Well, I now have my new laptop, a Sager NP9850, which is a beast of a machine, 2GB Nvidia 280m SLI cards, 2.0 Quad core, and 18.4 inch HDTV screen. This is a massive upgrade from my 5 year old laptop which could only handle World of Warcraft on low settings. There have been 3 main games I have been playing for the last 3 weeks.
The main games I have been playing are, Street Fighter 4, EVE Online, and Team Fortress 2.
Street Fighter 4 on the PC isn't much different from what you see at the arcade or on a home console, although because of my incredibly performing laptop, I can set all the settings to high and at that level of detail while still maintaining 60 frames per sec, it reached levels of graphics far beyond any of the home consoles. Getting used to playing an arcade fighting game on a keyboard is difficult and I am still growing accustomed to it. Special moves that involve circular movements like Ryu's Hadouken are surprisingly easy. It is the vertical charged moves like those of Guile and Blanka that feel impossible to pull off.
The game is, in my opinion, a step back in the genre. The special moves list was a surprise to me, being so small. Each character has one "Super" move and a higher level version of the same super. Most characters command list set has been reverted back to their Street Fighter 2 days. I miss the diversity in actions from earlier titles like SNK vs Capcom series, or Street Fighter 3. The next game in the series, Super Street Fighter 4, is supposed to fix this and a host of other issues, but when I think about how much of the core of Street Fighter 4 needs to be "fixed" by another game which we have to pay for yet again, I feel cheated. But that's a rant for another day.
I cannot recommend this game, not only for the fact that the next one in the series is coming soon, but also because of the lack of ingenuity and diversity in this game. This level of quality was fine decades ago with Street Fighter 1 and 2, but I believe we reached a point now where we shouldn't have to choose graphics "or" gameplay.
EVE Online was the next step for me after growing tired of fantasy MMORPGs. I had began my journay in this genre back in the days of Everquest and after that, moved onto games such as City of Heroes and World of Warcraft. The former being much more of a sandbox style game where players are herded and hand held through the entire experience of the game, and the latter being the opposite, I felt that I needed to move completely away from the fantasy category of MMOs and after reading about EVE I thought it was the perfect game for me to try next.
The learning curve of EVE Online is steeper than Mount Everest... no that would still be an understatement. EVE definitely delves further into the sandbox end of the MMO spectrum, much more so than Everquest and I don't think anything could have prepared me for it. Traveling in the universe of EVE is separated into tiny pockets, each filled by one or two planets, which are merely for display and cannot be interacted with and a space station. The station is where you can perform most of the non-combat activities, like buying ships, fitting them, accepting missions, and buying and selling various goods, the EVE equivalent of cities.
Combat in EVE consists of clicking on targets, automated lock-on and setting the distance you wish to maintain from the target. There is no movement commands like the ones you find in World of Warcraft. The ship will do most of the work once you have set your distance and locked on. Once you have locked on, the next step is to click on which turrets you wish to fire and it will automatically fire them until your energy is depleted or run out of ammunition.
Despite the steep learning curve, I would highly recommend anyone who wants to try something apart from the fantasy MMORPGs that are flooding the market to give the EVE Online 2 week trial a try. No credit card or payment information at all is necessary for creating a trial account. The tutorial is very helpful though sometimes can be lacking in it's rigidness. At times, I found myself stuck in situations which the tutorial was not helpful at all with and no one in the Help channel knew the answer to. Thankfully, these situations didn't last long and were few.
Team Fortress 2 was a game that I had been eager to play for the past year but couldn't because of the low specs on my previous laptop. It was everything I had hoped for. There's not much to say for those of you who have played First Person Shooters before. The game is based on a class-based system where you can choose to be a medic who can heal, a soldier packing a rocket launcher, a spy who can impersonate enemy players, and many others.
Because of the lack of a all-in-one class, the game is must be played with at least some team coordination and organization. This can be a exercise in frustration when playing on public servers where the majority of people are playing from pubs and seem to ignore any sort of attempt at coordinating a focused attack or defense. But I don't hold this against the game, I hold it against the players who wish to only increase their score rather than win the match.
The game runs smooth, and the classes all fill a necessary role in the game. The soldier is for short-mid ranged attacks and are adept at taking out sentries, automated stationary turrets built by engineers. The demolition man is the perfect person for defense because of his ability to create a minefield and is the number one class to take out sentries. The support classes do exactly that; they support other players. The medic can increase the survivability of anyone else and can make them invincible for a short time. The sniper can offer long range kills to their buddies in the battlefield. Spies can cause chaos and confusion among the opposing team.
There is no doubt as to the question of why this game has remained so popular for such a long time. Even the choice of using cartoonish graphics means that the visuals of the game ages much better than other more realistic games which are made obsolete by the next generation of shooters. The price tag of 19.99 on Steam means that this is accessible even to those who are on a tight budget because of the recession. Continued FREE updates and additions to the weaponry of classes means that this game will not be forgotten by it's developers for quite awhile. The last significant update was recent and the development studio is planning it's next update to the game currently.
By the way, if there are any clans out there recruiting and are willing to take someone who plays 2-4 hours a day everyday, please leave a comment on your website or contact info. I am actively looking for a clan to join.
Well that's it for now. The next games I plan to play, while continuing with Team Fortress 2 is Batman Arkham Asylum, and Prototype. I have seen some comments praising Batman and other comments about the uninteresting gameplay of Prototype, but I will keep an open mind while playing them. I've seen the trailer for both games and they both look amazing.
Also, to those who are considering buying a Sager NP9850, I would highly recommend it. Aside from the occasional driver issues it's all you could ever want from a desktop replacement gaming laptop. I will have some benchmarks up on Youtube soon and a video on the physical aspects(dimensions, look and feel of the material, etc) of the laptop.