Notebookcheck

Crysis 3 Benchmarked

Florian Glaser (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 03/08/2013

Avant-garde After gamers had a somewhat disappointing experience with Crysis 2, Crytek pulled out all the stops for their new FPS. The third title in the series is supposed to present a perfect mix of the first two parts, offering a full Crysis experience. Find out here if Crysis 3 is more than just a graphical showpiece and how much the game will demand from a notebook's hardware.

Crysis 3 Logo

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Description

For the original German review, see here.

This first 5-10 minutes of Crysis 3 simultaneously reveal one of the game's greatest strengths and one of its greatest weaknesses: The great production quality and the lame, primitive storyline. The main character, Prophet, is freed by his colleague Psycho to fight against the Ceph aliens and the C.E.L.L. corporation's soldiers in New York. The missions are introduced with cool video snippets, but it quickly becomes clear that the basic story is so banal that many gamers will ignore it entirely. Additionally, most of the supporting characters are flat, and you never really end up caring about them.

But as far as critical comments go, that's about the end of the list. In most categories the ego-shooter makes a good or even a very good impression. Alongside the first-class production value (more on that later), we were delighted with the diverse and detailed levels full of atmosphere. For instance, in the first chapter you fight through indoor and outdoor areas of a rainy port facility, and in the second you make your way through an idyllic green metropolis. The lush vegetation is reminiscent of Crysis 1, and thanks to the thick grass, it also opens up lots of possibilities for the player.

The optional tutorial is stylistically reminiscent of Tron: Legacy...
The optional tutorial is stylistically reminiscent of Tron: Legacy...
...and presents the game controls.
...and presents the game controls.
The circular menu is like that of its predecessor.
The circular menu is like that of its predecessor.
The various weapons can be individualized.
The various weapons can be individualized.
Turrets are hacked through mini games.
Turrets are hacked through mini games.
The nanovision is like a thermal imaging camera.
The nanovision is like a thermal imaging camera.

For those who want to get through the game as stealthily as possible, the stylistic bow-and-arrow is the perfect weapon in every circumstance - at least against human opponents. Like the rest of the weapons, the quiet and deadly instrument (it doesn't blow your cover) can be customized in the menu. Through the menu the player can choose the shot-speed and the type of ammunition, among other things.

Depending on the situation, Crysis 3 is in large part a game of strategy. Various enemies are lingering near each other in the water? That's an ideal moment to use an electric arrow! Some of the best improvements Crytek made when it comes to "normal" fire arms are the target visuals and new additions, like a sound damper and a magazine expansion. Speaking of improvements: To breathe a little role-play into Crysis 3, Crytek has built in a nice skill system. The gamer can unlock new abilities with points he or she collects (like a longer sprint time, higher health regeneration, etc.) and save in three different sets.

The cutscenes are well-staged...
The cutscenes are well-staged...
...and use nice camera perspectives.
...and use nice camera perspectives.
The player isn't always alone on the journey.
The player isn't always alone on the journey.
The protagonist Prophet...
The protagonist Prophet...
...is accompanied by Psycho.
...is accompanied by Psycho.
The weather effects are first-rate.
The weather effects are first-rate.

Even with all the possibilities, it's still easy to control the game by hand. With a simple keystroke you can either activate the armor-mode (standard Q) or the stealth-mode (standard E). In our experience, the stealth system can certainly hold its own in comparison to other titles. Although Crysis 3 doesn't do stealth quite as well as classic stealth adventures like Thief, Splinter Cell or Dishonored, sneaking around quietly is still lots of fun as there are countless different covering options on the various levels.

We deem the AI of the enemy mercenaries - aside from the occasional malfunctions - above average, although you shouldn't expect wonderful things. The enemies move around under cover, throw grenades, agree on strategies or even try to flank us every once in a while. Battles with the alien brutes often turn into simple endurance-shooting ala Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 or Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

You can mark opponents with the help a visor.
You can mark opponents with the help a visor.
The smoke effects look terrific.
The smoke effects look terrific.
Crysis 3 wins points with its neat level architecture.
Crysis 3 wins points with its neat level architecture.
Some passages are pretty linear.
Some passages are pretty linear.
The cool mission descriptions prove to be rather trivial.
The cool mission descriptions prove to be rather trivial.
You can create practical sets in the skill menu.
You can create practical sets in the skill menu.

All-in-all, the game mechanics make a good (though not stellar) impression. In terms of sound, we don't have any complaints at all. The loud weapon noises are as well done as the game's soundtrack. Level size, however, is an area people could disagree on. While fans of the first part of the series will find Crysis 3 too "cramped," we think the mixture of wide-open outdoor spaces and more linear inside passages is fairly well balanced.

The panoramic views are often intoxicating.
The panoramic views are often intoxicating.
Unlike bodies, faces are amazingly well animated.
Unlike bodies, faces are amazingly well animated.
The lighting effects make for a picturesque atmosphere.
The lighting effects make for a picturesque atmosphere.
Careful: In Crysis 3 there are mine fields here and there.
Careful: In Crysis 3 there are mine fields here and there.
In terms of atmosphere, there's little to criticize.
In terms of atmosphere, there's little to criticize.
The outdoor areas are magnificently detailed.
The outdoor areas are magnificently detailed.

Graphics

In terms of production value, the developers have certainly outdone themselves. Whether we're talking about textures, effects (smoke, particles, weather, etc.), lighting, shadows or physics: Crysis 3 is definitely playing in the top league and will have very few competitors in 2013 that can approach the same level of detail. We were especially impressed with the vividly conceptualized outdoor areas, which wowed us with their breadth of vision and great water effects.

Only when it comes to animation were we a little more ambivalent. While the body movement feels a little "awkward" and "rough around the edges" (Call of Duty and Battlefield 3 do a little better here), the facial animations are almost at the level of L.A. Noire's (which, in this author's opinion, were magnificent). Users should note that since Crysis 3 requires a DirectX 11 graphics card, Windows XP users and owners of DirectX 9 or DirectX 10 GPUs (that includes the popular Intel HD Graphics 3000) are left out in the cold.

This will be one of the most beautiful games of 2013.
This will be one of the most beautiful games of 2013.
The textures are sharp up-close too.
The textures are sharp up-close too.
In some levels you even discover animals.
In some levels you even discover animals.
We especially liked the water imaging.
We especially liked the water imaging.
Water + enemies + electric arrow = Schadenfreude.
Water + enemies + electric arrow = Schadenfreude.
While taking strides delicate ripples develop.
While taking strides delicate ripples develop.

Crytek splits the graphics options (which are found directly within the game) into two menus. In the "Graphics Options" menu you can control the resolution, picture mode, vertical synchronization, texture sharpness, anti-aliasing (the palette ranges from FXAA and SMAA to TXAA and MSAA) and the general quality level ("System Spec"), which automatically regulates the detail settings in the "Advanced Graphics Options". Only the anisotropic filtering (1x-16x), the intensity of the motion blur and the so-called "lens flare" remain untouched by the four presets "Low", "Medium", "High", and "Very High".

A shame: In order to apply certain settings, Crysis 3 needs to be completely restarted. The load times could also be a little shorter. Even with an SSD it takes a while before the fully-loaded level appears.

Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings
Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings

Benchmark

We picked a very demanding scene from the beginning of the first level ("Post-Human") for our benchmarks. As the video below illustrates, we follow the colleague Psycho for about 50 seconds. Since the refresh rate is rather low in comparison to other levels, about 25-30 FPS will suffice for the sequence and the rest of the game for an enjoyable experience.

Discussion

Results

Considering the opulent visuals, Crysis 3's hardware hunger is completely reasonable. Since entry-level solutions like the HD Graphics 4000 and lower class models like the Radeon HD 7660G or the GeForce GT 630M will only manage the game at low resolutions, players will need a graphics card from the upper middle-class (for example the GeForce GT 650M or the Radeon HD 8870M) to play on medium settings.

Those who want to enjoy Crysis 3 on high settings and with active anti-aliasing will need a genuinely high-end model (from the GeForce GTX 660M on up). For FullHD resolutions we strongly recommend a GeForce GTX 675M or better. At a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with maximum presets and anti-aliasing, all current notebook graphics cards as of early Q1 2013 are insufficient. Even the GeForce GTX 680M and the Radeon HD 7970M only reach about 20 FPS (2x SMAA) in the tested sequence.

Low Settings
Low Settings
Medium Settings
Medium Settings
High Settings
High Settings
Ultra Settings
Ultra Settings

But it's important to say that Crysis 3 still looks respectable at the high or mid detail levels. Even at the lowest graphical level the shooter can be a blast to play. The competing Frostbite 2 Engine (Battlefield 3) falls a minimal distance behind. The Crytek production sprints miles ahead of the current Call of Duty title (Black Ops 2).

Note: With notebooks, it is best to be very cautious with the anti-aliasing. Demanding modes like 4x or 8x MSAA will pull frame rates and the level of performance down significantly. We believe that SMAA Medium (2TX) for high-end mobile cards is a good balance point for both smooth gameplay and reducing visual jaggies.

Benchmark table: Crysis 3

Verdict

Considering nothing but the technical aspect of the game, the game is excellent on almost all levels. Crysis 3 shines with breathtaking visuals, which makes it clear that Crytek takes the PC platform quite seriously. In terms of gameplay, too, the title does quite well, though some will have wished for new stimuli and more spacious areas. When it comes to the storyline and plot, the shooter comes extraordinarily thin and is perhaps the title's weakest link. Titles like Bioshock and Borderlands 2 have raised player expectations on narrative and storytelling for modern first-person shooters.

Every once in a while we get to carry alien weapons too.
Every once in a while we get to carry alien weapons too.
The bow-and-arrow is one of the game's greatest highlights.
The bow-and-arrow is one of the game's greatest highlights.
Without a shield things get dicey real fast.
Without a shield things get dicey real fast.
Many script sequences are a little overdone.
Many script sequences are a little overdone.
Helicopters bring reinforcements quickly.
Helicopters bring reinforcements quickly.
The facial animation is almost as good as in L.A. Noire.
The facial animation is almost as good as in L.A. Noire.

Test Systems

Most of the results are from devices from the company Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de):

  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M(X), GTX 680M, Radeon HD 7970M & HD Graphics 4000)
  • XMG A502 (Core i5-3360M, GeForce GT 650M)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M)
  • Each with 8 GByte DDR3-RAM (2x 4096 MByte @ 1600 MHz), 160 GByte SSD (Intel 320 Series)  & Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

GPU driver: Nvidia 314.07, AMD 13.2 Beta 6 & Intel 9.17.10.2932.

From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
From left to right: Schenker XMG A502, Xesia M501 & XMG P502

Overview

Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Perf. RatingCrysis 3
 Crysis 3 (2013)
low
1024x768
Low Preset
med.
1366x768
Medium Preset
16xAF
high
1366x768
High Preset
16xAF FXAA
ultra
1920x1080
Very High Preset
16xAF 2xSMAA
 1NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
100
179
176
138
100
 2NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Notebook)
90
163.7
147.9
128
91.7
 4NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
~8125%
81
 5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI
84.6
163.4
150.1
123.7
72.3
 6AMD Radeon R9 Fury
~73.650%
114
64.5
 7NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
73.4
147.4
134.5
105.7
58.3
 8NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Notebook)
74.9
150.42
137.052
106.72
60.552
 10AMD Radeon R9 390X
66
130.1
123.1
89.9
56.1
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI
75.5
154.4
138.3
111.7
56.3
 12NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
74.2
146.2
135.7
107.2
60.3
 13NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
76.9
167.6
145.4
111.4
50.6
 15NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M SLI
64
128.3
113.6
93.2
52.3
 16NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M SLI
~52.875%
96.3
78
47.2
 20AMD Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
57.4
120.8
107.7
86.6
38
 21AMD Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire
~56.475%
114.9
91.2
37.8
 24NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
64.1
137.752
118.53
94.954
43.254
 26AMD Radeon R9 280X
63.3
143.5
124.1
88.3
38.5
 27AMD Radeon R9 380
62.3
137.3
122.9
87.4
39.4
 28NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
62.7
139.7
123.9
91.7
36.1
Pos      Model                                     Crysis 3
lowmed.highultra
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
57.3
129.854
110.94
83.34
33.44
 31NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M SLI
55.9
130.9
108.5
83.7
28.3
 32NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
50.3
105
93
73
36.8
 33AMD Radeon HD 7970
43.3
96.2
84.5
59.8
28.3
 38AMD Radeon R9 M295X
48.2
125.42
85
59.9
30.92
 42AMD Radeon R7 370
55.3
155.92
107.38
64.5
26.3
 44NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M
58.2
136.62
112.72
81.53
33.23
 45NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
56.8
138.6
112.3
78.8
29
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
43.7
94.1
83
61.9
30.3
 48NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
60.1
142
119.3
83
33.3
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M
53.1
130.3
102.1
72.2
29.254
 50NVIDIA Quadro K5100M
50
136.1
92.1
63.4
25.8
 52AMD Radeon HD 7870
40.9
90.9
79.8
57.7
25.8
 53NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
48.6
1253
88.43
66.43
26.23
 55NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
49.6
125.62
95.12
65.63
26.73
 56AMD Radeon R9 M290X
39.8
107.8
72.8
48.2
22.8
 57AMD Radeon HD 8970M
40.9
117.1
77.6
44.352
222
 61NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
36.4
84.1
69.8
51.4
21.8
 62NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M SLI
50
126.2
94.3
72.052
23.552
 65AMD Radeon HD 7970M
37.1
106
63.8
44.8
20.3
Pos      Model                                     Crysis 3
lowmed.highultra
 66*AMD Radeon R9 M390
~33.850%
62
22.7
 67NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
45.3
133.8
81.9
54.3
20.4
 71NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
43
119.12
79.952
54.352
20.752
 75NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M
40.2
117.582
69.912
49.63
19.553
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
41.3
118.83
76.47
50.358
18.758
 79NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M SLI
~32.375%
63
55.9
20.6
 82NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
31.7
84.8
59.1
40.9
16.3
 83NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI
~33.175%
74.6
52.5
19
 84NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
27.1
79.152
46.952
34.152
12.72
 85NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
28.6
81.43
52.33
34.85
145
 87AMD Radeon R9 M280X
19.8
47.4
35.8
26.7
13.1
 92NVIDIA GeForce 945M
28.4
85.7
50.4
33.9
12.6
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
30.6
91.8
53.252
36.83
14.23
 101NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
27.9
76.3
51.6
35.7
13.9
 104*AMD Radeon R9 M385X
~22.975%
48.5
36.2
14.8
 109AMD Radeon HD 7770
27.3
86.2
46.5
30.4
12.6
 114NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB
31.4
92.37
56.31
39.27
13.6
 117NVIDIA Quadro K3100M
35.8
109.5
64.1
41.2
15.9
 119AMD Radeon R9 M370X
24.8
62.7
50.6
32
12.3
 120NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
28.8
84.9
50.7
35
13.8
Pos      Model                                     Crysis 3
lowmed.highultra
 122NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
~21.875%
49
34
13
 124NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
25.4
79.7
43.4
29.4
11.2
 125*NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
15.2
43.82
26.22
19.852
6.952
 130AMD Radeon HD 8870M
19.9
56.22
35.92
24.452
10.12
 141AMD Radeon R7 250
25
76.2
46.1
28.7
10.6
 142NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M
~21.375%
49.4
32.2
12.4
 143NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
23.3
74.7
39.8
26
10
 144NVIDIA GeForce 845M
~12.275%
29.4
18.9
6.3
 145AMD Radeon HD 8850M
~20.650%
44.5
28.8
 147AMD Radeon R9 M265X
22.3
67.5
41.152
25.42
9.852
 150AMD Radeon HD 8790M
35.4
103
66
42
16
 158NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
18.1
52.33
30.63
21.93
9.852
 160NVIDIA Quadro K1100M
18.5
56.4
33.3
21.7
7.9
 161NVIDIA GeForce 940M
14.1
39.13
24.63
18.352
7.152
 162AMD Radeon R9 M375
~17.250%
37.9
23.2
 165AMD Radeon R7 M370
17.7
54.1
32.6
20.2
7.4
 167NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
17.9
51.3
32.6
21.9
8.4
 169NVIDIA GeForce 840M
13
37.654
22.74
16.53
6.32
 170AMD Radeon R7 M275DX
~18.650%
38.8
27.4
 171NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
~19.675%
47.4
29.5
21.5
Pos      Model                                     Crysis 3
lowmed.highultra
 174AMD Radeon R7 512 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
14.7
43
25.9
18
7
 175Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
16.3
48.32
29.652
19.652
7.32
 176*AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo)
10.2
30.1
17.9
12.7
4.6
 177AMD Radeon R7 384 Cores (Kaveri Desktop)
14
41.2
25
16.9
6.5
 178NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
15.4
46.83
25.63
18.43
7.43
 179NVIDIA GeForce 930M
~16.650%
37.052
21.852
 180*Intel Iris Graphics 550
18.6
58.1
32.7
21.2
8
 181NVIDIA GeForce 830M
~14.675%
36.6
21.4
15.3
 182Intel Iris Graphics 540
15.9
45.652
29.92
19.82
6.6
 187NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
~12.175%
29.652
17.952
13.2
 189NVIDIA GeForce 825M
~14.450%
32.2
19.1
 198AMD Radeon R7 M260X
14.9
44.1
27.5
17.4
6.8
 202NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
~18.375%
44.3
28
19.6
 204*NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M
15.5
46.6
27.6
18.6
7
 206AMD Radeon HD 8750M
11.9
34.252
21.42
14.252
5.8
 209AMD Radeon R7 M265
~15.250%
32.89
21
 213NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
14.5
44.3
25.3
17
6.5
 214AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri)
~11.775%
29.2
17.4
12.3
 215AMD Radeon R8 M365DX
12
32.052
21.952
17.42
4.92
 219AMD Radeon R7 M360
9.7
27.352
17.42
12.252
4.6
Pos      Model                                     Crysis 3
lowmed.highultra
 222AMD Radeon HD 8690M
9.7
28.5
15.4
10.3
6.5
 228AMD Radeon R7 M340
10.2
28.8
17.9
13.1
5.1
 229NVIDIA GeForce 920M
~15.450%
33.5
21.3
 231Intel HD Graphics 530
11.1
322
20.52
13.252
5.1
 234AMD Radeon R7 M260
~1050%
21.8
13.9
 235AMD Radeon R6 (Carrizo)
9.5
29.552
16.852
11.252
3.7
 243AMD Radeon HD 8670D
13
39.4
23.5
14.9
5.8
 247AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri)
~11.350%
24.8
15.5
 266Intel HD Graphics 5600
10.4
30.8
18.8
12.4
4.7
 267AMD Radeon HD 8570D
11.2
34.2
20.4
13.1
4.8
 268AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
~9.450%
20.7
12.8
 269AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8570M Dual Graphics
7.6
20.4
14.6
10.5
3.2
 270AMD Radeon HD 7660G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
~12.475%
31.4
18.9
12.5
 271AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
~8.675%
20.4
12.8
10
 272AMD Radeon HD 8670M
~10.725%
19.2
 274AMD Radeon HD 7660D
11.5
34.7
20.5
13.8
5.1
 292AMD Radeon HD 8650G
~11.550%
25.452
15.62
 293AMD Radeon HD 7640G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
~10.775%
28.7
15
10.5
 297NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
10.3
32.92
17.752
11.72
4.452
 302AMD Radeon R5 M330
~7.875%
19.1
11.9
8.4
Pos      Model                                     Crysis 3
lowmed.high