Retro Gamer Demos ASUS ROG Ally Emulating PS3, Switch, Xbox And More

ASUS ROG Ally Handheld Gaming Console
PC gaming used to be all about building the biggest, badest tower with ample room for a beefy GPU, but PC games are increasingly coming to the small screen. The Steam Deck's success has gamers looking for more ways to play PC games on the small screen, and Asus hopes the ROG Ally will be able to pick up where Valve left off. This handheld gaming machine has surprisingly powerful hardware, sufficient not only for native PC titles but also for emulating some of the most popular game consoles.

YouTube channel ETA Prime had the opportunity to test the ROG Ally with multiple popular emulators. Emulating a game that was designed for another platform comes with a performance detriment, but Windows generally has more capable emulators than other platforms, and the Ally is packing plenty of power. It comes with either the AMD Z1 or Z1 Extreme APU—ETA Prime tested the more capable Z1 Extreme variant, which will retail for $699.99 when it launches in a few weeks.

The video below shows how well the Ally can run older games in emulation, including titles from the PSP, 3DS, Xbox, Wii, Gamecube, and PS2. It's not just older consoles, though. The Ally also handles newer and harder-to-emulate console games from the Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Switch. Some of these games never came to PC, so emulating titles like Tekken 6 or Red Dead Redemption is the only way you'll get to play them without one of the original game consoles.

The ROG Ally comes with several performance presets, and most of the emulators shown off in the video will do fine with the APU at 15W or less to render at 1080p (many at 60 fps). However, some games will require the ROG Ally will need to be in high-performance mode. For example, Soul Caliber 3 from the PS2 requires over 20W to run at full HD, and God of War 3 on PS3 needs 30W. You can lower the resolution to save power, and that might be an acceptable tradeoff as some of these games didn't even run at 1080p on the original hardware.

So far, all the early impressions of the ROG Ally are leaning positive. While it doesn't have the dedicated support of the Steam Deck, the Ally appears to run just about anything people throw at it, at reasonable game settings. You can pre-order the Ally now for $699.99, and it will ship on June 13. The $599.99 version with the slower APU will launch later, but if you're going to emulate the games of yesteryear, you'll probably want the faster handheld.