Dragon's Dogma 2 looks drastically different with path-tracing enabled thanks to a mod

 A woman's face with path-tracing modded in.
A woman's face with path-tracing modded in.

I stopped playing Dragon's Dogma 2 because it was too janky for me, and I'm saying that as someone who plays Bethesda RPGs. If you're still into Capcom's camp-em-up, you might be interested in this mod, which enables a path-tracing setting normally hidden from players.

The effect is startling as it doesn't just make the shadows and reflections look a bit nicer, though it does that as well. Those flickering shadows you get whenever a light source moves—like, you know, the sun—are rendered steady and solid, which is a definite improvement. But it also improves characters' skin, hair, and eyes, as well as materials like metal and glass. Iron armor suddenly looks shiny rather than dull, and glass bottles look reflective rather than flat.

Of course, there's a downside. It's clear this setting wasn't intended to be public-facing because there's no denoising filter on it, and in motion things sometimes look like they're being viewed from beneath a thin hessian sack, or as if you're at that stage of an LSD trip where everything is moving and the whole world's alive. It's a bit off-putting is what I'm saying. Occasionally indoor areas will be pitch black, and a handful of objects that normally have shadows lose them.

As Digital Foundry suggest in an excellent video on the mod, it's probably a setting that existed for the sake of reference rather than something that was ever intended to be playable. The performance hit alone, in a game with performance that was already sub-par, will probably put you off playing the whole game with path-tracing enabled. As something you can toggle for your photo-mode character showcase, however, it's pretty neat.

You can download the Graphics Suite Alpha from Nexus Mods, and you'll need to install RE Framework first. I consider the mod that lets you stop pawns repeating dialogue over and over basically essential too.