After a week-long wait, Bethesda released a beta PC patch for Dishonored 2 yesterday afternoon. It addresses a few of the game’s many issues, but is probably not going to be the fix you were hoping for.

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Dishonored 2 launched in a sorry state on PC, with lots of players (including yours truly) getting uneven performance, wild frame-rate drops, crashes, and weird mouse response, among other problems.

My own issues have left me unwilling to play the game until it works better, though of course that hasn’t stopped me from continually noodling with my settings and trying all manner of workarounds and tweaks. I have probably watched that interminable first loading screen fifty times. I’m like Charlie Brown with the football over here.

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A fair number of PC gamers are in my boat, and this week has been framed by the wait for a patch. Bethesda promised fixes late last week, saying a patch would “provide improvements to allow for more consistent framerates on affected systems and provide an update to the mouse code for smoother input.”

A 1.1 beta patch is now available on Steam; you can access it by going to the “betas” tab in the game’s properties menu. A full breakdown of what’s in the patch can be found here, along with a link to a hotfixed Nvidia driver that Bethesda says will work best with the update. (In addition to the Dishonored 2 mess, Nvidia managed to release new drivers that fucked up performance on some Pascal GPUs. It’s been a really cool week to be a PC gamer.)

Per Bethesda, the 1.1 beta patch addresses:

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  • Mouse improvements, including a fix for sensitivity being framerate dependent
  • Fixes an AMD cloth physics issue, which impacts framerates at various points in the game
  • Fixes an issue affecting CPU task priority - the game no longer switches CPU task priority

“Our work on Dishonored 2 continues,” they write. “Update 1.2 development is underway and will address a broader range of issues including performance and is estimated to be available in the next week.”

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I’ve installed the beta patch and the hotfixed drivers and have spent some time testing the game on my GTX 1080/i7 4Ghz. Mouse input is definitely smoother, and it seems that mouse sensitivity is no longer tied to frame rate. (If you need any indication of how rough this PC port was, look no further than the fact that mouse sensitivity was tied to frame rate.) My frame rate is still uncomfortably jittery, however, and the game still does this weird thing where the performance will wildly fluctuate while my character is standing still. I’ll watch the FRAPS counter tick from 45fps to 65, then begin to drop again, despite the fact that I haven’t touched my mouse or keyboard.

The game is certainly playable for me, if not smooth or pleasant. If I use Nvidia Inspector to limit the FPS to 61.8, I get a decent 60fps at 1440p in most areas. If I run, turn around quickly, or engage in combat, things get much less fluid. Combat in particular is still a floaty, jittery fiasco. I’ve also had to turn down down my settings to high or medium and turn off TXAA, which leaves me looking at some pretty fugly aliasing. It’s annoying on principle, given that the game’s not exactly a graphical show-stopper even on the highest settings.

Improvement is improvement, however, and it’s better than nothing. These results are also just what I’ve experienced: I’ve seen some people reporting that they’re getting noticeably better performance with the patch and new drivers. I’ve also seen plenty of people who’ve reported solid performance from this game from the start, so, your mileage will likely vary from mine.

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I’m hopeful that next week’s 1.2 patch improves things more substantially, though I’m skeptical that a PC port with this many problems can be fixed by a single patch or even two. All I know is that I really want to play Dishonored 2. We’ll see.