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Watch out for Watch Dogs



Ubisoft’s hack-tastic open-world Watch Dogs is easily one of the year’s most anticipated titles and the people that think it is merely a re-skinned, modern-day Assassin’s Creed are wrong, writes GEOFFREY TIM.

We got to have a look at the game at Gamescom and what we’ve seen is rather intriguing. We got to look at bits from the traditional single-player experience, as well as some of that invasive multiplayer.

The hands-on demonstration starts off with protagonist Aiden Pierce, hacker extraordinaire in a lower-class, ramshackle industrial bit of Chicago. Before he’s able to hack in to civilian phones and computers in the area, he needs to break in to and hack the Central Operating System (ctOS) database and implant a digital backdoor before he’s granted unfettered access to all things digital.

To do that, he’d have to physically break in to the compound housing the database: guarded as it is by guys carrying rather large guns. There are quite a number of ways Aiden could do this. He could, like a ninja, sneak in: hack one of the cameras, giving him a less restricted view and tagging enemies and then piggy back from that camera to another, eventually able to plot a route without being spotted or he could just run in, shoot everybody, and hack away. One thing that does make the (less fun, in my opinion) gung-ho approach a little easier is that Aiden can enter a sort of bullet-time, slowing down time for more precise shots. You probably want to avoid that route though: Aiden’s no bullet sponge and just a few shots bring his lifeless body to the ground.

Once he’s done that, he can now scan people’s cell phones, computers and just about every other connected digital thing for information like people’s banking info, which can be used to illicitly earn cash, or other logs of information that could trigger side-quests or might be helpful in your main objective.

We also got to take a look at the handling of cars (and bikes!) within the city and it all seems to control quite nicely. While in a vehicle, hacking still plays a significant role, and you can change traffic lights to slow pursuers (usually cops) by causing massive traffic jams.

We then also got a look at one of the multiplayer features in the game. At one point in the play-through, a message popped up saying that Aiden himself was being hacked and that he’d have to tag people within certain proximity to find out who the offending hacker was: turns out it was somebody else in the room, who’d hopped in to the game just for some multiplayer shenanigans.

If you do get happen to get hacked successfully, a little revenge mission is added, allowing you to infiltrate the other player’s game and hack him right back. It’s all a little bit of a pointless, but fun, distraction really, as it’s purely for bragging rights.

More than just a future Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs seems to borrow elements from Splinter Cell and Far Cry as well becoming a slower, more methodical, thinking-man’s open world game.

* Article courtesy of Follow Geoffrey Tim on Twitter on @WobblyOnion

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Warriors of Waterdeep RPG gets mobile launch



Top game developer Ludia has announced the global launch of Warriors of Waterdeep, a mobile turn-based RPG game, based on the ever-popular Dungeons & Dragons franchise for the App Store and Google Play Store. This release marks the first partnership between Ludia and Wizards of The Coast, leaders in fantasy role-playing games.

In Warriors of Waterdeep, players will need to summon a team of heroes as the great city of Waterdeep is threatened by powerful dark forces. Players will need to take their heroes into battle against monsters from the Forgotten Realms in tactical, turn-based combat. Level up and upgrade your heroes with free daily chests, and win rewards in exciting limited-time events.

“We are excited to bring the Dungeons & Dragons experience to mobile devices,” said Alex Thabet, CEO of Ludia. “We believe fans of the franchise will find Warriors of Waterdeep stays true to the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons with challenging storylines and innovative turn-based gameplay.”

Warriors of Waterdeep will launch with a real-time Player-vs-Player (PvP) mode. Take on teams of four in order to earn trophies, collect rewards and unlock new arenas. Rewards improve with every arena level up, to further improve your team of heroes.

Warriors of Waterdeep is now available to download for free, with in-app purchases, on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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Bixby brings AI shopping to SA



Samsung has announced a strategic partnership with visual search provider Syte to power the first visual AI marketplace within Samsung devices.  Syte’s AI technology will power Bixby Vision’s Shopping Assistant, enabling users to browse and shop visually similar products directly from their camera and through a gallery of similar products. Outlets that will be enabled on devices include Superbalist, Zando, Cotton On, Wantitall, Homechoice and Bid or Buy.

“South Africa has enthusiastic consumers that expect engaging and convenient experiences that fit their lifestyle. We, therefore, decided to expand our partnership with Syte so our devices deliver just that,” says Justin Hume, director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “With visual search, South Africans can shop with ease, and connect better with their favourite retailers and brands and vice versa.”

Syte retail clients will populate the shopping results, which means access to purchase-ready traffic to retailers. Samsung says it aims to create the first visual AI ecosystem, where real-life inspiration leads directly to product discovery and purchase. The retailers that appear on the shoppable feed will create a consistent experience, from snapping a picture through to check-out.

“Our partnership with Samsung and its expansion to South Africa are meaningful achievements for us,” said Ofer Fryman, CEO of Syte. “By powering the end-to-end journeys of shoppers, we bring more value and increase the engagement between our retail clients and consumers.”

With Bixby Vision already built into the camera on select Samsung devices, users can translate foreign languages, identify landmarks or businesses to learn more about them and keep track of calories. Samsung says this is all aligned to its greater vision of helping people “Do What You Can’t”.

Supported devices for Bixby Vision and Shopping include Galaxy S10+/S10/ S10e, S9/S9+, Note8/S8/S8+/A7 2018/A5 2018.

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