The predecessor Arkham Asylum stood out with a deep atmosphere, vivid characters and nearly no flaws. Batman: Arkham City gives you an even better experience and continues the awesome story smoothly. A free roaming world, lively characters
with an exceptional synchronization and an intense narrative style is making Batman: Arkham City one of the best comic-based games of all time. Our hero gets abducted by the mad head of Arkham Asylum institution Hugo Strange and forced to deal with villains and criminal scum concentrated in Gothams prison ghetto Arkham City. We joined him on his epic adventure with twelve notebooks.
Testing scenario & benchmark results
Conveniently Batman: Arkham City comes with an integrated benchmark. During six short sequences the program is calculating the minimal, maximum and average Frames per second. Indoor benching gets a little over weighted and lacks of characters in comparison to real gameplay experience . Especially the outdoor areas are taking their toll on the notebooks. To play the game without constraints you need at least 40 frames per second as average mark. Even with these good looking figures you may experience some framerate dropdowns below the critical lower limit of 25.
In our benchmark we are using the DirectX 9 mode at a resolution of 1.366 x 768 pixel because most notebooks support this resolution. Even the most high end notebooks can be brought to their knees running the game in DirectX 11 mode with maxed out details. Nevertheless the game still looks stunning with DirectX 9. We deactivated PhysX effects to give you a better comparability to AMD graphic cards. Only Nvidia chips support GPU physx, for reasonably framerates it should be running on higher end gaming chips.
Due to the newly released DirectX 11 patch we tested the potent notebooks and recognized a significant rise of frames per second and even activated the PhysX to get a glimps. At high details none of the systems provided a smooth presentation though. The DirectX 11 mode use is currently not recommendable on most mobile devices, for higher end notebooks you might activate PhysX.
Low settings: Anti-Aliasing: off, Level of detail: low
Medium settings: Anti-Aliasing: 2x MSAA, Level of detail: medium
High settings: Anti-Aliasing: 4x MSAA, Level of detail: high
Very high settings: Anti-Aliasing: 8x MSAA, Level of detail: very high
We decided to stick with multisampling Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) as standard process for our testing which is supported by all vendors and delivers good quality. If you own a Nvidia card, you could choose cover-sampling (CSAA). The 8x CSAA process provides similar results while demanding less performance.
How much to invest?
Batman: Arkham City mainly benefits from good graphics gear. To play on low settings you should at least get a Nvidia Geforce GT 525M. Playing on medium settings brings this card to it´s limits, but a GT 540M should do the job. The AMD Radeon HD 6740G2 seems a bit more capable on the looks of average rates but suffers from micro lags due to the dual graphics solution if too many non player characters (NPCs) were involved for example.
High details need at least a Nvidia Geforce GT 555M, whereas an Intel Core i5 is sufficient. You might expect it finishing close to the GTX 560M but the latter achieves a 40 percent performance boost. Very high details requires an Nvidia Geforce GTX 560M or even better a GTX 570M. In alliance with a Intel Core i7 Quadcore you will never see frames per second below the 25 fps critical lower limit even with 8x CSAA and high PhysX settings.
Therefore you can play Batman: Arkham City on systems pricing at 500 Euro. The newly integrated option to max out the game to extreme settings with full DX11 and PhysX effects is currently overstraining all notebooks listed in the gamec-heck. If you want to enjoy highest details you need a SLI system with two Nvidia GTX graphic cards. Configurations with that setting surely cost 2000 Euro or more.
With Batman: Arkham City you are punishing not only the thugs but your hardware as well. No matter how strong your gear might be, for the bigger parts of current gaming notebooks it’s true that the Dark Knight is stronger. To get started you need to invest at least 600 Euro. 1000 Euro and above gives yougoodperformance, without losing much details. Extreme settings in Full HD with PhysX and DirectX 11 require a machine beyond the price of 2800 Euro. Nevertheless Batman: Arkham City will turn out a great adventure on all settings.