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Why Crysis 2 is the best-looking game on 360 (and PS3)

Opinion: Ryan King has been blown away by EA's shooter...

Crysis 2 is the best looking game on console. Boom.

There's your takeaway statement. There's your excuse to scurry for the comments section foaming at the mouth, dismiss this article as the ranting of as a clueless moron who doesn't know what he's talking about or read on in interest. Perhaps even all three.

But however you react, Crysis 2 is what it is. It's the best looking game on console. Or rather, the best looking game on 360.

"What about PlayStation 3?" you cry, waving a DualShock3 in disgust. Blame Crytek for that one.

When we attend the Crysis 2 world premiere in New York earlier this week, it's obvious from the Crytek turnout that they know that you know Crytek can make great looking PC games (see Crysis 1).

The only question mark hangs over the studio's ability to take advantage of CryEngine 3 on console. That means choosing between showing gameplay on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. They opt for 360.

There is no real reason for choosing Microsoft's console to showcase its baby, Crytek explains to flustered journalists at the reveal. They just had to pick a side and figured they'd run with Xbox 360.

They shrug off the decision with a casual indifference that suggests they aren't quite aware how hot the frontlines are in the console war, having come from the solidarity world of PC.

It's worth nothing that Crytek's reps take time out of their Crysis 2 presentation to focus on CryEngine3 and all the fancy new stuff it can do. It's during this demonstration that we catch the briefest of glimpses of Crysis 2 on 360 and PlayStation 3 running side by side. Deep breath. Ready? Both versions look exactly the same. And relax.

Crytek shows off the interior of a building and how the shading changes during the day/night cycle - and there's nothing to pick between the two versions. It's the only side-by-side comparison during the event and the only time Crytek drops its guard to show the PlayStation 3 version.

CryEngine3 demo over, we're then shown a pre-rendered trailer, met with polite and curious applause from the room full of journalists rather than whooping or hollering.

Anyone could put together a pre-rendered trailer, after all, and that's not the reason journalists travelled across the globe to see what Crytek could do. The real test comes when the gameplay footage was shown, which is next on the list. When it lands, you can hear jaws hit the floor in sync with the big moments of the demonstration.

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Crytek decides to run through a hefty chunk of gameplay in real-time to prove that what we are witnessing isn't an elaborate smoke and mirrors act.

As with most real-time demonstrations, it lends a clumsy but authentic feel to the demonstration; indeed, it's easy to picture that what Crytek shows off is the exact same experience gamers at home will have (especially given whichever Crytek employee was at the controls had almost no aim whatsoever with their shotgun).

So how does it look? Well... awesome. Crysis 2 is the kind of game that makes it all too easy to stray into list territory when describing the visuals. So we will anyway: Glass shatters and falls under gunfire; bullets ping off concrete blocks while throwing up thick clouds of dust; cars warp and crumple under heavy alien feet; buildings shake off suffocating layers of settled dirt thanks to nearby rumbles and shockwaves, often caused by aliens bursting through the concrete.

Yet picking and listing the ingredients does a disservice to the overall cocktail of visual splendour. It's the way everything hangs together that made us want to check round the back of the screen to see if the leads were running to a 360 or a nuclear-powered PC.

Crytek spend a great deal of time talking about the gameplay changes to the Nanosuit, and the hiring of sci-fi scribe Richard Morgan to write the story - both genuine efforts to address complaints thrown at its predecessor.

But the real takeaway here is the sentence we opened up with. If you remember only one thing from this, make it so: Crysis 2 is the best looking game on console. Boom.

Check out OXM's in-depth Crysis 2 preview here