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Diablo IV PC Ray Tracing Comparison: Is There A Noticeable Improvement?

The ray tracing update for the PC version of Blizzard’s action role-playing dungeon crawling game, Diablo IV, has been released, and if you’re wondering whether there’s a noticeable improvement, read ahead.

The improvements are indeed noticeable, though they may not be as apparent as in other games due to the distant and stationary nature of the game’s the camera perspective. The PC update adds two new ray tracing features to Diablo IV, namely ray traced reflections and ray traced shadows. Both features enhance the overall look of the game, giving the visuals a higher degree of accuracy.

With ray tracing reflections disabled, the game uses a mixture of screen space reflections (SSR) for characters and environments on reflective surfaces, such as both liquid and frozen water. With ray tracing engaged, reflections are far more accurate and applied on objects outside the scene view, giving the game a higher degree of graphical realism.

As for shadows, the rasterized representation makes extensive use of dynamic shadows with the corresponding setting enabled. However, even with the Soft Shadows setting enabled, shadows lack the softer, realistic look as they move away from the object casting them. With ray traced shadows enabled, this physically inaccurate behavior is rectified, and shadows on objects, such as trees, are noticeably soft the further they are from their origin. Moreover, certain areas have shadows present whereas they are missing when ray traced shadows are disabled.

The ray tracing features do come with a performance penalty, however, though that is understandable. It’s ultimately up to the player to determine what performance profile works best for them. The inclusion of DLSS3 support helps in tackling the visual artifacts associated with performance dips, though the best possible input response can only come from a stable delivery of actual rendered frames.

All in all, the ray tracing update for Diablo IV improves the PC version’s visuals, bringing a higher degree of accuracy to both reflections and shadows. However, the hit to performance, while understandable, is worth taking into account on mid-range systems.

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Muhammad Ali Bari

Muhammad Ali Bari has a knack for covering reviews. He manages our content pipeline, creates timelines for scheduled editorial tasks, and helps us cover exciting content. In his spare time, he enjoys playing multiplayer games.

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