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Control remains one of the best showcases for ray tracing


Control, Remedy’s 2019 physics-defying sci-fi shooter, continues to be one of the best-looking games of the generation. Coming from a developer pedigree that includes Max Payne, Alan Wake and, um, Quantum Break, Control is a refreshingly weird take on the ol’ run-and-gun. If you’re taking the opportunity to play or replay the game that won our “Best Setting” award in 2019, here’s how to get the most out of it.

A word on our sponsor

As our partner for these detailed performance analyses, MSI provided the hardware we needed to test Control on a bunch of different AMD and Nvidia GPUs, multiple CPUs, and several laptops—see below for the full details, along with our Performance Analysis 101 article. Thanks, MSI!

Notably, Control still has the most complete implementation of Nvidia’s ray tracing tech. Diffuse lighting, shadow effects, and both solid and transparent reflections all get the DXR treatment, with the usual catch that enabling them will put big dents in overall performance. DLSS can help get things back up to speed, but benchmarking reveals Control to be a very demanding game indeed—even on the kinds of high-end GPUs that are compatible with DLSS in the first place.

First, though, let’s check out what Control’s PC version has to offer.

Control performance testing images and charts

(Image credit: Future)

More than a year after release, the features list is pretty respectable, and the depth of HUD customization is particularly impressive: you can enable, disable, or change the colour of a dozen different pieces of interface, from the crosshair to loot icons, with separate options for the health bars of enemies and allies. I don’t think it’s a PC-exclusive feature but you can also change the size of subtitles (which can themselves be toggled on or off) and decide whether or not to have the speaker’s name included in them. That’s a nice touch for players with disabilities.

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