Gaming

Play Google’s Pangolin Love now!

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Google’s got a doodle game that will tickle your heartstrings right before Valentine’s Day. And I say tickle because single or otherwise, this game will hitch those smiles right up your ears. It’s been released daily by the level since February 11, meaning if you’re only aware of this now, you’re just in time for the last stage, and the much-anticipated ending to this love story.

Play a lovestruck pangolin setting off on a journey, collecting tiny boons and bits to put together gifts to present to its lover waiting on the other side of the world.

Go against a three-to-four-minute timer rolling through obstacles; the controls are simple, since you just need to move left, right, up, and down and tap the spacebar to jump, but the game’s reaction time is kind of slow, and since you’re running against the clock on the urgency of this cute little pangolin’s eager love, your keyboard will take a beating.

The animation and visuals are great, and the music is cute and upbeat, making this a perfect game to breeze through over a short break. It’s also great for evaporating any sense of cynicism because, oh, did you know pangolins are the most hunted and trafficked animals in the world? And that’s not because they look like actual Pokémon.

Pangolin Love just partially cashes in on Valentine’s Day by raising awareness of the plight of pangolins, and by the end of the game also teaching you a crucial message about love: that every moment counts if your species is barreling towards extinction.

So, cheer up! It’s not like you’re getting trafficked by the millions as a cure for acne!

Pangolin Love can be accessed through the Google homepage where you may have encountered many other thoughtful Google doodle series (such as the recently concluded Lunar New Year dinner party, or the Holidays 2016 series).

SEE ALSO: 8 gift ideas for the guy you’re kind of seeing
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Gaming

LEGO 2K Drive to arrive on May 19

Build, explore, race

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LEGO 2K Drive

2K and the LEGO Group has announced May 19 as the official worldwide release date of LEGO 2K Drive for multiple consoles.

The driving adventure game is developed by Visual Concept. It is the first title to be released as part of a multi-title partnership between 2K and the LEGO Group. They seek to evolve the LEGO experience in exciting new ways.

The game will feature a combination of open-world driving and competitive racing. Players can explore the vast world of Bricklandia, build any vehicle LEGO-style, drive anywhere, and become a racing legend.

The Sky Cup Trophy is the game’s coveted prize. Players will have to compete against a series of rivals across a broad range of tracks while taking advantage of unique power-ups that can guide them throughout a race.

LEGO 2K Drive also offers unique customization, with over 1,000 LEGO pieces available when building a vehicle. Color designs, stickers, flairs, and more are likewise customizable.

Players may also collaborate with others in a two-person split-screen mode or multiplayer mode.

There will be three editions for the upcoming game:

  • Standard Edition – US$ 59.99 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch; US$ 69.99 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S (both physical and digital)
  • Awesome Edition – US$ 99.99; includes new vehicle, flair, in-game LEGO minifigure, Year 1 Drive Pass (covers four individual post-launch seasons of Drive pass content)
  • Awesome Rivals Edition – US$ 119.99; includes multiple new vehicles, flair, in-game LEGO minifigures, Year 1 Drive Pass

Preorders are now open, and those who purchase before launch day will receive an Aquadirt Racer Pack.

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Gaming

All TEKKEN 8 characters revealed so far

Get ready for the next battle!

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TEKKEN 8

Even though TEKKEN 8 is still miles away from being released, there’s no stopping the train on what you can expect. Starting off, no fighting game is complete without the list of fighters themselves. Of course, TEKKEN 8 is no exception to this. Several familiar faces have been revealed over the past few days, with more incoming.

Without further ado, here’s all the confirmed characters for TEKKEN 8 so far. Don’t worry, this list will be updated as more fighters and gameplay trailers are revealed.

Jin Kazama

Honestly, it wouldn’t be a modern TEKKEN game without the main protagonist himself, Jin Kazama. After spending most of TEKKEN 7 healing up and watching from the shadows, Jin is ready to strike back in honor of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Overall, he sports a much buffer look than before. Jin is now rocking the whites and reds compared to previous versions.

What makes Jin different this time around is how he’s harnessing the Devil Gene inside him to power his moveset. From the trailer alone, we see glimpses of the power he wields as he unleashes a barrage of attacks. Also, his character model even reveals one of his Devil’s wings, which most likely means he’s embraced the Devil in him.

Now, the one on our minds is, well, will the Devil Jin character from previous games also make its way onto this one?

Kazuya Mishima

In every TEKKEN game, someone portrays the ultimate villain that holds all the power and will not yield for anyone. For TEKKEN 8, that man is Kazuya Mishima, the leader of the G Corporation and Jin’s biological father. After the events of TEKKEN 7, Kazuya seemed more poised to take over the world than ever before with the G Corporation continuously waging war.

By this point in time, he has fully embraced the Devil and has since showed flashes of its power since TEKKEN 7. It’s not to say that just him alone isn’t already a ton to deal with, as his moveset is just as hard-hitting as before. With the addition of his Devil form as he enters his Heat State, it turns him into a wrecking ball of chaos.

Nina Williams

Nina Williams returns to the roster and is one of the characters that has appeared in every TEKKEN game since its release. The silent assassin has made quite the list of alliances and enemies through the years, and is on the hunt for her next target. However, after the events of TEKKEN 7 and her failure to locate Jin, she’s taking an approach from the shadows.

From a design standpoint, she loses the wedding dress she had on from the previous game and goes back to the leather jacket and purple dress — something familiar and comfortable. Moveset-wise, she retains the cat-like reflexes she showed off in previous titles and can throw punches with the best of them. Also, she had dual pistols now, so be careful when going up against her.

Paul Phoenix

Another staple of the TEKKEN franchise is Paul Phoenix, one of the hardest hitting fighters in the game. In fact, the trailer literally shows off his power as he brings a brick wall with him when he enters the battlefield. Although in TEKKEN 8, he grew his hair out and didn’t really bother to fix it in an upright position as his previous character models showed.

In terms of his moveset, the trailer makes it look as hard-hitting as before, if not more than that. You can tell that the man aged like fine wine in his combat, especially with all the punches he’s thrown. As seen in the last few seconds of the trailer, he even threw a punch that had so much power in it, it resulted in a sleeve getting ripped.

Marshall Law

One of the franchise’s key returnees from previous games is Marshall Law, Namco’s tribute to the legendary Bruce Lee. As with his previous appearances, he is agile, likes to take the fight to his opponents, and has an arsenal of moves relying on quickess and dexterity. In TEKKEN 8, however, it looks like his body has grown significantly.

Law maintains most of his moves from the previous games, with a bit of fine-tuning and power added to them given his growth over the years. Also, this game shows off his nunchakus which make a comeback after appearing as an item move in TEKKEN 6. Unlike that game, however, he only gets to use the nunchakus on specific moves instead of wielding it infinitely.

King II

Yes, for all the wrestling fans out there, King is back! And he is in much better fighting shape than ever before. Of course, the man still dons the same jaguar mask as his predecessor, and is hungry for competition wherever he goes. If all goes well, the eighth edition of the tournament will give him the glory he seeks.

As one of the franchise’s elite wrestlers, his moveset only improved from the previous games. He still boasts a series of gut-wrenching blows and grapples that turn the tide on his foes in combat. Also, he uses a variety of wrestling moves that fans will recognize from a mile away. This time around, as the trailer suggests, he adds more to his kit with moves from WWE superstars, Triple H (Pedigree) and Randy Orton (RKO).

Jack-8, Lars Alexandersson, and Jun Kazama?!

BANDAI NAMCO also released a Story and Gameplay Trailer to help build more anticipation on the upcoming fighter game, and shows what the TEKKEN Saga has in store for us. Also, this particular trailer showed us a few more characters to watch out for:

From this trailer, we can find two familiar faces in Jack-8 and Lars Alexandersson. The former is the eighth iteration of the JACKs since the first TEKKEN. For Jack-8, the main objective remains the same: destruction at all costs; it’s design to learn its opponents and strike at their core. For Lars, coming from the events of TEKKEN 7, the protector of Jin Kazama must now help him in his plot to overthrow Kazuya and put an end to the war.

Perhaps one of the biggest returns for TEKKEN 8 is Jin’s biological mother, Jun Kazama. She was presumed dead prior to the start of TEKKEN 3. Jun reunites with her now all-grown up son to help Jin find some form of inner peace. Whether or not she reunites with Kazuya has yet to be shown.

Let us know who you’re most excited to play for TEKKEN 8!

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Gaming

Ubisoft announces an AI writer for video games

To streamline dialogue writing

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Video game dialogue gets a bad rep these days. Though a good number of titles come from acclaimed writers and storytellers, a sizable chunk can leave gamers grasping for a mute button. Now, in a move to streamline the writing process, Ubisoft has announced an AI writer to automatically create video game dialogue.

Conspicuously called Ghostwriter, the upcoming AI tool can create dialogue based only on a few prompts. Writers only need to input a character and the type of dialogue to create an exchange. The tool can create a few variations for writers to consider and edit as need be.

The tool wasn’t created to replace writers. Rather, according to the reveal, Ghostwriter will help writers focus on larger tasks like grander narratives and important cutscenes.

Currently, Ubisoft has not showcased any examples of how the writer can work. The company is still working on implementing the tool in its production cycles. With huge sprawling games, using an AI writer to streamline dialogue creation will help deadlines. However, it’s still an unknown whether the tool will improve quality as well.

Over the past few months, companies have tried creating their own takes on AI-based chatbots and creators. Ubisoft is the latest to integrate the technology into its own company and one of the first to try it in the gaming scene.

SEE ALSO: Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Red, Jade, showcased at Ubisoft Forward

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