I'm pretty sure at some point in the future, Crysis 2 will be in a Steam or Origin sale. And you might buy it and then be sickened to the core by the vile March 2011 level graphics. Ugh, I'm embarrassed that we accepted it as a game back then, with its DX11 shaders and an official HD texture pack that looks as muddy as the Mississippi. If you end up being that person, don't throw your monitor out the window. It would be expensive to replace and a purposeless waste. Instead, think back to the time when the handsome, witty PC Gamer writer told you all about MaLDoHD for Crysis 2, and made your textures sing.
The odd collection of letters that is MaLDoHD is a texture pack and effects enhancement for the sort of people that want to know when they walk right up to a wall or a bush that it won't degrade into a puddle of pixels. It turns this...
Look at this blurry rubbish! I wouldn't touch that with another man's fingers!
I'm sure you'll agree this is a rather remarkable enhancement. Even if you don't stop to admire every bush, the ambience of the jungley New York is hugely expanded with MaLDoHD's work: graffiti is clear, signs can be read, and bricks and cracks are defined.
First, grab the pack from the MaLDoHD site . It's 1.5 GB's of sharper keypads and nicer pavements, and it expands to 2.3GB. It's not a simple install and enhance mod, though. It comes with its own control panel, so after you've downloaded everything and installed it's time to fiddle. When the blue box loads, click the 'settings' icon on the row and it'll take you to all those lovely options.
You'll note that there's more going on than just better textures. Here you can change the values for the antialiasing, the LOD, Depth of Field, shadow blur, view distance, as well as toggling parallax mapping, water and object tessellation, real time reflections, SSDO, shadow effects, and a few misc options. The bottom right slider allows you to globally enhance all these settings, and my PC, an i7, Nvidia 580 with 8GB of RAM can handle Extreme without any hit in performance. It's up to you to decide what you're willing to do for the effect, but even with the conservative default options the mod manages to sharpen up the textures pleasantly on my PC. Start there and fiddle. I turned off depth of field as a personal preference, and upped the view distance as far as it would go.
Getting it to work in game is a slight faff. I found the shortcut didn't load me into the mod, and instead had to reload the game after launching. And it doesn't work with existing saves, so you can either choose to start another game from the start, or the mod's menu allows you to access any map. I did play with setting everything to their highest and found some maps would refuse to load up. Lowering the settings helped, and frankly it still looked rather lovely.
Ready for your close up, Crysis 2?