There has been a lot of talk about the “downgrade” of the Xbox One exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome, that now sports less polygons per character than previous builds, while shaders have been upgraded and the use of LOD has been removed.
The discourse has even reached Crytek Founder and Ceo Cevat Yerli that tweeted about it to explain that it was a deliberate choice. But how do the two builds stack against one another? We don't have much material for a comparison, but we do have two relevant screenshots that portray basically the same scene, in the old build with 150,000 polygons per character model and in the new build with 85,000.
Below you can see a through comparison of the two screenshots, and draw your own conclusions (Note: the newer screenshot comes from a livestream, so it’s a bit more blurry. resolution isn't important towards our comparison though, as what we’re looking at is polygon density and shaders).
The reduction in the polygons is quite visible, but we can also notice that the overall feels of the materials is now more realistic and textured, especially on metallic surfaces that now don’t look like polished plastic anymore, and on the skin, that shows more detail(check the neck of the character on the right for instance), while normal mapping also seems better defined with no visible jaggies, as shown by the etching in his armor. That’s most probably due to a higher resolution or less compressed normal map texture.