Until yesterday, I'd never seen Crysis 2 on PS3, but I had reasons to be optimistic. After all, the PS3 has a stable of visually stunning first party titles like Killzone 3 and Uncharted 2.Some third-party developers have nailed the system's hardware down too, and EA is right at the forefront of that with games like Dead Space 2 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
I've been worried though. It's unusual to go so long and so close to a game's release date without seeing every version, and I've been told several times to expect the PS3 version. But it never emerged. This week at the Game Developers Conference we were made a final promise to see the PS3 version of Crysis 2 after the announcement of its multiplayer beta on the system launching March 15th, and I spent about half an hour with Crysis 2's multiplayer on the system.
The verdict? Not so great, unfortunately. The performance of the PS3 version is pretty underwhelming. The framerate is frequently low and choppy. There are jagged lines everywhere, and shadows are especially messy. There's a muddiness to the graphics that's hard to stomach in the wake of the PS3's other flagship showpieces, and worse, the variable framerate really hurts controller response.
Our videos don't present this well because of the realities of HD video capture, but more than one IGN editor confirmed similar thoughts to me after seeing Crysis 2 running on the PS3. That isn't to say it's all bad. Crysis 2's global illumination system still provides some breathtaking lighting effects, from god rays filtering around standing objects to some great transitions from indoors to outside as your eyes adjust to the change. The sound is still excellent, with great gunfire and ubiquitous audio cues that you'll need to pay attention to if you want to keep an edge online.
Crysis 2 isn't finished yet. This build could be a few weeks to a few months old, and optimization is often rapid and pronounced toward the end of a game's development period. That said, my time with the PS3 version was sandwiched between the multiplayer demo on PC which, despite its own issues, understandably smokes its console cousins, and a re-released multiplayer demo on the Xbox 360, which I spent some more time with last night. My previous complaints about that version's iffy controller response have been mostly addressed, and visually, it's clearly outperforming the PS3 version. Everything is clearer and sharper, and the framerate is solid. Most importantly, it just feels better than its PS3 counterpart from a play perspective.
PS3 players will be able to come to their own conclusions when the Crysis 2 multiplayer demo launched on PS3 on March 15th, a week before the game releases on PS3.