Control is the new Crysis
There, I've said it. Article over.
It really should be that easy, because it seriously is the new Crysis. Remedy Entertainment must have sold their soul to the devil, or at least have disappeared into the Hiss, with Control. It is an absolute beauty to play through, especially with RTX turned up all the way.
Crysis blew our minds back in 2006 and quickly became a running joke of building a new gaming PC with the whole "can it run Crysis" thing, it has lasted for 13 years now, and I think it is time to retire it. The new thing should be "can it run Control" and secondly, "can it run Control with RTX turned on".
But that's never enough for me, it never has been. I'm a speed freak when it comes to PCs and always love pushing the boundaries of what is possible when gaming, always wanting to hit the highest refresh rate and resolution. I wasn't into cars or partying when I was young (and even now) my entire obsession is with technology and gaming.
Outside of that, I find the world of conspiracy theories utterly fascinating -- another chord that strikes perfectly with me with Control. It is parts Lost, Fringe, 9/11 conspiracies, aliens, the Illuminati, and everything else rolled into the best-looking game of the last decade.
I'm a gigantic fan of Max Payne as well, playing tens of hours of the original and even more so with Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, and its awesome physics thanks to the introduction of Havok physics engine. Remedy has been on my radar since, so when the world's of the best-looking game with the best implementation of RTX, blended with the intriguring conspiracy-laden world of Control? Count me in.
Sitting in front of me on multiple desks here in my labs are 27-inch 4K 144Hz NVIDIA G-Sync HDR monitor, an UltraWide 21:9 display at 3440x1440 and huge 200Hz refresh rate (my review on the ASUS PG35VQ here) as well as the Dell UP3218K, which is an actual native 8K 60Hz display.
I have played through Control on all three, and after putting the 8K on the desk and rendering it at 8K... I quickly found that the RTX 2080 SUPER that I had in the system at the time simply wasn't powerful enough to handle 8K.
Out came the RTX 2080 SUPER and in went the NVIDIA TITAN RTX... the peak Turing GPU with an insane 24GB of GDDR6. Comparing this against the RTX 2080 SUPER with 8GB of GDDR6, and the RTX 2080 Ti with 11GB of GDDR6, the TITAN RTX was the only one capable of running Control at 8K. The other cards simply didn't have enough VRAM and performance fell off a cliff. Unplayable without the TITAN RTX.
Control Graphics Settings
I've got everything cranked to maximum in Control, including MSAA which is at 4x -- and even with it disabled, we're still using 18GB of VRAM minimum. Crazy stuff.
Cranked to the max.
All RTX features are enabled.
RTX Features (There's LOTS)
Control represents the very best of what RTX has to offer, showcasing the entire Turing GPU package and the world NVIDIA is able to have on offer with its GeForce graphics cards mixed with the pure magic Remedy Entertainment has put into the Northlight engine.
- Ray-Traced Translucent Reflections: Control is the first game to feature ray-traced translucent reflections. Unlike screen space techniques which can only reflect what's on screen , ray-traced reflections incorporate the entire scene around the character, and can accurately represent objects outside the camera view, or facing away from the camera. Within the game, the reflections bounce off of opaque materials like brushed metal, but more importantly, off of translucent materials like windows so we can see what is behind the glass too.
- Ray-Traced Indirect Diffuse Lighting: "Indirect diffuse lighting" means light bouncing between non-glossy surfaces. When this indirect light is taken into account, you get a more realistic image on screen . Ray-traced indirect diffuse lighting in Control is composed of two parts: for nearby surfaces, we trace a ray to evaluate one bounce of real-time (dynamic) diffuse reflection. If no nearby surfaces are found, we use the ray information instead to sample pre-computed global illumination information at a more optimal location. The end result is that lighting feels more "natural" and objects "sit" better in the scene.
- Ray-Traced Contact Shadows: A hybrid technique where we trace shadow rays to add accurate shadowing on any surface that is close to the shadow caster. This enhances surface and contact details, and fixes problems associated with traditional shadow mapping techniques like aliasing, freckling and disconnected shadows. Further away from the shadow caster, we blend with traditional rasterized soft shadows using shadow maps.
Test System Specs
For all of my 8K resolution testing I'm using a new Zen 2-powered AMD Ryzen 7 3700X system, complete with the ASRock X570 Taichi motherboard and AORUS NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD.
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (8C/16T)
- ASRock X570 Taichi
- 2TB AORUS NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD
- G.SKILL 16GB DDR4 Royal Trident Z
- NVIDIA TITAN RTX (24GB GDDR6)
- Corsair AX860i PSU
- NZXT H500 Overwatch Special Edition Case
Control VRAM Benchmarks - 18.5GB @ 8K (!!!)
Control VRAM Benchmarks @ 8K
It's simple: Control at 8K uses a ridiculous amount of VRAM... playable only on NVIDIA's ultra-insane TITAN RTX graphics card thanks to its 24GB of framebuffer. NVIDIA's next card down the stack in the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti has 'only' 12GB of GDDR6 in comparison, and simply dies anytime 8K is mentioned.
Control is an absolutely astonishing game on its own two feet, but in 4K and 8K with all of the RTX bells and whistles, its one of the best graphical experiences you can get in your home.
8K gaming isn't ready for prime time but it's good to see just how far we'll need to be along the road for it now, with this test showing that even 8GB, 12GB, and hell even 16GB of VRAM might not be enough for the future of gaming.
As you can see, even with RTX disabled it only drops to 14.6GB of VRAM -- and within normal operating limits at 4K with between 7.6-8.1GB of VRAM used when RTX is disabled, and enabled respectively. 18.5GB of VRAM with everything at 8K is just insanity.
18.5GB of VRAM is serious business, and threre's only one graphics card on the market in the consumer world with it: NVIDIA's TITAN RTX, which retails for $2499. The next highest-end card with copious amounts of framebuffer is the one-and-done Radeon VII from AMD which has 16GB of HBM2. Under that, we have the TITAN Xp with 12GB, and RTX 2080 Ti with 11GB. These cards don't have enough VRAM to handle 8K in Control.
Would you play at 8K? No. Would I recommend buying a TITAN RTX and 8K display to play Control? Hell no. Did it look out-of-this-world? Hiss yes.