Gaming

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is an elevated experience

For gamers and creators

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In 2019, ASUS had a lot of people losing their minds when they unveiled the ZenBook Pro Duo with its secondary 4K display. Now, they’ve taken that same concept, improved it, and slapped it on a gaming machine — the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15.  

Why? Because they can, and it also kind of makes sense. ASUS ROG recognizes the reality that many gamers are also creatives. They work AND play. So they came up with this machine that serves both purposes.

ROG even managed to make it fairly light (2.4kg) and slim (36 x 26.8 x 2.1 cm) while packing it with everything you’ve come to expect from a top-tier gaming notebook. Here’s a quick rundown of the device’s highlights so you’re not overwhelmed.

  • ROG ScreenPad Plus unlocks endless possibilities: 14.1″ secondary display aids multitasking with intuitive touchscreen, apps, and stylus support
  • AAS Plus amplifies airflow: 28.5 mm intake increases airflow 30% over standard AAS while keeping noise under 46 dB(A) and elevating performance
  • Go hi-res or hi-speed: PANTONE® Validated display options include an ultrafast 300 Hz / 3 ms gaming display
  • Super-powered speed: Up to a GeForce® RTX 2080 SUPER™ GPU delivers high frame rates and speeds up tasks like 3D modeling and deep learning
  • Boosted productivity: Powered by up to a 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 CPU, 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM, 2 SSDs in RAID 0, and Thunderbolt™ 3
  • Revolutionary cooling: CPU and n-Blade fans use an exotic liquid metal compound, and operating modes adapt to any task to boost overall performance

ROG ScreenPad Plus for gaming 

The ScreenPad Plus is great. It tilts up at a 13° angle for comfortable viewing and touchscreen interaction and stays firmly in place as you use the laptop. That tilt not only helps with viewing angles but also with ventilation.

Don’t worry about the screens making contact. ASUS made sure to prevent this by adding curved sliders that delay the deployment of the secondary display.

You’re probably wondering now if any games will actually support this new hardware. But of course, it will! ROG has tapped multiple game developers to make sure you have games you can play that will maximize the hardware.

They’re worked with Techland to optimize AAA games like Dying Light 2. Here, the co-op chats were moved to ScreenPad Plus for easy viewing, and adds touchscreen controls for easy switching between inventory items and quests.

A collaboration with Overwolf also allows gamers to download apps for games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and CS:GO to see real-time stats, build recommendations, and more — all to give you that extra edge when gaming on a multi-screen machine.

Surreal display options

In gaming, your screen refresh rate can make a huge difference in winning or losing. With that in mind, ASUS equipped the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 with  an ultrafast 300 Hz / 3 ms gaming panel. Sweet.

Other than the high refresh rate displays are factory calibrated and PANTONE Validated to guarantee color accuracy. The panel also covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color space — making it perfect for gamers, creators, or one who does both.

Everything gaming

For the processor and graphics you have two options each: Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake i9-10980HK or Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake i7-10875H, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER, 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER, 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM.

The keyboard is backlit chiclet that supports n-key, per-key with 1.4 mm key travel. As for ports you have:

  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C™, DisplayPort 1.4, TBT, PD input 20 V/3A;output 5 V/3A
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (right)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Bottom)
  • 1 x HDMI (HDMI 2.0b support)
  • 2 x audio jack: mic-in & headphone, plus mic-in
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN

Lastly, it has a 90Wh battery with a 240W power adaptor that supports USB-C power delivery 3.0 up to 65W. Overall, it’s everything we know and love about the ROG Zephyrus line but elevated with a secondary display for a brand new experience. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

 

Gaming

Players finally meet as HoYo FEST kicks off in SEA this November

It’s a grand meetup!

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hoyo fest

miHoYo, the global interactive entertainment developer and publisher behind hit multiplayer games such as Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact, announced that HoYo FEST is coming to Southeast Asia this November.

The interactive festival shall be held in six countries: Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The annual celebration will allow for fellow players to finally convene and meet each other off their screens and in real life, allowing for an opportunity to relive memorable, happy, and touching moments in the game together.

Gaming world-themed cafés

All HoYo FEST-related events will be held at collaboration cafés themed after Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact between November 5 and December 14.

These specific cafés will offer special set menus on dine-in, takeout, and delivery options. Ordering via takeout and delivery also gives customers an additional printed tote bag and cup sleeve.

The interiors will be furnished in the styles of Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact in order, which is accompanied by photography zones.

That way, fans and players will be able to enjoy exquisite foods and immerse themselves in a real-life feel of the game worlds while bonding with new friends they’ve only previously met in-game.

Mystery gifts and exciting merchandise

Ordering collaboration combos or spending a certain amount of money at a café also entitles guests to an exciting mystery gift box.

The pop-up stores found only at specific cafés will also sell a variety of exclusive Honkai Impact 3rd, Tears of Themis, and Genshin Impact merchandise, to be distributed only by the staff of the collaboration cafés.

Preparations for the celebration are underway, so Captains, Travelers, and Attorneys should brace themselves for upcoming surprises.

Festival Schedule

  • Honkai Impact 3rd: November 5 to November 16
  • Tears of Themis: November 19 to November 30
  • Genshin Impact: December 3 to December 14

Collaboration Cafés

  • Singapore: Aniplus Cafe
  • Malaysia: my Burger Lab
  • Thailand: NANA Coffee Roasters Ari
  • Philippines: Moon Rabbit Café + Restaurant
  • Indonesia: Warung Koffie Batavia
  • Vietnam: To Be Announced

For more event details and pandemic precautions, please visit the miHoYo official website: https://mhy.link/686SLBA6.

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Gaming

War journalists use Call of Duty Vanguard to capture life-like photos

A one-of-a-kind collaboration and experience

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For me, Photo Mode is a wonderful thing to have when doing game reviews every now and then. Honestly, I would prefer setting the mood for those insane game shots instead of just screenshoting them from the device. For Activision, however, they wanted to take this concept to the next level with Call of Duty: Vanguard. With this one, they enlisted some experts in the field of war photojournalism.

Activision revealed a collaboration with renowned war photojournalists Alex Potter and Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini. As a refresher, these two photojournalists have vast experience in taking photos of some of the most gruesome battles in war-torn countries. In this special collaboration, Activision gave them access to the game’s engine through a virtual camera console.

As seen in the trailer, the two photojournalists were inside Activision’s motion capture studios as they grab images straight off the game engine. From the explosion of tanks to the banging gunfire during World War II, these two captured photos that depict the reality of war. In the end, they were at awe at the stunning details and the level of immersion the game brought.

Call of Duty: Vanguard will be available on November 5, 2021 for both current and next-generation consoles and PC.

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Gaming

Hot Wheels Unleashed review: A childhood dream realized

It’s action-packed and rather nostalgic

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Hot Wheels Unleashed

As a kid, I wanted all kinds of toys whenever we went to toy stores in the city. One of the very first toys I had an obsession over was Hot Wheels. From collecting cars to building tracks in the living room, it became the quintessential set of toys that got me into racing games all this time.

When Hot Wheels Unleashed was released, I instantly knew that this was a game I didn’t want to miss. As someone who plays a ton of racing games, this one felt right at home next to Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. Unlike CTR:NF, the nostalgia I felt for this game was more on the side of “playing my toys on a virtual screen” type of thing.

However, if you’re looking for another game to help you pass the time, is this a game worth considering?

A racing game at its core

As with most games involving toy cars, Hot Wheels Unleashed feels right at home as a racing game. It even comes with some of the most standard game modes you can think of for any racing game, so you won’t necessarily miss out if you’re a racing game fan. Where this game sets itself apart is in its easy-to-grasp game mechanics.

Usually, all you have to do is drive around the course and win 1st Place by outspeeding and outsmarting (in some situations) your opponents. You still do that but with some key differences, particularly towards boosting. Honestly, I like the fact that boosts are activated by button pushes and accumulated by drifting. To me, it’s friendly even to new players getting into racing games.

Hot Wheels Unleashed

The other thing I like is the fact that each Hot Wheels toy car comes with its own cart stats, and not just a general one all throughout. This also gives you an incentive to try and get every available model in the game and try them out for yourself. Furthermore, you can even upgrade these stats using Gears, and customize their Livery to however you like.

Creativity and originality in track design

Every racing game needs some interesting tracks to race around, especially with something like Hot Wheels. In Hot Wheels Unleashed, you have access to 5 main backdrops, each with about 8-9 different tracks that come with their own surprises. From high-arching loops to acid pits, each track will have you doing things a bit differently each time you race.

In fact, the first thing I noticed was that the elements in the tracks are quite similar to the actual models in those track builder sets. The designers did an incredible job with maximizing the entire backdrop to produce tracks with enough twists and turns along the way. Also, I would even argue that these tracks let you play around with the driving mechanics.

Now, I have some good news and bad news for you on these tracks. The bad news is that when you start the game, most of the tracks are locked as in-game transactions. If you wanted to unlock them the easy way, just pay a few bucks to get in-game currency and buy them.

However, the good news is you can unlock them by completing the Hot Wheels City Rumble mode. Although it will be an immense grind on your part, but I honestly think it’s worth it!

Wait, you can make your own tracks?!

Yes, you read that right: Hot Wheels Unleashed also allows you to create your own tracks to race on with your friends online. See, one unique mode to the game is the Track Builder, and I guess the name is self-explanatory. To be honest, this game mode was the best and it actually brings me back to my childhood.

Once you start the game mode, you basically have a blank canvas to work with, depending on the main backdrop you choose. After choosing your desired backdrop, you have a variety of track builder pieces to choose from and customize. Also, it even comes with your set of obstacles and boost pads to add some flavor to your tracks.

I absolutely enjoyed going on Track Builder as someone who collected Hot Wheels track sets before. Basically, you can create some of the most death-defying tracks that your younger self could not afford to before. Seriously, Hot Wheels track builder sets are expensive, and this game basically lets you experience this without spending a hefty amount.

Some low points

Much like most racing games, this one doesn’t come with its own set of shortcomings. To no one’s surprise, this game comes with a Hot Pass that allows you to earn more cars, tracks, and track builder sets. The good thing about it is, well, it’s more content at your disposal. At the time of writing, they’re currently running one with Batman vehicles as the main rewards,

The thing I don’t like about it is that you have to pay for it. I genuinely feel that this is something that would have been better off as a Battle Pass-type of package instead of paid DLC. I mean, it’s additional content that people also want to try out but with a rather hefty price tag. Maybe if they did it this way, people would continue to grind out the game.

Another thing that felt lacking in my eyes was the Basement, particularly the customization aspect.

I get it, it’s another main backdrop for your tracks and you can work with a ton of elements when creating your own. However, I didn’t like that the customization was limited to just the exterior design. Honestly,  I was looking for more customization options like moving the furniture around.

A roaring good time

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a racing game that feels right at home with the best of them. From a vast selection of carts to creative and unique track design, it feels fresh to anybody trying to get into racing games. Also, if you grew up playing your Hot Wheels car collection, this takes you back to simpler times.

Again, it’s not perfect and hopefully with upcoming patches, the game does get better. However, they missed out on some opportunities to make it a worthwhile game to play for any occasion. Sure, if you had money to burn, this wouldn’t be an issue; for others, however, they want a lot more without spending too much.

Overall, this game will give you a roaring good time, especially when you just need some down time from all the stress. What made it even more special for me was that this game pretty much made one of my childhood dreams a reality!

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