Skip to main content

Every Xbox Series X game that supports ray tracing

Ray tracing is one of the most exciting new capabilities of the Xbox Series X. Brought to market by Nvidia’s RTX range of graphics cards, ray tracing adds a new level of depth and realism to games. Instead of using predetermined lighting points or shadow maps, ray tracing follows each simulated photon of light, rendering reflections, shadows, and lighting overall in a more true-to-life way.

The problem is that ray tracing is extremely demanding, so not every game supports it. Worse, some games that originally advertised ray tracing don’t support it now. We did the digging so you don’t have to, compiling a list of every Xbox Series X game that supports ray tracing. Because of the mix-ups in marketing, our list is focused on released games only. It should grow significantly as the console generation matures.

Further reading

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Two soldiers in a burning building.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War features ray-traced shadows on Xbox Series X. Although reflections are easier to spot, ray traced shadows do a lot to bring a scene to life over traditional rasterized shadows. Black Ops Cold War continues the story of the original Black Ops game. You play as a highly specialized operative sent on a black operation to neutralize a Soviet spy at the behest of Ronald Reagan.

Call of the Sea

A shack built on a tropical island.

One of the most overlooked games of 2020, Call of the Sea is a delightful, surprising adventure/puzzle about exploring an island. We’ll leave the narrative description at that (Call of the Sea really has an excellent story, and we’d hate to spoil it). The Xbox console exclusive supports ray tracing on Series X consoles, making the gorgeous, pseudo-realistic island look even prettier.

Control Ultimate Edition

A soldier in a colorful construction area.

Control Ultimate Edition, which includes the next-gen version of Control along with all of the DLC, supports ray-traced shadows and reflections on Xbox Series X. The game has two graphical modes, one without ray tracing that runs at 60 fps (frames per second), and another with ray tracing that runs at 30 fps. Control comes from Remedy Entertainment (Alan Wake, Quantum Break), and like the studio’s previous games, it’s a high-octane action game with an engaging, if unsettling, narrative.

Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition

Virgil performing a judgement cut.

Originally, Capcom announced that Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition would not feature ray tracing at launch on Xbox Series X, but the game launched with the same suite of graphical options across Series X and PlayStation 5. It actually features four graphics modes, two of which enable ray-traced reflections. Quality mode renders the game at 4K and runs between 30 fps and 60 fps, while performance mode renders the game at 1080p and stays locked at 60 fps.

Doom Eternal

The Doom Slayer shoots demons in Doom Eternal.

After an optimization patch, Doom Eternal can now show you all the demonic blood and gore the way it was always meant to be seen. The update gives players three choices for how they want the game to run on their Series X: Performance, Balanced, and Quality. Quality is the only one with ray tracing, however. Unlike many other games, though, it manages to hold a rock-solid 60 fps at a crisp 1080p resolution while still showing off all the lighting effects for an even more immersive and brutal experience.


A troop of soldiers in white outfits taking position.

Enlisted is part of Xbox’s Game Preview program, meaning it’s still in active development. It’s a squad-based FPS/MMO set during World War 2, allowing you to play in the battles that defined the war. Enlisted is a game all about scale, and ray tracing helps with that a lot. Developer Darkflow Software actually uses a proprietary system for ray-traced global illumination, allowing the studio to achieve accurate lighting and shadows in even the largest scenes.


Fortnite characters running away from an explosion.

Fortnite has ray tracing on PC, but information about the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions is sparse. The visual upgrade between current- and last-gen is clear, though. On Series X, Fortnite’s lighting is softer and more accurate, with the iconic ray tracing shine that comes from any object emitting light. Fortnite isn’t the best showcase of ray tracing, but if you play a lot, the graphical enhancements are enough to justify the jump to the Series X.

Gears 5

A red desert in Gears of War.

Gears 5 doesn’t actually use the ray-tracing hardware inside the Xbox Series X, instead using software ray tracing in screen-space. That doesn’t mean ray tracing looks bad in Gears 5, though. Compared with the previous version of the game, the software ray tracing renders shadows much more accurately. Gears 5 has been a technical marvel since launch, and with the power of Series X, it looks better than ever.


Two sharks fighting underwater.

Maneater features ray-traced reflections and refractions on Xbox Series X, which makes a huge difference for a game that takes place primarily underwater. It’s an open-world sandbox where you play as a shark terrorizing shallow waters. As you gnash through aquatic and land-bound foes, you’ll earn perks and experience, allowing you to grow and take on larger threats.

The Medium

A woman holding her head in a nightmare.

The Medium is a pretty, if under-optimized, Xbox Series X exclusive that features ray-traced reflections. The feature is available on Xbox Series X and PC, and the Series X version is capped at 30 fps. The Medium is a physiological horror game that follows a medium named Marianne as she ventures deep into an abandoned communist resort. The game is rather unique as far as adventure/puzzle titles go, featuring a dual reality mechanic where two worlds are rendered on screen at the same time.

Metro Exodus

An abandoned building with the sun shining through.

The enhancements given to Metro Exodus make it look like a brand-new game on the Series X despite being one of the oldest games on this list. Taking place in the post-apocalyptic landscapes of Russia, both the interior and exterior locations were begging for this lighting upgrade. It’s just as much a survival horror game as a FPS, so lighting was always a major component in setting the tone of the Metro games. And with the dynamic day and night cycle in this latest entry, it just makes the dread all the more palpable.

NBA 2K21

Two basketball players playing basketball.

Sports games are rarely a reason to upgrade to next-gen, but NBA 2K21 makes a compelling argument. The difference is night and day, bringing the character models, courts, and animations to life in a way that no sports game has done before. As a game, NBA 2K21 continues to build on 2K’s sports franchise, featuring the MyCareer and MyTeam modes, as well as franchise mode. NBA 2K21 doesn’t change much when it comes to gameplay, but the graphical improvements are worth the price of admission alone.

Observer: System Redux

Two cyborgs talking through a neon display.
Bloober Team

Of all the genres, horror games are some of the best suited to getting the ray-tracing treatment. Observer: System Redux perhaps is the best proof of this due to it being both a horror and cyberpunk-style game. The dark, neon, and technological environments are now truly engrossing on the Series X, putting the game on par with the PS5, which already supported ray tracing for the title.

Poker Club

A man in a red hoodie holding poker chips.

You know ray tracing is hitting the mainstream when a poker game decides it’s an important graphical feature. Poker Club is one of the most unlikely games to support ray tracing, but it does. While you’re bluffing your way to an early demise, at least you’ll be able to spot a few accurate reflections bouncing off your chips.

Resident Evil: Village

A zombie attacking in Resident Evil Village.

Another game we had to wait a bit to get fully optimized, Resident Evil: Village on the Series X also comes with a few new options depending on what you want to prioritize. If you’re looking to make the dingy, mist-covered village and candlelit interiors pull you in like never before, the ray-tracing option is quite impressive. Not only does it allow the resolution to hit up to 4K, but you can also keep HDR on and get a decent 45 frames per second.

Watch Dogs: Legion

A man with a mohawk on a motorcycle running from the cops.

Watch Dogs: Legion was one of the few Series X games available at launch, and although the game itself is a bit prosaic, it still looks great. It’s a great showcase of early-gen ray-tracing effects and a benchmark that will likely be compared to future releases. Legion continues the story of Watch Dogs 2, following DedSec as they recruit, hack, and fight to build a resistance against the oppressive private military group Albion.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
Xbox Game Pass new games: what’s new and what’s leaving in April 2023
Four players stand together in the 4v4 PvP mode of Minecraft Legends.

While Microsoft was been hit with criticism for the Xbox Series X's slow-growing exclusive lineup -- several highly anticipated titles like Bethesda's Starfield and co-op shooter Redfall have been pushed to later in 2023 -- the company is still delivering one of the best deals in gaming: Xbox Game Pass.

Game Pass gives gamers access to a massive library of games that includes throwback hits, brand-new titles on release day, and indie darlings. These games can be played on Xbox consoles, PC, mobile, and even Steam Deck.

Read more
The best Xbox One games to play right now
Newcastle raises his shield in Apex Legends.

The Xbox One might not have the same selection of exclusives as the PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch, but the handful it does have are worth checking out. Some of the best Xbox One games are first-party titles, but you'll find loads of other quality games from the likes of Electronic Arts, Bethesda, and Ubisoft that compose a huge library of games worth playing.

A lot of them are available on Xbox Game Pass as well, so you can try out the best games on the system without shelling out $60 left and right. If you've already upgraded to the Xbox Series X, don't worry: The vast majority of Xbox One games work on the Series X and Series S with Microsoft's Smart Delivery program.

Read more
Redfall won’t get its 60 fps Performance Mode until after launch
redfall hands on impressions xbox angler showdown

Most games for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S let players choose between a Quality Mode that emphasizes resolution and a Performance Mode that ups the frame rate. While Redfall will eventually have both of those, it's only launching with one of them, and it's not the one you'd hope for from a fast-paced shooter.
Arkane Studios took to Redfall's official Twitter account to explain that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S versions of the game will only have Quality Mode when the game comes out next month. The Xbox Series X version will run at 30 frames per second at a 4K resolution, while the Xbox Series S version shares that framerate at a lower 1440p resolution. Thankfully, the tweet does confirm that a 60 fps performance mode will come at a later date via an update.
This announcement is disappointing for console players who prefer higher framerates for their fast-paced action games. As Redfall is an intense open-world shooter with lots of combat with flashy effects, the game will potentially feel more sluggish than it should be to play at only 30 fps.
WB Games Montreal's Gotham Knights and Focus Interactive's A Plague Tale: Requiem got into similar hot water last year when they only supported 30 fps on consoles. While those games have not gotten 60 fps updates since their October 2022 launches, Redfall fans can take respite in the fact that the game will eventually get a Performance Mode patch post-launch. If only being able to play Redfall at 30 fps is that big of an issue for you, maybe put off playing it on Xbox Game Pass until that Performance Mode update releases. 
Redfall will launch for PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S on May 2. The post-launch Performance Mode update does not have a specific launch date yet.

Read more