Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Flex your GPU’s power with the best ray tracing PC games

Ray tracing is the lighting tech that defines the look of many modern AAA games. Demanding as it is, most of the best gaming desktops come with ray tracing-capable hardware, allowing you to experience the most graphically demanding technique games currently have access to.

Just because a game has great graphics doesn’t mean it’s a great showcase of ray tracing, though. For example, Hitman 3‘s ray tracing update was a disappointment. We catered our list toward games that best showcase ray tracing, so you can use them for bragging rights or just to see what your PC is capable of.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
76 %
3/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer Techland Publishing, Techland
Publisher Techland Publishing, Spike ChunSoft
Release February 04, 2022
Dying Light 2 Stay Human — Official GeForce RTX 4K Reveal Trailer
Dying Light 2: Stay Human might be the most graphically advanced game available today (though our next pick gives it a run for its money). It features ray-traced global illumination, ambient occlusion, shadows, and reflections. You can even apply ray tracing to your flashlight, with light spilling out into dark rooms around you. As our Dying Light 2 performance guide shows, though, ray tracing comes at a steep cost. Even the best graphics cards will be brought to their knees by Dying Light 2. This is a game clearly built for future hardware, so it’s a good idea to turn down a lot of the ray tracing settings if you can.

Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition

Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Adventure
Developer 4A Games
Publisher Deep Silver
Release May 06, 2021
Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition with RTX | Available Now!
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition is a PC exclusive that goes all-in on ray tracing. Literally. Developer 4A Games replaced every rasterized light source with a ray-traced version, as well as improved the ray-traced reflection featured in the first version. Needless to say, all of this ray tracing is extremely demanding, so make sure to turn on Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) for the best results.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077
78 %
3/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Role-playing (RPG)
Developer CD Projekt RED
Publisher CD Projekt RED
Release December 09, 2020
Read our full Cyberpunk 2077 review
Cyberpunk 2077 | Official 4K RTX Launch Trailer
For all of the problems Cyberpunk 2077 has, it’s still a downright gorgeous game. Like our top two picks, you’re looking at ray tracing across the board — global illumination, shadows, reflections, ambient occlusion, and diffused illumination. Night City comes to life with ray tracing turned on, but it’ll tank your frame rate (even with a GPU as powerful as the RTX 3090 Ti). You’ll need to turn on DLSS for the best experience, and thankfully, the game supports FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) if you have an AMD GPU.

Control

Control
84 %
3.5/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Shooter, Adventure
Developer Remedy Entertainment
Publisher 505 Games
Release August 27, 2019
Read our full Control review
NVIDIA’s Advanced Ray Tracing Effects in Control
Control was one of the earliest examples of the power of ray tracing, and it remains one of the best ray tracing games in 2022. The game doesn’t have ray-traced global illumination, but it still comes with reflections, shadows, and even ray-traced debris. It’s demanding, so Nvidia DLSS is a welcome addition. It’s not as demanding as our top picks, however, which is great if you’re sitting on a 1080p graphics card.

Minecraft

Minecraft
84 %
E10
Platforms Linux, PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac
Genre Adventure, Arcade
Developer Mojang Studios
Publisher Mojang Studios
Release November 18, 2011
Minecraft RTX is a novelty — there’s no way around it. Similar to Quake II RTX, ray tracing really shines when put against a game that’s graphically simple. You get reflections, shadows, global illumination, and emissive blocks, bringing the voxel world to a whole new level. You’ll need to install an RTX-capable resource pack to use ray tracing, but the results are stunning.

LEGO Builder's Journey

LEGO Builder's Journey
80 %
E
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Puzzle, Adventure, Indie
Developer Light Brick Studio
Publisher The LEGO Group
Release December 20, 2019
LEGO Builder's Journey Trailer - Apple Arcade
A mobile game like Lego’s Builder’s Journey doesn’t seem like an obvious choice to show off ray tracing, but that’s why it’s so brilliant; ray tracing elevates the game visually so much that it’s the perfect showcase. Ray-traced shadows and reflections shine with the minor imperfections on the Lego bricks, making each diorama seem like it’s ripped straight from the real world.

AMID EVIL

AMID EVIL
87 %
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre Shooter, Adventure, Indie
Developer Indefatigable
Publisher New Blood Interactive
Release June 20, 2019
AMID EVIL with RTX | Available Now
Amid Evil is among the increasingly popular genre of boomer shooters — retro-styled FPS games modeled off of 90s classics like Quake. Amid Evil has all of the retro trimmings, but the developer brings in some modern flare with ray-traced reflections and shadows. It doesn’t look like a retro game with ray tracing overlayed on top; Amid Evil is instead a masterclass in style. You don’t need much to get ray tracing working, either, but Nvidia DLSS is available in case you’re running into performance issues.

DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal
84 %
4.5/5
M
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre Shooter
Developer id Software
Publisher Bethesda Softworks
Release March 20, 2020
Read our full DOOM Eternal review
DOOM Eternal | Official GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 4K Ray Tracing Gameplay – World Premiere
It took a year from release for Doom Eternal to receive its ray tracing update, but the wait was worth it. The game doesn’t have all of the fancy ray tracing tech as some of our higher picks. Instead, it perfects ray-traced reflections. The game has so many bright, vibrant surfaces for light to bounce off, and flipping the reflections on brings the hellscape to life (or death, I suppose).

Bright Memory: Infinite

Bright Memory: Infinite
59 %
RP
Platforms PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre Shooter, Adventure, Indie
Developer FYQD-Studio
Publisher AGM Playism
Release November 11, 2021
Bright Memory: Infinite | Launch Trailer
Bright Memory: Infinite isn’t a great game. It’s a relatively basic shooter with a few unique melee mechanics thrown into the mix, and you’ll have it beaten in a couple of hours. More than anything, Bright Memory: Infinite is a tech demo. It shows off ray tracing at its best, with reflections, global illumination, shadows, and a world design that seems purpose-built for the light tech.

Editors' Recommendations