As promised, CryTek has now released its PC-only graphics enhancement pack for Crysis 2 consisting of both a DirectX 11-enabling patch (which adds a whole slew of new advanced features) as well as a collection of high-res textures weighing in at around 2 GB.
During the admittedly short time I've spent with the updated version so far I didn't experience a particularly big difference in the subjective minute-to-minute experience of playing the game. That being said, the more obvious and trendy new visual additions such as tessellation and displacement maps do of course give the environments a more life-like, three-dimensional feel whenever you stop for a moment to admire the scenery (which, due to the game's linear design if nothing else, happens far less often than in Crysis 1). Realistically irregular brick walls and cracked, rain-soaked pavements are the most noticeably improved surfaces seen in this particular video, but I'm sure there are other effects (such as lighting and reflections) which deserve mentioning as well.
And to be fair, some of the old textures *did* look pretty bad up close - which was perhaps most evident in the in-game cutscenes during which the player character gets knocked to the ground - and I imagine if I replayed the same scenes now those issues would all be sorted out. In the thick of the shooter action, however, many of these graphical improvements seem a bit too subtle to make a practical, tangible difference to the player. Still, since I haven't finished Crysis 2 yet (partly because I've been busy with its forward-thinking predecessor) it's nice to know that I'll be able to play through rest of the game with these enhanced visuals switched on.
On a side note, neither the DX11 or hi-res patch appears to have had any effect on the game's performance on my GTX 580-powered rig (by comparison, the similarily high-end-oriented "uber sampling" mode in Witcher 2 reduces my frame rate considerably if activated).