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Batman: Arkham Origins PC Features Detailed
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Nvidia has announced details on the PC version of Batman: Arkham Origins. The game, currently under development by Warner Bros. Games Montréal, is using Unreal Engine 3 just as Batman: Arkham City did. However, also like its predecessor, the engine will have a number of graphical additions, including:
  • Direct X 11
  • Tessellation, allowing for Batman to alter the environment (eg. real footprints)
  • Percentage Closer Soft Shadows, allowing for more realistic shadows
  • Physx Turbulence, Cloth and Particles systems which react to Batman's actions
  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing, an AA technique that has been criticised for resulting in low performance and blur
  • A new, unknown, Depth of Field system
  • A new, unknown, Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion system

It is important to note that it is unknown which of these additions will work on AMD cards.
Of course, even for those with Nvidia cards, they still mean nothing if they heavily impact game performance, as seen with Batman: Arkham City which would sometimes stutter and fall to unplayably low frame rates with its graphical additions turned on. Hopefully Nvidia has sorted out the problems for the next game in the franchise.

Batman: Arkham Origin is out worldwide on Microsoft Windows systems on October 25th 2013.

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      Antialiasing
      On lower end systems even the FXAA setting can largely affect the overall performance. This setting alone does a pretty poor job at masking most jagged lines. While the MSAA itself might behave better visually there's very little point in using it, considering how harsh the performance impact can be, newer systems will most likely struggle to play at a comfortable framerate with it at any settings. Antialiasing is one of the main reasons as to why the game might run poorly. If the game is in dire need of more frames disable this feature, even if it's set to the FXAA mode.
       


       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison. This image is best viewed in a fullscreen tab.

       

      Ambient Occlusion
      This setting adds soft shadows to any objects when applied, without it an entity might look like it's floating. It is often used to give a scene or entity a better sense of depth and to evenly light most objects, as they would otherwise look too bright.
       


       
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      Objects with edges over the fog of war will smoothly blend in with the smoke screen, the transparency values are automatically adjusted and improved by the SSAO setting.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      This setting applies differently to every environment, not all entities will behave the same way, the performance impact is also dependant on the level itself.
       

       
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      Decals
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      Shadows
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      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      If the game is running poorly this setting is best left on Directional Only due to how taxing it can be.


       

      Shadow Quality
      This setting mainly controls how the shadows will look like. On the lowest settings they will have a softer look, while at higher values the game will begin using hard shadows instead, these shadows can never be completely disabled.
       

       
      What this is set to mainly comes down to user preference. There isn't an in between setting which combines both types of shadows. The differences between the two highest settings are most likely only visible at very specific angles.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      This setting did not affect the game's performance in any way, but if the game does slightly stutter when using the Maximum value, try lowering the Shadow Quality setting to either Medium or High.
       


       

      Texture Detail
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      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      Even the bullet casings are affected by this setting due to them being actual in-game models.
       

      Models with an emmisive material will also shine brighter at higher settings.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      This setting can easily be left on High if the game is stuttering or if that one extra frame is really needed.
       


       

      Depth of Field
      This effect is very difficult to spot unless the camera itself is placed at a more specific angle. It is far noticeable on the main menu, but otherwise it does not show up too often during normal gameplay.
       


       
      Both the simple and bokeh depth of field effects look pretty similar. This effect is mainly active while a character is taking aim or while shooting during the combat phases.
       


       
      This effect can still affect the overall in-game performance even while it's inactive, there's very little point in keeping it enabled on lower end systems if the game is doing poorly.
       


       

      Draw Distance
      This setting mainly controls the density of ground details and whenever some of the farther buildings will appear.
       


       
      The effect of this setting is clearly visible during combat and while sitting on the main menu, highly noticeable on the level with the two radar dishes, it is also complemented by the depth of field setting.
       


       
      At higher values rocks and other ground decals will be displayed throughout the level, along with even more foliage. This setting can have a very large impact on the look of the game.
       

       
      The differences between Medium and High are not as harsh however. The differences between these two settings can only be seen at really weird angles.
       

       
       
       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       

       
      This setting can be optimally left on Medium in order to gain some performance. On lower end systems it should be set to Low if the game is running poorly. The game might behave differently depending on which area is currently being played on. The performance in a desert might be worse due to the extra ground details.
       


       

      High Res Translucency
      There were no clear visible changes, but there is no performance impact so it can be left on.
       


       

      Bloom
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      This effect will only be partially enabled if the FXAA mode is disabled.
       

       
      The bloom setting should not impact the framerate in any way, it's a very lightweight effect.
       


       

      Dirty Lens
      A very subtle effect which mimics a lens flare like light.
       


       
      Textures with any emissive materials are affected by this setting.
       

       
      Most if not all light sources should be able to generate their our lens flare like look.
       

       
      This setting should have next to no real performance impact.
       


       

      Subsurface Scattering
      A lighting effect mainly applied on skin like materials when a light is directly cast upon them. It attempts to mimick light passing through skin.
       


       
      This effect is barely noticeable during normal gameplay, but it's a small gimmicky effect which makes things look a tiny bit nicer.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       


       

      Screen Space Reflections
      The name of the setting itself is slightly misleading, seeing as it also adds a darker shadowy outline to most objects and characters, while partially affecting the environment itself. Notice the outline on the sniper rifle.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      The reflections themselves are actually really difficult to notice and they only appear under very specific circumstances.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      When the effect is seen in action it actually looks really subtle, it's barely noticeable and it's very easy to miss. Desks and other decorative entities only very slightly benefit from the effect.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      It takes a very specific angle for the effect to be visibly more obvious, but even then it's extremely subtle and most players will never notice if they are quickly moving the camera around.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      As far as actual reflections go, only objects such as these billboards actually seem to have proper reflections. The bullet shells also have a shadowy outline attached to them.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      Even when applied to a scene which should have plenty of reflective objects, the effect of the setting over the environment is incredibly minor. No real settings exist to actually disable or enable any other reflections.
       

       

      Click on the image to see an animated comparison with all the pictures.

       
      This setting should be disabled if a better framerate is needed, even when turned on it doesn't do much in order to actually change the look of the game. This should only be enable for the extra eye candy.
       


       

      Performance analysis
      These are the settings which have been used to setup these benchmarks in the report. Among the most performance intensive settings are Antialiasing (FXAA), Ambient Occlusion, Shadows, Depth of Field, Draw Distance and Screen Space Reflections, disable or lower any of these settings in order to get a significant performance gain if the game is behaving extremely poorly.
       


       
      Oddly enough the level which perfomed the worst overall has been the base of operations itself, otherwise even at 30 FPS the game did behave pretty decently, while the framerate might not have been optimal there were no major input lag issues and the game was still playable, anything below 30 FPS was otherwise pretty rough to play with, during usual gameplay however even the camera distance itself affected the framerate, while this might not be a great solution, if the game is performing too badly try zooming in a little bit in order to gain a few extra frames in order to make the game slightly more bearable to play with.
       
      Certain settings have a placebo like effect, mainly the Texture Detail and the Shadow Quality settings, it doesn't really matter what these two are set to, they won't improve or ruin the framerate in any way. In the worst case the Texture Detail setting has to be set to High, but even then there's such a minor loss in performance, to the point where it actually doesn't really matter too much, unless the average framerate is really low.
       


       
      After reading the report most changes should now be pretty obvious.
       

       

      Controls
      All keys can be remapped on both the mouse and keyboard, buttons such as Mouse 4 and Mouse 5 will also work for example. There's also a feature which is never explained anywhere throughout the game, hold the Ctrl key, then push the movement button in order to create a waypoint for your soldier to go at.
       


       

      Audio
      There's nothing really special to talk about here, however there's a very strange issue where no sounds can be completely muted, even when the slider is fully to the left. In order to trigger this, set the master volume to the maximum value, then completely disable the in-game music, then raise the volume of your computer, the background music should still be playing.
       


       

      Conclusion
      This game is far more graphically intensive than its predecessor, and as such it might have difficulties properly scaling over different hardware configurations. Lower end systems will end up having some pretty large performance issues but this is most likely not be the game's fault, and it's most likely a hardware issue. After testing every setting maximizing them to their highest values is not very optimal, due to some of them not changing much in the end. Most settings are also incredibly subtle and any differences are very difficult to spot while playing, but otherwise the expensive settings should be turned off if the game is behaving poorly.
       
      As far as the actual performance goes getting an idea as to how the game is truly supposed to run on this system proves a bit more difficult, due to the way strategy games are generally setup, and simply because the system itself is not strong enough, there's no easy way to properly judge as to why the game is running the way it currently is.
       
      Otherwise higher end systems should be able to comfortably run the game at higher framerates, as long as the more intensive settings which have been listed throughout the report are lowered or turned off completely.
       
       

      Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to PCGamingWiki's Patreon campaign.

       
      Click here to view the article
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