Batman: Return to Arkham has stealth PS4 Pro support

Yesterday we talked about , which only adds superficial improvements. Today, it’s the turn of Batman: Return to Arkham – a game that boosts performance but nothing else. It’s as if developer Virtuos simply pulled a switch to enable PS4 Pro’s additional CPU and GPU power on its base title with little regard as to what would actually happen. The results are predictably variable and rather poor overall, but it may well address unfinished business from our PlayStation 4 Pro review – just what would happen if users had the ability to enable the full resources of the new hardware on existing PS4 titles?

The vast majority of console games operate with a frame-rate limit of some description – typically 30fps or 60fps – meaning that the extra Pro power could simply be utilised to stabilise performance where base hardware can’t meet the target. The tearing and frame-rate drops under 60fps in Project Cars could vanish, the mid-20fps drops occasionally seen in The Witcher 3 could improve significantly. It’s not a massive upgrade, but for those of us who value stability in console performance, it’s a big plus. Xbox One S has a minor GPU overclock that can help in this way – PS4 Pro has an uplift in both CPU and GPU terms that could do a whole lot more.

Batman: Return to Arkham actually has two titles that could help to isolate what the additional resources could achieve. Arkham Asylum operates with a wobbly 30fps cap, while Arkham City actually operates with an unlocked frame-rate that caps only at 60fps – a somewhat bizarre set-up, bearing in mind that the first Batman title is actually far less impactful on system resources. And let’s be clear here, the Pro enhancements adopted by Virtuos appear to have required no real effort from the developer itself. Arkham City offers no resolution or effects upgrades. It just runs faster, but it’s actually the variation in the boosts available that proves most fascinating.

Face-Off: Batman: Return to Arkham

At the very least, the Batman: Return to Arkham remasters are an interesting technical exercise, bringing the newer features of Unreal Engine 4 to two older classics – Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City. Each were originally built on a modified Unreal Engine 3, but developer Virtuos (best known for the Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD remaster) chooses to revamp its character models, overhaul its lighting, and add higher resolution effects across both. The visual changes are often striking – but sadly, glaring issues with performance can’t be overlooked.

In the absence of a PC release, the brute force offered by a hardware upgrade can’t address the struggling frame-rates. However it does create an interesting setup for a comparison, letting us pit these PlayStation 4 and Xbox One conversions against the original PC code running at max settings. It’s worth stating right away that the Nvidia PhysX enhancements on PC remain locked to that platform, and neither console gets the physics-based smoke, particles and debris. But putting this aside, what are the key changes of this remaster?

First up there’s the obvious: the character models. Much like Virtuos’ work on Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD, the game’s vibrant cast of heroes and villains are given facelifts to varying degrees. Such changes may irk those familiar with the original’s stylistic direction; in some cases details are simply amplified, in others we get wholesale overhaul. A case in point: the Penguin gets a complete revamp of skin shaders across his face, adding more stubble in the remaster, and generally rearranging all scarring detail on his forehead. Even his monocle is given a crisper glass material, now uncomfortably crammed into his eye socket. It’s one of the most striking changes in the game – but better? It’s up for debate.

Batman: Return to Arkham out this October

Batman: Return to Arkham, the remaster of Rocksteady’s excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum and its open world follow-up Batman: Arkham City, comes out on 21st October 2016, Warner has announced.

The published released a five minute video, below, that compares the PlayStation 3 version of Arkham Asylum with the upcoming PS4 version, and then, from the 2 minute, 45 second mark, Arkham City.

Back in June, , which was supposed to come out on 29th July. The publisher did not offer a revised release date, .

Injustice 2 reveals first gameplay footage

Injustice 2 has premiered its first gameplay footage in the following trailer (captured by based on a stream by developer NetherRealm Studios).

We get to see such characters as Gorilla Grodd, Supergirl, Red Lantern Atrocitus, Aquaman and Black Manta duke it out. Based on the end of this trailer, one wonders if Batman remembered to pack his . Though I guess he could always just , like he did in Arkham City. (I realise that’s not technically a shark, but it seems close enough to be susceptible to shark repellent, right?)

As previously revealed, Injustice 2 will let you .