Due to the ongoing global pandemic, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is a completely online affair. Gaming hardware maker ASUS takes the show’s digital format to the extreme with ROG Citadel XV, a free download on Steam that’s one (small) part first-person shooter, one part fancy virtual hardware showroom.
ROG stands for Republic of Gamers, ASUS’ fancy gaming brand, as seen on laptops, desktops, video cards, monitors, graphics cards, motherboards, and more. ROG Citadel XV is a high-tech base of operations for this fictional organization, of which the player is an operative. The game begins with the player waking up in their quarters, where a cheeky robot named Omni greets them and offers to take them on a tour.
The tour leads the player to a virtual showroom, where ASUS’ 2021 hardware lineup is on display. Hardware like the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE, an intriguing new gaming laptop with a secondary display that can be lifted to open up a hidden air intake to promote cooling. I learned about the Zephyrus Duo 15 by walking up to it in the game’s showroom and clicking on it.
Each product in the showroom gets its own highly-detailed 3D model, with specs and details on the left and interactive items on the right. Click on the keyboard switch factoid on the left of the ROG Claymore II keyboard and the keycaps on the virtual board fly off, showing off the sweet optical switches beneath.
Other than exploring and clicking about for secrets, there’s not a lot of actual gaming in ROG Citadel XV. There is a shooting range, complete with online leaderboards, but there’s only one usable gun and it’s very rudimentary.
Check out the video below for a quick commentary-free tour of the Citadel, including a quick look at the shooting gallery.
It is advertising, of course. ROG Citadel XV’s main reason for existence is to sell ASUS stuff. But damn, what an engaging way to interact with the company’s CES 2021 lineup. Give me this over a boring press release or web catalog any day.