Check out some of the graphical differences between Crysis 2, Crysis, and Crysis Warhead.
Graphics in games tend to have one direction: better and better. But that's not always the case. Crysis came out in 2007, and it was an absolute beast of a game. Visually, it tore everything else apart and also managed to kill just about any computer that came close to it. Hence the meme "But can it run Crysis?" The game made its fair share of money, but probably also scared off just as many potential buyers due to its demanding nature. Crysis Warhead refined the original title by improving the visuals and making them more accessible to folks who didn't feel like spending a small fortune, but it was not released on any of the consoles. Crysis 2 followed a different path. The most recent sequel looks great in its own right, but more than a few graphical elements seem to have disappeared. We've gone through the single player campaigns on the three titles to point out a few of the changes we found.
Additionally, rumors of a DirectX 11 patch made their way through the internet over the past few weeks, and on April 8th an official Crytek voice announced that there would indeed be a patch for the game. No release date or details beyond that were given. We'll be sure to revisit the comparison once it's out.
Crytek made an enormous deal about the lighting systems in Crysis when it was previewed years ago. Looking down the barrel of your gun or walking under foliage, the sunlight would affect everything. Like in real life, too much light tends to make things more translucent and makes details disappear into the brightness. Both of these things happen in Crysis and Crysis Warhead. From what we can tell, Crysis 2 simplified the lighting system quite a bit. You still get the sunstreams, but they don't seem to affect objects as much.
The first set of shots below show how sunlight affects the overall look of the game. In Crysis you'd get tremendously contrasted regions, and Warhead's sun went as far as to completely blind out part of the hillside and everything on it. In Crysis 2 we'd get that sort of effect in some pre-scripted sequences, but it didn't seem to happen during gameplay.