Portal is one of my favourite games of all-time, but I hadn’t had a reason to go back to it in a long, long time and I’m very thankful that Portal with RTX paired with the RTX 4080 made me go back to it.
I must admit, when Portal with RTX was first revealed, I was a little sceptical, not in the sense that I didn’t think it’d look fantastic, but I just questioned whether Portal needed that extra shine and even more-so than Quake with RTX and Minecraft with RTX, after jumping into Portal with RTX, I quickly realised how wrong I was and that this feels like a match made in heaven.
It wasn’t until I jumped back into the game that I realised just how well ray-traced reflections and lighting instantly work well to enhance a game like Portal that is not only full of reflective surfaces but it also full of light sources flying off those surfaces, and even add the extra layer of well, portals into that and you’ve just got a huge chamber of reflections that absolutely delight the senses.
What looked flat in the original game (which I confirmed by going back to it), now feels alive. Balls of light now beam off the worlds with the entire world around you being fully reflective in real-time, giving it a greater sense of immersion and scale. Similarly, the portals reflect on the walls surrounding them too, making the world feel more 3D and less flat.
With my RTX 4080 at 4K, the game ran at about 79 FPS when taking advantage of DLSS 3.0 which once again really made playing this game in 4K a reality (which I touched on quite a lot in my 4080 review here). For reference, without DLSS 3.0 turned on, I was only able to get about 32 FPS which wildly changed the experience, and I would have had to drop it down from 4K without the brilliance that is DLSS 3.0.
As much as this feels like a tech demo to show off real-time ray-traced reflections (and it is), this once again feels like NVIDIA showing why DLSS 3.0 is going to be really important to delivering on the 4K dream.
When it comes to 3000 series owners, NVIDIA says that you can expect 60FPS at 1080p with a 3080 and 30FPS at 1080p with a 3060 both utilising DLSS 2.0, so that in itself shows how different the experience is with the RTX 4080 and DLSS 3.0.
Now, am I going to recommend that you run out and purchase an RTX 4080 just to play Portal with RTX? Probably not, but it’s free if you’re an owner of the game on Steam, and if you do happen to pickup a RTX 4080 or already own a 3000 series card, I absolutely recommend that you jump back into this game, not only for the great game that it is, but to check out the ray-traced goodness, and if you’re a 4080 owner, the impressive technology that is DLSS 3.0.
Portal with RTX launches as a free update for Portal owners on Thursday December 8th.