Crytek raised a few eyebrows when they revealed that Crysis 2 would feature 'fixed' graphics modes rather than the option to individually customise certain visual elements of the title. Instead of users having the ability of set levels of anti-aliasing, shadow quality, along with enabling and disabling of various effects (SSAO, colour grading, etc), there are simply three distinct options in place of those - modes outlined as 'high', 'very high', and 'extreme', each featuring a few additional upgrades in certain areas.
However, it is possible to tailor the various graphical components of the game via the internal config file, and for some users that also meant a patch could be developed allowing easy access to all those settings. And that is exactly what has happened.
Wasdie, a member of the MyCrysis forums has developed a GUI that enables the end user to set a wide range of parameters for the game's graphical outlay. These include everything from shader quality to the giving the choice of what kind of anti-aliasing you'd like the to use.
This GUI is installed and then run before the user loads up Crysis 2, and easily labels each of the various settings with the same naming conventions given to the title's three standard graphical modes. In addition it is possible to downgrade the game further still, with access to 'Low' and 'Mid-spec' settings only present in the leaked build of the game.
The most compelling part, is that the ability to now use MSAA with the option checked in the GUI (and edge-AA set to off) further increases the gap between consoles and the PC, with just 4xMSAA delivering a noticeable boost in image quality over Crytek's own temporal anti-aliasing solution. While we're not sure how much this affects overall performance, we do know that Crysis 2's temporal AA solution was relatively light in using up system resources in comparison. And this is definitely something we'll be aiming to test out as soon as we get the time.
Seeing as the range of configurations have now dramatically increased, and that visibly higher IQ is now available for those wanting to 'max out' the game as usually intended on high-end gaming rigs, we shall hopefully be taking a closer look at this recent mod in a future update here at IQGamer. Until then updates on this site might be a little quiet as I'm currently working on the next Face-Off for Digital Foundry. But please, do keep an eye out.