You may have noticed that some online media are claiming the PS3 version of Crysis 2 is 'underwhelming... muddy... and messy' - leading to a series of groans, and many tweeting that they'll be picking up the Xbox 360 version. I've spent the last two days at EA's HQ in Guildford playing the latest build of Crysis 2 on PS3, and would beg to differ...
I've finished the single-player, I've played every mode and every map in multi-player (along with most of the MP mode variants) over the course of five to six hours, and I've used all the various progression unlocks. From what I've seen, it's far from the inferior port that's being suggested.
Opinion is good - especially since previews are often unecessarily fawning when some games are, at a fundamental level, *clearly* not going to make the grade - but making damning observations about technology, or visuals, is risky at best when assessing unfinished games, especially those from gifted, high resource, developers.
I feel the need to add some balance to the debate, because the chatter circulating the internet is in marked contrast to my experiences with Crysis 2. Plus, above all, it isn't fair to the game, or its developers, since gamers are threatening to cancel pre-orders based on opinions - however honestly held - that don't reflect the truth of the updated code I've been playing.
So I've outlined the main criticisms being put at Crysis 2 PS3 below, adding my own, lengthy experiences with the near-finished build (and for the record, I don't owe EA a thing - I love games that are good no matter who makes them).
Crysis 2 PS3: The truth
It's been claimed that the performance of the PS3 version of Crysis 2 is underwhelming, with a low and choppy framerate and unresponsive controls.
Well, this wasn't my experience. I've played multi-player with the maximum number of players (12) and noticed no slow-down, jaggies or screen tearing. The frame-rate held solid too. It sounds like the version others have been playing is a build that hasn't been optimized and (possibly) several months out of date.
The only point I'd agree on is that the visuals - compared to the single-player version on 360, which I also saw - appear slightly less colourful, giving the darker maps slightly more murkiness. But the difference is negligible.
We disagree that the Xbox 360 version performs significantly better than PS3. At our review event everyone played multi-player on PS3 - even the Xbox and multi-platform journalists. Would EA do this if they weren't confident the PS3 version was on a par with the 360, if not the PC?
In short, I don't think PS3 owners should take these reports *too* seriously. It's good to hear journalists speaking their mind, especially when developers were happy enough to show the game in that condition, but it does feel like the media is 'poking the bear' - nothing does better traffic than a PS3/Xbox 360/PC comparison. And let's be transparent here - it's part of the reason we're responding but, mostly, since we wouldn't want PS3 owners to feel like they're getting a raw deal when (on the basis of code we played extensively over the last two days), they're not.
Yes, PS3 does sometimes get the short-shrift when it comes to multi-format ports - most recently I've pointed out in the magazine that the PS3 version of Bulletstorm isn't up to the same standard as the 360 and PC - but that isn't true for all games, and I think it's unfair to level these criticisms at Crysis 2.
Well, as ever, the truth will come out when all versions of the game hit on March 25th - and you won't be short of intricate head-to-head HD videos pointing out miniscule differentials in facial textures, lighting etc.
Keep an open mind: On any console, by any standards, Crysis 2 is a pretty exceptional looking game. Compared to the Xbox 360 version, all we could notice is that the PS3 game was *slightly* less colourful, with less rich blacks.
You can read my Crysis 2 review in a forthcoming issue of PSM3, with updates here when the online review embargo breaks.
Andy Hartup, PSM3