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EA Play Live 2021: The Six Biggest Announcements and Trailers

EA had a bunch of new games to show off at its EA Play Live 2021 event on Thursday, even though it had already unveiled two of its biggest titles for this year — Battlefield 2042 and FIFA 22 — in past weeks and months. There was more info for the former, with Battlefield Portal…

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EA Play Live 2021: The Six Biggest Announcements and Trailers

EA had a bunch of new games to show off at its EA Play Live 2021 event on Thursday, even though it had already unveiled two of its biggest titles for this year — Battlefield 2042 and FIFA 22 — in past weeks and months. There was more info for the former, with Battlefield Portal allowing players to bring in elements from other Battlefield games. EA-owned Codemasters is going big with Grid Legends (out in 2022), that will offer a single-player story mode packed with live-action cinematics. There was no sign of Need for Speed though. Alongside, we got peeks at new seasons and characters for Knockout City and Apex Legends, available this week or the next. And lastly, EA revealed that a Dead Space remake is in the works. Here’s the best of the lot from EA Play Live 2021.Dead SpaceRelease date: TBAPlatforms: PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/XStar Wars: Squadrons developer EA Motive will remake and reimagine the 2008 survival horror original, EA revealed at the very end of its EA Play Live presentation, in what had been teased (by EA) and rumoured (by fans) before the event. We don’t have any details beyond that though, except there won’t be any microtransactions, sidestepping the horrors of Dead Space 3. The minute-long teaser doesn’t give us anything either.Grid LegendsRelease date: 2022Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/XWith Codemasters now part of EA, the video gaming giant is pumping money into the next instalment of its racing series Grid. That involves a movie-style story mode replete with actors — including Ncuti Gatwa, from Netflix’s Sex Education — performing in cinematics that will blend in-camera visuals with virtual production à la The Mandalorian. On the track, expect over 100 customisable cars that you can take to 130 routes in Paris, Moscow, London, San Francisco, and beyond. You can also make your own races, that allow you to pit cars of different types, on the tracks you want with the rules you want.Lost in RandomRelease date: September 10Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/XFe developer Zoink Games is back with a Tim Burton-inspired gothic action-adventure that follows penniless girl Even who must journey across the six regions of the twisted kingdom Random to rescue her sister Odd. As you can tell, the game is putting a spin on all things dice. Heck, there’s even a living die character called Dicey, whom you will roll to survive in combat. You can also use your cards — there are five types in Weapon, Damage, Defense, Hazard, and Cheat — that you will collect along the way.Battlefield PortalRelease date: October 22, October 15 (EA Play)Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/XIn the upcoming Battlefield 2042, DICE will let you combine elements — weapons, vehicles, classes, maps, and more — from four different Battlefield games. That includes Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, and naturally, Battlefield 2042. You know what this means. You can finally enact your dream “who would win that?” scenarios, be it bringing WWII fighter jets into the future or pitting knivesmen with men who just have defibrillators. The weird experiences you create and be shared with other players online.If you pre-order Battlefield 2042, you can take part in an open beta in early September.Apex Legends season 10Release date: August 3The recon, stealth-oriented, drone-equipped character Seer is the newest addition to EA’s battle royale title, whose tenth season — dubbed Emergence — is due early August. You can learn more about Seer when EA drops a gameplay trailer on Monday, July 26. At EA Play Live, the studio also announced a $5 million (roughly Rs. 37 crores) prize pool for the second season of the Apex Legends Pro League, that begins in September.Knockout City season 2Release date: July 27The second season of EA’s multiplayer superpowered dodgeball game is inspired by Hollywood, with all manners of sets — a lovers’ bridge, a pyramid, a gothic cathedral, and a child’s bedroom — available as environments for you to play in. Knockout City season 2 “Fight at the Movies” will also bring a new type of ball in Soda Ball that spews sticky soda and obscures player vision.

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HUAWEI MateBook 14: Five Reasons Why It’s the Perfect Laptop for You

Smartphones and tablets may have become popular over the years, but there’s still a need for a real computer to get things done and stay entertained. While smartphones are small and tablets are somewhat larger, a decently sized laptop can offer the perfect blend of performance and serve as a tool for entertainment.A 14-inch laptop…

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HUAWEI MateBook 14: Five Reasons Why It’s the Perfect Laptop for You

Smartphones and tablets may have become popular over the years, but there’s still a need for a real computer to get things done and stay entertained. While smartphones are small and tablets are somewhat larger, a decently sized laptop can offer the perfect blend of performance and serve as a tool for entertainment.A 14-inch laptop is both thin-and-light and powerful enough to be a daily driver for most people. In case you’re looking to buy a new laptop this year, the recently launched HUAWEI MateBook 14 is a great choice. The laptop is priced just right, and packs all the latest features you’ve come to expect from a great laptop.Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons why HUAWEI MateBook 14 is a great laptop in its segment:A gorgeous display that makes everything look betterHUAWEI MateBook 14 offers a premium display, thanks to a 2K FullView display with multi-touch support. The laptop’s display has a screen-to-body ratio of 90 percent and an aspect ratio of 3:2. It runs at a native resolution of 2160×1440 pixels with a peak brightness of 300 nits, making it super readable no matter where you go. The beautiful display makes watching your favourite movies and TV shows more immersive.A powerful machine that gets things doneHUAWEI’s MateBook 14 laptop is powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core processor. The powerful processor is a result of an advanced 10nm SuperFin process, making it 33 percent more powerful than its predecessor. This means you’ll be able to run all your favourite applications, stream content, and even play games with ease. The laptop is powerful enough to let you multi-task your way through the day without slowing you down.A true smart office experience in the new normalWorking or learning from home is a unique experience, and you need a laptop that works seamlessly. HUAWEI MateBook 14 is a part of the company’s Super Device Products range. It comes with a suite of productivity features that let you connect the laptop wirelessly with HUAWEI’s MatePad Pro tablet and HUAWEI MateView monitors using a USB Type-C cable.MateBook 14 can help you stay creative and productive. You can easily mirror, extend, or collaborate using a HUAWEI MatePad tablet which can work as an extension to your existing workstation. This makes it easier to use the tablet as a second display, letting you focus on things that matter the most. Collaborate mode lets you perform a transfer of text, images, documents, and other files easily using a simple drag-and-drop.Multi-screen collaboration features let you share files and access multiple displays between Windows and Android devices. The recently launched HUAWEI Nova 8 can be hooked up with the MateBook 14 laptop to access the smartphone’s files, open folders, making the phone act as a spare flash drive for the laptop.A large battery that keeps goingFor any laptop user, battery life is super important. You carry your work with you, and you don’t want the laptop’s battery to die at a crucial stage when you’re in the middle of something important. HUAWEI MateBook 14 comes with a 56Wh high capacity battery that uses the company’s smart power management solution to help maximise battery life. The laptop ships with a 65W Type-C power adapter that can quickly charge the laptop in no time.Prices that are just too good to resistThe amazing HUAWEI MateBook 14 laptop will be available in the UAE at prices starting from just AED 3,699. Pre-orders will go live on HUAWEI’s official website and select retailers from September 30. Pre-orders will be bundled with exciting gifts worth AED 739, a free gift, and free door-to-door service. So what are you waiting for? Check out HUAWEI MateBook 14 laptop on the company’s official website here.

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Kena Bridge of Spirits Review: A Game You’ve Played Before

Kena: Bridge of Spirits — out now on PC, PS4, and PS5 — is the first game for California-based studio Ember Lab, which was previously in the business of making animated shorts and commercials. No wonder then that the most successful thing about Kena: Bridge of Spirits is its character designs and animations. The titular…

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Kena Bridge of Spirits Review: A Game You’ve Played Before

Kena: Bridge of Spirits — out now on PC, PS4, and PS5 — is the first game for California-based studio Ember Lab, which was previously in the business of making animated shorts and commercials. No wonder then that the most successful thing about Kena: Bridge of Spirits is its character designs and animations. The titular protagonist Kena (voiced by Dewa Ayu Dewi Larassanti) feels like a Studio Ghibli heroine designed by way of Disney, Pixar, and Laika. Kena is accompanied everywhere by tiny cute little creatures who can be best described as furry black-coloured Minions (though they aren’t bumbling fools). Some side characters are really adorable too. And all of them are at their best in Kena: Bridge of Spirits’ photo mode, where they pose, say cheese, and come alive.This is all set in a world inspired by Asian cultures, primarily Japanese and Balinese. Inari fox statues dot the landscape, torii gates are pulled from Shinto, and the game’s lovely background gamelan orchestra score (more so when Kena is exploring) involves a collaboration with Baliense ensemble Gamelan Çudamani. But Kena: Bridge of Spirits never really justifies its setting, in why its story needs to borrow from — a cynic might say “appropriate”, instead of borrow — the cultures that it does. After all, Ember Lab is happy to stick with Western English accents everywhere, which doesn’t sit well with its love for all things visually Eastern.Speaking of the story, Kena: Bridge of Spirits doesn’t ever really pull you in. That’s largely because its characters aren’t fleshed out, with Kena herself being short-changed, so you aren’t really motivated to do what the game wants you to. And though the game has some strong thematic building blocks — it’s about grief, healing, and moving on — Ember Labs is unable to come up with mechanics that might illustrate that through gameplay on Kena: Bridge of Spirits. For the most part, it’s a standard action platformer relying on the same tools that power Sony’s biggest franchises (from God of War to Horizon Zero Dawn) meshed with its obvious Zelda inspirations. All merged in one. The only good thing is that it’s not bloated, coming in at eight to nine hours.From Kena: Bridge of Spirits to eFootball, Games to Play in SeptemberA couple of enemy types in Kena: Bridge of SpiritsPhoto Credit: Ember LabsKena: Bridge of Spirits opens with a text crawl, telling us that it takes place in a world where people build wooden masks to honour those who’ve died and help guide their spirits to the next world. But some spirits get stuck at times, manifesting into tree-like contortions and corrupting the world. That’s where Kena comes in. Like her father, Kena is a spirit guide — she is bestowed with a magical staff passed down the family for generations. Kena heals the lost souls (read: bash them repeatedly on the head) and clears out corruption. She is a bridge for spirits, figuratively. But she’s not doing the job alone.The aforementioned furry black Minions known as Rot follow Kena around, and they also help her in multiple ways. Rot can unlock new areas — either by carrying objects one place to another that in turn solve environmental puzzles, or by transforming into a large sealion-like creature for a limited time to clear away corruption. Rot can aid you in Kena: Bridge of Spirits’ combat too — by smashing into enemies, or distracting them that allow you to get in some licks. But Rot need “courage” to emerge in battle, which Kena must build by attacking and picking up golden spheres that enemies drop. (The only problem with Rot is that they are called Rot, which is objectively a terrible name. I suppose Ember Labs wanted them to be a personification of decay, but “rot” is not a good word.)“Courage” has to be judiciously used in Kena: Bridge of Spirits though, as it has other attack and defensive purposes too in combat. You can use it to heal yourself with the help of healing areas activated by Rot inside every combat arena. “Courage” can also be called upon to have Rot destroy enemy spawn points. And lastly, it also powers Kena’s superpowered abilities — from a “Rot Infused Arrow” that deals mighty damage, to a powered “Rot Hammer” that does area-of-effect damage to all enemies around. Staying alive in Kena: Bridge of Spirits is about deciding the best use of the “courage” available to you. All the more important given Kena can’t take a lot of damage.The special abilities — Rot Hammer, Rot Infused Arrow, slo-mo archery, shield boost, and sprint attacks — available in the skill tree all need that aforementioned “karma” currency which is earned by fighting enemies and restoring the corrupted environment around you.Kena deploys the Rot Hammer in Kena: Bridge of SpiritsPhoto Credit: Ember LabsThis is all supplementary to Kena’s primary fighting skills that don’t need “karma” or “courage”. You’ve got a light attack, a heavy attack, shield, dodge, block, parry, and bow and arrow. You’ll need to use a mix of these, in combination with all the special skills, to get through the enemies that Kena: Bridge of Spirits throws at you. As the difficulty scales up with new enemy types, Kena: Bridge of Spirits pushes you to adapt as well. While I could get by with light attacks early on, against bigger enemies, I found myself using dodge more often, dispatching Rot to tie them up, and then shooting powerful arrows from a distance. But since Kena: Bridge of Spirits’ arenas tend to be on the small side, combat did end up being button mashing at times — which is not fun.Outside of that, combat is interspersed with bits of platforming and traversal puzzling. This mostly involves looking for switches that Rot or your bow can hit, giant flowers that you can latch onto with your bow (just like a grappling hook), or climbing rocks and ledges that are marked conveniently with white paint (is it bird droppings?). If you’re stuck, you can wear those aforementioned wooden masks to see the world through the perspective of other spirits — it highlights objects of interest. But the solutions to certain Kena: Bridge of Spirits puzzles can be obtuse. I got stuck at one sub-level for half an hour once, only to stumble upon a solution that still doesn’t make any logical sense to me.Though Kena: Bridge of Spirits encourages you to explore, this is not an open world. Just like the old Zelda-type games it’s inspired by, its world is split into zones that unlock one after the other. Each zone has the same ultimate goal: free a spirit. That usually involves acquiring a set amount of some item. Doing that in turn will require you to fulfil certain subtasks. It’s all very straightforward. As you make your way through each zone, you’ll come across infestations that block your way. You can clear those using Rot after you defeat the enemies that will inevitably spawn. There will be mini bosses along the way, and a major boss at the end. Game design 101 essentially.You can also choose to sit down anywhere and play with the Rot. Kena will even do this on her own if you let her be for a while.Look how adorable everyone is!Photo Credit: Ember LabsThat said, the world of Kena: Bridge of Spirits is really gorgeous and colourful — even as the game is filled with decay, being stuck, and loneliness — from its dark lantern-lit caves to bright forest outdoors. And that’s from my vantage point on the base PlayStation 4, where smooth performance comes at the cost of graphical detail and visible aliasing (more so when Kena is running). It’s not as if the game is pushing for realism though, with its cartoony textures. And even though I didn’t experience Kena: Bridge of Spirits at its peak, this is how most console gamers will invariably play it, given Sony’s struggles with manufacturing enough PlayStation 5 units to go around. Not to say anything of the further supply issues in India. If you’re on PC, you get a much better deal thanks to Epic’s regional pricing efforts.Ultimately, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a by-the-numbers 3D action-adventure game. It might look like a modern Zelda game but doesn’t play like one. It’s largely just a series of arena-based combat routines, stitched together by long stretches of traversal, and cutscenes that are well-designed but feel like a forgotten Hollywood B-movie. Too often, Kena: Bridge of Spirits reminds you of better games you’ve played and that it’s borrowing from — which is not a good sign. There’s no harm in learning from others, it’s certainly well made, but it’s lacking in originality. There’s little personality to Kena: Bridge of Spirits, for it’s adopting the sheen of others. For a debut title, this is undoubtedly a good effort — but I fear Ember Labs have played it too safe.Pros:Character design Gorgeous world Short and sweetCons:By-the-numbers title Cultural dissonance Bland storytelling Lacking originality Obtuse puzzlesRating (out of 10): 6Kena: Bridge of Spirits released September 21 on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. It costs Rs. 939 on Epic Games Store, and Rs. 3,330 on PlayStation Store.

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Infosys to Develop Quantum Computing Capabilities on Amazon Web Services, Will Use Amazon Braket

Infosys on Wednesday announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop quantum computing capabilities and use cases. Infosys will use Amazon Braket to explore and build multiple use cases in quantum computing as part of Infosys Cobalt cloud offerings.Amazon Braket is a fully managed quantum computing service that helps scientists and developers get started…

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Infosys to Develop Quantum Computing Capabilities on Amazon Web Services, Will Use Amazon Braket

Infosys on Wednesday announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop quantum computing capabilities and use cases. Infosys will use Amazon Braket to explore and build multiple use cases in quantum computing as part of Infosys Cobalt cloud offerings.Amazon Braket is a fully managed quantum computing service that helps scientists and developers get started with the technology and accelerate research and discovery, Bengaluru-headquartered Infosys noted in a statement.Infosys said it will look to build, test, and evaluate quantum applications on circuit simulators and quantum hardware technologies using Amazon Braket.”This will enable researchers and developers to experiment and study complex computational problems as quantum technologies continue to evolve”, the statement said.”Enterprises will get access to use cases for rapid experimentation and can explore how quantum computing can potentially help them in the future in a variety of areas, assess new ideas and plan adoption strategies to drive innovation”, it said.The use of Amazon Braket by Infosys aims at getting businesses ready for a future where quantum computers will impact business, the statement said.The Infosys Center for Emerging Technology Solutions (iCETS), which focuses on the incubation of next-generation services and offerings, is using Amazon Braket to develop quantum computing use cases in vehicle route optimisation, fraud detection, and more, it was stated.Infosys said it is also exploring partnership opportunities with startups in the quantum computing space through the Infosys Innovation Network (IIN).This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we discuss iPhone 13, new iPad and iPad mini, and Apple Watch Series 7 — and what they mean to the Indian market. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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