After I beat the amazing game HL2 that everyone here told be to get, I downloaded Dark Messiah. It was already on my list of game but not installed on steam, because I used to play it w/o steam. w/o steam I was getting 80 to 90 fps now with steam I'm getting 25 to 11 fps. I'm using the advised settings that they recommend even when I put everything on low I still get very low FPS. IMO it has to be the steam servers, but Stranger talked me into getting that awesome game HL2 and I enjoyed ever minute of it. I played it with max settings and never dropped below 55 fps..
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did you run the same settings before you used steam? it could be an update missing or a new one installed aswell. Also i realized lately that (i have a 8800gts) nTune was running on Multiple display mode which was giving me half of my usual fps, make sure you don't have any programs running that would over ride the games settings.
You don't HAVE to contact to STEAM right? You can play offline aswell aslong as Steam is running in the background, atleast for Half-life 2. I am assuming you mean single-player, otherwise, forget what I just said