Crysis Remastered - technical review of the PC version

Crysis Remastered - technical review of the PC version
At Digital Foundry we are in love with Crysis and we have never made a secret of it, in fact the announcement of the remaster was in fact a highlight of the current year. The delays to its launch, however, were signs that not everything was going according to plan, but hopes remained high, especially when Saber Interactive made an excellent port of the game for Switch. Now the game has finally arrived on PC and consoles and our faith in this iconic title can be tested. Crysis Remastered has some potential and some excellent technologies, but the fact is that technical decisions have undermined the final quality of the product. This especially on PC, a really disappointing version of the remaster.

We will talk about the console versions in a separate article, mainly because we have been informed that a patch for Xbox One and Xbox One X will fix the main problems we have in the game such as mentioned on launch day. Having seen a pre-release version for Xbox One X run better than the final one, we feel there is room for further optimization. With the PC version, we experience a real inner conflict. On the one hand the game pushes the technical limits in several ways, but on the other hand it is evident that it is based on the CryEngine 3 version of 2011 for the old Xbox360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. If these artistic compromises can be questionable, unfortunately they are 'is also the heavy limit of single-trread support alone: ​​this implies that no matter how many cores you have on the processor, it's impossible to run the game at 60fps even with a Core i9 10900K, which is the fastest processor on the market.

Let's start with the positive sides though. The SVOGI (Sparse voxel octree global illumination) technique of the latest CryEngine version is included in the PC build. This technique essentially works as a software simulation of ray tracing to render scattered light bouncing off surfaces, dramatically increasing the quality of the lights in each scene. Overall, SVOGI has a huge impact on visual quality, and to realize this you just need to enable or disable the relevant entry in the options. The difference between real-time global illumination (GI) and a system based on ambient occlusion and color probe is glaring, so this is one of the glaring improvements to the game.

This content is hosted on an external platform , which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings The technical review of Crysis Remastered Digital Foundry in PC version. Console reviews will follow later, waiting for the next patch.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel SVOGI's approach to diffuse lighting is stunning, but Crysis Remastered also adds ray traced reflections. There are options to either manage them via software or accelerate them with hardware, so you don't need an RTX graphics card. The novelty is that we actually have RT hardware acceleration on a DX11 game, something never seen before. Crytek has achieved this by putting his hand to the API, interfacing Vulkan with the ray tracing functions. This allows an RTX 3080 to speed up the calculations by 40%. The result is very interesting since it is obtained without rewriting the entire engine for the new Vulkan or DX12 libraries, even more so if we consider the complexity of memory management for these operations. The only problem is that using RT reflexes results in a 500ms lag as a side effect, so we don't recommend enabling the option until Crytek has patched the problem.

The other big milestone The technical feature offered by the PC version is the addition of 8K textures to many models of the game, of which the Nanosuit is the most evident with the details that stand out like never before. The treatment is applied to other environmental textures such as sand, along with parallax occlusion mapping, a technique whereby each shadow affects their respective screen-space reflections (a technical feature present in the original Crysis and that few games have used since). Screen-space shadows now make a difference by better connecting small elements like leaves and twigs to the ground. A noticeable improvement over the 2007 original.

The latest major technical upgrade is evident in depth of field and post-processing. The basic Gaussian depth of field from the original game is replaced with CryEngine's bokeh, which makes the weapon edit menu shine. Also, thanks to the most modern bloom and flare systems some aliens seem to be on another level. It also greatly increases the render distance: Crysis 2007's high preset is equivalent to the medium of Crysis Remastered. The same applies, but with less emphasis, to shadow rendering distance and vegetation.

This content is hosted on an external platform, which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings Crysis Remastered obviously has problems on PC, Xbox One and PS4, but the Switch version is excellent.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel A preset very high, Crysis Remastered drastically increases the render distance of all objects. At the "Ci Gira Crysis" preset, which is the remaster's maximum preset, all effects have the maximum number of polygons and textures regardless of distance, ditto for shadows, greenery and screen-space shadows. Furthermore, the resolution of shadow maps doubles. Everything becomes so incredibly more detailed than the original game, to a truly exaggerated level.

The game's art direction has changed in the remastered, and in our opinion not for the better in some ways. Some aspects look much better, like SVOGI lighting for example, along with ray traced reflections and material physics. But we recommend watching the video comparison with the PS360 ports you find on this page, which highlights the changes made in those ports that remain in this remastered version, making the game look much worse than the original PC. There would be so much to say in detail about the various elements, but the truth is that basing the remaster on the 2011 console ports was definitely a bad idea, as Crytek was forced to re-insert a lot of the features of the original 2007 PC into the port. , but despite everything there are too many missing elements. The idea that Crysis Remastered imposes debt from last-gen console releases is downright annoying.

The foundations of the PS360 versions also involve other areas of the game, such as the occasional low frame-rate animations that feature vegetation, or the fact that exploding grenades no longer cause the shockwave on the vegetation, but not only. Bushes and physics-governed objects are also grouped together in a simplified way instead of being single elements that move on their own. The shading is worse, and the clouds are simplified too: 2007's Crysis PC sometimes used volumetric clouds with filtering rays, but this has been simplified in the remaster, which now uses the lower alpha transparencies. The fact is, it's not entirely appropriate that a remaster of a classic PC game has so many inferior aspects to the original game. We hoped that the modder community could help in this regard, but at the moment there is no editor included in Crysis Remastered, although Crytek does not rule out it may include it in the future. What will never be added is the Ascension level, and not for performance reasons. Crytek just didn't like it. Although we miss it, with its gorgeous cut-scenes.

The CPU is the biggest problem in Crysis Remastered. Choosing won't be easy, but let's start here. The final part of this review is dedicated to the most disappointing aspect of all, which is performance. Original Crysis still struggles on modern PCs today due to the single-threaded nature of the code. In essence, it only uses two cores, with one of them taking care of practically everything. The reality is that it is impossible to achieve 60fps due to the enormous render distance. And even if you have a lightning-fast CPU, like the Intel Core i9 10900K, 2007's Crysis at very high presets can drop to a frame-rate between 30 and 40fps. That's why a remaster was so eagerly awaited, to be able to play this masterpiece at 60fps, without bottlenecks or lag.

The most absurd thing is that, despite the improvements, Crysis Remastered is still CPU limited in object rendering , and still relies too much on single-threaded performance. Multi-thread optimization is certainly improved over 2007's Crysis and AI activation doesn't impact frame-rate as badly as it did in the past, but this remaster doesn't have optimal optimization for modern multi-core processors. The CPU bottleneck already emerges at the high preset, which intensifies shadows and greenery over the original, as the same scenes run at half the frame-rate of the medium preset. The disheartening truth is that even with the Core i9 10900K and trying to optimize the settings, we can't get the locked 60fps. The ironic thing is that Crysis 3, released in 2013, uses all 20 threads of the 10900K, while the Crysis remaster does not.

With that in mind, finding the optimal settings is a problematic practice. Measuring the impact of various graphics settings on the GPU becomes impossible when there is constant CPU bottleneck. And we can prove it with a feature built into Crysis Remastered, which offers the interesting possibility of creating your own benchmark. We then created a time demo starting from the city of mission two, and we uncovered some disturbing backstories. For one thing, the Core i9 10900K is unable to process ultra-high render distances for greenery, shadows, and objects - you'll get frame-rates below 60fps, and even more stuttering for bad frame-pacing comes into play. And this happens without enabling software-accelerated ray tracing, which impacts a good 10% on performance. Tests with a Ryzen 3900X showed that single-tread performance reigns with Crysis Remastered, as the game doesn't run well on AMD processors. If Intel has problems, let alone AMD, notoriously behind on IPC.

This content is hosted on an external platform, which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings Yes, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X can manage ray tracing in Crysis Remastered, but when you activate the game it starts lagging. And HDR gets buggy when you activate it alongside RT on Xbox One.

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Further testing showed that increasing the resolution in Crysis Remastered negatively affects the CPU load by further reducing the frame-rate. This is very strange because usually increasing the resolution only impacts the GPU that has to render more pixels, but Crysis Remastered probably automatically selects the LODs based on the resolution, so increasing it also increases the LODs that strain the CPU. This also happened in the original game. Basically, we recorded a 13% performance loss going from 720p to 1080p, peaking 20% ​​in the heavier scenes.

In conclusion, it is virtually impossible to find optimal values ​​for this game due to CPU bottleneck and how this grows as resolution increases. We recommend looking at the screenshots on this page, which try to find a balance between graphics fidelity and performance, but unfortunately the locked 60fps is impossible.

Ultimately, we're dumbfounded about Crysis Remastered. We believe that some brilliant technologies have been added, first of all SVOGI and ray traced reflections, but the flaws related to the original code brutally limit the performance even with modern CPUs. The idea of ​​not being able to run a remaster of a 2007 game on the most powerful CPU on the market at 60fps is absurd. This is a game that shouldn't have been released in this sorry state.



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