Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 review: A content-creating machine

A gaming laptop that will do more & more things for you

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I’m a believer in using a gaming laptop for something other than just getting dubs and raging at the L’s. It’s a huge investment that you’re just going to use strictly for one thing, when there are so many things you can do with it. Plus, it is a laptop, after all so it’s a device you can bring anywhere and show off to anyone.

But the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 looks to offer not just that, but so much more. It wants to offer you the all-around package everybody deserves to experience. It wants to give you a product you will gladly bring around, do anything with, and play to your heart’s content.

Well, here’s what you’re getting with it:

It has a 14-inch FHD IPS display with a 120Hz refresh rate

It comes with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q inside

It comes in Midnight White, with the AniMe Matrix

It even comes with the ASUS ROG GC21 Webcam inside

Gaming performance is already a given

Just to get the formalities out of the way: the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is one game-ready device. Majority of the games I threw at it returned decent to excellent frame rates, even for competitive gamers. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to summarize just how powerful the machine is, given the hardware inside it.

My unit came with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q inside, prioritizing a more balanced performance setup. Most competitive shooter games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and even GTA V produced high frame rates at their best possible settings. Even while on battery & turning off NVIDIA’s Game Ready optimization, these games still performed really well.

Game/Title

Frame Rate (on Best Settings)

Fortnite: Battle Royale

110 FPS

Apex Legends

98 FPS

Grand Theft Auto V

63 FPS

Call of Duty: Warzone

32 FPS

Valorant

126 FPS

Battery management is also superb when gaming full-time because of the Max-Q design. When gaming full-time, I managed to sneak in six and a half hours before reaching for the charger. To me, that’s honestly good enough since most gaming laptops don’t last particularly long.

Your ideal workhorse machine

Unlike what was unveiled back in CES 2020, my unit came with the new AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor inside. Performance-wise, it ideally matches (or to some degree trumps) most high-end Intel chips while consuming less power. This, along with 16GB of RAM makes this a powerful laptop for work situations.

When you’re not gaming full time, this laptop is great for almost anything you throw at it. Normal tasks like browsing the web or having a Netflix party is made absolutely easy with the ROG Zephyrus G14. Even powerful and heavy data analytics works really well with this machine.

Hitting the nail for content creators

But where I feel this device truly shines is how it caters to its other popular use: content creation. Photo and video editing on this device was a blast thanks to its display and hardware inside. The 14-inch IPS, Pantone Validated display produced vibrant and accurate colors, which is great for achieving the best details as possible.

Video editing and rendering times were pretty solid for the device. I know that most people appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate for gaming purposes, but I’m sure video editors will give this a lot of love, too. The high refresh rate allows you to edit more accurately, leaving no detail behind. Rendering and exporting 1080p clips at 60 FPS, using Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve , was a breeze. On average, I got about 10-12 minutes rendering a 15-minute compilation of gameplay with a ton of animations, sound bites, and facecam on.

As for streaming content, it’s not just the laptop that makes it ideal; it’s the entire package. My unit also came with the ROG GC21 Webcam, which honestly has great image quality as long as you’re in a well-lit room. Streaming gameplay at 720p, 60 FPS turned out pretty great and the device didn’t lag even for a second.

Interestingly strong battery life for a gaming laptop

I touched on this earlier but overall, the device’s battery life is pretty solid. On regular use, I got about 10 hours worth of juice out of this thing. Most gaming laptops, when used normally, don’t reach that far without going for the charger. I guess that AMD chip and Max-Q GPU proved to be the best of both worlds.

The thing is: the battery doesn’t discharge as fast as I’ve experienced with other gaming laptops. While it’s thermal setup leaves much to be desired with cooling the machine, I noticed that I was still at 50% after an hour of intense gameplay. I even checked NVIDIA’s Game Ready if I turned it to optimize performance while on battery, and I still had enough juice.

Charging the laptop didn’t take too long either, as I achieved a full charge in under two and a half hours. It even went from 0% to 60% in about 40 minutes, so that can already get you going, if you like. The device also comes with support for USB-C Power Delivery, which charges it a little longer.

My take on the inclusion of the AniMe Matrix

One of ASUS ROG’s most talked about additions to the Zephyrus G14 is the AniMe Matrix on the lid — and, rightfully so. The 1,215 mini-LED lights on the lid allow for more creativity on your end since you can display your own logo on it. And, in the dark, it’s actually pretty dope.

It’s even easy to set up since you can do it on ASUS’ Armoury Crate software. You can choose whether you want an image or scrolling text. Also, you can reposition it however you want for extra visibility. Although, you might want to use logos without a transparent background if you’re going for that.

My only real criticism for it is what potential reason people will consistently use it. I say that because ASUS’ Armoury Crate was pretty explicit about how it significantly drains your battery. It’s good that you get to show off your fancy gaming machine, but think about your battery situation first.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Starting at PhP 74,995, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is, simply put, the content-creating machine it was meant to be. ASUS was not afraid to go beyond the confines of a gaming laptop, and turned this into something more. It’s an excellent gaming laptop, and an even greater machine for everything else.

The unit I received costs PhP 109,995, and honestly it’s an investment worth having. The entire package itself was well thought of, all the way to the peripherals. Although, you only get all of them when you purchase this unit or the PhP 99,995 one that has an NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti inside.

Nonetheless, this is a machine that just gave me more & more reasons to believe that you can do anything with a gaming laptop. If you have more & more money to spend while still in quarantine, I highly recommend getting this as your go-to machine.

Gaming

Stardew Valley developer announces second game, Haunted Chocolatier

Manage a haunted chocolate shop

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Years since its launch, Stardew Valley is still one of the most popular farm simulators in gaming history. In fact, ConcernedApe, the game’s sole developer, still released substantial updates to the game recently. Riding on the popularity of the first title, ConcernedApe is already working on his second title called Haunted Chocolatier.

The developer has often stayed silent regarding future games. At the very least, he already confirmed work on several projects during Stardew Valley’s lifespan. Today, however, ConcernedApe finally revealed much-awaited details on the next project.

Haunted Chocolatier is a similar management game. This time, players take control of a chocolatier living in a haunted castle. As such, it shares in the same formula that made Stardew Valley so popular. Players are just crafting different chocolates now, instead of crops.

In terms of design, the game will look similar to the first game. Players are still collecting materials and fighting in combat mechanics. However, ConcernedApe does confirm that the game will have more action-RPG mechanics rather than a dedicated focus to management.

Though the developer has already confirmed the game, ConcernedApe has not announced a launch date for the chocolate-making game. According to the game’s FAQ, he would rather focus on the game without worrying about deadlines.

SEE ALSO: Couple co-op games to play during the pandemic

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God of War is officially coming to PC

Shouting “boy” in 4K

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In recent years, no game really came near to perfection as 2018’s God of War. The popular PlayStation 4 game won several accolades and universal acclaim since its release. In fact, the game’s upcoming sequel God of War Ragnarök is one of the most hotly anticipated titles today. To stave off the ongoing thirst for the sequel, fans might enjoy something coming up for the franchise: God of War is coming to PC.

Posted silently overnight, the game just got its official Steam page, announcing a launch on January 15, 2022. The new page doesn’t seem like a mistake either. Steam isn’t shy about the upcoming release. The game is currently on the platform’s front page. And soon after it first appeared, Steam officially posted an article confirming so.

As expected, it’s a direct port. It won’t come with any additional gameplay content. However, PC gamers will have access to more graphical features. Highlighting the port, of course, is 4K widescreen (up to 21:9 resolution) support. It will also have unlocked framerates. Users will have access to higher-resolution shadows, reflections, ambient occlusion, GTAO, and SSDO.

For smaller machines, the port will come with NVIDIA Deep Learning Super Sampling and NVIDIA Reflex to optimize how the graphics will perform under different hardware configurations.

Anyone who purchases the game on PC will have access to some free digital content: Death’s Vow armor sets, Exile’s Guardian shield skin, Buckler of the Forge shield skin, Shining Elven Soul shield skin, and Dökkenshieldr shield skin.

God of War on PC will cost US$ 49.99.

SEE ALSO: God of War actor blames himself for Ragnarok delay

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Kena: Bridge of Spirits isn’t for everybody

And, that’s fine

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Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure third-person video game. The game is developed and produced by Ember Lab. In the game, you play as Kena. She’s a young spirit guide who uses her magical abilities to help people pass on into the spirit world.

The game is stunning and deep dives into spiritual aspects like emotional entanglement with the physical word after passing away.

In case you don’t have a working pair of eyes

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a gorgeous game. Stunning yet scuffed at times, this game is nothing short of eye-candy. The background details and character design is just *chef’s kiss*. But, big butt (Editor’s Note: Not sure if this is a typo but we’ve decided to keep it as is), by the way, this aesthetic might not be to some people’s liking. Hear me out: this game looks and feels like you’re playing through a Disney Pixar movie. And, honestly, that might not be for everyone.

On the scuffed end of things, you’ll find that some things glitch through objects and terrain. But, to that, I think it adds to its charm. The silliness is often welcome and strangely expected in the whole gaming sense. This isn’t the first scuffed game to come across a gamer’s life and it won’t be the last. I think each game has its improvements and patches to develop and incorporate and the glitches make the whole experience memorable and meme-able.

The crutch everyone won’t shut up about

This game is weirdly forgettable for people who’ve played a lot of third-person action adventures. Why? Well, this isn’t the first of its kind. Kena: Bridge of Spirits takes from many games before it and blends its inspirations together pretty nicely without overcomplicating its mechanics.

I would say though, that this can be what I personally found to be endearing with Kena. It unapologetically makes for a good entry-level action-adventure game for people who might not normally gravitate to games like it. With its beautiful visuals and memorable take on grievances, Kena pulls at sentimental heartstrings without the stupidly complicated skill building of most other action adventures out there.

Don’t hate the game

Nor, the player. The game is simple. That can be refreshing for some players or just boring to some. Which, I’ll say now, to each their own. Most games under the same category are far more convoluted and complex. So, if that’s something you like, this isn’t for you. And that’s totally fine.

Most of the game plays on collecting cute Rot along the way. And, on top of the usual skill building, most rewards you’ll find in hidden spots are either more Rot or hats for them. It doesn’t really require that much mental gymnastics to play this game. You can play to relax and just enjoy the journey. Which, for me, is great! Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the perfect game for when you want to play with family watching. I’m sure it’ll feel like a movie to them.

Is this your GAME Match?

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a game worth trying no matter how familiar you are with video games in the same category. The barrier of entry is super friendly and simplistic so, you won’t need that much video game experience to immerse in the story. Plus, you can customize the game for when you want more of a challenge.

I do have to say though, that this game might fight to keep your interest at times but, it sure can lure you back in. As for me, I was happy to play this game. It was challenging at times and, it might not be the best one on my list. But, it gets honorary points for being simple, gorgeous, and family-friendly.

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