Elden Ring was one of the most popular games of 2022, thanks mainly to its precise and unforgiving gameplay. It doesn’t look bad, either, but Elden Ring was unusual among popular AAA releases for its lack of ray tracing support. The latest patch for the game adds that feature, but it might not be the clear upgrade you were hoping for.
Ray tracing is included in the v1.09 patch, which is mostly about adjusting the PvP balance and squashing bugs. Ray tracing is the lone new feature, and it’s supported on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5. Those playing on the PS4 or Xbox One X will have to do without ray tracing, as will those gaming on PC with an older GPU that cannot run ray tracing workloads. Although, even those with the necessary hardware may decide to disable this feature.
According to the developers, ray-traced lighting requires a lot of horsepower, and they don’t recommend playing the game at resolutions higher than 1080p if you’re going to leave ray tracing on. At a minimum, you’ll need an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or AMD Radeon 6700 XT for low-quality graphics and ray tracing at 1080p. If you want to keep the graphical settings on high and still run full-quality ray tracing, you’ll need an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT.
The early response from players has been largely negative. Developer FromSoftware opted to turn ray tracing on with the highest settings by default, leading many to disable it. The console version of Elden Ring has trouble sticking to 60fps with ray tracing enabled, and the PC doesn’t fare much better. Those lucky enough to have an RTX 40-series or AMD 7000-series GPU should be able to keep all the bells and whistles enabled and possibly even push the resolution past 1080p.
Gamers have been asking for ray tracing in Elden Ring since it launched. Ray tracing has become increasingly expected in high-end games. This approach to environmental illumination simulates the physical properties of light to produce realistic reflections, refraction, and shadows. It can make a game look amazing, even if it was released years ago, but the performance hit is real. Until the last few generations, video cards weren’t powerful enough to calculate ray tracing at tens of frames per second, which you need to do for a game rendered in real time. In the case of Elden Ring, even the best video cards will struggle.