Crysis Remastered on Switch - Digital Foundry Tech Review

Vyse

Extreme Poster
Mar 27, 2006
26,804
361
83
#1

Can it run Crysis? It's been 13 years since Crytek's epoch-making release hit the market - and in some respects it's still capable of monstering modern day PC hardware. But now, the game is playable on a handheld console using a mobile processor with power consumption that barely troubles a watt meter. So just how good is the port? How does it compare to the sub-optimal last-gen versions and can it possibly match up to the original experience?

Much has been made of the leaked material for Crysis Remastered - with negative fan reaction causing Crytek to hold the game back for further tooling. However, the Switch version arrives on the original July 23rd release date and just from the first ten minutes of play, it's easy to see why. Based on the code available, and the sheer complexity of Crysis' systems, it's difficult to imagine a port that's anything better than what has been delivered here. It's not without its faults, but Crysis has been expertly retooled to scale graphically to the console hybrid - and it pushes Switch's ARM Cortex A57s to breaking point. It's a remarkable, fascinating port, but not without issues and strictly speaking not complete - the Ascension mission that's missing from the PS3 and Xbox 360 ports is still MIA here.

Let's start with the basics in taking a look at what Crytek and developer partner Saber Interactive has delivered. On Switch, Crysis Remastered uses dynamic resolution with temporal upscaling. Pixel counts suggest that 720p is the average resolution you'll experience during gameplay. In busy situations I counted resolutions such as 540p and even lower but this isn't especially common especially in docked mode. The resolution is capped at 720p in portable, of course, but can also jump slightly above this when docked. Based on information from the developer, the full dynamic resolution scaling range is 540p to 900p while docked, dropping to 400p to 720p in mobile configuration, where Crytek leans into the 460MHz 'power' GPU mode (up from the typical 384MHz used in most Switch games). The main takeaway is that image quality isn't bad - it's not pristine, but it's significantly better than the heavily blurred presentations seen in the likes of the id Tech 6 ports, The Witcher 3 and Warframe.

There are some noticeable omissions to the visual feature set (this is essentially a mobile port after all) - there's a reduction in geometry on elements like the nanosuit, an elimination of ray-marched volumetric light sources and parallax occlusion mapping, but there are dramatic upgrades too. We understand that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 CryEngine 3 ports are the foundation on which Crysis Remastered is based, but side-by-side, it's clear that the Switch version looks significantly better in some respects. The first major shift stems from lighting: on the surface there are tweaks made to the time of day compared to the original game, along with the introduction of image-based lighting which helps with material quality - especially indirectly lit metals and plastics. However, the most significant and surprising addition here is sparse voxel-based global illumination, also known as SVOGI.

Essentially, global illumination is typically precalculated or 'baked' on most games. Instead, SVOGI delivers a real-time global illumination system that offers both ambient occlusion and indirect light bounce, delivering a standard of realism that easily eclipses the last-gen ports and indeed the lighting found in the PC original. It's surprising to see this on Switch but as I understand it, SVOGI is highly scalable. According to the team responsible for its conversion, this implementation of the systems runs at a very low resolution on Switch but the primary optimisation work centered around optimising data formats to reduce size, limiting the distance rays can be traced into the octree and using smaller kernels. Naturally, this reduces precision which can lead to more visible light leakage and light rippling in some cases but it still works surprisingly well. Presumably, the PC and other console releases will use higher precision.

This is perhaps the most significant improvement - it's Crytek making good on its promise to bring high-end CryEngine features from the latest iteration of the engine back into Crysis and it's fully armed and operational on Switch - even in handheld play. Beyond that, the rest of the lighting sees more subtle adjustments. Time of day tweaks can be seen in missions such as Assault where the sun rises much earlier on Switch than it does on PC. In general, most changes seem designed to create a more dramatic looking game - similar to many of the mods available for the original PC version. More importantly, the new lighting model more closely resembles that original PC version which cannot be said of the PlayStation 3 and 360 release. That version relies too heavily on strong bloom and blue-tinged colour grading. Throughout, it's a cold, harsh looking game that strays too far from the original for my tastes. Crysis Remastered is a huge improvement in that sense and the more immersive, naturally lit environment really pops.
Read more: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2020-crysis-remastered-switch-tech-review
 

Fijiandoce

Administrator
Staff member
Oct 8, 2007
6,767
400
83
#2
A little disappointing that this isn't a bigger conversion, however, i think it's kinda telling that the OG was a game of it's time; A title that brute forced a lot of its systems. This shows in the fact that when the systems are properly designed, you can get crysis to run on even the switch.

Looking forward to the PC release if this is what was accomplished with the Switch. I hope they switch back to the OG meshes tho. The console ports have some blockiness that the PS2 would be proud of.
 
Likes: Vyse

NoUseMercenary

Newbie
Staff member
Sep 17, 2005
6,338
451
83
#3
@Vyse - I'm surprised this game can even run on the Switch. Lol. I'll probably get it for PC though. I really enjoyed the original Crysis. Moreso, than the other two sequels.