Batman: Arkham Knight
This post was authored by Aron Gerencser.
The absolute trainwreck that was the PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight haunted developer Rocksteady for months, with the game being pulled from distribution entirely at one point. Arkham Knight was delayed and patched multiple times, only to reach a state where many systems with less than 12 GB of RAM would stutter, freeze, and crash with alarming frequency regardless of any other specs – even after patches. At launch, the game wouldn’t even start in several instances, while those who could enter would suffer from all of the symptoms mentioned above, as well as graphical bugs, regardless of system specs. For many, the game was veritably unplayable.
In its current state, stronger PCs will be able to run the game fairly well with few problems. However, even now both SLi and Crossfire cause a number of bugs, and you’ll need a whole lot of RAM if you don’t want random framerate drops.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition technically wasn’t a bad port, it was just as barebones as you can get. It was basically a console game that happened to run on PC. To this day, the game can only be played with either a controller hooked up to your machine, or with various third-party mods and utilities.
Granted, we were told to expect as much – From Software outright said that due to a lack of experience with developing for PC, they’d simply release a 1:1 port of the Xbox 360 version with absolutely no PC optimization. It showed, with a lack of proper KB/M controls or graphical options. Even knowing what we were getting into, the PC port was considered pretty lackluster. The developers apologized later on, promising that the port for the sequel would be more polished.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is another instance where developers brought in little more than basic controls. There are no graphical settings in-game beyond resolution, though this option rarely changed the resolution to what you selected. The game is plagued by terribly slow movement speeds, nauseating motion blur, and random framerate drops. Speaking of, framerate is capped at 30 FPS.
Granted, many of these issues can be solved by editing the .ini file, however you’d have to boot up the game every time you made a change, meaning a lot of restarting before you got everything right. As for the stuttering, a third-party fix had to be downloaded, but even that didn’t remove the issue completely.
Dishonored 2, an otherwise praiseworthy game, was bashed pretty much immediately after a number of performance issues were discovered on PC. There were problems ranging from simple framerate drops to constant stutter with screen tearing. Sometimes the game refuses to even start and crashes to desktop mere seconds after the process appears in the task manager. For many players, Dishonored 2 completely tanked at resolutions above 1080p regardless of how strong your rig might’ve been. The game threw a fit whenever you had more than one display or a VR headset connected, and it required you to manually disable the integrated graphical driver that almost all laptops come with, because if both it and the dedicated GPU are enabled, the game will think you’re running two displays, and won’t load up.
Bethesda tried, twice, to patch the game into a playable state. Currently, the game is more stable than it was and can actually run decently on hardware that wasn’t brought back from the future. However, some FPS dips and stuttering are still to be expected.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided launched on PC with myriad issues ranging from performance issues to inconvenient bugs. Mouse acceleration in menus would be all over the place with X and Y values not being the same. The game would only be playable up to 1080p. MSAA, Contact Hardening Shadows, and Volumetric Lighting had to all be turned off to make it even remotely optimal and even then, the game would stutter and often crash.
While many issues have been resolved since with patches, it still isn’t the best-optimized game on PC right now, with intermittent framerate drops in open areas with larger asset density. Luckily, most other issues have been ironed out for the majority of players, though the odd report of frequent crashes does pop up now and then.
No Man’s Sky
In terms of performance No Man’s Sky outright crashed and burned on PC. At launch, the game was locked to 30 FPS, and in spite of having a large suite of graphical options, the optimization was really off-point, with the game running poorly even on the most powerful system you could put together without using classified military grade hardware. Changing any graphical setting required you to restart the game, while alt-tabbing out prevented you from getting back in, once again forcing a restart.
Add to these performance issues frequent framerate drops and crashes even on lower settings, and you have yourself a potentially pretty game that’s not only feature-bare but also visually painful to play. Many of these issues were since fixed, and a free update added a base-building feature to the game, but it still isn’t well optimized, struggling to keep a steady framerate even on strong machines, with frequent dips even below the 30 mark.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
While Ubisoft has a pretty bad track record on PC, they did manage to put out stable and well-optimized ports of other Assassin’s Creed games. Unity, on the other hand, was a horrid mess. Not only did you have your standard line-up of poor-port characteristics such as limited graphics options, stuttering, freezing, and crashing, but you also had a whole suite of problems that rarely appeared in other ports.
Mouse acceleration was whacked in menus while there were a plethora of graphical glitches and clipping bugs. The most infamous of these, even though it wasn’t too common, caused many characters to lose their faces, becoming mere floating eyeballs and hats. While most other ports on this list have been sorted into shape with patches, Unity still fares pretty badly. It isn’t as bad as it was upon launch, however many stability issues remain with crashes and framerate drops being relatively common.
Watch_Dogs is another in Ubisoft’s line of troubled PC launches. Upon release, the game suffered from the fickle will of Uplay, Ubisoft’s DRM service which crashed under the strain of launch. If players managed to get into the game, they were greeted with one of the least optimized PC experiences that ever graced the platform. Beyond the standard-issue framerate dips, crashes, freezes, and stuttering, mouse controls were extremely sluggish, and could only be altered by fiddling with xml files.
The game was nigh-unplayable on systems running AMD GPUs, while only chugging along on low settings with even the highest-end GTX-based systems. Eventually, the game was slapped into shape with a few patches, however there are still pretty extreme framerate drops plaguing the game, as well as some glaring graphical shortcomings such as static reflections.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance’s re-release this year, bundled with Ultimate Alliance 2 in the sequel’s debut on PC, was hotly anticipated due to the cult following of the titles. Unfortunately, fans were disappointed with an atrocious port that made many wish the sequel never came to PC.
Any controller other than the wired Xbox 360 controller – meaning the wireless version, official Xbox One controllers, and any third party controllers – will have their mapping messed up. A is X, and start/select are the shoulder buttons. The keyboard and mouse controls are functional, but wonky. However, the worst offender is the sound. The game’s sound constantly crackles, making it nigh impossible to actually hear any of the dialogue, SFX, or music. After all that, the near complete lack of graphical options wasn’t much surprising.
Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat X’s PC launch suffered in a way entirely unlike the others on this list. It didn’t see glaring optimization issues, it had a whole suite of graphical options, it wasn’t plagued by framerate drops, and it could be played with mouse and keyboard. Instead, Mortal Kombat X suffered from the fickle nature of Steam’s experimental pre-loading system.
Instead of jumping straight into gory action, players were faced with a version of the game that was missing characters, entire game modes, menu options, and crashed with troubling frequency. These issues persisted even when the full game was downloaded, even if you didn’t pre-load the game. Mortal Kombat X had to be released a second time entirely so that it wasn’t muddled with all these pre-loading issues, however even that version suffered from crashes and missing features, such as a resolution setting for 1920×1080 60Hz.