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Crysis 2 Goes Direct X 11: The Ultra Upgrade, Benchmarked

Crysis 2 Goes Direct X 11: The Ultra Upgrade, Benchmarked
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It’s here, it’s free, and it’s gorgeous. Crytek provides the DirectX 11 patch for which we've all waited, and we put it to the test to see just what it takes to run Crysis 2 at maximum fidelity. If you've been holding out, now's the time for Crysis 2.

The discerning PC community was not amused when it became clear that the sequel to Crysis would arrive based on an older DirectX specification than its predecessor. This detraction was a real shame because Crysis 2 is probably a better game than the original, and the negative focus on the API often overshadowed its superlative visuals and solid core game play.

A DirectX 11 patch was rumored from the start, though. And despite whispers that it would never see the light of day, the DirectX 11 Ultra Upgrade arrived on June 27th, 2011. This is no quick patch job: it doesn't come as a surprise that Crytek takes bleeding-edge graphics very seriously. The upgrade affects Crysis more than any other DirectX 11 patch we’ve previously seen in a shipping game.

As if that weren’t enough, Crytek added effects to the DirectX 9 code path and released a high-definition texture pack that doubles the resolution of many art assets. It goes without saying that all of this new, free eye candy demands investigation. At Tom’s Hardware, we consider it our duty to take a thorough look and let you know what the update is all about. Though late, is this new stuff worth playing the game over again if you've already beaten it? Is it now worth buying if you've held off?

Installation

Before we dig in, there are a few caveats and limitations, so listen up. There are actually three patches that need to be applied for all of the visual goodies to work: the Crysis 2 v1.9 patch, the Crysis 2 DirectX 11 patch, and the Crysis 2 High-Resolution Texture Pack.

Both the DirectX 11 patch and High-Resolution Texture Pack require the Crysis 2 v1.9 patch to be pre-installed first. However, these options don't require each other. You can run DirectX 11 mode without the High-Resolution Texture Pack, and you can run the High-Resolution Texture Pack in DirectX 9 mode, without DirectX 11.

Step 1: The Crysis 2 v1.9 patch (136 MB)
The Crysis 2 v1.9 patch doesn’t bring DirectX 11 to the game itself, but it is a prerequisite for the DirectX 11 patch and High-Resolution Texture Pack. Having said that, this patch does offer users with DirectX 10 or older graphics hardware access to a new, higher graphical level of detail: the Ultra setting. Of course, this option is more challenging for PC hardware compared to the Gamer, Enthusiast, and Extreme toggles to which we were previously limited.

Step 2: The Crysis 2 DirectX 11 patch (545 MB, Download Here)
This is the patch that enables DirectX 11 effects in Crysis 2. Note that DirectX 11 support does not require the High-Resolution Texture Pack. What you should also know is that this patch wreaks havoc on 3D Vision support in our testing, making the in-game menus unreadable and introducing a number of visual anomalies with Nvidia’s stereoscopic technology. The Nvidia representative we talked to claimed that this shouldn't be the case, but we experienced the same issue on two different machines with both AMD and Intel CPUs and with different GeForce graphics cards. That's a real disappointment because, without this patch, Crysis 2 is hands-down the most beautiful, engrossing, and picture-perfect 3D experience on the PC.

(Update: We just had the chance to test with Nvidia's GeForce 275.50 beta driver, which works with 3D Vision and DirectX 11 together. So now you can enjoy Crysis 2 on the PC in a way you simply can't replicate on a console.)

The bottom line here is that folks who play Crysis 2 with 3D Vision should know that installing the DirectX 11 patch might cause problems. Keep in mind that 3D Vision works fine for us with the v1.9 patch and High-Resolution Texture Pack. Frankly, the impressiveness of Crysis 2’s stereo implementation is far more immersive than the DirectX 11 enhancements.

Step 3: The Crysis 2 High-Resolution Texture Pack (1.65 GB, Download Here)
The High-Resolution Texture Pack doubles the fidelity of many of the game’s art assets. This requires a 64-bit Windows operating system and a graphics card with at least 768 MB of RAM (although Crytek suggests that a full gigabyte is ideal). Since most mainstream graphics cards today have a gigabyte of RAM, this shouldn’t be a problem for most gamers.

Now that you have an idea what the packages do and how to install them, let’s go over the new features and see what they introduce to the game.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2011 4:25 AM
    >.> the graphics card I bought a month ago is officialy outdated imo.
  • 16 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , July 12, 2011 6:55 AM
    the reason i tell people to get a 6850 minimum even for lower res...games like this. Toms, how do 6 core phenom2's scale?? does it see improvement over 4 cores?
  • 13 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 12, 2011 4:25 AM
    Awesome, I've been waiting for Tom's to bench the DX11 patch. Thanks for the benchmarks.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2011 4:24 AM
    O.O
  • 26 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2011 4:25 AM
    >.> the graphics card I bought a month ago is officialy outdated imo.
  • 13 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 12, 2011 4:25 AM
    Awesome, I've been waiting for Tom's to bench the DX11 patch. Thanks for the benchmarks.
  • 6 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 12, 2011 4:33 AM
    bear95>.> the graphics card I bought a month ago is officialy outdated imo.

    What graphics card did you buy a month ago?
  • 4 Hide
    bebangs , July 12, 2011 4:43 AM
    Is your monster rig is bored? Can't find any other games to play with your rig? Get this patch.

  • 2 Hide
    coldtortilla , July 12, 2011 4:51 AM
    wow now I am really ashamed of buying a core i3 for my budget gaming pc, hopefully it won't be that bad considering that the game favors intel architecture.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2011 4:59 AM
    Always when you overclock a amd system, the CPU_NB (northbridge ) is so or more important then clock itself. Just raise the multiplier and no cpu_NB over makes no sense at all!!! The performance boost its significative!!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2011 5:17 AM
    And the game play still is average or below. When people say they want gameplay over graphics and then push Crysis 2 you know that is not the truth.
  • 7 Hide
    Taylor422 , July 12, 2011 5:19 AM
    I would've liked to see how a single GTX 580 held out. There were single and double 570s, but only double 580s. Otherwise, good article. It looks like Metro 2033 has been knocked off as the benchmark standard.
  • 2 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , July 12, 2011 5:45 AM
    So a $109 dollar Phenom II X4 945 CPU can play Crysis 2 just fine as long as you have a Highend GPU. Well I got one of the two now I need an Nvidia Geforce GTX 570 Time to retire my ATI Radeon 4770 and sell it on ebay.
  • -3 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 12, 2011 5:59 AM
    SteelCity1981So a $109 dollar Phenom II X4 945 CPU can play Crysis 2 just fine as long as you have a Highend GPU. Well I got one of the two now I need an Nvidia Geforce GTX 570 Time to retire my ATI Radeon 4770 and sell it on ebay.

    That processor will definitely bottleneck a GTX570 (at lower resolutions the performance hit seems quite severe), although yes, you'll probably still be able to achieve playable frame rates at anything but maxed out settings.
  • 5 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , July 12, 2011 6:06 AM
    dragonsqrrlThat processor will definitely bottleneck a GTX570 (at lower resolutions the performance hit seems quite severe), although yes, you'll probably still be able to achieve playable frame rates at anything but maxed out settings.



    Doesn't look that way seems like the Phenom II X4 945 @ 3gz paired with a Geforce GTX 570 on highest details on a 1280x 1024 with 45fps seems to be pretty playable.
  • 3 Hide
    wintermint , July 12, 2011 6:09 AM
    Don't wanna be nitpicky on typos but for your test setup.. you mentioned "OCZ PC3-16000" :p 
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 12, 2011 6:11 AM
    SteelCity1981Doesn't look that way seems like the Phenom II X4 945 @ 3gz paired with a Geforce GTX 570 on highest details on a 1280x 1024 with 45fps seems to be pretty playable.

    Sorry, I just assumed that since you were going for a GTX570, you'd be running it at higher resolutions.
  • -1 Hide
    flyboy86 , July 12, 2011 6:16 AM
    Wish they would have included the 5770 in crossfire.
  • 3 Hide
    kurahk7 , July 12, 2011 6:25 AM
    It says "1920x1800" instead on 1920x1080 on the Dx11 page.
  • -3 Hide
    crisan_tiberiu , July 12, 2011 6:25 AM
    i have a GTX 460 1 GB, and yes, the benchamrk what Toms did its accurate. Maxed out on 1080p i have 20 -21 FPS. Core i7 2600k its bottlenecked by the GTX 460. I buyed the card last december.. so i dont wanna upgrde yet :(  or i should? oO
  • 16 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , July 12, 2011 6:55 AM
    the reason i tell people to get a 6850 minimum even for lower res...games like this. Toms, how do 6 core phenom2's scale?? does it see improvement over 4 cores?
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