Elden Ring’s RT upgrade is not the feature we wanted

March 30, 2023
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A year on from Elden Ring’s release, developer From Software has added ray tracing to the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and PC versions of the game with update 1.09. More specifically, it’s ray-traced shadows and ambient occlusion that make the cut, although neither feature comes to the Xbox Series S version of the game. For those on PS5, Series X and PC, this is a welcome surprise – it’s not since Scholars of the First Sin for Dark Souls 2 have we seen such a post-launch revamp of a Souls game’s aesthetic.

Of course, whether the new features are worth enabling depends how successful the implementation is, with the big question being fairly straightforward: does the RT deliver enough of a visual upgrade to justify the performance cost on each of the three platforms? And did RT really deserve this focus when so many technical problems remain unchanged since launch?

First, let’s cover off how to activate the RT features. On PS5 and Series X this appears as a new on/off toggle available when quality mode is enabled, while PC users get four RT settings that affect RT shadows and AO in combination: low, medium, high and maximum. The patch notes warn that the game’s resolution and frame-rate can be affected by enabling RT, which is what we’d expect given that Elden Ring often doesn’t run with much headroom and RT has both a CPU and GPU cost.

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