Control RTX Review: a great “Remedy” for Ray Tracing in gaming

Around the same time last year, Nvidia first unveiled its new RTX series GPUs at Gamescom. I was there at the launch event, and amongst the list of the games unveiled, Control was also one of them. However, with AAA titles like Metro Exodus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Battlefield V, it was easy to forget this title from Remedy Entertainment. As it turns out, this worked in the favor of the game, giving them enough time to make the ultimate Ray Tracing game out there. Read on, as I talk about how Ray Tracing truly brings out the best in Control, opening dimensions to new levels of gameplay. 

How Ray Tracing Works

Before I talk about the effect of ray tracing, it is important to understand how ray tracing itself works. Ray-tracing is a method of calculating 3D scenes that mimics how we as humans perceive the world around us, or more specifically, how the light in our world is perceived by us. The technique that has been around as long as 3D rendering itself, and works by painstakingly calculating beams of light from a source to its destination and how that beam bounces off, permeates through and is occluded by, objects in a scene. Essentially, it means that instead of hard coding elements and models in the game world, developers just need to define the light source as well as the reflective sources. With Ray Tracing, the reflections are automatically generated in real-time, giving a more realistic visualization of the entire setup. Now that we are done with the technical jargon, let us see how Control makes use of this technology.

Ray Tracing in Control

The gameplay in Control revolves around the main character “Jesse”, who enters the FBC or Federal Bureau of Control. With superpowers in her arsenal, you control Jesse while tackling the enemy, affectionately known as the “Hiss”. However, I will be focusing more on the Ray Tracing aspect of it, and how the RTX cores really enhance the visual appeal. For starters, the lighting here is easily differentiable with Ray Tracing being on or off.

In fact, the effects show up in multiple areas throughout the game. There are the usual areas such as water puddles, shiny floors, and glass windows. In fact, there’s this one portion of the game where you can actually see enemy reflections shine off the glass windows, that add to an element of surprise.

Does RTX matter?

Asking the real questions, is Ray Tracing worth it, and does it make a difference? The short answer to that would be yes. To explain it further, you need to understand the main concept of Ray Tracing. It is to make light reflections not only easier to code but also more realistic. Now, in a game such as Battlefield V, that doesn’t make a difference, since it is already so fast-paced. However, with Control, you get to understand why Ray Tracing matters. Sure, reflections are one thing, but Control actually uses it beautifully to very cleverly control the environments. The difference is noticeable in an instant.

Apart from making things look good, it also adds a mysterious element to it, automatically making a thriller game more suspenseful. This is probably the best example of how intelligent use of graphics makes the user feel more in sync with the gameplay.

Performance drops

One argument that people have made ever since the launch of Ray Tracing is the performance drop. Usually, enabling RTX elements does take a toll on the overall framerate of the game. I won’t say that such is not the case here, however, it is negligible. In my testing, I was getting a difference of about 7-10 frames per second. While that sounds a lot, once you’ve already exceeded the 120fps mark, it doesn’t make a massive difference. Keep in mind that this was on 1080p resolution, so your mileage may vary.

On the whole, you have to give credit to both the game developers as well as Nvidia. The devs have taken their time to optimize the game well, and everything works really well as a package. As for Nvidia, RTX is still in its infancy, but Control is definitely the best example of what this platform is capable of.


Control: the best Ray Tracing experience out there

In a nutshell, Remedy Entertainment has produced a masterpiece. Ray Tracing and DLSS are great platforms, and the team has managed to use them to perfection. Add to that the gripping and mysterious story and it all works out as a great package. There is hardly anything to complain about the game, and clearly nothing about the graphics. They are great, and if you own an RTX-series GPU, you definitely need to give Control a shot.

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Varun Mirchandani

Varun is your go-to guy for everything related to technology. Someone with a keen interest in the Android world, he installs a new custom ROM every week and is always living on the bleeding edge of technology. When not writing for Mr. Phone, you can find him gaming on his beastly gaming rig which is also his prized possession.