As most will know, Crysis has a habit of being one of the best-looking games out there, quite literally making even the hardiest of gaming PCs break into a sweat, that said Crytek pulled off the unthinkable: Crysis 2 runs in 3D on PC
Four years after its initial release, meme-creating "But will it run Crysis?" still has the power to bring bleeding-edge gaming PCs to their knees, crying. So how has Crytek managed to get Crysis 2 running in 3D on a six year old Xbox 360?
When PC gamers heard that Crytek was using the Xbox 360 as the development platform for Crysis 2 , they sneered. PCs have much more next-gen graphical powers to harness so we all assumed Crysis 2 wouldn't look anywhere near as good in full HD 3D glory as the first game.
Whatever magic ingredients the Crytek team added, they have pulled off the blinding trick of making Crysis 2 look just as good as the first. It is also much less taxing on the average PC - even in 3D - so you don't need a £1000 gaming system to run it and it harnesses the power of the PC over its console minions.
Crysis 2 3D: Technology
We used NVIDIA’S 3D active shutter specs (£100) with a 3D VISION compatible Acer GD245HQ flat panel (approx £290) running at 120Hz. We also went in to the third dimension on an Intel Core 2 Extreme X9650 at 3GHz, 8GB of memory and 2x768MB GeForce 8800 Ultra’s.
While that is a powerful PC, it was perhaps excessive. The legacy of being ported from a Xbox 360 title means there are far fewer settings you can tweak. You can only choose three basic system settings, resolution and vertical sync on, which eliminates jagged edges when you're playing but takes a hit on system resources. We racked the settings to extreme with vertical sync on and ran at full HD with no performance lag at all, getting 38fps for steady gaming.
Crysis 2 3D: 3D performance
Even more impressive is switching to 3D. Crytek said it tweaked the engine so well that there is hardly a dip in performance - that's despite effectively running Crysis 2 twice simultaneously to achieve the 3D effect. We found little performance dip at all on our test system with Crysis 2 only dropping a few frame rates.
Quite how Crysis 2 only qualifies for "fair" in NVIDIA’S 3D VISION READY rating is a surprise. For a triple A action title it's not as show-boaty in the third dimension as Call of Duty: Black Ops; the effects are much more subtle buts still provide an excellent immersive experience in 3D.
Granted, most of the noticeable 3D effects are in the foreground and middle ground on the guns and HUD. The background is much more subtle, but with so much techno eye candy to behold, it really makes a great difference. We were impressed there was no ghosting at all on brightly lit sources and water reflections, so the game maintained a sense of immersion.
What the PC fanbois get over an above the console fraggerati is the ability to run 3D at full HD. The console versions run a lower resolutions, which never looks as good as gaming Sat 1080p HD. You also get a more seamless gaming experience with better graphics and, of course, an infinitely better gaming set up with mouse and keyboard. Oh, and it's £10.00 cheaper on PC.
Crysis 2 3D: Verdict
Despite running like a dream in 3D on a PC there are some minor quibbles. We tried the Creative SoundBlaster Tactic 3D Sigma headphones (£79.99) and were disappointed with 3D audio. The effect sounds quite digitised on the headphones and the different audio keep cutting in and out. That might be something Crytek can resolve with a patch in the future.
You couldn't had a wee bit more 3D bang for your buck but what it does deliver in the third dimension, Crysis 2 manages beautifully without the need for an expensive gaming PC to run.
Crysis 2 3D price: £29.99, link EA
Crysis 2 3D launch date: Out now