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Crysis 2's Shocking Tech Compromise: Proof

Featured post It's just hideous.

Having played Crysis 2, the latest from the former technical innovators at Crytek, I have to express that I’m not only horrified, but also shocked, at the paucity of graphical accomplishments in what should have been a groundbreaking game. It’s quite clear that massive compromises have been made in order to keep the console market happy, meaning the PC version of the game is crippled to the point where it’s literally impossible to look at without feeling physically sick. I have put together some detailed analysis of the differences between CryEngine 2 and CryEngine 3, to prove that the developers have let everyone down.

First of all, let’s take a look at the technical range.

Crysis, built in the CryEngine 2, was capable of a 32.2m pixel spread across a 12 joule range, displayed in a dynamically generated four-part volumetric resource buffer. This meant a broad spectrum resonance in the upper 40s, with significant occlusion.

However, when we perform our benchmark tests on the CryEngine 3, it registers only 32.1m pixels in the 12J, reducing the BSR to a measly 43, with almost negligible ambience.

Clearly we've rounded down here.

But it gets worse once you include the Verticle [sic] Sync Module. CryEngine 2 was praised by for its revolutionary VSM, significantly upscaling especially on NVidia chipsets. When we take a look at the CE3 VSM figures they reveal a significant drop in upscaling, and a worrying trend demonstrating an increase in downscaling.

This doesn't take into account but we believe significantly increases for the end.

So how does this translate in real terms? Well, let’s take a look at a simple in-game object, a basic crate model. In order to remain impartial we’ve selected boxes appearing in darker areas. Here’s Crysis:

A wooden model.

And here’s Crysis 2:

And a cardboard model.

At first glance the textures in Crysis 2 may look improved, with the appearance of more detail, and a slightly more realistic look. Certainly if you were only to run past them that may be the impression you’re left with. But let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on here.

Here’s the Crysis texture:

At a 45 factor.

And here’s the reality of the Crysis 2 texture:

Also at 45, but with deliberate smoothing.

As you can see there’s absolutely no comparison, the Crysis 2 “cardboard box” barely featuring a fifth of the parametric mesh generation of its predecessor, unquestionably as a result of the PS3’s weaker OpenMP.

That’s at a micro scale, but the same deficiencies appear on a macro scale. For instance, let’s take a look at a scene from near the beginning of Crysis:

The full scale retro-backlighting really shines here.

And now a scene a similar distance into Crysis 2:

Just a complete failure of occlusion.

Immediately you’ll notice not only a downturn in colour (almost 32.3% by our benchmark), but also a significant reduction in flora. It’s quite clear that the development of CryEngine 3 for the consoles has led to a devastating effect on the in-game environments, lowered ambient conditions for both AI and NPCs (inevitably as a result of the 360’s eDRAM chip), and a raise in carbon production by over 300%. With Crysis having supported DX12, and Crysis 2 not even shipping with DX11 support, it’s nothing short of a disgrace.

At the time of writing Crytek have refused to respond to any of the points made above, and it’s pretty obvious why.

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and general hero of humanity.

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