp em up Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. It was released on consoles in 2010 but didn t arrive on PC until 2013, in a state that s since become the metric for measuring lazy PC conversions: low res assets, capped at 30fps, no VSync option in the settings, enforced motion blur. There are certainly far worse conversions on this list, but Enslaved is bad in a specifically disappointing, you could have been so much more kinda way.

The PC port of Arkham Knight is like a warning a hitching, stuttering bat-symbol burned into the back of our retinas. A caution that should we ever become complacent, the forces of darkness will rise again, and we ll end up with past-generation half-ports of games we ve waited years to adore. Running Arkham Knight on Windows 10 with less than 12GB of RAM is like trying to fight the Dark Knight after an evening spent watching street fights on YouTube. It simply won t work.

Even if it s (kind of) fixed now, Arkham Knight forever stained with the ignominy of being pulled from Steam. A sad end to a great series.

We asked for this. I mean, we literally asked for it. In fact, we begged From Software for a PC port of Dark Souls. The result was like a Faustian pact from an Amicus horror film. Yes, we got what we asked, but in a way that was so twisted and hopeless as to be barely recognisable. PC hero Durante patched terrible audio and resolution issues in the vanilla version of the game, but we re still allowed to marvel at how badly it missed the mark. On the bright side, From Software's ports of Dark Souls 2 and 3 have been fantastic in comparison, and Dark Souls inspired a skilled modding community to tinker for years, even altering its 30 fps cap.

Most games on this list get kicked for being shitty versions of console games. Spider-Man 2 wasn t even that. It was literally a different game. Instead of the Teyarch-developed movie tie-in, Texas studio Fizz Factor (Fizz Factor!) made a game more suitable for children. Or, to be more accurate, nobody ever.

The open, web-swinging console game was replaced with automated heroism: you simply clicked on enemies and buildings to interact to them. A point-and-click Spider-man should be amazing, but this was one step removed from holding the right mouse button to have a stumbling pubescent relationship with Mary Jane Watson. Worst of all, the differences weren t made abundantly clear during development, so anyone who bought the PC version expecting a crisp console conversion got burned. The most significant creative misstep since Tobey Maguire s evil dance in Spider-Man 3 (which was so bad, it warped the very concept of time to make this joke work).

The PC port of Saint s Row 2 is so bad it s passed into legend. If someone had set out to make something this disastrous, they d deserve some kind of terrible, shitty medal. But they didn t, so they deserve nothing. Saint s Row developer Volition had little to do with the port. Instead, it was done by CD Projekt Localisation Team (part of the same parent company as CD Projekt Red). The game was developed with a specific Xbox 360 CPU clock speed of 3.2Ghz in mind. The further away you get from that, higher or lower, the worse the game runs. That s right: PC owners were essentially being punished for having better machines. (And worse ones too, but I m skipping over that inconvenient truth.) Even if you re playing on a machine with RAM to spare, Saint s Row 2 ignores it, like a vegan refusing to eat his way out of a cage of chops.

The PC port of Street Fighter 2 could be a whole feature on its own. It looks handsome enough, but everything else is an abomination. There s the music, which sounds like a doomed robot armpit farting the funeral march on a sinking cruise vessel; the jumping, which displays the same swaggering disregard for gravity normally reserved for Dragon Ball Z games; and the backgrounds, which features onlookers frozen in time, staring helplessly, trapped like temporal sweetcorn in this eternal turd of a port. Forget locked frame rates or shoddy netcode: everything about Street Fighter on PC is wrong.

If you hate yourself, you can even play it here. The only thing it has in its favour is at least it s not Street Fighter 1.

Even people who ve completed Dark Souls using a Rock Band guitar/dance mat/USB toaster can t handle the controls in the PC version of Resi 4. They re terrible. Whoever did the key binding can only have read stories about PC gaming painted onto the walls of prehistoric caves. It doesn t support mouse aiming, and the key choices for the actions resemble a puzzle at the end of an Indiana Jones movie. Hold Left Shift to use your knife. Right Shift for your gun. Enter to attack. Shift and right Control to reload. Shift and rat-a-tat-tat on Number Lock to use a herb. (Only the last one is a joke, tragically.)

Worst of all, if you tweaked your key bindings it wouldn t tell you when quick-time events happened, making it a test of memory, reactions and your infinite patience as a noble PC gamer.

Years later, the Resident Evil 4 HD port fixed most of these issues and is now our favorite way to play the game. Aww, happy endings.

Splinter Cell may be known first and foremost as an Xbox series, but Sam Fisher was an experienced PC spy, too. Pandora tomorrow had some issues, but the series mostly made the jump from console to PC unscathed in its early years. That changed with the console port of 2006's Double Agent, the first released on Xbox 360. Steam reviews tell a pretty consistent story, criticizing constant crashing, poor controller support, and game-breaking bugs. Most damning: the lighting didn't work properly for some players. In a stealth game. Where hiding in shadows is, well, literally the point. Might as well give up the whole superspy thing and go cry into a mai tai on a well-lit beach, Sam.

Apparently lighting problems afflicted the older Splinter Cell games, too, depending on the hardware, but in Double Agent it was the most egregious of many, many issues adding up to a woeful port.

Devil May Cry 3 is part of the Holy Trinity of Dogshit Capcom Ports, alongside Resi 4 and Onimusha 3 (although the ports were actually handled by a company called SourceNext and published by Ubisoft). It automatically defaults to windowed mode, and you need to switch the axis on your controller because it defaults to the right-hand stick. Or, you could just try it that way, like an 8-year-old playing Micro Machines on the SEGA Genesis. Like almost every game on this list, most of these problems can be fixed by imaginative Googling and fan patches, but in order to avoid framerate issues you actually have delete music and menu sounds yourself. How did it come to this?

It s no surprise that a game designed to embrace all the idiosyncrasies of the PS2 was hit-and-miss on PC. Even Sony developers struggled to comprehend the PS2 s arcane infrastructure, so what hope did we have? MGS 2 worked fine on some systems, but on others you could expect flickering textures, disappearing shadows, missing effects, frequent crashes and flaky audio. It used the new analogue buttons on the PS2 Dualshock, but didn t bother to adjust this for keyboard controls; if a section required pressure sensitive actions, you were bollocksed. It s also a mighty 7GB install, when similar games at the time weighed in at around 1.5-2GB. As unwieldy and overblown as MGS 4.

PC gamers have it easy these days. Properly optimised, there s every reason the PC version of a game should be the best. Terrible ports can be blamed on the conversion, not the hardware. But it wasn t always like this. Back in the late 80s, PC hardware couldn t always keep up with consoles, which is why our gaming forefathers ended up struggling through monstrous conversions like Mega Man. Oh, the humanity.

This was released the same year id released Commander Keen which was itself born out of an attempt to port Mario 3 so we can t blame it all on feeble hardware.

Community Announcements - wb.elder.pliny
Hi Everyone,

A hotfix for Batman: Arkham Knight was released today and contains the following update:
  • Addressed an issue with combat speed. FreeFlow combat speed now increases in line with successful consecutive critical strikes.

For more information, check out the post from CODA on our community forums: https://community.wbgames.com/t5/Batman-Arkham-Knight-General/NEWS-Hotfix-Patch-Incoming/m-p/1068900
PC Gamer

Batman: Arkham Knight was a decent game, but on PC it was an abominable port. It was so bad that publisher Warner Bros. was compelled to remove it from sale weeks after its release, offering refunds to anyone unfortunate enough to buy in early. Nowadays it runs a lot better, but it's fair to say the whole situation was quite traumatic. As of December it was still being patched up, following its October re-release.

Whether that trauma has anything to do with the Mac and Linux versions of Arkham Knight being canceled, I don't know. The cancellation was announced on Steam today in as blunt a manner as possible.

"We are very sorry to confirm that Batman: Arkham Knight will no longer be coming to Mac and Linux," the post reads. "If you have pre-ordered Batman: Arkham Knight for Mac or Linux, please apply for a refund via Steam."

Despite the game still being a bit rough around the edges on PC, Warner Bros. started selling DLC for it back in December. It's a shame the launch was so poor, because beneath the technical shortcomings there's an okay game, hampered somewhat by annoying Batmobile sequences. In his review, Andy Kelly wrote that it's "an entertaining superhero power fantasy, let down by awful Batmobile combat, a laughable villain, and serious performance issues."

On the topic of bad ports, this recent Durante rundown of the disastrous Tales of Symphonia release is well worth ten minutes.

Community Announcements - wb.elder.pliny
We are very sorry to confirm that Batman: Arkham Knight will no longer be coming to Mac and Linux. If you have pre-ordered Batman: Arkham Knight for Mac or Linux, please apply for a refund via Steam.
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 40% on Batman™: Arkham Knight!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
Community Announcements - wb.elder.pliny
Hi Everyone,

The latest patch for Batman: Arkham Knight was released today and contains the following updates:
  • Added support for January DLC content
  • Fixed issues with the benchmark map which could occur after installing the Season of Infamy: Most Wanted Expansion content
  • Resolved an issue on some notebook PC hardware where the screen flickers on launch. Users will require the latest Nvidia drivers and Microsoft Windows drivers installed.
  • Fixed some keyboard and mouse prompts functioning incorrectly after certain keys had been rebound.
  • Fixed an issue on the in-game store where free DLCs were shown to have a value of “.0”
  • Addressed an issue where rebinding keys could cause quickfire gadget attacks to work incorrectly for Batgirl, Red Hood or Harley Quinn
  • Miscellaneous DLC gameplay fixes and stability improvements
We'll be releasing Crime Fighter Challenge Pack #6 in a few hours in order to allow everyone some time to get the latest patch. We'll update this post when the roll out is complete.

UPDATE @ 2:40pm Pacific - Challenge Pack #6 is now live and free for all. Please restart your Steam client, and it will be downloaded automatically (if it hasn't already). Enjoy!
PC Gamer

Nothing will stop the tide of content, not even performance issues and the abandonment of SLI support. Provided that Warner Bros' many rounds of fixes have knocked your copy of Batman: Arkham Knight into playable shape, its December DLC, Season of Infamy: Most Wanted, might appeal. It's available to buy now, and included in the Arkham Knight season pass.

Season of Infamy introduces four new storylines featuring iconic Batman villains: Ra s Al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, and the Mad Hatter. The latter mission features heavily in the trailer and is by far the most interesting to me: the hallucinatory Scarecrow segments of Arkham Asylum were among its most memorable, and it's clear Rocksteady is hoping to recapture the same trippy horror. Mr. Freeze is a compelling returning character, being about the only Batman villain to sometimes behave like a human. I can only hope these missions are more substantial than the lacklustre Harley Quinn pre-order bonus.

Joining this identity parade are a handful of new skins for Bats and his ride and the fifth Crime Fighter Challenge Pack, which focuses on Freeflow Combat and Invisible Predator training. Happy crime-fighting.

PC Gamer

After Warner Bros. announced that it had given up all hope of ever supporting multi-GPU systems properly, I wasn't expecting it to patch the rest of Batman: Arkham Knight with great enthusiasm. But the devs are still chipping away, as a set of new patch notes indicates.

There's a fair bit of fluff, but the interesting bits include:

  • Restored heavier rain during the opening section of the game
  • Fixed missing rain effects on a few remaining player character skins
  • Miscellaneous gameplay fixes and stability improvements 
  • Made frame times more consistent for 60Hz monitors running at 30fps with VSync enabled
  • Minor performance optimizations for certain combinations of hardware
  • Fixed graphical corruption that may occur after Alt-Tabbing
  • Added new Classic Harley Quinn skin for use in AR Challenges & the Harley Quinn Story Pack
  • Added Arkham Knight as a playable character for AR Challenges & the Red Hood Story Pack

The restoration of the rain effects is a victory—it was one of the most noticeable deficiencies when compared to console screenshots. Overall, however, performance results seem to be mixed, with some in the comments reporting stable framerates and others desktop crashes.

Community Announcements - wb.elder.pliny
Hi Everyone,

The latest patch for Batman: Arkham Knight was released today and contains the following updates:
  • Fixed some issues with stars being awarded or lost incorrectly in specific AR Challenges
  • Improved target prioritization during combat
  • Restored heavier rain during the opening section of the game
  • Fixed missing rain effects on a few remaining player character skins
  • Miscellaneous gameplay fixes and stability improvements
  • Fixes to some keyboard and mouse prompts after being rebound
  • Made frame times more consistent for 60hz monitors running at 30fps with VSync enabled
  • Previously equipped gadgets can be selected with keyboard and mouse again after restarting an AR Challenge
  • Fixed the default key binding for Harley’s Snare gadget
  • Batgirl’s Remote Hacking Device can now be properly selected with keyboard & mouse in AR Challenges
  • Minor performance optimizations for certain combinations of hardware
  • Fixed keyboard & mouse controls that did not function in DLC AR Challenges when no previous save data existed
  • Quick Photo Mode can now be triggered with keyboard and mouse controls when using the Batmobile
  • Special Combo Takedowns can now be performed with Quickfire Gadget binds if they were rebound
  • Fixed graphical corruption that may occur after Alt-Tabbing
  • Improvements and corrections to some localized text
  • Added new Classic Harley Quinn skin for use in AR Challenges & the Harley Quinn Story Pack
  • Added Arkham Knight as a playable character for AR Challenges & the Red Hood Story Pack
  • Added support for December DLC content
PC Gamer

Even after being pulled from Steam for several months and a number of patches, Arkham Knight still runs poorly on a lot systems. But Rocksteady are, at least, still releasing patches to try and fix it—and a new one has gone live today.

Here are a few highlights.

 Fixed some Multi-Monitor specific bugs  Fixed an issue causing the game process to occasionally remain running in the background for a period of time  Improved VRAM management to reduce framerate hitches  Fixed an issue causing certain types of lights & shadows to render incorrectly Fixed a progression blocker that could occur in Stagg Airships when leaving the predator room after only knocking out one of the guards

It's been a long, sad ride for Arkham Knight, but hopefully with a few more patches we'll see smoother performance across a wider range of systems. Anyone with a multi-GPU setup is out of luck, though.

Full patch notes here.


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