Remasters aren’t as easy as pushing a button, making a game from scratch on a different engine with different assets – even if the team is barely adding new content – is definitely tiresome work, that being said however, a bad remaster begs the question of why is the game even being remastered in the first place, when the game’s experience could be even worse than the original version. Batman: Return to Arkham had fans worried since the first trailer came out and it seemed like some of the models had significant issues that they didn’t have on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. And recent reports after the remaster’s release show that indeed, the collection is arguably worse than the versions of the game released on the last generation.
According to Digital Foundry, the remastered versions of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City have “inconsistent performance” and “neither game feels 100% smooth to play”, citing issues from a dynamic resolution that can go as low as 1024×1080 on the Xbox One, to erratic framerates (there´s no 30 frames per second lock or 60 frames per second lock, it varies constantly) and the fact that some of the new models lack detail. Compare this to the Xbox 360 and PLayStation 3 versions, those might have been stuck with a resolution of 720p, but the environment and characters look all rather well, and it also runs at a stable locked framerate of 30 frames per second. Why did Warner Brothers decide to remaster the games instead of just porting the PC version is really unknown, it seems weird to put effort on a product but at the same time release it in such a sorry state.
The most disappointing part about the Return to Arkham debacle is that, on essence, the Arkham games are of excellent quality, I may not enjoy Arkham City as much as Arkham Asylum, but I can’t deny the quality of both of them. Both have a well written story, satisfying gameplay, and they fit perfectly with the Batman Universe. So watching Warner Brothers mess up an opportunity to help the games stand the test of time is quite upsetting.