Batman: Arkham City, sequel to award winning Arkham Asylum title and second GPU PhysX game this year, has finally hit the shelves worldwide.
As usually, we are proud to present you our PhysX review and comparison video, showcasing extra physical effects that can be found in PC version of the game.
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Some technical details, like difference between PhysX settings, were already revealed in our preview article, so let’s give a score to different aspects of GPU PhysX implementation and compare them to previous Batman: Arkham Asulum title:
All effects are done accurately, with diligence – you will not see jerky or buggy behaviour (within physics engine limitations, of course), art is fine, almost everything is configured correctly. However, some particle effects could be done better – for example, it is not appealing to see when glass shards are jumping all over the place like they were made out of rubber.
PhysX effects are scattered all over the game and accumulated in a places you will visit during main storyline (for example, you won’t see dynamic paper sheets on a random street).
Overall amount of extra physics content is similar to Arkham Asylum, but the components differ: you won’t see many “environmental” cloth objects, like all those banners and flags that can be teared appart with batarang, but in return APEX Clothing module is used extensively to simulate dynamic clothing on characters, including hoodies and coats on thugs, pants on russian twin-clowns, costume of Bruce Wayne, etc.
SPH smoke, steam and fog are rare in this game, but other particles (physical debris, shards, splinters, sparks) can be encountered much more frequently. All boss battles are enhanced with unique particle effects, for example.
As a good tradition, there is psychedelic level with lots of GPU Rigid Bodies. Looks gorgeous, actually, without PhysX effects this scene feels not nearly as vivid and spectacular.
GPU PhysX effects are certanly enhancing gameplay experience, giving it a little more depth, color and vibrance, either by providing momentum to the battles through particle debris or making the environment more believable with interactive objects.
If you are not expecting from PhysX content something it is not supposed to be (game changing or gameplay affecting feature), you will be satisfied.
At the same time, GPU PhysX support is showing a little progress in this title. Particles, cloth and stuff – we have already saw it in a games before. While PhysX effects in original Batman have received the top score, today we are forced to deduct a points (back in 2009 most of the effects were fresh and innovative, but now “more of the same” content did not impressed us that much).
As always, hardware accelerated PhysX effects are requiring a powerfull NVIDIA GPU, however this time framerate with PhysX enabled is unusually stable (without infamous issues like spontaneous slowdowns in Alice: Madness Returns or half-GPU physics in Mafia II). On our single GTX 580, framerate was holding on 50-60 fps even in extensive PhysX scenes and never dropped below 30 frames per second.
Also, additional PhysX effects are slightly more friendly to CPU calculation this time (in case if you don’t have NVIDIA GPU), you even will be able to play certain parts of the game normally, but smooth gameplay is still a dream.
Update: PhysX benchmarks roundup
Great game with a good level of GPU PhysX support. Once again, main reason to choose PC version over the console ones.