It's not often we get a new graphical behemoth these days, but Remedy's Control ticks all the boxes we hope for from a graphical powerhouse. Control comes packing extensive real-time ray-tracing support, truly flexing the muscles of the Nvidia GeForce RTX video cards.

I would to have to say, to my eye, Control with ray-tracing enabled is quite probably the best looking game I've ever played. It looks absolutely phenomenal from top to bottom. The reflections are stunning, the ray traced contact shadows help to add genuinely real depth to the world, and the transparent reflections fit this glistening world to a tee. Control is an absolute visual tour de force and I think it's the first must-have example of ray tracing in action.

If you're a raytracing doubter, this is the game to convert. Turn raytracing off and the experience is notably different. The world begins to look a little flat and lifeless. Not terribly so, but enough to make me sure that raytracing is absolutely the future of videogame graphics technology. It's an absolute game changer.

But, most of us are very aware raytracing can make games look fantastic. The elephant in the room has always been the prohibitive performance costs. Control layers in more raytracing effects than any game thus far, comprising ray traced reflections, ray traced transparent reflections, ray traced indirect diffuse lighting, ray traced contact shadows, and ray traced debris. It's the most comprehensive package yet in terms of testing the capabilities of GeForce RTX 20 series GPUs.

With that in mind, we've no doubt you've been itching to find out how Control performs. Here we've benchmarked all of the DXR-powered ray-tracing options which are found in Control, analysing performance on the GeForce RTX 2060 as well as identifying which are the most demanding settings.

Ray Tracing for Control performed on a PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB XLR8 Graphics Card, Intel Core i7-5820K CPU @ 4.2 GHz and 16GB DDR4 RAM

For our benchmarks, we tested how the GeForce RTX 2060 performs while ray-tracing at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K with raytracing turned Off, set to Medium, and set to High. The non-RTX graphics preset was always set to 'High'. We then took the average frame rates for the results below.

  1080p 1440p 4K
Off 65.2 41.9 21.8
Medium 53 34.2 10
High 40 25.1 8

In terms of the performance hit you can expect from enabling ray-tracing in Control, we found the PNY XLR8 GeForce RTX 2060 6GB took around an 18% hit to the frame rate when setting Ray Tracing to Medium and a fairly chunky 40% for setting Ray Tracing to High. As far as ray tracing goes, these performance hits aren't actually that bad. They're way more demanding than just about any other graphics option but they're also much better to look at as well. 

On Ultra, this does mean the RTX 2060 does dip down below 60fps, averaging 53 fps. However, frame rates in Control are typically very stable and tend to only vary in the single digits. Drop the graphics preset down to Medium and the RTX 2060 can achieve 60fps with ray-tracing enabled.

As for what we'd recommend, we suggest GeForce RTX owners absolutely do drop the graphics settings down a notch to Medium in order to be able to enable ray tracing effects. From our experience with Control it is very much worth the hit to your frames per second in Remedy's Control.

Is it possible to run Ray Tracing at 4K resolution while playing Control?

While the Nvidia RTX 2060 is not capable of running Control at 4K with Ray Tracing on, you may be able to turn some of the Ray Tracing settings on at 1440p. However, the PNY RTX 2060 frame rate numbers above and the in-game experience support ray tracing more comfortably at 1080p screen res and it does look great when you turn it on. Control isn't particularly stuttery even at lower frame rates from 20-30fps, although with ray tracing turned up to High we can see the RTX 2060 will struggle at 1440p.

With ray tracing running Control is one of the most impressive and beautiful games we have encountered to date. If you are interested in getting your ray tracing fairly stable at 4K resolution then you should be looking to pick up an RTX 2080 Super or the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti for the types of sheer power we expect are needed. But of course you will be paying a lot of cash for those (very) pretty reflections and that's got to be up to you and whether you feel it's worth it.

In our opinion, it’s really neat to see what games can become, graphically, as it was starting to feel like gaming visual performance improvements had reached a bit of a plateau.

Control Ray Tracing Performance Breakdown

Just to get a little more granular, we also benchmarked each of the five individual ray tracing graphics options in Control. The first two, reflections and transparent reflections, are enabled when Ray Tracing is set to Medium. All five are enabled when Ray Tracing is set to High.

The further right the bar goes, the more demanding the raytracing graphics option is when enabled. The percentage is based on the frame rate when playing Control at 1080p/Ultra.

Our results here mimic what we saw found in our earlier benchmarks. Enabling the top two settings causes the Control frame rate to drop by around 20%, while enabled all five raytracing options causes ~40% dip in FPS. 

We found both of the reflections settings had the greatest impact on Control's visual fidelity, with ray traced contact shadows narrowly behind. Ray traced debris can be a little tricky to notice so this should be the first to go if you want to squeeze out a few more frames.

Control Ray Tracing On vs Off Comparison

Slide your cursor over the image to compare

 

Our Favorite Comments
"is it just me or does the game looks pretty average, Jon in previous article sayed how the game looks amazing and probably there are many people to share his opinion but to me this looks just like Quantum Breal if not worse"
"I won't care about Ray Tracing until the tech proliferates all the way down Nvidia's AND AMD's product stacks. All the way from top tier down to low-end GPUs. I'm not falling for the "first-to-market" gimmick. When tech achieves widespread availability it works better and becomes cheaper. Leave the..."
"It looks considerably better than Quantum Break imo. In action this is one of the best looking games I've ever played, Quantum Break doesn't even get a look in"
Jon -