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NVIDIA RTX in 2021 A GAMER’S Perspective


this video took a while to make my gosh but it was damn worth it i hope you feel the same because today we’re taking a look at ray tracing in 2021 and trying to see if the worth it question has changed at all has the visual experience gotten any better or a game developer is just putting in ray tracing just because i will focus on games with ray tracing that are relatively new and popular plus are actually playable with ray tracing enabled and of course we’ll talk about instances where it works and where it doesn’t also check out my previous ray tracing analysis videos including the 2020 roundup plus our fsr analysis that is definitely not our last video on fsr but i’ve been saying it ever since the very first video that ray tracing need to make sense in terms of game context game design and especially pacing and so the games we’ll review today are the new metro exodus pc enhanced edition ghost runner and cyberpunk 2077 resident evil village do maternal black ops cold war crisis remastered observer system redux fortnight of course pumpkin jack watch dogs legion and my new favorite game lego builders journey i am using this colorful rtx 3080 for all the gameplay which can boost above 2 gigahertz and since the card is massive and insanely heavy the anti-sag mechanism is pretty brilliant last thing to

say is that ray tracing varies greatly between games even though they might be ray trace shadows the implementation from the game developer is very different and let me just say it doesn’t just work okay so let’s begin right after this don’t have the time to wait for parts and build your own gaming pc nzxt build has your back navigate through their simple ui choose the games you want to play pick a budget that works and the configurator will do its magic by offering some options built just for you or choose from one of their awesome pre-built setups want something more custom go crazy building your own dream pc from the ground up all of these are backed with a two-year all-in-one warranty on parts labor and ram overclocking save your time and start gaming right away with nzxt build check it out down below okay so for this first game let’s start with lego because it is the perfect game to sort of like tease you with ray tracing potential and they’ve done a fantastic job here because lighting shadows and reflections are all ray traced giving you a gorgeous view of all the pieces as they accurately reflect the large source of light in the sky the softer shadows the light spilling into the shadows and it’s a properly slow paced game where visuals these beautiful ray traced visuals contribute to a calm gaming session when we compare rt honor versus off the visuals are still good but the reflections between the pieces are not as accurate the shadows don’t have the right color and you can see the difference more in the darker set where the glow from the fire doesn’t have the right shadow and light spill but to be honest the set looks fantastic in both however performance does suffer which is

expected and that’s where dlss comes into play unfortunately the shimmering of the edges even in the quality preset is distracting and unpleasant but that’s the only way to play with decent enough fps with rt enabled it even looks better with dlss when the camera is stationary but you’ll see the shimmering edges as you move the pieces and the camera next up is pumpkin jack with raytrace shadows and reflections which are immediately evident in the opening sequence the water actually looks like water instead of appearing like a thick blue cloud with rt disabled it’s nice to see the reflections of the game world and your character but the weapon has no reflections and neither does your pumpkin head in this scene where only the glowing mouth and eyes are visible in the reflection the shadows are also a hit and miss as only the character’s body has the proper shadow shape no weapon shadow here but also only the large light sources produce ray trace shadows as this small lamp on the wood stump doesn’t do anything for the character and finally enabling dlss and the ray tracing brings us into playable frame rates without the annoying shimmering we saw with the lego game but still the game world and pumpkin jack doesn’t have that many reflective elements nor shadow elements plus it removes the depth of field effect when the dlss is enabled so this rt implementation to me is useless moving into more reflective goodness here we have observer system redux in this slow paced game reflections don’t make a huge difference but they are appreciated as they elevate the cyberpunk game

world into a more realistic space like seeing your reflection in the mirror is one minor thing but it’s the floor reflections that properly convey the wetness of the surface and while there is a substantial hit on frame rates this is generally not an issue for such an explorative narrative driven gameplay i play system redux with rt enabled and i feel it benefits the visuals greatly unfortunately the same cannot be said for doom eternal where rt reflections are available so this is the type of game where seeing the doom slayer in a piece of glass just does nothing for me the world doesn’t even have that many reflective surfaces but it tanks your performance anyway i rather play with 200 plus fps with rt disabled because the pacing here is way too fast for you to like stop and appreciate a cool reflection once in a while and enabling dlss does improve performance with a slight drop in texture quality but to be honest you’re flying through the world so fast it doesn’t even matter next up is watch dogs legion regardless of how bad the game is reflections in this wet london environment are nicely executed when you stop by a large enough puddle to appreciate the accuracy of the ground and even toad the resolution of those reflections is a tad pixelated when you really pixel peep during motion this is not an issue what is an issue however is performance given the ground is wet in so many areas and that makes the game basically unplayable until you turn on dlss which improves performance of course but also completely destroys textures throughout the scene so objects close to you and at a distance became kind of muddy but still rt reflections are well

suited for this game world visually despite the atrocious fps hit now let’s talk about ghost runner where we have raytraced reflections and shadows that mainly matter for your blade as it reflects the light sources and colors as you move through the map or look up into this glass building that properly reflects pointless stuff in the sky for a few seconds but in reality it doesn’t really contribute much to the visual improvement of the game i actually think the shadowy areas with rt disabled look better and it’s one of those games where the art direction is already so freaking good ray tracing doesn’t add much to enjoyment of this game in fact it removes so much performance you need to rely on dlss to get back into playable frame rates the problem with dlss and ghost runner is all the ghosting and that is created on all the edges in the scene if i’m stationary you don’t really notice it but as soon as we have motion the yellow railings in particular illuminate uh in white edges and become really unpleasant this isn’t an issue on some levels where the glowing edges kind of blend into the environment but overall ray tracing in this game is underwhelming speaking of underwhelming call of duty black ops cold war so this game has ray trace shadows if you have an hour to figure out the differences plus a few really shiny vehicles i was surprised to find a few in the jungle that got me confused uh because i thought these were ray trace reflections but they’re not so if we look at this scene early in the game it’s probably the only place where you’ll notice difference so the slightly darker part under the table the softer edges on the shelf behind the lady and under the tv but getting into the game and all these softer edges and darker spots become

indistinguishable during gameplay so on the one hand that’s nice meaning you can enjoy the game without ray tracing fomo but on the other hand it really highlights how ray trace shadows are the weakest element in this entire conversation since standard fake shadows are good enough already the lss of course improves performance but with slight visible ghosting on moving pixels while still not being anywhere near the performance you get with rt disabled next up is resident evil village where reflections global illumination and ambient occlusions are all ray traced by the way i did not realize i would enjoy this game so much the writing and characters are just fantastic the same however cannot be said for ray tracing trying to find the difference between rt on and off in these scenes is almost impossible until you finally stumble upon a rare reflective surface that is accurate but also pixelated and grainy also the fake reflections and the basement liquid don’t look so nice and the rt shot is much more accurate here with all the lights and objects but i actually find rt off in many scenes to look better like the darker couch area behind the stairs that helps to darken the mood and this is the only game i’ve tested today where performance isn’t just like simply cut in half with rt enabled but that’s probably due to the low quality reflections anyway so i’m playing village with rt disabled because the added contrast in the shadows is how i vibe with the game i also vibe very nicely with the latest edition of metro exodus where we have rt reflections global illumination and basically all light sources in the game are ray traced giving you an incredibly beautiful and accurate representation of the world although with less contrasty shadowy areas because any light will bounce off the surface and your character to illuminate and fill in those shadow areas this scene and the train for example looks kind of flat because there’s so much light eliminating any harsh shadows but in the opening sequence

you can see how these side areas don’t get any light bounce and are almost pitch black so when you use the flashlight it actually bounces some of the orangey color from the wood onto the snowy surface which is very impressive the game also has three rt profiles all of which look identical to my eyes at least in terms of brightness and reflections quality but notice there’s a significant hit on performance as we go above normal so i honestly don’t know what’s different and so for my playthrough i kept everything at normal dlss improves performance with a pretty substantial fps boost if you need extra frames just keep in mind there is a slight loss of texture detail with any level of dlss and overall i’m pretty happy with how the game looks in this pc enhanced edition however the king of all ray traced visuals has to be cyberpunk 2077 despite the disappointing game itself here we have rt shadows reflections global illumination diffused illumination and ambient occlusion meaning when you find a scene with all five in there it’s absolutely gorgeous and realistic how soft the shadow is on the edges how the mud in the shadow gets brighter the quality of the reflection is fantastic and the game world is absolutely filled with things that properly showcase ray tracing like the curvature of the reflection from the car surface an accurate reflection in the glass wall behind this guy proper shape reflections in this oil spill from objects in the background but performance with rt is absolutely terrible so dlss kind of saves the day even adding fps with rt disabled but of course dlss being dlss there’s a significant hit on

detail and you get a little shimmer happening with motion especially in the performance setting but look at the fps with dlss on quality and rt enabled it is fairly close to stock performance the downside here is the loss of the finer detail like you cannot even see the rain anymore nor the splashes in the puddle but i still feel like it’s a worthy compromise since the game looks significantly better with ray tracing enabled plus dlss on quality smoothes out all the sharper edges in the trees and on this fence for example so if you can play it with rt and some form of dlss to give you the best experience and then we get into fortnite that basically has the same level of ray tracing as cyberpunk with shadows reflections global illumination and ambient occlusion but aside from being a massive show-off it makes absolutely no sense in this free-to-play game since visuals don’t matter in the competitive space but this doesn’t mean the game can be beautiful though and even though these reflections look super nice the fire engines don’t show up so it’s really just pretty to pass by a river stream and see how reflections are handled but other than that performance suffers so much with ray tracing enabled to even be considered anything other than a fun feature to try even with dlss fps in my opinion is not high enough now the last honorable mention has to be crisis remastered since the game uses ray traced reflections through the cryengine and doesn’t rely on rtx graphics it’s still incredibly demanding though even with dlss enabled the reflections in the water look good but that’s where the fun ends for me i prefer the original crisis from 10 years ago for interior shots plus dlss has this really nasty looking image during motion you can see it well through the scope as everything goes grainy or shimmery unless you pause for the image to render properly i would keep rt disabled here and overall this release is very disappointing because of the crappy controls and overall flat lighting i feel

like the lighting engine and the shadows and the sun and the contrast was so much better than the original and also what you can find with mods better than what christ has remastered was released with and so that brings us into the conclusion and we can take away a few things so ray tracing can 100 improve the user experience from the visual point of view when the game context game pacing and the gaming visual environment matches proper ray tracing implementation so when it comes to reflections for example i feel like that’s a strong point with rt um many places wet ground glass reflections on cars all that contributes to an overall more realistic more visually beautiful environment while rt shadows for example most of the time are not necessary since the fake shadows are already so good and so what we get is like a slight substantial improvement in realism but the significant hit on performance for example is just not worth it while global illumination and ray tracing from other light sources has its place to properly illuminate the interiors to properly have light bouncing around uh to give you a more realistic scene with a slight compromise on sometimes making it looking too flat and regardless of which rt the game uses there’s still a significant penalty on performance and that’s where dlss comes in to save the day but with the compromise on visual quality either through shimmering or just really grainy images until you pause and until the image kind of gets put together all this to say is that ray tracing in 2021 is far from perfect but we are starting to get glimpses of that’s future potential with

like the lego where everything is retraced it looks absolutely stunning but the performance is so bad there’s absolutely no way you can do anything more complex than like a few blocks of lego on screen but it does bring me a little hope future titles and there is a little bit of progress as you can see in terms of game genres and the rt implementation per game as well if you have tried it let me know which game is your favorite so far with ray tracing and yeah i hope you enjoyed this one i’m dmitry thanks so much for watching check out this other relevant content subscribe for more i’ll talk to you in the next

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