It's now official: Batman: Arkham Knight on PC is an utter shambles. If the PS4 and Xbox One versions were Christian Bale's bad-ass incarnation of the caped crusader, the PC version was George Clooney and his pointy-nippled batsuit.
It's just been announced that Warner Bros. has temporarily suspended sales of the PC version of Arkham Knight due to its terrible quality. As shocking as it is that a company has had to resort to this action, not every developer who released an atrocious PC port would halt its sales. Some just give the whole "We're working on it" line, while allowing more units to be sold, *cough* Ubisoft *cough*.
But as much of disaster as Arkham Knight has been on the PC, it's by no means the first terrible PC port of a game - or even the worst. The platform has been infected by numerous titles that were often pretty good console games, but utter garbage when they appeared on home rigs. And while some were eventually patched and updated to the point that they exceeded the quality of their console counterparts, its still no excuse for charging money for a product that's unplayable.
So which ones have been the worst offenders over the years? Here are ten of the most infamously awful PC ports ever seen.
The first Borderlands to appear on the PC really was a great game - as long as it was played using a gamepad. Most people assumed it would be optimized for the keyboard and mouse once it made the transition to PC, what with it essentially being a FPS and all. Turns out this was far from the case.
There were no changes made from the console version, meaning those without a gamepad found navigating the menus teeth-grindingly awkward. As good as the game was, this interface ruined the experience for many players.
A large number of the Need For Speed games on the PC were poorly ported from consoles. Racing games used to be a console staple, and their optimization for the PC platform was little more than an afterthought for developers.
Out of the all the bad NFS ports, The Run was the worst. Capping a PC game's framerate at 30fps is bad enough, but doing it on a racing title is just criminal. The game also had no anti-aliasing option, bad controls, and was unresponsive - just what you need when trying to navigate high speed racetracks.
It took a year for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West to reach PC from console, and it really wasn't worth the wait. What was a well-received game on the Xbox 360 and the PS3 was a total mess on the PC.
Its problems included: being capped at 30fps (naturally), stuttering, motion blur so bad it could cause retinal damage (and no option to turn it off), low framerates, resolution problems, no V-Sync option, and horrible, pixelated textures. The whole thing was shoddy in the extreme.
The Evil Within famously used a letterbox effect to give it that 'cinematic feel'. The designers claimed that not being able see the floor would take something away from the player that they’re used to, making them uncomfortable and adding to the game's atmosphere. Yet most people found it just pissed them off.
When The Evil Within was ported to the PC, those massive black bars came with it. And thanks to the various native resolutions and aspect ratios found on desktop monitors, the game was a real-life nightmare for many players. It also came with a 30 fps lock, had numerous graphical glitches, and often crashed if you did anything out of the ordinary - such as watch the entire opening cinematic. Thankfully, a patch was eventually released that fixed these issues.
*Update: On the June 23, 2015, 8 months after The Evil Within's release, an update to the game that allows the removal of the letterbox format was released for consoles.
Dark Souls committed a cardinal sin on the PC by being released at a locked 720p resolution and running at 30fps - not something a person who has just spend $1500 on a rig wants to hear. These weren't the only issues the game faced; it also used Games For Windows Live DRM, which, as anyone who had to endure it will tell you, offers the same level of satisfaction as setting yourself on fire.
Like so many games on the PC, it was up to the modding community to right the many wrongs of this port. When everything was finally running perfectly, Dark Souls turned out to be one of the best (and most difficult) games ever to appear on the platform.
Another Rockstar open-world game that fell flat on its face when it was ported to the PC. It took Bully: Scholarship Edition two years to move from the PS2 onto PC rigs, and yet it felt like developers had rushed this version out in only a few days, such was its utter crapness.
Some good advice for those wishing to experience Bully on the PC was to keep a book by their side, as the loading times felt like eons. It was yet another game capped at 30fps, had missing textures all over the place, no Vsync, and framerates that varied from agonizingly slow to so fast that some areas were impassable. Oh, and the controls were awful.
When a PC game is a port from the PlayStation 2 version, which itself was a port from the Gamecube, you know there'll be some potential problems - and Resident Evil 4 had them in abundance.
For a start, the cutscenes looked like hell; they resembled something from a mid 90's console game. It contained numerous rendering and other graphical problems, crashed constantly, and was nigh impossible to play without a joypad. Eventually, it was fixed and patched up, and if you buy the remastered edition on Steam today, you'll get to enjoy the best Resi game in the series.
The entire PC community couldn't wait for GTA IV to be released on their platform. The game had received rave reviews when it hit the PS3 and Xbox 360 in April 2008. But when the Windows version appeared in December, that excitement quickly turned to disappointment.
'Poorly optimized' wasn't a strong enough term for the GTA IV on the PC. Even gamers with the kind of rig that cost more than a new car were having problems with it. Frame rates often dropped into single digits, with most players having to lower the resolution below 1080p to make the game even slightly playable. It was also buggy as hell and crashed constantly.
The much-anticipated second game in the Saints Row franchise arrived on the PC with so many problems that a lot of gamers assumed it must be some form of intentional trolling by the designers.
Some menus just didn't work, no matter what you tried. Sometimes the game ran at 15fps, no matter what the settings were. There were reports of the whole thing running like it was stuck was on fast-forward, with even the voices sped up to comical speeds. Keys didn't always respond with the actions they were mapped to, meaning some sections were impassable. And it was constantly crashing and returning players to the desktop for no apparent reason.
How excited we PC gamers were when we first saw Watch Dogs (or Watch_Dogs, for pedants) at E3 2012: "If that's what the graphics look like on those 'next-gen' consoles, imagine how good they'll be on my multiple graphics card PC!", we so naively thought. Many of us pre-ordered the game, and some even splashed out a new, debt-inducing GPU to enjoy it on (i.e. me).
Then the big day came; after downloading the game and sticking the settings up to ultra - as anyone with a $500 gfx card would do - gamers were expecting to see something they'd never seen before - and they did! Instead of the amazing looking Watch Dogs we had witnessed at E3, we got a still image, then another one, then another. It was about this time the horrible realization set in that this was, in fact, the game itself. And it was running at less than 1 frame-per-second.
Ubisoft was its typical helpful self, and suggested turning the graphical options down - right down. Even on the most powerful rigs, Watch Dogs was only playable when it was downgraded to the point where it resembled a 360/PS3 title. Upcoming patches were promised to improve this horrible port, and Ubisoft suggested we play the game until their release - which we did, until all the save game files started to break. What was the company's response to this? "Start the game again!"
Unfortunately, a lot of people didn't have this option (me included), as by now Watch Dogs simply wouldn't start - likely some attempt at self-euthanasia on its part.
It took two weeks before various patches and drivers made Watch Dogs playable, and even longer before ultra settings could be used without it turning into a slideshow. Once fixed, it really was a good game, but that's no excuse for what people who bought it on release went through. The moral of all this? Bad ports need to become a thing of the past - but that probably won't happen, so just stop pre-ordering games.
What other games have had terrible PC ports? Got any horror stories you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments below!