Few games have an almost legendary reputation for monstering gaming hardware in the way that the original Crysis does – which made its recent release on Nintendo Switch all the more remarkable. Not only does it comfortably outperform the last-gen PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, it does so while bringing in enhanced effects found only on the latest CryEngine tech revisions. It’s an impressive piece of work, but it’s not quite perfect. Even today, a game that hails from 2007 can still cause problems for today’s hardware – but I thought it might be fun to run Crysis Remastered on an overclocked Switch and in the process, I made some modifications to the config files to see just how far this rendition of CryEngine can be pushed.
Running the game on an exploited Switch also means we can monitor and improve system performance via some very useful homebrew tools – all accessible in-game via the Tesla overlay system. SysClk allows for CPU, GPU and memory controller overclocking, while ReverseNX switches you between docked and mobile game modes without taking the Nintendo hybrid out of the dock. Most crucial of all is System Monitor – which is effectively Riva Tuner Statistics Server for Switch. This monitors CPU and GPU utilisation, memory usage, temperatures and fan speed. These are the tools we have that are very useful in profiling the game, but before we go on, it’s worth stressing that any attempt to hack/exploit the Switch or install homebrew software, runs the very real risk of getting your console banned from Nintendo online services.
Using System Monitor, it’s pretty clear that Crysis Remastered handles graphics duties well, whether you’re running in mobile mode or playing while docked. Dynamic resolution scaling is well implemented, with different resolution ranges for each mode. Shadows are also pared back for handheld play, which is not really noticeable in-game, but quite apparent when using ReverseNX to software-switch between the docked and mobile modes. The game runs equally as well in both situations for the most part and System Monitor reveals why: throughout gameplay, one CPU core is pretty much always running in the high 90s in terms of CPU utilisation. It’s the best evidence we have that performance is held back by the 1GHz ARM cluster in the Tegra X1 processor. In the heaviest scenes – the village at the end of the Recovery mission being a great example – all three available CPU cores can hit the high 90s or even 100 per cent. That’s when performance really drops.