No doubt the recent release of the Crysis demo will have excited a lot of gamers, but it has probably upset even more at the same time. Personally I'm both excited and impressed with the game, but that’s likely the result of being able to play it on a very high-end machine.
Over the past few weeks, months and even years Crysis has been the talking point of the gaming community. The graphic detail and level of realism has been so hyped about that I had started to doubt how good the game would really be. Sure I had seen all those amazing looking jungle screenshots and I had even downloaded the HD gameplay videos and watched them in awe. However, nothing really prepares you for how incredibly amazing this games looks. Unfortunately, unless you have a Radeon HD 2900XT or GeForce 8800 graphics card it will be difficult to appreciate all that.
While I can understand the frustration of all those gamers with GeForce 8600 GTS graphics cards, what could you honestly expect? I knew as soon as I saw the level of detail there was going to be no mid-range graphics card capable of delivering playable performance with the higher quality settings.
Other newer games such as Bioshock, Jericho and Medal of Honor: Airborne have all required mid-range graphics cards to use a combination of low and medium quality settings. The guys at Crytek should be very proud of this game as we feel it has raised the bar for graphics quality in a game. Yes, it is unfortunate that the GeForce 8800 GTX/Ultra are the only graphics cards that can play this game smoothly with all the eye candy turned on, though you must consider a few things first...
Crysis is being released a year after the GeForce 8800 GTX was introduced to the market. Furthermore, it is being released just ahead of the next generation of Radeon and GeForce graphics cards. So when we say this game is designed for next generation graphics cards, that's hardly a bad thing given they are right around the corner. In my opinion the worst scenario is when the hardware has to wait for titles and not the other way around.
By the time Crysis has been patched a few times and in excellent shape we will have the next gen technology to fully appreciate this incredible game. There is still much to be explored about Crysis such as 32-bit vs. 64-bit performance (and all those remaining levels!), so I believe we are just scratching the tip of the iceberg with this single-player demo, or so I hope.
Update: We were able to run some preliminary benchmarks comparing 32-bit to 64-bit performance. Results look promising:
GeForce 8800 GTX (768MB) 32-bit
1440x900 = 38.6fps
1680x1050 = 30.8fps
1920x1200 = 25.8fps
GeForce 8800 GTX (768MB) 64-bit
1440x900 = 45.6fps
1680x1050 = 36.4fps
1920x1200 = 30.0fps