Control’s Ray Tracing May Be The Best RT Implementation Yet

Control has released to great reviews from critics and players alike and part of it is because of how visually appealing the game is from start to finish. And the fact that the game has various implementations of Ray Tracing in it just means that we can up eye candy so let’s take a look at how much Ray Tracing changes the visuals and the performance impact that comes with it.

RTX Off
RTX On

Control uses Remedy Entertainment’s own engine, Northlight which has been updated to support DXR and they’ve used it to a greatly enhance the graphical fidelity of the game. And this implementation might be the best we’ve seen yet from any Ray Tracing title after Metro Exodus, even the DLSS.

So first of all, you need an RTX card to really get the Ray tracing features to work. Whatever RTX GPU you use though, expect to see a drop of about 20fps-30fps when going from the RTX Preset set to Off to Medium. The Medium Preset only enables Ray Traced Reflections and Ray Traced Transparent Reflections.

RTX Off
RTX On

When bumping up to the High Ray Tracing Preset, Ray Traced Indirect Diffused Lighting, Contact Shadows, and Debris gets turned on. This will further reduce your fps by 10-20fps. So going from Off to High you might see a drop of 30-50fps.

However, this is where DLSS comes into play because it really helps with bringing the framerate back up when you turn on Ray Tracing. DLSS can be activated even without turning on RTX so that’s a good feature. On 1080p, DLSS will give you a Render Resolution option of 960×540 or 1280×720. On 1440p its 1706×960 and 1280×720 and on 4K it is 1920×1080 and 2560×1440.

RTX Off
RTX On

With DLSS turned on along with Ray Tracing set to Medium, your performance will be similar to when Ray Tracing is set to off. While you might see the difference in sharpness and clarity with DLSS on and off, but if it doesn’t bother you or you don’t notice it then it’s perfect.

The game with RTX On though is an absolutely gorgeous experience. It’s a visual treat with how light bounces off of surfaces, the transparency, and translucency that you observe with all the glass around you and with how much atmospheric it can make scenes look. One of Control’s biggest strengths is the vibe the environment of the game gives off. And while in some parts Ray Tracing is not obviously noticeable, there are some parts where it just shines in spades.

Is it worth the performance hit? Well, that completely depends on you. In my opinion, the game is stunning and with Ray Tracing, even more so and I would recommend playing it with Ray Tracing. Even on the lowest settings, the game looks and still manages to capture its feels so if you aren’t getting that solid 60fps experience, try turning settings down to Medium and then see if you like the visual presentation.

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Control: What It Is and Why You Should Play It

Control is a game developed by Remedy Entertainment in a genre that Remedy knows best, third-person shooting. A creepy old building, a mysterious story and lots of shooting with powers are what Control offers but is it good enough for you? This will help you answer that question and take control of whether or not you should get this game.

What is: Control

Control is a third-person shooter where you play as Jesse Faden who enters this ominous-looking building that is the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Control, a fictional government organization. You’re there looking for your younger brother who was taken by them 17 years ago. But all is not as it seems inside as the building is completely empty besides for a lone janitor who thinks you’re there to be his assistant and sends you on your way for the interview.

After you make your way up the elevator, you hear a sound and upon investigating, you see that the Director of the place has shot himself in the head. And here’s when things get even weirder, you have a voice in your head that talks to you and you talk back to it. This voice tells you to pick up the gun and after a weird tutorial, you become the Director of the FBC. If only it was that easy in real life to get a job or promotion.

This gun is a living weapon that can transform into other weapons and also has self-regenerating ammo so you won’t be scurrying about to look for ammunition. About 30min later, you get your first power, Launch, which allows you to launch objects as if you were using the Force. You get a bunch of powers throughout the game which I won’t spoil and they’re pretty fun to use.

If you’re unfamiliar with Remedy Entertainment, they’re known for Quantum Break, Alan Wake but most famously for the first two Max Payne games. And if you’ve played Max Payne, certain things like the creepy walking on blood level and the static noise of the TVs that tune in and out as you walk by them to explain story beats is something you won’t forget.

And that’s something that seems to have inspired the eery tone of Control where instead of being in an outdoor location like in Alan Wake, you’re inside this huge building that seems to house so many different types of areas, each filled with more mystery that doesn’t scream at you but slowly gets under your skin to really get you on edge.

All of this possible due to the phenomenal visuals and sound design. In terms of the visuals, even without Ray Tracing, the game looks breathtaking. The reflections, the character models and animations, the texture work, the way lighting system works and the overall colours used in the game make this one of the best looking games this year. And with Ray Tracing turned on, you will get a performance hit but you will also get accurate reflections, lighting and an overall experience that is visually so appealing that you’ll be lost in the world of Control.

The sound and ambient music help with that as it amps up the mystery of the building and of all the objects and people you interact with. The sound design for the weapons, your powers and the various objects you find further make you feel their power and their otherworldy/supernatural vibe.

Along the way, you’ll have collectibles to collect, optional side-missions to complete and interact with various characters who will give you an insight into the world of Control.

Where it Loses Control

The game does have a few small caveats though. When you first start the game, Jesse’s movement feels so off and floaty that it annoyed me to an extent. However, after progressing further ahead it felt natural and in place with all the abilities that I had so maybe either it grew on me and I adjusted to it or maybe they made the movement with respect to the powers. Whatever the case may be if it feels off to you at the start just hang in there because it does get better.

Another issue is that the enemy variety isn’t the greatest. For a game where one of the key aspects is killing enemies, the lack of variety is a sad one that does make later chapters feel like a bit of a bore even though they’re stronger.

If you’re playing on console then you might sometimes face issues with the game randomly hitching or textures not loading for a few seconds. While not game-breaking it does get irritating, especially the random hitching so hopefully, that can be patched in an update.

The Verdict

Control seems like a natural progression for Remedy Entertainment. Unlike Quantum Break on PC which ran like a newborn baby in the 200m Olympics Race, Control works just fine. Its mysterious, dark and honestly, weird story meshes well with the environment and level design which makes you keep wanting to learn more about the world and the protagonist while the sound design furthers that cause. The gameplay starts off a bit slow but as you progress further into the game, it all clicks together to form this fun, cohesive system where you experiment with your weapons and powers to take out enemies while also having a blast doing it.

But is this game for you? Well if you’ve played and enjoyed any of the games made by Remedy Entertainment then yes, you will enjoy this game too. If you’re looking for a good shooter mixed in with some exploration and story-telling then this is for you. What this game does best though is mesh those elements with this heavy atmosphere and if you liked Prey 2017’s atmosphere then you’ll love Control.

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