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It doesn’t get much better than this: A video comparing the two most high-tech gaming laptops in the world against each other. Let’s do this!

In one corner, we have the Acer Predator Triton 700 with its top-of-the-line design and specifications. When we reviewed it, we considered this machine the standard for all gaming laptops today and how all high-end notebooks should look like in the future.

And then we have the ASUS ROG Zephyrus, which lowers the price a bit but doesn’t skimp on any feature you’d expect at this level. We gave it a glowing review thanks to its ingenious cooling system and unmatched portability for all the power it delivers.

So, which one is your GadgetMatch? We have a full video to answer just that:

SEE ALSO: Acer Predator Triton 700 vs ASUS ROG Zephyrus (GX501): Best slim gaming laptop?

[irp posts=”21952″ name=”Acer Predator Triton 700 vs ASUS ROG Zephyrus (GX501): Best slim gaming laptop?”]

Features

#PlayApartTogether: Embracing lockdowns and social distancing

Stuck indoors? Well, time to play video games.

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Video games have always been a great way to pass time on any boring day at home. In any normal circumstance, you just need your healthy amount of online play each day before doing anything else. But obviously, you’d rather be out of the house and embracing the outside world with all your errands and meetups. A perfect balance, as all things should be.

And then, the entire world was hit with a virus that you could contract by touching anything. Your home country restricted travel to your dream destination for fear of contracting the virus. Furthermore, you can’t even leave your own home without putting yourself in danger of contracting it too.

Suddenly: classes are suspended, people are now on work-from-home arrangements, malls are closed. Next thing you know, the entire metro is under quarantine and you are forced to stay indoors unless you absolutely need to be outside.

When the coronavirus stepped in to plague the outside world, all you could do was wait. And in waiting for this virus to be handled, you’re looking for something to do to pass the time. All while getting some interaction with your friends who are also stuck indoors. Luckily, if Zoom meetings are not enough, the World Health Organization suggests something even I thought was unthinkable:

Play Apart, Together

In essence, the World Health Organization wants everyone to find something to pass the time while you’re indoors. Because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the WHO backs an initiative from the gaming industry to #PlayApartTogether. The purpose of this initiative was to encourage people to play video games while practicing social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. When I first heard about this, I thought, “wait, really? The WHO wants us to play video games now?”

That’s because a year ago, the WHO had deemed video gaming addiction as a mental disorder. They deemed people who are addicted to video games as people who can’t control how long they play, that it takes over their life completely. A lot of people older than most millennials think that playing video games is just a waste of time — when you can just play basketball outdoors instead of NBA 2K20. It makes sense, but it’s an extreme way of looking at it considering you can count the number of news reports citing video game-related casualties.

But because the world is experiencing a pandemic of epic proportions, they suggest that it’s one good way to pass the time. So how have people dealt with lockdowns and social distancing through video games?

Tom Nook has had a field day since launch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released last March 20 for the Nintendo Switch. Even before the world plunged into the COVID-19 madness, the game already received a ton of buzz before its launch date. As soon as the game dropped, people went crazy and started buying it online (at least for people in countries already under lockdown) and started groundwork on their lovely islands.

It didn’t take long before people start to craft amazing houses, beautiful island landscapes, and catching sharks. Yes, you read that right: SHARKS; you can catch sharks in the game.

(c) Nintendo

What made it extra special was how people and used the game to interact with their friends and customers alike. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen people post in-game tributes of their loved ones and idols who have passed away.

Others used the game’s online features to visit their friends’ islands and engaging in many activities like watching the meteor shower. If that wasn’t enough, we even had the Ayala Museum and 100 Thieves drop designs for apparel for everyone to use for free.

TWICE RUN 20X20 Navy Blue – Dahyun

I even got to the point of replicating some TWICE and BTS merchandise as designs for my sweaters and hoodies. This game opened its doors to an audience for all ages, bringing the world closer than ever. That is, of course if you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to do all of these.

Sports at a standstill? Not on 2K’s watch

When Utah Jazz center and reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, things weren’t the same. At that moment in time, the NBA had already suspended the games scheduled for that day, provided that the game didn’t tip-off yet. It then escalated into talks of suspending the NBA season indefinitely or possibly cancelling it all together.

Several other major sports leagues in the United States, and even across the world decided to suspend tournaments. Sports was at a standstill, and the void must be filled in somehow.

And then, the Phoenix Suns decided to simulate their postponed games on NBA 2K20. Obviously, these were far from how the actual players played for their teams, but everybody was having fun with it.

It came to a point that NBA 2K decided to host a Players-Only Tournament as a way to generate donations for a charity of their choosing. Other than that, they even decided to simulate the remaining games and provide scores at the end of each playing day.

You know what they say, “ball is life.”


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

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Gaming

Sony unveils the PlayStation 5’s controller

Revamped design, slightly upgraded features

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The PlayStation’s controllers are as iconic as the gaming console itself. For years, the iconic handhelds posed as slick and slim devices. Moreover, their designs always separated them from their competitors such as the curvier Xbox controller. That said, Sony has just introduced major revamps to its iconic controllers.

Revealed today, the upcoming PlayStation 5’s controller, the DualSense, is a more free-flowing device armed with a flurry of minor upgrades.

On first glimpse, the controller’s most major revamp is its design. Instead of the usual compartmentalized design, the DualSense integrates all its buttons into one smoother design. Further, the controller now has a two-tone design. For the first render, it glimmers in white but with distinct black overtones.

Naturally, new designs are always points of contention for fans. Critics have already likened the new design to Microsoft’s own designs.

As for features, the DualSense has lost the DualShock’s Share button. Instead, the new controller has a Create button. Though virtually identical to the Share button, Sony has promised more functionalities (to be announced in the future) for the revamp. Notably, the touchpad returns with a slight changed surface area.

Additionally, the controller now has a built-in microphone. Previously, the PlayStation 4’s controller had speakers only. This time, gamers can perform more auditory functions with the controller.

Finally, based on the renders, the controller will finally switch to USB Type-C, a clear improvement from the previous iteration’s microUSB roots.

According to the DualSense’s launch post, the PlayStation 5 is still gearing up for a launch during the holiday season this year. Hopefully, with the way things are right now, this will ring true. Analysts have already predicted delays coming.

SEE ALSO: Sony reveals more hardware details on the PlayStation 5

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Gaming

Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

Nostalgic and new at the same time

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Easily one of the most hyped and anticipated video games over the last five years, Final Fantasy VII Remake has arrived and it is everything I hoped it would be.

It manages to preserve the spirit of the original game while modernizing it in every way imaginable. It feels so close to the Final Fantasy games I grew up playing — those being VII, VIII, IX, and X — while also definitely being a game for 2020. Nostalgic and new at the same time.

Before we proceed, some important declarations: GadgetMatch received an official copy of the game specifically for the purpose of this review. This article will have no spoilers — just a general overview and assessment of the Final Fantasy VII Remake experience.

The devil is in the details

One of the more obvious differences is how the game looks. In 1997, Final Fantasy VII, was a visual breakthrough. It was the first time for a Final Fantasy game of this scale to switch from 2D to 3D.

Being preceded by games like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End just to name a few, the Remake won’t have the same kind of video game graphics impact. But make no mistake, it serves up a visual experience that is utterly breathtaking.

LADIES’ MAN. Cloud is pretty popular with the ladies. A true visual 😉

It starts with the little things. The way the game treats light when you go indoors or outdoors is reminiscent of how your eyes would behave when doing the same. It takes a second before your eyes fully adjust to your surroundings. And this treatment of light is consistent throughout the game.

The cinematography is also a masterclass in visual storytelling. There’s a sequence during the beginning of the game where Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart (two of the main characters) were interacting and the way they were positioned in relation to each other and to the environment tells you a lot about the current standing of their relationship.

SOCIAL DISTANCING? Cloud and Tifa meet again after 5 years

It’s a classic show-don’t-tell technique and it works wonders. It’s also pretty consistent throughout the game. The shots used for each scene were carefully and meticulously thought out. It adds not only to the cinematic flair, but also to the emotion of the game.

Midgar feels alive 

This level of attention to detail is present all over Midgar — the place where most of the game will take place. The way the camera zooms in and out of the city during certain scenes gives you a good grasp of the life and status of Midgar and its people.

The class divide between those living in the upper levels versus those relegated to the slums is very evident in one of the earlier missions. Not just with how the levels are designed, but also with the dialogue of the NPCs (non-playable characters).

There’s a stark contrast between how people from the upper level reacted to the bombing of the first Mako reactor to how the people in the slums reacted. People in the upper levels mostly support the authoritarian Shinra — the city’s ruling organization. They also happen to be direct benefactors of Shinra’s exploits.

Meanwhile, the people in the slums are a mixed bag — some are indifferent, only caring about how they will get through the next day. Some are rightfully afraid of how they will be affected by the ensuing conflict.

By the way, for the uninitiated, the story basically kicks-off with a radical group called Avalanche carrying out the first of a series of bombing missions. The group believes Shinra is syphonying off the planet’s life through the Mako reactors. Mako is the planet’s lifestream. If it runs out, the planet will most likely wither away.

Action-RPG combat with turn-based feel is extremely satisfying

One of the biggest points of discussion is how the Remake will handle combat. The original game — in true JRPG fashion — was turn-based. That was 23 years ago, and outside of Persona 5, the turn-based style hasn’t really attracted plenty of gamers.

What Final Fantasy VII Remake did is fuse that turn-base feel to the more popular Action-RPG type. Something that a lot of gamers today prefer. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it’s pretty darn close.

Here’s how it works: When you go into battle, you have direct control over moving around as well as the character’s physical attacks. Dealing physical damage raises your ATB meter. Your ATB meter then gives you access to using Abilities, Spells, Items, and whenever they become available — Summons and Limit Breaks.

When you trigger the use of your ATB meter the game goes into this slo-mo mode. It sort of reminds me of “bullet time” from Max Payne or that brief slo-mo in Marvel’s Spider-Man that gives you enough time to plan your next move. Except in Final Fantasy VII Remake, that slo-mo is longer, giving you ample time to issue commands for every character in your party.

The whole combat system might also remind you of Kingdom Hearts III, but unlike that game, there’s no way you can just charge in and button mash to win fights. Each enemy has to be dealt with differently and you’ll have to be very careful and tactical in your approach to win battles.

A great way to jump into Final Fantasy

Another thing that Final Fantasy VII Remake masterfully does is not overwhelm you with all the Final Fantasy things you need to know. It slowly introduces you to the story and the franchise’s concepts throughout the game.

VR MISSIONS. New summon materia can be acquired through this method

The Final Fantasy franchise is full of lore. While each game is a stand alone story, some items, summons, skills, and magic are consistent across all the games.

If you have zero knowledge going in, you’ll feel right at home. The franchise’s lore is carefully integrated into the main story. If you’re a Final Fantasy veteran, the introduction of these concepts flow well enough that they’re not at all boring.

It perfectly walks the tightrope of keeping franchise fans happy without alienating any potential newcomers.

A fantastic remake

It was the Final Fantasy franchise that first had me dreaming what it would be like when in-game graphics would finally match cutscenes. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children — the computer-animated film that served as the follow-up to FF7’s story — sparked that dream further.

Final Fantasy VII Remake made that dream come true. The way it transitions from free-roaming to battle to cutscene is seamless. It literally feels like you’re playing a computer-animated film.

While we’ve seen this play out in other games, just the fact that it’s an iconic game with iconic characters given new life by modern technology makes it extra special. Playing it made me feel like a kid again. It’s exactly the jolt that my jaded adult version needed more than anything.

There’s a lot more to this game that can be discussed. So much more can be dissected. Everything from how each character is treated, how the story almost feels like a reflection of society today, the intricacies of its battle system, and many more. I’m excited to have these conversations with fellow gamers.

If you came here looking to find out if you should pick this game up, the answer is a resounding YES. If you pre-ordered (and have already preloaded) the game, let this be a primer for what you’re about to step into — a game that’s carefully crafted to give you a fresh experience of a timeless tale.

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