Valve’s Portal looks amazing after ray tracing overhaul by Nvidia Lightspeed Studios

RTX is very much on.

Portal RTX

After Quake II RTX and Minecraft RTX, the classic Portal 1 is also getting the RTX treatment, unleashing real-time lighting inside the test labs.

During GTC, Nvidia announced more than the next-generation GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs. The manufacturer also unveiled a new tool called RTX Remix which allowed, among other things, the creation of a mod for Portal 1, adding ray tracing to the game. According to Nvidia, RTX Remix will bring ray tracing and upscaling to many other titles.

Offering ray tracing on a 15-year-old game may sound wasteful when many recent ones could vastly improve using it, but Portal is no ordinary game. First, the setup, inside a lab, with many shiny surfaces and mechanical machinery, allows for a perfect setting for light scattering compared to, for example, an open-world game taking place in a forest. And second, an indoor environment should allow for better control over resources utilised by ray-traced lights, again contrasting with open-world games featuring a realistic day/night cycle.

While the metal walls, buttons, and windows are shown in all their glory with ray tracing, one negative aspect picked by some fans is the changes made to concrete walls, which now look too clean for a test lab that is supposed to be abandoned. This wasn’t the case in the original game which had old, deteriorated walls filled with stains. Moreover, the (orange and blue) portals seem not to emit/project any lighting in their surroundings – a shame for an RTX update of a game based specifically around the use of said portals.

Story-wise, however, the game will remain the same, with you playing a test subject going through many tests with an over-present GLaDOS and its excellent voice lines. While many test chambers are easy to pass through, some will bring new mechanics to interacting with the game, pushing you to use your brain cells to escape unharmed, or die trying. May I add that the game’s ‘Still Alive’ song is so epic!

Portal’s modding community is excellent in providing many test chambers (maps) for those who finished the game but can’t get enough of it. This is why moddable games are a gem in a sea of stagnating, money-grabbing games (FIFA, ahem).

Finally, don’t forget that Portal 2, the second instalment of this fantastic game, is available for Xbox Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members until September 30. Go grab it while you still can.

Portal RTX will be available as a free DLC for Portal owners in November.