Gamers have been wondering and asking, "What's up with this new Batman: Return To Arkham?" The game was announced, a release was given and then it disappeared. Well, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment finally revealed the new release date as October 18th in North America and October 21st in the U.K.
IGN is reporting that the not-so-remastered bundle includes both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City for the Xbox One and PS4 for $50. The bundle was long rumored to arrive this summer, but directly after Warner Bros. announced the pack and directly after a trailer was released, they then delayed the game for unknown reasons.
Part of the speculation surrounding the delay centered on the possibility that the game may be undergoing some graphical upgrades. For those of you who have not yet seen it, there has been a video floating around that appeared shortly after Batman: Return To Arkham's trailer was released, showing off how the game on the PS4 and Xbox One actually has worse graphics than the original Batman: Arkham games for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 from seven years ago. I know this sounds bizarre but the proof is in the pudding and the trailer showing the side-by-side comparisons can be viewed in the trailer below from WB Games' official YouTube channel.
The game was ported up from the Unreal Engine 3 to the Unreal Engine 4. We do see some obvious upgrades in regards to the UE4's handling of material based lighting, oftentimes referred to as physically based rendering, and the increase in liquid reflections and shadow density are quite apparent as well. However, when it comes to the character designs and the fidelity of the assets, the characters actually look worse, especially Dr. Strange, The Joker and Batman.
This was apparent when the video was first released a while back and the comparison was made, with gamers easily spotting out the downgrades for the supposed remastered editions of the Batman: Arkham games for the eighth gen consoles.
The anisotropic filtering is actually lower on the close-ups in the PS4 version of Batman: Arkham Asylum and the mesh details have fewer triangles for characters like The Joker when you compare the PS3 version to the PS4 version -- with the remastered edition being the one with the fewer triangles.
The thing that really stands out is how The Joker has fewer dynamic light sources and self-shadowing on the PS4 version of the game compared to the PS3 version. I'm not sure if the port house had to scale back on some features in order to implement the new lighting and shadow effects or if something else went horribly wrong during the porting process that required such obvious downgrades to the character models.
On the upside, the post-processing effects and environmental lighting and depth of field have been increased and improved in Batman: Return to Arkham, so it's not all bad.
You'll be able to make the comparisons for yourself starting October 18th next month for the Xbox One and PS4.