One of the standout features of the PlayStation 5 is support for real-time ray tracing. The console supports ray tracing, but that doesn’t mean every game does. Worse, Sony doesn’t provide any indication of whether a game supports the feature or not. That’s why we did some digging to find every PS5 game that supports ray tracing.
Pioneered by Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards, real-time ray tracing is a lighting technique that produces more realistic shadows and reflections. Instead of using a lighting or shadow map, reflections and shadows are produced from individual photons bouncing (or not bouncing) off of surfaces. Each ray of light is traced from its source to its destination, adding a sense of depth and realism to scenes.
The problem is that ray tracing is demanding, even pushing the powerful PS5 to its limit. Developers are still optimizing ray tracing for the PS5, so we expect more impressive implementations as the console matures. All of the games below support ray-traced shadows or reflections (or both), but some use the feature better than others.
Astro’s Playroom isn’t exactly subtle about ray tracing (there’s an entire zone named after the feature, even). As the first game that many new PS5 owners will play, it does a great job showing off the features and functionality of the console. That includes ray-traced reflections, adding a thin layer of polish to every surface in the game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War features ray-traced shadows on the PS5. Although ray traced reflections are more obvious, shadows add a sense of depth and realism to scenes. Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to 2010’s Black Ops, sending players through a campaign of secrecy and government conspiracy set in the 1980s.
Control Ultimate Edition includes a 60 frames-per-second mode without ray-tracing features and a 30 fps mode with them. In Control, you play as Jesse Faden as she explores The Oldest House, a government building that houses the Federal Bureau of Control. Ray tracing is only available with the Ultimate Edition of the game, which also includes all of the DLC.
You have three modes to choose from when playing Deathloop, but only one of them will offer ray racing. As with many other titles, using this mode will bring the frame rate down to 30 but give you those high-quality shadows at the same resolution as the other modes. This blends great with the thick, bold art style of this time-bending puzzling shooter.
Like Control Ultimate Edition, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition is a re-release of a last-generation title with a slew of next-gen improvements. That includes two different ray-tracing modes, one targeting visuals, and another targeting performance. Devil May Cry 5 has always been a beautiful game (in a grotesque, demon-killing type of way), and with ray tracing, it looks even better.
Like most racing games, Dirt 5 benefits a lot from ray tracing. Ray-traced reflections are standard for the game, adding a realistic layer of shine to surfaces, and ray-traced shadows bring depth to the track. Racing games rely heavily on their visuals, and although there aren’t a lot of racing titles on PS5 right now, Dirt 5 is a good sign for future releases like Gran Turismo 7.
Epic Games updated Fortnite almost immediately after the PS5’s launch to bring a list of next-gen features, including ray tracing. The effect is subtle, showing up mostly in shadows. Fortnite isn’t a great showcase of ray tracing, but when all of the next-gen features are taken together, the game looks much better on PS5.
Tripwire’s open-world shark simulator, Maneater, received a free update shortly after the PS5’s launch that enabled a number of next-gen enhancements, including ray tracing. Maneater is a bit like Grand Theft Auto where you play as a shark. It’s an open-world sandbox RPG where you complete challenges, terrorize beach dwellers, and assert yourself as the apex predator of the ocean.
Metro Exodus was technically released last generation, but the upgrade it got for the PS5 makes it almost seem like it was made for the PS5 first. The free upgrade adds a bunch of new features, including full ray-traced lighting, which makes all those dank, dark areas feel even more deadly.
NBA 2K21 makes a great argument for ray tracing in sports games moving forward. In a genre that doesn’t evolve much from year to year, visuals really make the difference. Small touches like a bounce of harsh lighting on players’ foreheads and accurate color bounce on the court elevate the look of NBA 2K21 on PS5. Compared to the PS4 version of the game, the perks of the next-gen become abundantly clear.
Bloober Team’s Observer is a psychological horror game set in 2084 Poland where you play as the titular Observer, a police officer that can hack into people’s minds. System Redux enhances and expands the 2017 game, adding more story content while updating the visuals for next-gen systems. On PS5, the game features ray-traced reflections, higher resolutions, and a more stable frame rate.
Like a CG film brought to life, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart looks absolutely stunning when given the full ray-tracing treatment. This colorful and bombastic tale is already a treat for the eyes, but with ray tracing on, it is almost hard to believe a game could look so good.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales was the go-to PS5 launch title, showcasing the capabilities of the system in a familiar franchise. The game features a few different graphical modes, including a 60 fps option with ray tracing. Miles Morales is a follow-up to 2018’s Spider-Man. It’s a shorter romp through New York, this time staring Miles Morales as Spider-Man while Peter Parker is away.
Released with the Ultimate Edition of Miles Morales, Spider-Man Remastered features the same graphical enhancements. It’s identical to the 2018 PS4 release, just running with the features showcased in Miles Morales. Spider-Man Remastered is available for an extra $20 with Miles Morales, or as a standalone purchase for $40.
Watch Dogs: Legion features ray-traced shadows on PS5, which, as mentioned above, help add a layer of depth to almost every scene. Legion is a direct sequel to 2016’s Watch Dogs 2, set in a near-future London. Advancements in artificial intelligence have cost thousands their jobs, privacy, and safety. In Legion, you lead a resistance, recruiting people around the city to help you fight back.
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