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Written by Olin Coles   
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Batman Arkham City 3D Vision Game Review
Batman: Arkham City Gameplay
NVIDIA 3D Vision Special Effects

NVIDIA 3D Vision Special Effects

This section discusses video graphics quality and NVIDIA 3D Vision technology special effects. If you're already an owner of NVIDIA 3D Vision or 3D Vision 2 hardware, then you'll appreciate that we've included 3D screen captures to help illustrate how well Batman: Arkham City looks with the added effects. We also suggest that you read our NVIDIA 3D-Vision Multimedia Resource Guide to help make the most of this technology and adjust hardware for the best experience. If you're considering the purchase of 3D hardware, we've included several 2D images, with 3D counterparts for comparison. This article contains 2D images in JPG file format, and stereoscopic 3D images in JPS file format. All browsers will display JPG images, however 3D-enabled hardware and NVIDIA 3D Vision Photo Viewer or similar software is required to properly view JPS files.

In an age when developers give game consoles priority over PC, it's becoming difficult to find games that show off the stunning visual effects and lifelike quality possible from modern graphics cards. Fortunately Batman: Arkham City is a game that does amazingly well on both platforms, making it possible to reduce quality settings to levels acceptable to gaming consoles like the PS3 and XBOX360, while at the same time making it possible to cripple the most advanced graphics card on the planet by offering extremely demanding NVIDIA 32x CSAA and full PhysX capability. Also available to PC users (with NVIDIA graphics) is FXAA, a shader based image filter that achieves similar results to MSAA yet requires less memory and processing power.

Batman-Arkham-City_Penguin_Crew.jpg

Armed and Armored Thugs (3D Version)

Gamers should ideally adjust settings to keep video frame rates above 35 FPS, because anything below this level causes choppy scenes and may lead to Batman's untimely demise or a failed attempt at glide challenges. I'm speaking from experience here, so either use NVIDIA's GPU analyzer for Batman: Arkham City to detects your graphics hardware and compare it to the developer's recommended GPU specification before playing the game, or run the performance test in-game (Options -> Benchmark). NVIDIA suggests the following settings with their GeForce GTX products:

GTX GPU

Resolution

PhysX

FXAA

Detail

DX11

Ambient Occlusion

GTX 590

1920x1080

High

High

Very High

High

On

GTX580

1920x1080

High

High

Very High

Normal

On

GTX570

1920x1080

High

Medium

High

Normal

Off

GTX 560 Ti

1920x1080

Normal

Low

High

Off

Off

GTX 550 Ti

1680x1050

Normal

Low

High

Off

Off

For gamers equipped with NVIDIA 3D Vision technology, expect to use similar settings with your graphics hardware. After several benchmark tests performance remained similar between normal and stereoscopic settings, dispelling the old myth that 3D effects reduce frame rate performance by half.

Batman-Arkham-City_Penguin_Iceburg-Lounge.jpg

Penguin's Iceberg Lounge (3D Version)

Batman: Arkham City offers varying levels of PhysX effects, each with its own set of hardware requirements. You can turn PhysX off, or enable 'Normal levels which introduce GPU-accelerated PhysX elements such as Debris Particles, Volumetric Smoke, and Destructible Environments into the game, while the 'High' setting adds real-time cloth and paper simulation. Particles exist everywhere in real life, and this PhysX effect is seen in many aspects of game to add back that same sense of realism. For PC gamers who are enthusiastic about graphics quality, don't skimp on PhysX. DirectX 11 makes it possible to enjoy many of these effects, and PhysX helps bring them to life in the game.

Batman-Arkham-City_Soloman-Grundy.jpg

Killing The Undead Can Be Tricky (3D Version)

If your computer runs on Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7, then it's possible to enjoy DirectX 11 special effects. Tessellation is one particular effect that makes an enormous difference on how the player sees Batman: Arkham City. By using displacement mapping and mesh smoothing effects in Batman: Arkham City, objects transform from boxy flat-triangle surfaces to truly unique and uneven textures. Instead of having a wall with ledge and window artwork drawn on, tessellation ads true depth to the ledge and raised trim around the window. Tessellation quite simply makes objects with uneven surfaces appear real, instead of flat panels with simulated shadows and depth.

Batman-Arkham-City_Tiny_Great-White-Shark.jpg

Little Known Fact: Sharks Eat Bats (3D Version)

Even with an adjustable difficulty setting, Batman: Arkham City is quite challenging. I played a portion of the game in standard 2D mode, and then switched to stereoscopic NVIDIA 3D Vision to play through the remainder of the game. Without a doubt, it was much easier to play in 3D. Navigating combat movements became more natural, and gliding through the city gave buildings and the street level a whole new perspective. Since there are so many special effects built into the game waiting to be unlocked with capable hardware, you'll be surprised at how well they transform this comic-based video game into something much more believable.

Batman-Arkham-City-Catwoman-Catnap.jpg

Someone Needed a Cat Nap

Its impressive how much Batman: Arkham City has improved over Batman: Arkham Asylum, delivering a fresh story with unique character involvement that removes any sense of this being a sequel series. Players must learn to master Batman as well as Catwoman, with each having access to areas in the city the other does not. Catwoman's presence is considerably less complicated, but because you're given the choice to pursue treasures or assist Batman, her role in the game determines how far you progress in the main story. Batman: Arkham City is a collection of missions, challenges, and puzzles, all added onto a primary story that requires participation and cooperation from both Batman and Catwoman.

Playing at my own pace and working on side missions as they were presented, I was able to reach the games conclusion in thirty hours with only 27 of 54 achievements earned and 55% of the game complete. Some achievements will be out of reach for most players, as they may require Robin and Nightwing premium add-on campaign bundles that can be purchased separately for $7 each via Steam. Other achievements, such as collecting all of the Riddler's Trophies, require some very keen puzzle-solving skills (or you can seek the help of a walk-through guide). Once you've reached the story's conclusion in Batman: Arkham City you'll be rewarded with "New Game Plus", which gives Batman every gadget available but reconfigures the enemies for more lethal combat. Needless to say, difficult challenges and lengthy replay value help yield a hefty return on your investment.

Batman is based on the comic book series, but with the help of DirectX 11 tessellation effects his character appears much more lifelike. All of the motions, movements, and attacks use natural physics models based on NVIDIA PhysX technology, and help give Batman: Arkham City a level of realism you would normally experience in a computer animated movie. DirectX 11 and PhysX special effects already go way beyond what gaming consoles can offer, but the stereoscopic effects of NVIDIA 3D Vision technology really make this game come to life. If you're a player wanting to experience a game to its fullest, you'll play Batman: Arkham City in 3D.

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Comments 

 
# RE: Batman Arkham City 3D Vision Game ReviewJohn Naylor 2011-12-18 17:36
Can ya add the settings for SLI installations ?
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# RE: RE: Batman Arkham City 3D Vision Game ReviewOlin Coles 2011-12-18 17:51
There are about fifty products that can be combined into SLI. I suggest using the in-game benchmark tool to determine settings.
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# RadeonMugsy 2011-12-28 05:42
No mention of Radeon cards for us ATI users. Pros? Cons?
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# RE: RadeonOlin Coles 2011-12-28 08:57
AMD Radeon does not utilize NVIDIA 3D Vision technology, as they are competitors. However, I go into detail regarding AMD HD3D branded 3D technology here:
benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12302

The bottom line is that AMD HD3D is nearly non-existant, and you won't find hardware as readily available as NVIDIA 3D Vision.
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# BM:ACkzinti1 2011-12-29 01:04
If any reviewer, anywhere, at any time had bothered saying that this thing is strictly 3rd person, I'd have never bothered downloading it. Even though it was free with a new videocard.
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# RE: BM:ACOlin Coles 2011-12-29 08:21
To be fair, most pictures in this article show the player in 3rd person. The game occasionally uses 1st person perspective during some events such as gliding and shooting.
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# RE: BM:ACVinster 2012-03-03 06:13
ohhh crap, I've been searching to see how to get it into 1st person view. This stinks. Stuck in kiddy view, one more game deleted without an hour into it. Consoles have ruined PC gaming.
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# doom 3 game engineTERRENCE 2012-02-28 02:38
it looks like nvidia stole the doom3 game engine.i think nvidia sucks.i only use radeon.
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# RE: doom 3 game engineDavid Ramsey 2012-02-28 07:37
Arkham City wasn't written by NVIDIA, but feel free to buy whatever GPU you want...
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# batmanarkhamcitywillzerner 2012-03-15 23:30
add robin man plesssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssss ssssssssssssssssssss thakyuo
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