Dishonored 2 finally dropped in gamers’ – and reviewers’ – hands this past week, and while by all accounts the game itself seems to be great, it hasn’t been without its fair share of hiccups. PC gamers specifically have reported a myriad of issues, ranging from inconsistent frame pacing, low framerates on powerful hardware, stuttering and jittery audio issues. Personally I’ve not experienced a ton of the crashes and audio bugs myself, but I can say that a game running at a 90 frames-per-second clip on my screen should not feel like a game that is running at 30fps.
This is especially concerning because this is the first major new game release since Bethesda announced and enacted their information-restricting reviews policy. Using Doom as the example, Bethesda laid out their reasoning for withholding review code before launch, and according to them it wasn’t to hide poor performance. Unfortunately, in light of the issues surrounding Dishonored 2 now, it can only be assumed the publishing giant knew about the PC issues before-hand. In fact, the reason why many PC users knew about the poor PC performance before Dishonored 2 officially launched on Friday was due to Day 0 access. Pre-ordering the game, a practice that at this point should just be shunned until consumers start to see consistently well-performing titles released, allowed fans access to Dishonored 2 a day early. As a result, the people most eager to spend their hard earned money for a game they were clearly excited for were hit the hardest.
Bethesda’s support has also been unhelpful, for the most part. The company released a FAQ page on Day 0 – which should throw a red flag up right there – however users have employed those tips with varying results. The shame is that Dishonored 2 is eerily reminiscent of a title that still plagues the minds of your average PC gamer out there, in terms of fan-fare and then disappointment after release: Batman: Arkham Knight.
Batman: Arkham Knight, for those unaware, has the stigma of being one of the worst PC releases in recent memory. Plagued by a plethora of issues on the platform – not unlike the issues found with Dishonored 2 – consumers used the only real power they had: demanded refunds. Warner Bros eventually pulled the game off shelves and offered unconditional returns through the end of last year, however when they re-released the game months later it was still essentially broken. The publisher and developer admitted there were issues they were never going to be able to fix. Yet none of these issues were known before hand – in fact the game scored high and by all accounts is a phenomenal game. Same is happening with Dishonored 2.
Many outlets are praising the game, yet are completely ignoring the fact that an entire third of the game’s audience is unable to play it as intended. How these issues were allowed past quality assurance before going on sale, for real money is beyond me. Yet this doesn’t seem to be an issue with many reviewers. PC Gamer did a really great, close look as to why Dishonored 2 has the issues we’re seeing. Yet at the end of the day, until Bethesda patches the game, players are stuck with the performance they’ve been handed. And it’s a shame, as it really doesn’t help Bethesda look as though they were honest when they announced their reviews policy. This type of release plays right into their hands, especially since all of the pre-release streams and videos were not representative of the final product on one of the platforms. Unless Dishonored 2’s broken PC release affects the game’s bottom line, don’t expect a change.
If you’re looking to grab Dishonored 2 on PC, I would caution you to wait. Who knows, you might get lucky and the game runs flawlessly for you. But there are other games out there today to grab your attention till Arkane and Bethesda address the real concerns of their users. Tyranny, perhaps?
[Featured Image by Bethesda Software]