Alan Wake 2: a split image show a diner with ray tracing off on the left and ray tracing on on the right.
Screenshot by Destructoid.

Alan Wake 2 analysis really shows how far ray tracing tech has come

But it's not perfect just yet.

Alan Wake 2 is not only a great horror game; it also looks pretty. While it’s not always about what something looks like, a recent video really hammers home just how far graphics and graphical technology have come over the years.

Recommended Videos

In the most recent episode of Digital Foundry, we get an analysis of Alan Wake 2, with particular reference to its use of ray tracing (RT) and path tracing (PT). Side-by-side comparisons really demonstrate just how effective algorithmic-based tweaks can improve the look of a video game.

For example, we can see that without ray tracing, small details are lost, such as sharp shadows, accurate reflections, and some general degradation in global illumination. We can then see that with RT and PT on, there’s a noticeable difference in visual acuity.

It’s lacking in some areas, though

However, it’s by no means perfect. The DF video is a little critical of Alan Wake 2‘s inability to use path tracing to its fullest. The analysis suggests that native global illumination is likely overstepping on any attempts for the PT tech to make improvements, which we see in certain reflections or lighting. It still looks great, but it seems clear that the game could make improvements to path tracing to make it more effective.

So why does all this matter? For many gamers, it’s probably not too important whether a shadow has sharper clarity or windows reflect the condiments of a diner. However, for more graphical purists, especially those who are using top-end AMD or Nvidia hardware, many will want to get the most out of their system. Ray tracing, path tracing, and image upscaling AI are pretty much standard these days, and it’s nice to see that extra bit of work go into making a game look incredible, especially when you consider the price of graphics cards.

The Digital Foundry video also gives some advice on how to optimize Alan Wake 2 to get the best frame rate, without losing too much of that graphical fidelity. While it seems as though Remedy Entertainment could always make it better, we get a nice idea of just how far things like RT and PT have advanced.


Destructoid is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Metaphor: ReFantazio locks in an October release date, showcases more gameplay in trailer
Metaphor ReFantazio date
Read Article The Meta OS is opening up to third-party headset makers
Meta Quest 3
Read Article Billie Eilish is Fortnite Festival’s Season 3 main stage headliner
Fortnite Festival
Related Content
Read Article Metaphor: ReFantazio locks in an October release date, showcases more gameplay in trailer
Metaphor ReFantazio date
Read Article The Meta OS is opening up to third-party headset makers
Meta Quest 3
Read Article Billie Eilish is Fortnite Festival’s Season 3 main stage headliner
Fortnite Festival
Author
Andrew Heaton
Andrew has been a gamer since the 17th century Restoration period. He now writes for a number of online publications, contributing news and other articles. He does not own a powdered wig.