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Gotham Knights im Test: Eine PC-Version, die Superhelden das Grausen lehrt

Gotham Knights in Tech Test – ComputerBase

Gotham Knights is a new superhero game without Batman. And according to the test, something else is missing: some optimization for PC. Starting with general performance and hardware utilization to pacing frame or ray tracing – the test reveals serious issues everywhere.

The PC version of Gotham Knights is a great construction site

A long time was on pause around the dark avenger. His last major appearance was in 2015’s Batman: Arkham Knight. Now we continue with the new Gotham Knights. But Batman is dead, so four of his former assistants play the lead.

However, in its current state, it would be almost desirable that not only Batman, but also the PC version of Gotham Knights, had died. It must be incredibly difficult to read something like this as someone involved in the game. But there is simply no other way to say it at this point, no matter how much heart and soul has been put into the project.

Developers at WB Games Montréal worked on the game for several years, and in the end, the title was postponed for around a year. Another year could only have been good for the project, because playful weaknesses aside, the technology is a single construction site.

It starts with the graphics themselves. Unreal Engine 4 is used in Gotham Knights, but WB Games Montréal doesn’t really handle it in several respects. The optics are average at best and disappointing for a fairly large development team. Gotham Knights looks pretty fancy in places, but sometimes it’s just plain boring.

Spider-Man looks much better and is even more effective

The open world in particular is visually underwhelming. Unlike the animated Batman: Arkham Knight, nothing just happens in Gotham Knights. Only a few passers-by are on the road, the same applies to traffic. It feels like it’s always raining, but this just isn’t well implemented in terms of appearance. Many objects have hardly any details, cars are sometimes reminiscent of square boxes. The characters are the highlight, but they’re not particularly good either. It hardly seems like a coincidence that Gotham Knights is always pretty dark. At least the sad graphics aren’t that noticeable. It seems strange when Spider-Man Remastered (test), which has only just appeared on PC but is actually four years old, looks significantly better all round.

The ray-traced reflections that Gotham Knights offers don’t change that, but they just don’t look very fancy and don’t do much to enhance the visuals. Besides, they have their own problems. Speaking of issues, there are plenty in the PC version of Gotham Knights. Although they weren’t half as problematic as when Cyberpunk 2077 was released, the publisher was constantly reminded during testing.

The cutscenes, which are limited to 60 FPS, are annoying. Of course, this is not a problem in terms of games, but more FPS clearly looks better, especially on monitors with a higher refresh rate. So it’s not clear why they are limited, but the game itself offers up to 360 FPS. The LOD system, which could hardly work more conspicuously, isn’t very helpful either. Even at a medium distance, objects don’t just appear out of nowhere, they are extremely changeable in terms of density of detail. Meanwhile, rendering cars from a greater distance looks almost fun. Because they appear out of nowhere (and disappear again), but not on the street, but floating half a meter above it. This only changes when you get a little closer or the car disappears back into nothingness. It’s even worse that all the cars suddenly also float right before disappearing. It’s actually a good thing that not much is happening on the streets of Gotham Knights.

The rhythm of the frame is completely broken: permanent hooks are announced

Unfortunately, the frame rate is completely broken. Gotham Knights is actually constantly stuck, regardless of frame rate and PC used. This is also (not only) an issue of shader compilation stutter, because even though you walk the same path twice in a row, the game suddenly gets stuck. This is already very noticeable on foot. But if you then switch to the Batcycle motorcycle, you will really feel the hackers. Even the fastest computer can’t do anything about stuttering, it’s a permanent side effect.

The end of the problems is far from in sight. Gotham Knights simply fails to use the graphics card even halfway. The GeForce RTX 4090 only needed around 120 watts even in Ultra HD at maximum details, but even significantly slower models don’t reach even half their limits at low resolutions. Nothing can be done about it either, even though the frame rate is not too high. This is where the PC version has the following glitch.

Also, it is questionable if the ray tracing not only looks below average, but also if some effects are missing. At least the options menu talks about shadows and ray lighting, as well as RT reflections. But these simply do not exist. So maybe it’s “just” a text or description error?

There are many more problems. Crazy game physics are a constant companion in Gotham Knights, as are clunky animations and some crazy PC controls. Occasionally not being able to get into the actual game from the main menu is hardly a problem anymore, thanks to the permanent load cycle. So it only helps to restart the game.

Reduced scope of testing due to problem density

Due to the density of the problem, the publishers have decided to reduce the scope of testing Gotham Knights, because currently it just doesn’t make sense to test the PC version. For the time being, everyone should avoid the title anyway, as long as the game isn’t extensively technically improved.

At least there is good news when it comes to oversampling.

Last but not least, there is at least one positive message about the PC version. Apparently the developers have really let off steam with the upsampling variants, it’s just not possible anymore. In addition to Nvidia’s DLSS 2, AMD’s FSR 2 and Intel’s XeSS are also supported. Also included are versions 4 and 5 of the Unreal Engine’s own TAAU. In addition to that, many other adjustments can be made to the rendering resolution.

Gotham Knights’ graphics menu packs quite a punch on PC. Not so much for the presentation, because there are no comparison screenshots and the descriptions are often not very helpful. But all the important basics are there. With “Low”, “Medium”, “High” and “Highest” there are four different graphic presets and also several individual graphic options.

There is also an FPS limiter that can be freely set in 1 FPS increments between 30 and 360 FPS. There is an in-game overlay that can display not only frame rate, but also other metrics such as frame times and memory usage. If you want, you can increase the graphics sharpness, so AMD CAS and Nvidia sharpness (levels 1 to 10) are available. And then there are endless possibilities to influence the rendering resolution.

This starts with the game’s own downsampling and downsampling, which allows you to set the render resolution between 34 and 200 percent in 1 percent increments. Alternatively, there are presets for this, which are based on the gradations of well-known upsampling techniques with 76, 66, 58, and 50 percent.

Gotham Knights Graphics Menu

Oversampled by AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Epic itself

All of the common upsampling methods are represented in Gotham Knights. AMD FSR 2 is supported; it is not clear if in version 2.0 or 2.1. Nvidia’s DLSS is version 2.3.10. prior to. “Frame generation”, ie DLSS 3, is omitted. Also, the game can handle version 1.0.1.11 of Intel’s XeSS. With XeSS, the sharpness filter from AMD or Nvidia can be activated as an option, while with FSR and DLSS, only the respective technology from AMD or Nvidia is offered. Consequently, Nvidia’s DLSS cannot be combined with AMD’s CAS.

In addition to AMD, Nvidia, and Intel upsampling, the game also offers Unreal Engine’s own upsampling. TAUU is available in the fourth and fifth generation, the latter actually stemming from Unreal Engine 5. Different levels of quality are offered here as well.