ConclusionWhen we use games to measure graphics performance, it’s important for us to have an idea of how the graphics engine works, especially when we’re dealing with new technologies such as tessellation. This allows us to differentiate between results that are significant for the game in question and those which may represent a future trend.
While Crysis 2 DirectX 11 Ultra confirms NVIDIA’s domination when it comes to tessellation processing, it isn’t nevertheless truly representative of what developers of this technology will do in forthcoming games with engines and creative tools designed to manage the technology natively and more efficiently.
Crytek has worked hard to control the level of detail for each effect as precisely as it can so as to avoid excessive processing demands, but tessellation is an exception to this with an unjustified level of the technology applied to some objects and a rather poor level of adaptiveness, which contrasts with the zeal with which the level of detail on other elements is reduced with distance. While this can partly be explained by the fact that tessellation was added at the end of development, it also seems clear that the fact that Crytek worked with NVIDIA on the Ultra Update had an influence on this, given that a high level of tessellation, whether serving the rendering or not, enables NVIDIA cards to mark themselves out from the competition.
In a perfect world we would obviously prefer these issues simply to be technical or artistic ones… We would thus have liked to see more tessellated walls, which would really add to the visual impact, and fewer borders tessellated without reason, except NVIDIA's commercial benefit. The release of the DirectX 11 pack is nevertheless of benefit to PC gamers as all the visual improvements it introduces transform Crysis 2 into one of those rare titles that can draw on the full capacities of modern GPUs, even if it has to be said that what we're now getting with this Upgrade is what we expected from Crysis 2 on its initial release. While the upgrade doesn't revolutionise an already fine rendering, it does represent a significant development and should renew interest in the title… especially if you own a high-end GeForce.
What about high-end Radeon users? Faced with the poorly optimised implementation of tessellation in Crysis 2, we advise them to play with the Catalyst Control Center setting so as to fix the MaxTessFactor in such a way as to contain its impact on performance.