“Will it run Crysis?” That was the battle cry of benchmarking nerds a couple years back. When Crysis came out, its system requirements made PCs quake. In fact, I remember wanting to play it on a humble home machine and all the hurdles I had to jump. I’m talking dialing down all the settings and running Crysis in a window at around 800 by 600 pixel resolution. That machine scored in the “4”s on the Windows Experience Index (back then, “5” was top-of-the-line). Today, its sequel launches. On consoles. With 3DTV support. Oh, yeah, and it is on PCs, as well. Curious how the new game will run on your hardware? Me too.
So, with all that in mind, I went out and grabbed copies of the game for comparison. And research. Yeah, that’s it. Research.
Let’s get this one out of the way, early. The Envy 17 3D will run Crysis just fine. That’s the no-brainer and the labs guys have confirmed it works great. “But will it run the game in 3D?” I asked. Yep. (Thanks, ByTor!). I didn't have the machine on-hand at first, but I can now say with authority, that it can deliver in 3D. If you use the "Generic DDD" setting and adjust to your liking, it should work just fine.
First thing I noticed when I installed the game on a well-apportioned (Core i7, 8GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4830 graphics chip) year-old game-ready laptop….well, I’ll be honest. I was anxious and jumped right into a game. It looks good and runs buttery smooth on my setup. Roughly 37 frames per second in my test (at 1280x768 resolution).
When I finally decided to take a break from the action, I jumped into the options menu to see how I could tweak the settings and performance. That’s when I notice that there are….almost none to adjust. The only real things to change are the resolution and the general settings – and by general settings, you can only choose from “High,” “Very High” and “Extreme.” Hey, I know we live in this “bigger, better, faster, more” culture, but did we just supersize ourselves past the basics? What the heck happened to the ‘Low’ and ‘Medium’ options? Well, there’s a little more work involved if you want to tweak performance. You’re going to need to dig into command-line options to toggle more features on and off. (I have a quick “How To Tweak Crysis 2” section at the end of the story.)
Beyond running well on a machine that I’d expect to run games well, I decided to try and throw at least one curveball at Crysis 2. I happened to have a slimline desktop, the s5660f, for testing right now. Bear in mind that this is a general purpose machine through and through. It’s something you might get as a media center machine. Or get your parents to handle email, stream Netflix….you get the idea. Selling in the ballpark of 800 bucks, it’s great for handling everyday tasks, but games? The version I had has a little bit of juice to it (6GB RAM, AMD Phenom II X4 840T, ATI Radeon HD 5450) so I figured, “What the heck?”
The above footage I captured of Crysis 2 runs at 1024 by 768 with the standard “high” settings and I was getting around 20 frames per second. Not really ideal, but that is a huge improvement over the engine in the original game. And when you start adjusting some of the command lines tweaks (see below in the Tweaking How-To) and this can work even better.
I’m also curious to see how well the game will run on the AMD Fusion-powered Pavilion dm1. During CES, I threw a couple games at it, and would be curious if you really could get Crysis running on an ultraportable. Unfortunately, there are no dm1s currently in the office. When I do spot one, I’ll update the story.
Are you having a crisis running Crysis? Questions? Thoughts? Let’s have em in the comment box below. And, as I said up top, I’ll make sure to update this story once I get to run a couple more tests.
(Oh, and btw, the first achievement you unlock in Crysis 2: “Can it play Crysis?” Well played, Crytek. Well played.)
Now, onto the really nerdy stuff...
HOW TO TWEAK CRYSIS 2
Quick Aside / DISCLAIMER: Command line is basically launching a program with a couple extra sets of instructions. Don’t mess with this unless you’re comfortable tweaking settings. You cool? OK, in this case, locate where the shortcut is for Crysis 2 on your computer, right click and select Properties. The target location, after a quick tweak would read something like this….
In the above example, I’m turning off glowy bits and motion blur while I’m launching the game (In binary 1 = on, 0 = off). Also, you can drop these commands inside of the config file for the game (it sits in the same directory as the “exe” file). I’m not going to drill too deep into it right here – unless you guys want me to – but here is a list of the commands that I snagged while trolling through the Notebook Review Forums. You ask me, it's a little silly that we have to go to this level to adjust sliders that could just as easily have been put into an advanced menu in the game.
sys_spec_gameeffects = 1/2/3 -> Changes Game Effects such as body-related stuff like when they disappear sys_spec_objectdetail = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality of the detail of the objects sys_spec_particles = 1/2/3 -> Chnages the quality of the particles sys_spec_physics = 1/2/3 -> Changes how you interact with the world ( higher is more CPU-intensive ) sys_spec_postprocessing = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality and amount of post processing used sys_spec_shading = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality of the shaders sys_spec_shadows = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality of the shadows sys_spec_sound = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality if the sound sys_spec_texture = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality of textures sys_spec_water = 1/2/3 -> Changes the quality of the water +cl_crouchToggle=0/1 -> Disables/Enables crouch toggle +cl_zoomToggle=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Zoom toggle +i_mouse_accel=0 /1 -> Disables/Enables mouse acceleration +g_skipIntro=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Intro Skipping +cl_fov=x -> Enter your desired value for the Field of View +r_DrawNearFoV=x -> Enter your desired value for the Field of View of nearby objects +pl_movement.power_sprint_targetFov=x -> Enter your desired value for the Field of View while sprinting +r_motionblur=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Motion Blur +g_radialBlur=0/1 -> Disables/Enables the Radial Blur, which gives you the effect of speed +r_Flares=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Flare effects around certain dynamic lights +r_Glow=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Bloom effects +r_HDRRendering=0/1 -> Disables/Enables HDR Rendering +r_SSAO=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Screen Space Ambient Occlusion +q_ShaderHDR=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Shader HDR effects +r_ColorGrading=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Color Grading +r_MultiGPU=0/1 -> Disables/Enables SLI/CrossFireX +r_MultiThreaded=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Multi-thread support +g_useHitSoundFeedback=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Sound feedback of a hit +e_shadows=0/1 -> Disables/Enables shadows +r_FSAA=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Full-scene Anti-Aliasing +r_UseEdgeAA=0/1 -> Disables/Enables Edge Anti-Aliasing +r_TexMaxAnisotropy=1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16 -> Select the desired value for Anisotropic Filtering ( from 1x to 16x ) +d3d9_TextureFilter=bilinear/trilinear -> Chooses between bilinear and trilinear texture filtering +cl_sensitivity=x -> Enter your desired value for mouse sensivity