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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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YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists

The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.



The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.

It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa. 

The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.

YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”

With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums. 

Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity. 

This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.

Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.

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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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