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Months after the first RTX card hit the market, the real-time ray tracing feature is finally in Battlefield V. This is the very first game to support Nvidia’s and Microsoft’s lauded new lighting technology. So it’s time to take a look at RTX in action. What does it even do? Does it destroy performance? And does it matter?

Let’s find out.

I captured some Battlefield V footage last night with RTX enabled. In the shooter from Electronic Arts and developer DICE, the feature is called “DXR.” That’s based on Microsoft’s DirectX Ray Tracing (DXR) graphics library. With that feature turned on, you will get ray-traced reflections throughout the world of Battlefield V. The shooter does not, however, support the global illumination or shadow effects that RTX is capable of.

You can see what those RTX reflections look like in the video above. In puddles, you get accurate reflections in all circumstances. This is different from standard reflections that often only work if the reflected object is on the screen at the same time.

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The results are gorgeous. Anyone will notice the different of going from non-RTX to RTX reflections. And considering that Battlefield V is filled with puddles and windows, you will see those results throughout the world.

Is it worth the cost?

I’m not even going to worry about whether or not RTX is worth the cost of the graphics card itself. It’s not. If you are upgrading, I would probably get an RTX card. But the RTX capabilities are incidental to that decision.

But what about the cost to framerate and/or visual fidelity? Real-time ray tracing is computationally expensive. Turning it on will invariably lower your framerate unless you turn down some other features to enjoy it. And whether that’s worth it to you is going to depend. If you’re playing online in multiplayer, it’s not worth it. I promise you, and you already know that’s the case.

If you are going for a cinematic single-player experience, however, I think that enabling DXR is probably at least worth experiencing first-hand. You will have to turn down some features, but the RTX reflections look so good that it’s worth it in many cases. I was able to run at a really smooth framerate on medium settings with DXR set to Ultra. At that level of fidelity, the game stopped me in its tracks multiple times with its beauty.

I won’t pretend that most of you are going to turn DXR off and keep it off. You didn’t buy that 144 Hz refresh monitor to play at 40-to-60 frames per second. I get you. But my takeaway from this very early RTX implementation is that the technology is inevitable. It does look better. I think it actually looks stunning. On top of that, it’s easier for developers to implement. That makes it cheaper, too.

If something is better, easier, and more affordable, why wouldn’t Nvidia keep including it in its video cards? And if it does, we’re all going to wake up one day to real-time ray tracing running well in all of our games.

I’m excited about that.

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