Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review: AMD and Nvidia at their best
When I tested Asus ROG’s Zephyrus G14 a year ago, I was blown away. Not only was it just over 3.5 pounds — a weight unheard of for a system with both a powerful processor and a discrete GPU — but it ran even the most demanding games at much better frame rates than any gaming laptop we’d ever seen at that size. And then everything else about it — the keyboard, the touchpad, the audio, the battery life — was also great. The G14 wasn’t just better than other gaming laptops in those areas: it was better than most other laptops at its price point, period.
Given the G14’s resounding success, it was only a matter of time before Asus put it in a 15-inch chassis. The formula wasn’t broken, and Asus didn’t fix it — Asus just made it bigger. While I had some questions when I heard the G15 was on the way (could it deliver the same combination of portability, battery life, and performance as a 14-inch product? Could it do that without costing over $2,000?), what’s become clear throughout my testing period is that the device isn’t just as good as its 14-inch counterpart; it’s somehow even better. Asus and AMD have done it again.
Gaming on Cloud 9.
The G15’s secret weapon is its processor. All models have AMD’s monstrous eight-core Ryzen 9 5900HS. My test model, priced at $1,799.99, pairs that chip with Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3070 (an 80W version, with dynamic boost up to 100W), as well as 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. This configuration is a step above the base model, which includes an RTX 3060 and 512GB of storage. There are also two RTX 3080 models — pair it with 16GB of RAM for $1,999.99 or 32GB of RAM for $2,499.99. (I think my test model hits a sweet spot: 512GB of storage isn’t a lot for a gaming laptop, and it seems like the RTX 3080 models are fairly low-clocked and don’t perform hugely better than the lower-tier options.)
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
- Great gaming performance for the price
- All-day battery life
- Good audio
- Lightweight and portable
- No webcam
- Partially soldered RAM
- Not the fastest gaming screen you can get
$1800 at Best Buy
How we rate and review products
Asus says the G15 has a “desktop-inspired layout” with separate keys to control the volume, toggle the microphone, and pull up Armoury Crate.
Another highlight, consistent across all models, is the G15’s 165Hz QHD display. We’re finally starting to see 15-inch laptops with QHD screens en masse this year, indicating that this is the first year that manufacturers think mobile hardware is powerful enough to take advantage of them. Traditionally, mobile gamers have had the option of a 1080p display or a 4K display. (Not only is the latter quite expensive, but very few laptops can run demanding games at playable frame rates in 4K.)
You get over 3.5 million pixels from this QHD display.
So, the big question: Can the Zephyrus G15 run games at QHD resolution? The answer is an emphatic yes.
Some raw numbers to start. The G15 averaged 178fps on CS:GO at maximum settings — dust particles, fires, and other graphically intensive effects looked just fine. Red Dead Redemption II, also at maximum settings, averaged 58fps. (Come on, that’s basically 60). Ray tracing was no problem for this machine: the system averaged 61fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ray tracing on ultra, and a whopping 81fps with ray tracing off. Remember, the G15 is running these at QHD resolution, which is already a bigger haul than traditional 1080p.
Ray tracing was no problem for this machine
Those frame rates mean you should be able to run whatever game you want in QHD without bumping down any settings. They put the G15 about on par with MSI’s GS66 Stealth with an Intel Core i7-10870H and a GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q — the two laptops tied on Red Dead and were just one frame apart on Tomb Raider. MSI told us that the QHD GS66 model costs $2,599 — so the G15 with an RTX 3070 is getting the same frame rates for literally $800 less. The G15 also did better than the QHD / RTX 3070 Intel configuration of the Razer Blade 15 Base (53fps on Red Dead, 46fps on Tomb Raider), which costs $400 more. Those differentials should speak for themselves. Yes, the GS66 has a 240Hz screen, but that’s going to be excessive for most people at QHD resolution. If I didn’t already know where the G14 was priced last year, I would be emailing Asus to check if $1,799. 99 was a typo. It’s an unbelievable value.
The games all looked great on this screen, which covers 100 percent of the sRGB gamut and 89 percent of AdobeRGB, and maxes out at 334 nits of brightness. It isn’t the highest refresh-rate screen you can get at 165Hz — Razer’s Blade 15 Advanced has a 240Hz QHD model, as does MSI’s GS66 Stealth — but it’s still a significant step above the Zephyrus G14’s 120Hz display. While the G15 doesn’t deliver the best picture I’ve ever seen, it still looks great and certainly improves upon the G14’s 1080p panel. Movement was all smooth, without a stutter in sight, and colors looked great. I saw a small amount of glare when using the device outdoors, but it was still quite usable at maximum brightness.
On the right: one Kensington lock slot, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, one microSD.
On the left: one power port, one HDMI 2.0b, one RJ45 Ethernet port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 and power delivery, one combo audio jack jack.
Cooling, while sometimes iffy on the G14, is stellar on this device. The G15’s “intelligent cooling” system includes two 84-blade fans and six heat pipes. It had no problem with any of the games I threw at it, spending the vast majority of its time between the mid-60s and mid-70s (Celsius) and never jumping above 80 degrees. That’s some of the best cooling performance I’ve ever seen from a gaming laptop, especially considering that this one was running heavy AAA titles, maxed out, at QHD resolution.
Cooling is stellar on this device
More impressively, the fans managed to do this without being deafeningly loud. I could certainly hear them while the machine was under load, but it was standard gaming-laptop noise, and I had no problem hearing game audio. You can also swap to the “Silent” profile in Asus’ Armoury Crate software. That toggle lived up to its name and completely silenced the fans, without causing any heat or performance problems that I observed.
Speaking of audio, the G15’s speakers also sound great. That’s to be expected — there are literally six of them, including two front-facing tweeters and force-canceling woofers under the palm rests. They deliver clear audio with very strong bass and powerful percussion. I don’t often get to say that about laptop audio, especially on gaming laptops. The G15 comes preloaded with Dolby Access, which you can use to jump between equalizer presets for gaming, movies, and music, and it makes a huge difference.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 specs (as reviewed)
- 15.6-inch QHD 165hz non-touchscreen
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
- 16GB RAM (soldered)
- 1TB storage
- No webcam
- Wi-FI 6 with Gig+ (802.11ax)
- 90Wh battery
- 200W adapter
There are three microphones, which had no trouble picking up my voice. They also have presets for game streaming, music recording, and conference calls. Those are handy, but they’re not enough to make the G15 a good choice for remote work because it doesn’t include a webcam. The G14 also didn’t have a camera — Asus seems to have decided that webcams aren’t necessary on Zephyrus products. It’s the one significant knock against a device that is basically perfect otherwise. It’s also very odd to have such an advanced microphone setup and not have a webcam to go with it.
There are a couple other things to note about the G15’s chassis. Like many other Asus laptops, the G15 has an ErgoLift hinge, which folds under the deck when the laptop is open and lifts the keyboard above the ground. This is supposed to create a more ergonomic typing position, though I can’t say I ever noticed the difference. It does dig into your legs a bit if you’re using the laptop on your lap, though. The G15’s hinge isn’t as sharp as some other hinges, but as a frequent couch user, it’s still not my favorite feeling.
The keyboard and touchpad are both great
The keyboard and touchpad are both great as well. The G14 had one of my favorite keyboards of 2020, and the G15’s is quite similar. The click is comfortable, with 1.7mm of travel, and the dedicated volume keys (a Zephyrus staple) are quite convenient. There’s a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, which is on the top right of the keyboard deck.
The touchpad is massive, at 5.1 x 3.4 inches — 20 percent larger than that of the prior G15 generation. It’s so big that large portions of both my hands were resting on it when they weren’t typing, rather than on the palm rests. This was a bit annoying, but to the G15’s credit, it didn’t cause any palm-rejection issues. It’s also a bit loud and not the easiest or deepest click, but those are nitpicks — it’s a fine touchpad.
The lid and deck are made of magnesium-aluminum, with a “wear-resistant coating.”
The lid is covered in a dot matrix design. There are 8,279 “perfectly spaced perforations.”
But what impressed me the most about the G15 is its battery life. This thing never dies. Using it as my daily driver with an office workload on Asus’ Silent profile around 200 nits of brightness, I averaged eight hours and 32 minutes. That’s just under what I got from the G14, and the G15 has a larger and higher-resolution screen to fuel. The result puts the G15 right up there with its smaller sibling as one of the longest-lasting gaming laptops we’ve ever seen. It has a large 90Wh battery inside, but plenty of gaming rigs with comparable bricks can only make it a few hours on a charge.
The G15 is one of the longest-lasting gaming laptops we’ve ever seen
Gaming significantly shortens the G15’s life span, of course. I got an hour and 21 minutes of Red Dead out of one charge. Impressively, though, the game was quite playable for much of that time, avoiding stutters and performance issues. The game didn’t drop below playable rates until the G15 was down to 10 percent with six minutes remaining. The 200-watt charger also juices the G15 decently fast — during very light Chrome use, it got the device up to 60 percent in 37 minutes. If you don’t want to carry that heavy brick around and aren’t doing GPU-intensive tasks, the G15 also supports 100W Type-C charging.
G15s are available in eclipse gray (like this model) and moonlight white.
At the end of the day, there are things I can nitpick about this device. In particular, the lack of a webcam is egregious. And there are reasons it won’t be for everyone. Folks who are looking for a higher refresh-rate screen may prefer to spend more on a Blade 15 Advanced or a GS66. Those who want a jazzier design may find Asus’ Strix Scar 15 a better fit. And while $1,799 is a great value for these specs, anyone on a tighter budget has options like Lenovo’s Legion 5 on the table.
But almost everything about this laptop is fantastic. And not only is it fantastic, but it’s fantastic for several hundreds of dollars less than its QHD competitors. If you are willing to use an external webcam and you don’t need a 240Hz screen, there’s really no reason you should be buying any other QHD laptop in the thin 15-inch class. The G15 is superior on battery life, superior on power, superior on weight, and superior on price. It’s just the best.
Agree to Continue: Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.
As with other Windows 10 computers, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 presents you with multiple things to agree to or decline upon setup.
The mandatory policies, for which an agreement is required, are:
- A request for your region and keyboard layout
- Windows 10 License Agreement and Asus Notice
- A Microsoft account for sign-in (this can be bypassed if you don’t connect the computer to the internet during setup — in that case you’ll choose a username, password, and security questions)
- A PIN
In addition, there is a slew of optional things to agree to:
- Connect to Wi-Fi network
- Set up fingerprint sensor authentication
- Device privacy settings: online speech recognition, Find My Device, Inking and Typing, Advertising ID, Location, Diagnostic data, Tailored experiences
- Send Microsoft your activity history to sync your activity across Windows devices
- Allow Microsoft to access your location, location history, contacts, voice input, speech and handwriting patterns, typing history, search history, calendar details, messages, apps, and Edge browsing history to help Cortana provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions
- Provide your name, region, and email address for support and protection
- Save your email address to your device and autofill it in Asus’s member registration form in the MyAsus app
That’s six mandatory agreements and 13 optional ones.
Razer Blade 16 review: the RTX 4090 is a powerful, very expensive chip
The Razer Blade 16 is exciting. It’s exciting because it has one of the best displays I’ve ever seen on a gaming laptop. But it’s also exciting because it’s our first look at the mobile version of the RTX 4090, the chip that will power some of the beefiest and most expensive gaming laptops that we’ll see this year.
The results I’ve gotten from our test unit are unsurprising: this is a beast of a device with some serious power and a panel that makes games pop. It’s also a luxury product that few will be able to afford. But it is nice — and the frame rates it’s displaying are giving me hope we might see a similar uptick in performance from more affordable RTX 40-series laptops this year.
Razer Blade 16
- Power, power, power
- Dual-mode Mini LED 16:10 screen
- All the ports you need
- Sleek and portable
- So, so expensive
- Fingerprint magnet
- Battery life, unsurprisingly, sucks
$4300 at Razer
How we rate and review products
The Blade 16 unit I have includes a Core i9-13950HX, 32GB of RAM, 2TB SSD, and a top-end RTX 4090. Both storage and RAM are upgradeable. At 5.4 pounds, it’s not too much noticeably heavier than the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max — which is impressive for a full-tilt gaming laptop considering the massive frame rates the Blade will deliver. It’s certainly thinner than any number of other monstrous laptops that will include the RTX 4090 chip. (The 330W charger is also fairly compact, weighing just under two pounds — you could probably fit two of them into the bricks that power some bigger RTX notebooks.)
Now, brace yourself: this particular model costs $4,299.99. You could buy this, or you could buy four dishwashers. For many people, that’s multiple paychecks. It’s a lot.
The familiar Razer logo remains.
RAZER BLADE 16 SPECS (AS TESTED)
- 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13950HX, 24 cores / 32 threads, 5.5GHz (max turbo), 36MB cache
- 32GB dual-channel DDR5-5600MHz, expandable up to 64GB DDR5-5200MHZ (two slots)
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 laptop GPU (16GB VRAM)
- 2TB SSD (M. 2 NVMe PCIe 4.0), expandable up to 4TB (1+1 open slot)
- 16:10 UHD Plus 120Hz and FHD Plus 240Hz screen, 3.0ms, Mini LED
- 13.98 x 9.61 x 0.87 inches (355 x 244 x 21.99mm), 5.4 pounds (2.45kg)
- 95.2Whr battery
- 330W power adapter
- Windows Hello Full HD IR webcam (2MP / 1080p)
- Two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), UHS-II SD Card reader, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, one HDMI 2.1
- Wi-FI 6E, Killer Wireless-AX211
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Windows 11 Home
But damn, can this thing game. Check out the chart. Overall, I’m seeing a 20 to 30 percent increase from the RTX 3080 Ti machines we’ve reviewed on some titles and an even bigger jump on others. The 1080p MSI GE76 Raider, for example, got 143 frames per second on Shadow of the Tomb Raider and 415 on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive compared to the Blade’s 169 and 548, respectively. The QHD Acer Predator Triton 500 SE got 79fps on Tomb Raider with ray tracing enabled and 67fps on Red Dead Redemption 2 with ray tracing enabled. The Blade pushed out 118fps and 103fps on those titles with the same settings. Those are some serious (and noticeable) jumps in performance.
The only title where I was able to push this model below 60fps was, and this should not surprise anyone, Cyberpunk 2077. When I shoved ray tracing all the way up to its highest setting, the Blade started having trouble. It was almost satisfying to watch the laptop stumble and bluster its way around Night City after blazing through everything else I’d thrown at it that day. (Cyberpunk was, of course, much more playable when I turned ray tracing off, though it still didn’t quite hit 60fps at native resolution.)
Look closely at the palm rests, and the shadows of fingerprints are there.
Razer Blade 16 Benchmarks
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla|
|1920 x 1200||136|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider|
|Native (ray tracing on)||68|
|Native (ray tracing on, DLSS to Quality)||101|
|QHD (ray tracing on)||118|
|QHD (ray tracing on, DLSS to Quality)||140|
|1920 x 1200||169|
|Red Dead Redemption 2|
|1920 x 1200||118|
|Native (ray tracing on)||18|
|1920 x 1200||96|
|CS:GO (run on FHD / 240Hz display)|
All games were run at their highest possible settings. Because, come on. This is a 4090.
If you really want to max out titles like Cyberpunk with no compromise, Nvidia now has a solution for you in its DLSS 3 feature using its new Frame Generation technology, which we’ve seen improve frame rates by more than 50 percent. I used this on Tomb Raider with ray tracing on, and it also delivered close to a 50 percent increase. Basically, it improved the Blade’s frame rates to the point where you would expect to see them if ray tracing weren’t on at all. That’s a solid option to make hefty titles more accessible as long as you don’t mind a bit of additional latency.
Two USB-A, USB-C, and headphone jack on the left.
HDMI 2.1, USB-A, USB-C and lock slot on the right. The SD slot is down on the bottom.
I also can’t overemphasize how good games look on this Mini LED display. While the ample port selection, which includes HDMI 2.1 as well as Thunderbolt 4 and a UHS-II SD slot, should make it easy to plug in external monitors, the Blade’s Mini LED panel delivered incredibly rich and vivid colors, with crisp details that were a pleasure to view. Turning the resolution down from UHD Plus to FHD Plus was honestly painful; everything looked visibly grainy in comparison. The new display also has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a welcome change after previous years of 16:9 on Razer’s machines. (That new aspect ratio is what pushes the screen to a 16-inch diagonal over the 15-inch screens of prior models.) The bottom bezel is now dramatically smaller, which makes the entire laptop look more refined and less blocky overall.
Oh, and it’s a dual-mode display, too. That means you can swap between native UHD Plus / 120Hz and FHD Plus / 240Hz “modes” with a single click. Well, kind of. What you actually have to do is dive into Razer’s Synapse software, dig up the Display panel, then flick the switch. Once you’ve done that, you have to reboot the computer in order for the change to take effect. So, if you’ve heard about this feature and were envisioning hopping back and forth all the time, that’s not quite the experience. If I owned this laptop — which will happen if and only if I win the lottery — I would probably stay in high-res mode the majority of the time (because come on — if you don’t want high resolution, why are you buying this?) and swap to FHD if I wanted to play a competitive shooter.
Those are the speakers on the sides there.
The Blade is a gaming laptop first and foremost, but if you’re interested in using it for editing and other GPU-heavy workloads, you can certainly do that, too. This device took just over two minutes on our 4K video export test, which is over a minute faster than our model of last year’s Razer Blade 15 with an RTX 3060 for the same test — and one of the fastest scores we’ve ever seen. It even beat Apple’s M2 Pro Mac Mini desktop, though it’s still well behind the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max, which hangs on to the record.
The Blade scored a 1,296 on PugetBench for Premiere Pro, which tests live playback and export performance at 4K and 8K. That’s well over a 50 percent increase from our Blade 15 Advanced Unit last year and actually beats the M2 Max MacBook Pro, though the 3080 Ti GE76 Raider got a slightly higher score.
It’s hard to see from far away, but there’s a little webcam shutter on the left there.
One caveat to all of this: the Blade gets hot. While I was gaming or doing other GPU-intensive work in Premiere Pro, it was very toasty — to the point where I avoided touching the area near the hinge and would certainly not have used it on my lap. Inside, the CPU was spending quite a bit of time in the mid-90s (degrees Celsius) and even hit 100 now and again. Oh, and it’s loud. During benchmarking, its fans could be heard from across The Verge’s office.
Now, this was with all the various settings maxed out and the discrete GPU powering everything. If you don’t want to hear fans, there is a silent mode you can turn on in Synapse. But again, if you’re not trying to get the absolute maximum power out of your games, why are you buying this?
But a $4,299 device is not something people are going to want to buy very often. An investment of that size should pay off for quite a few years. Razer Blades are already notorious for not lasting as long as their buyers might hope, and we’d expect constant overheating only to make components like the CPU, GPU, and motherboard degrade faster.
Again, I know that nobody buys a Blade with an RTX 4090 inside and expects it to be silent. Blade laptops are thin, light, and hot. That’s been their reputation for years. This is just a reminder that thinness has a price in the PC space — and if you were hoping this year’s generation would buck that trend, you’re in for some disappointment.
Agree to Continue: Razer Blade 16
The mandatory policies for which agreement is required to use the laptop are:
- Microsoft Software License terms (Windows Operating System) and Manufacturer’s Limited Hardware Warranty and Agreement
In addition, there are a bunch of optional things to agree to:
- Privacy settings including location, Find My Device, diagnostic data, inking and typing, tailored experiences, advertising ID
- Sign up for a Microsoft 365 free trial
- Sign up for an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate free trial
That’s two mandatory agreements and eight optional ones.
The rest of this device is standard Razer Blade fare. If you’ve used a Blade 15, you’ll know what to expect from it. The speakers sound quite decent and do an admirable job of making game audio audible and clear over noisy fans. Even with volume at less than 20 percent and fans blazing, I could hear what I needed. The trackpad remains one of the biggest you can find on a laptop (seriously, it’s huge) and has a satisfying click. Those with small hands like mine should note that you may need to reach further than you’re used to in order to left-click on a trackpad of this size.
Battery life is also not great (in case you had the naive hope that it would be on an H-series Intel machine). I averaged three hours and 43 minutes of continuous use — meaning multitasking in 20ish Chrome tabs with Slack and Spotify running overtop, not gaming — with battery saver on, the external GPU disabled, the keyboard backlight turned off, and resolution at 1920 x 1200.
My one real complaint about the design is that it’s still a fingerprint magnet. I know Razer has claimed to be making improvements in this area, but they haven’t been enough. I took the Blade out of the box, and it was immediately covered in fingerprints. When our photographers were preparing to shoot the device, they complained that they couldn’t get it completely clean even after they wiped and wiped. I know a ton of you don’t care about this. But this laptop costs over four thousand dollars. If I’m paying that much, I would like the lid not to look completely gross.
Looks like a Blade, games like a Blade.
With that nitpick aside, the Blade 16 is an incredibly impressive package. There’s really very little to criticize about it (which is, of course, the most important thing about this laptop). It’s hot, it’s loud, and it picks up fingerprints — which are, at this point, just things to expect when purchasing Razer Blades. It certainly delivers one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had on a laptop (which, it really should, considering the price).
Still, this device is so far out of the stratosphere of most people’s budgets that it’s hard for me to be too excited about it. What I do hope is that lower-priced variants of these chips, as well as new features like DLSS 3, will bring great performance to price points that are a bit more… of this world. Largely, I’m taking this machine as confirmation that Nvidia did its job and that, as the RTX 4000 series starts to roll out, gaming will be more fun for everyone.
20 games that your laptop will definitely handle
Each game on this list is unique in its own way. Along with beloved classics like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the spotlight is on the best indie games as well as mid-range laptop games that are less demanding on your device’s power.
What’s more, the best laptop games also include some of the best PC games like Doom Eternal and Control. With the best processors and graphics cards getting smaller and more powerful every year, there are plenty of high-end gaming laptops that can handle higher quality graphics.
So, here are our Top 20 games that can be played without problems on most laptops
Have you ever dreamed of becoming the greatest detective in history? We have found the very game that will help you fulfill your dream. Disco Elysium is a digital paradise for those who have always had a knack for problem solving and fantasized about being the baddest (or most quirky) private detective.
In this open-world RPG, you have unprecedented freedom as a detective. Solve murders, help people, take bribes, manipulate other heroes, or even become a millionaire! And that’s with loads of wild skills and cool detective tools at your disposal.
The city you’re running through also has an immense atmosphere of mystery, reminiscent of neo-noir Gotham. All this makes Disco Elisiym even more attractive. No matter how much free time you have, this game should definitely be on your laptop.
- Processor: 2GHz
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video card: Intel HD 3000 or better
Whether he’s working at LucasArts, Double-Fine or a new indie studio, game industry veteran Ron Gilbert is always ready to serve real gaming gold to the table.
Thimbleweed Park’s tradition of delivering flawless products continues. It’s a pixel-art quest with a modern, creative look and point and click interface that takes us back to the glory days of Maniac Mansion.
Basically a graphic murder mystery adventure in which FBI agents Reyes and Ray – who are in no way similar to the other famous pair of fictional, UFO-chasing members of the Bureau – arrive in a sleepy town to investigate a horrific murder.
Here, a truly thoughtful story is complemented by a set of unusual but instantly memorable characters, which is usually a rarity even for games with a much larger budget. Is it any wonder that it tops our list of the best laptop games?
- Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz or higher
- RAM: 2 GB
- Video card: GeForce 9600 GT or AMD HD 3870 512 MB
You may be put off by the sheer amount of challenges Cuphead has to offer, but we can say with confidence that she should be given a chance. And if you don’t already find its bright, whimsical art style charming, then some details of its backstory may convince you.
Cuphead was developed by indie studio Studio MDHR (short for Studio Moldenhauer), named after the two founding brothers, Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. In fact, the entire company is made up of family members and friends who were eager to create their dream project.
Chad’s wife Maria Moldenhauer designed and edited this hand-drawn ode to classic Mega Man-style 2D platformers and 1930s Fleischer cartoons like Betty Boop. Well, if it’s still not enough for you 19bosses, next year Cuphead plans to release a massive expansion with new bosses, territories and a new playable character.
4. Stardew Valley
- Processor: 2 GHz
- RAM: 2 GB
- Video card: 256 MB video memory, Shader model 3. 0+
If you’re a fan of farming simulations (and considering how well games like Farming Simulator and Harvest Moon sell, you’re definitely not alone), few games will make you jump more from the joys of farming than the adorable Stardew Valley.
Stardew Valley’s Harvest Moon-inspired look and lovable characters look as organic as possible, making it one of the best laptop games out there.
Caring for the fields, growing food and livestock, of course, does not seem like something exciting, but it is precisely in this simplicity that the whole charm of this game lies. Whether you’re expanding your farm, fishing by the river, or heading into the countryside to strike up a friendship (maybe even something more) with a group of NPCs, all of these Stardew Valley day-to-day activities have one thing in common: a state of calm. Farming has never been so exciting.
5. Night In The Woods
- Processor: 4-core Intel Core i5
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video card: Intel HD 4000
In many ways, we can describe Night In The Woods as a mixture of the game Life is Strange and the animated series Bojack Horseman. Interactive dialogues resemble the first, and the problem of solving mental problems is reflected in the second.
Night in the Woods itself was developed by the virtual studio Infinite Fall, which included programmer and developer Alec Holovka, and Twitter joker, illustrator and animator Scott Benson. Together, these two created not just a game, but an amazing world full of interesting characters that we hope you will enjoy.
You play as Mei, a cat who dropped out of college and recently moved back to her hometown of Possum Springs. It’s a fully narrative game, as is typical of modern point and click adventure games, with very few game traps that will keep your attention throughout the story. All in all, if you like Telltale Games or Life is Strange, Night in the Woods is the right choice.
What’s more, it will run fairly smoothly with integrated graphics, given that the game has an attractive but not very demanding art style. Of course, conversations about her will not subside for many years to come, even if she did not manage to win at The Game Awards.
6. Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400 2.4 GHz
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 420 or ATI Radeon HD 5570
The 90s are still alive as the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. And it’s not just an updated version of the original 1995 game. It has an alternate universe sub-series called Red Alert, as well as three expansion packs that include over 100 missions and over 250 multiplayer maps. In general, the release came out quite informative.
This re-release includes improvements to the game’s graphics, an update to the game’s soundtrack, including re-recording of 20 tracks from the original release, and most importantly, a 4K update to the game. The game also has a modern control system that will allow you to use hotkeys. And if you’re looking for an even better gaming experience, this re-release gives you the freedom to create additional mods yourself.
The essence of the game has not changed significantly, paying tribute to its predecessor of 90’s, so if you’re looking for a ghost of the past improved in every way, then this game will definitely make a lasting impression on you.
7. Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2100T 2.50 GHz or AMD Phenom II X3 B73
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video card: ATI Radeon HD 4850 or NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire was released in 2018 and has already acquired quite a large number of fans. We think your laptop’s integrated graphics can still handle it. Basically, it has the same forgiving system requirements as its predecessor, so if you’re a fan of the first game, you’ll definitely be able to check out its sequel.
In Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, you travel to an archipelago called Deadfire to hunt down a fugitive god who creates horrors along the way. Like the first part, the sequel has a rich storyline and deep role-playing gameplay that takes us back to the days of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights.
Despite the fact that all the background images are in 2D and viewed from top to bottom, this does not interfere with enjoying the visual component of the game. In addition, numerous spell effects will protect you during intense tactical combat.
And because it’s developed by Obsidian, a studio renowned for producing the best RPGs, you can be sure that you’re in for an unforgettable adventure that’s well worth the money.
8. Papers, Please
youtube.com/embed/FdWy7gU2vcw?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”true”>
- Processor: 1.5GHz Core2Duo
- RAM: 2 GB
- Video card: OpenGL 1.4 or better
If someone told you that the game about working at the border control point would be one of the most exciting, you would have a good laugh, right?
Well, then you should definitely give a little indie gem called Papers, Please a try. The game takes place in a Cold War context at a checkpoint in a fictional Eastern Bloc city. You work as an immigration officer tasked with letting in refugees from a hostile neighboring country.
The basic concept is simple: check each person’s papers against a clear set of rules, let those who meet the requirements pass, and detain those with false papers.
This game is designed to test your attention to detail and the strength of your moral compass. You will have to face the choice of whether or not to give shelter to characters you feel sympathy for, knowing that it is against the rules to do so.
The twist is that good work performance feeds your family, while mistakes put their lives at risk. Yes, it’s dark, but it’s so exciting.
9. Untitled Goose Game
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video card: Integrated video card / NVIDIA GeForce 510
We all know how aggressive geese can be. Well, thanks to Untitled Goose Game you can be in the shoes of a real goose. And not just a goose, but a real bespredelschik. You can already guess what will happen here.
If you like causing chaos, this game will definitely appeal to you. Run as a goose, ruin people’s lives, arrange all sorts of antics, steal their things, or even just annoy them! In fact, the more unhappy people are, the better. You’ll even have a to-do list where you’ll mark completed tasks. One of them, for example, is to lock the child in a telephone booth. Is there a better way to let off steam after a hard day?
10. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Processor: Intel Core i5
- RAM: 8 GB
- Video card: Nvidia GTX 950 or AMD R7 370
This side-scrolling platform game takes its predecessor Ori and the Blind Forest’s vibrant color scheme and great soundtrack into a new and improved version. However, the game’s cosmetic changes aren’t everything. Ori and the Will of the Wisps builds on the mechanics of the first game to immerse the hero more deeply into the gameplay and gives him the opportunity to explore a new larger version of the world. The exciting story, gameplay and aesthetic of the game come together for about 15 hours, which creates real magic.
If you have a fairly old laptop, you can install the original version of the game. While Ori and the Will of the Wisps may be buggy on most basic laptops, it doesn’t require ray tracing technology or a cutting-edge GPU, so recent laptops shouldn’t have a problem running it.
Don’t miss: Best laptop games. Part 2
TOP 30 games for weak PCs and laptops worth playing
If you’re into computer games, you probably feel nostalgic when you remember one of your favorite old games. Do you think that today it will be difficult to play hits from the past, since the “ancient” graphics will kill all the impressions? Not at all. Old masterpieces are even now played with interest and nostalgia.
Representatives of our top:
- Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
- Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
- Need for Speed: Underground
- Need for Speed: Underground 2
- Condemned: Criminal Origins
- Max Payne 1
- Max Payne 2
- Sims 3
- Battlefield 1942
- Half Life 2
- Left4Dead 1
- Left4Dead 2
- Euro Truck Simulator 2
- Titan Quest
- Unreal Tournament 2003
- Quake 3 Arena
- Counter Strike 1.6
- Doom 1993
- Doom 3
- Fallout 3
- S. T. A. L. K. E. R: Shadow of Chernobyl
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Silent Hill: Homecoming
- Heroes of Might and Magic III
- Hotline Miami
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
- Plague Inc: Evolved
Legendary hack-and-slash game. At one time, it was a full-fledged replacement for Diablo 3 and was able to compete with this giant in all respects. Our top games for weak PCs open with the Sacred 2: Fallen Angel project for a reason: the fact is that it is still playable and looks amazing. Check it out yourself! A rich fantasy-style open world full of mysteries and dangers awaits you.
Warcraft 3 gave rise to the now popular DotA 2, tournaments in which collect tens of millions of dollars in prize money. It was The Frozen Throne that instilled interest in this genre and gave rise to the amazing world of World of Warcraft.
Strategy games on PC with development and building: ranking of the best games in 2021
A classic strategy that literally immediately plunges you into your world with your head.
Continuation of the cult Red Alert 2, the cut-scenes of which simply killed with their humor. The name of the game is translated as “Red Alert”. A reference to Stalin’s red button, pressing which would lead to the complete destruction of the world. In the third part, the cutscenes between missions are just as interesting as in the previous one. There are three factions to play: the USSR, the Alliance and the Empire. Each of them pursues its own personal goals.
As soon as you see the name of this masterpiece, the Get Low soundtrack immediately starts playing in your head, or, in common people, “e ron don don”. That is why this racing hit made its way into our top. It is worth returning to it, if only for the sake of the legendary soundtracks. In the future, almost all songs from NFS: Underground were used in movies about racing.
How did the fans of the first Underground react to the release of the new part? General rejoicing. New cars, no less cool soundtracks in the spirit of NFS: Underground, new dynamic tracks – all this was received with a bang. The second part today is played a little nicer than the first. Yes, there is more content. We recommend trying both and deciding which one is cooler.
The game was released in 2006, and its passage still collects thousands of views on YouTube. The thing is that in those days, when developing games, special emphasis was placed on the plot component and the creation of an atmosphere. Graphically, they also tried to surprise, but more with style, and not with the introduction of technological innovations. You have to play as a cop who is on the trail of a maniac serial killer who preys on women.
Popping psychopaths with a pipe in their hands, gloomy corridors, subway tunnels and intriguing plot twists – everything is perfect in this game.
It is hardly possible to take and forget this smirk of the main character. Did you know that Max’s face was copied from the face of Sam Lake, the screenwriter of the project? The first 3 person shooter with the ability to slow down time and dive in different directions. Even today it looks very cool!
Continuation of the cult first part. Many fans of the series, by the way, were unhappy with the sequel. Habitual business. However, time put everything in its place, and the second part is now considered no less legendary than its prequel. We recommend playing the first part, and after it go through Max Payne 2.
How many hours can this game drag you out the first time… Even at the stage of creating characters, you can get stuck for a long time. This is a classic real life simulator where you can become anyone and achieve any goals. You can catch ghosts or fight fires. Or create a big family and work on the computer without leaving home.
Best quests on PC: top 5 legendary games
Sims 3 is completely devoid of violence and other shock content, so it’s perfect for the whole family to play.
The birth of the legendary series of epic shooters Battlefield began with this part. There is no plot as such. The only goal of the game is to destroy the enemy, using the technique or moving on your two. The medic heals allies, the infantryman wields strong weapons, the engineer repairs allied vehicles and undermines enemy vehicles, etc. We recommend that you plunge into 2002 and play the very first part of Battlefield.
This is not a game, but a whole 2D universe. Boundless scope for exploring the world, the ability to grow plants and livestock, create items – the content will last for hundreds of hours.
By the way, the game is not old at all, because it was released in 2019. It would be possible to add Minecraft to our top instead of Forager, however, “mine” is quite demanding and will fail on weak PCs and laptops.
This game is not far behind Minecraft in terms of gameplay. The 2D format does not prevent her from looking beautiful and rich. You can interact with any details, extract any kind of resources and climb deep into any cave. The main goal is to equip your home and stock up on resources, get top equipment and repel attacks from hostile creatures.
If you haven’t played it, you must have heard about this game. Gordon Freeman has wielded a telekinetic cannon and uses it to hurl objects at enemies. The game was made on the Source engine and even today it looks decent. And physics and shooting are felt in a modern way. The plot of the game captures from the first minutes. We highly recommend Half Life 2 – one of the best games for weak PCs and laptops today.
The first ever shooter with logical co-op. A group of survivors moves from point “A” to point “B”, and crowds of zombies block their way. Locations look unique, optimization is on top. Dozens of running zombies and a stable 30 FPS – even today you can play it with friends and have a lot of fun.
Continuation of the dynamic survival shooter L4D. New locations, new weapons and new charismatic characters. The goal of the game is the same – to reach the shelter. Levels have become even more beautiful, and enemy bosses have become even more insidious. Very fun to play with friends in co-op.
Some people find this series of trucker simulators very boring. Many still believe that only fans of the W key play ETS. However, for those who understand the romance of long-distance truckers, the game seems unrealistically meditative. He took the cargo and took it to distant lands, through days, nights, mountains, forests and fields. If you are interested, then be sure to play Euro Truck Simulator 2.
Titan Quest is the most worthy rival of the games in the DIAblo series. The project, of course, had a lower budget than any of the parts of the franchise from Blizzard, but in terms of content and gameplay it was not inferior to her. A little less atmospheric than Diablo 2, but thousands of people visit Titan Quest every day on the Steam platform. We invite you to try this masterpiece in the hack-and-slash genre.
The legend of computer clubs. The main competitor of Quake 3 Arena and Counter Strike 1.6. Dynamic confrontations and cool guns – this is what caught the game in those days. Then there was still such a genre as 3D action, in which Unreal Tournament 2003 occupied the top lines in terms of rating and popularity.
Today, the third Kwak, of course, looks a little pretentious. No worse than Unreal Tournament, but the visually outdated look is present. But this is just an illusion. If you have played before, then try to go into it and run for a couple of minutes. You can’t take it by the ears. The dynamics are captivating. It’s really fun to play and compete with friends.
Today you can ask anyone: literally everyone will tell you how the whole computer club was afraid of him. He set headshots with his eyes closed, killed with an AWP without a scope, knew how to keep a burst from an AK at one point. It is unlikely that you have not heard similar stories from those who attended computer clubs in their youth. CS 1.6 is a chewing gum in the center of the screen and ball mice. Do you want to go back in time, at least for a little while? Then play “Counter” 1. 6.
Yes, it looks crazy. However, this is one of the very first first-person shooters. At the time of the release of this game, a real revolution took place – all other development studios quickly switched to creating shooters in the FPS genre.
This game was launched on everything: on calculators, cameras, cash terminals, ATMs and even in the game Doom 1993 itself, they managed to launch it! Why don’t you try to enable it, at least on your PC?
After 1993 this game looks like something perfect. The third part came out in 2004. Then it was a AAA project in the horror genre. However, today Doom 3 would hardly be classified as a “horror” – rather, an FPS shooter with horror elements. The franchise is growing and new games are still being released. Thinking what to play on a weak laptop or PC from the Doom series? The third part will fit 100%.
One of the largest 3D projects in the apocalypse setting. It is worth noting that the second part of the game is not visually similar to the sequel, so Fallout fans took the sequel very negatively. However, the game itself is very capacious and atmospheric. Fallout 3 has 4 main endings and 32 additional ones. Pretty good for a 2008 game.
Shadow of Chernobyl was released by GSC Game World in 2007. It was the first part of the franchise. Further, one game per year, sequels were released: Clear Sky (2008) and Call of Pripyat (2009). All of them are good. However, we recommend you “Shadow of Chernobyl”, as the rest of the parts are demanding and may fail on weak PCs and laptops. Immerse yourself in the world of the Zone: atmospheric and very dangerous. Post-Soviet landscapes are especially pleasing to the eye and seem familiar.
We believe that the GTA franchise really began with this part. GTA III couldn’t compete with Mafia 1 because it had a weak storyline. Yes, open world, yes, many missions. But all this was not surprising even then, since all the activity was rehearsal, and the plot was empty. What can not be said about GTA: San Andreas – its world is truly alive and rich in bright characters.
The story of the game’s heroes echoes the real fate of hip-hop artists from the NWA group. Definitely recommend going if you haven’t done so yet.
Incredible horror adventure from the famous Silent Hill franchise. In 2008, when it came out, the game looked very beautiful and special. A memorable opening and an interestingly developing plot is what Homecoming is played for today.
If we talk about the legendary old games, it would be a big mistake not to mention Heroes 3. Heath is still alive today. Until now, popular streamers have been playing Heroes of Might and Magic III for hours, and tens of thousands of viewers are watching it live.
If you like turn-based strategy games and feel like you’re ready to immerse yourself in a world that will take at least a hundred exciting hours to explore, then feel free to play Heroes of Might and Magic 3.
Looking at how the game looks, you immediately think: “Well, no, this is not mine”? Then turn on the trailer on YouTube. The high quality of the soundtrack makes Hotline Miami a real masterpiece. Atmospheric and driving tracks from popular electronic music authors are waiting for you.
The gameplay is very addictive. Each of the deaths is not perceived with annoyance, because you want to constantly replay the same moments in a different scenario. You just have to give the game a chance.
Top 5 games for powerful PCs: a joy for the eyes and a test for hardware
By the way, you will die from one shot or blow. Good luck!
It would seem, well, what could be the continuation? But the developers disagree here. They added even more characters, weapons and plot twists. Yes, Hotline Miami has a plot, and it’s insane.
What is good about the second part? Even more cool soundtracks, heroes and locations.