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Gameplay Preview – Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom is nearly here, seven years after its critically acclaimed, genre-defining predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, launched. Prior to release, GamesHub was able to get hands-on experience with a preview build of this blockbuster Nintendo sequel, and based on our initial impressions, it feels like the sky is the limit in this boundless, creative adventure.

Beginning the gameplay demo with only simple weapons and an inventory full of crafting materials, our hero, Link, initially seems under-prepared for this new puzzle and enemy-filled world of Hyrule. However, when these rudimentary items are paired with the game’s new, mysterious Zonai Devices – seemingly relics from the Zonai tribe first mentioned in Breath of the Wild – they become key ingredients to creating your very own weapons, shields, and tools.

New Abilities: Ultrahand, Fuse, Ascend, and Recall

These creations are productions of new abilities Link has at his disposal, like Ultrahand and Fuse. Both are focused on the act of combining objects – Ultrahand lets you craft vehicles and structures out of objects in the environment, and Fuse lets you combine weapons, items, and crafting materials within your inventory.

Need to get across a river with a strong current? Use Ultrahand to create your own raft out of fallen trees, powered by Zonai Fans. Want to deal some extra damage while defending against a larger enemy? Fuse a nearby explosive barrel to your shield, and let it explode in their face as you block their next swing.

Read: Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – New gameplay mechanics detailed

A new Tears of the Kingdom marketing campaign, aptly titled ‘You Can Do What?’, leans into stoking player creativity to overcome the game’s many challenges, and from our experience so far, the game is certainly conducive to open-ended, creative problem solving when tackling puzzles and problems at hand.

It really seems as if there is no one way to fix a broken pathway to your next destination, and you are really encouraged to think outside the box. For those who were fond of the sense of freedom that Breath of the Wild fostered, this increased open-endedness is likely to go down well.

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In the preview build we played, ‘correct’ solutions could be well thought-out, but also extremely goofy. For example, you could use the Zonai Hot Air Balloon to float through the sky, avoiding a major combat encounter, or more interestingly, fuse the hot air balloon to your weapon for a new, ‘bouncier’ spear to fight your way in – whether this extra bouncy quality deals additional damage or knocks enemies back further is unclear, but it does make for a more amusing way to get through some Bokoblins.

Fuse also comes into play very well with ranged weaponry, with the game’s large assortments of random, collected materials each adding a variety of fun effects to arrows. Chuchu Jelly in its multitude of colours can create different elemental effects on impact, while certain flowers can shed light into a dark space when seedlings are fused to an arrow, and shot into the environment.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom screenshot

Experimentation with all of the weird and wonderful elements found throughout Tears of the Kingdom is likely to reveal even more new effects, and thankfully, fusing materials pauses time, allowing for you to stop and think about the best possible combinations for the situation at hand.

Fuse and Ultrahand weren’t the only two abilities given a major spotlight during the Tears of the Kingdom preview, with the new Ascend ability also put to good use. It’s a key ability that lets you leap into a ceiling and come out on the other side, which is incredibly useful in a map that features a high degree of verticality. The ability to pop your head back down before fully emerging through a ceiling – should your point of entry into a new area land you in a sticky situation – is particularly helpful.

Meanwhile Recall, one of the other abilities at Link’s disposal, allows you to send moving objects back to where they originated from. It comes in handy not only while forcing projectiles back at far-off enemies, but also for recalling seemingly lost Ultrahand creations or materials while exploring the floating landmasses of the Great Sky Island.

The risk of your well-thought-out creations seemingly falling off the face of the earth may vary depending on your adeptness, but Recall has you covered in these instances, regardless.

Futhermore, there’s also yet another ability that you’ll acquire at a certain point in the game which makes building structures and vehicles with Ultrahand even easier – but you’ll have to wait to experience it for yourself.

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Zonai Devices

One of the most interesting new additions to Tears of the Kingdom is the aforementioned Zonai Devices. These Devices are collected from Zonai Device Dispensers, which look like ancient gacha machines and can be activated by inputting Zonai items – little fragments of objects from the Zonai tribe that otherwise don’t seem to have much utility beyond activating the dispenser.

Zonai Devices are dispensed at random, in little capsules that fit comfortably in your inventory. Once a capsule is opened and released into the world, it can’t be packaged back up. The devices are powered by Zonai Charge, a mana-like resource that Link can collect from defeating certain enemies. Extra charge can also be distilled into batteries, and added to creations for extended use. Once whatever unconventional contraption you’ve built is assembled, you simply power it up with a strike from your weapon.

Given a number of these devices, such as the rocket, have a high level of power behind them, placement is key to ensuring your newest creation moves you in the correct direction, or works in the ways intended. Trial and error is certainly necessary, especially given the random nature of obtaining Zonai Devices, and this adds a level of challenge and ingenuity to mastering the Ultrahand ability fully.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom screenshot
Image: Nintendo

Beyond the utility of the Zonai Devices, their existence within Tears of the Kingdom is interesting in its own right. The Zonai in Breath of the Wild are only seen through the abandoned architecture and ruins left behind throughout Hyrule, but are said to be long gone by the time the events of the game occur. While the preview didn’t show any further evidence of the Zonai, the tribe’s contribution to the world and story of the upcoming title could go beyond their powerful devices left behind in conveniently placed gumball machine-style dispensers.


With such a focus on improvisation and creative problem-solving, Nintendo’s next foray into the world of The Legend of Zelda has left a promising first impression, based on our initial preview. This version of Hyrule is a blank canvas filled with countless tools and possibilities that will hopefully let your imagination run wild.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom releases on Nintendo Switch on 12 May 2023.

 

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New photos reveal more details about Google’s Pixel 9 Pro Fold

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Google’s secret new line of Pixel 9 phones isn’t that big of a secret anymore. Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) released new photos of the phones including the Pixel 9 Pro Fold from almost every conceivable angle.

Android Authority found the photos in the NCC archives and uploaded galleries of each of the four phones including the Pixel 9, 9 Pro, 9 Pro XL and 9 Pro Fold. They reveal some interesting details about the new Pixel phones.

The charging rates will be a little faster than the last generation of Pixel phones: Taiwanese authorities measured 24.12W for the base model, 25.20W for the Pro and 32.67W for the 9 Pro XL. The Pixel 9 Pro Fold, however, was the slowest of all of them at 20.25W. These numbers don’t often match up perfectly with the advertised ratings, so expect Google to be promoting higher numbers at its event.

Speaking of chargers, it looks like Google needed a bigger charger to power its new phones. Photos included in the NCC leak show each phone will come with a wall charger that’s around 45W depending on which model you purchase. The charger’s plug moved from the middle to the top of the brick.

The Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold can fully unfold.
NCC/Android Authority

The latest photo dump also shows the 9 Pro Fold unfolded for the first time. Google has moved the selfie camera to the inside screen for a wider field of view. The 9 Pro Fold also has a slimmer top and bottom, a reduced fold crease on the display and a full 180 degree unfolding angle to make a screen that’s just over 250mm or just under 10 inches.

These photos are the latest in a very long list of leaks of Google Pixel 9 photos. The last Pixel 9 leak came down yesterday showing two prototype models of the base and XL models. Google might look into buying a new combination lock for the high school locker where they apparently keep all their unreleased gear.

 

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Apple Wallet now supports Canada’s Presto card, with Express Transit

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Apple Wallet now supports the Presto transit card used in Ontario, Canada. The card can be used for travel in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa.

The digital version of the card includes the Express Transit Pass feature, meaning that you can tap in and out without having to authenticate …

 

Ontario’s Presto card

The Presto contactless smart card system was first trialled back in 2007, and started the full rollout in 2009. The card can be used across 11 different transit systems in the areas covered.

Apple Wallet support was first promised many years ago, but things went quiet until a “coming soon” announcement back in May of this year.

Although the contactless terminals allow the use of credit and debit cards for regular fares, a Presto card is needed for monthly passes and discounted travel.

Apple Wallet support now available

The company made the announcement today.

Tap to ride with PRESTO on iPhone and Apple Watch.

Traveling around town just got easy with your PRESTO in Apple Wallet. With Express Mode, you don’t need to wake or unlock your iPhone or Apple Watch or open any apps to use PRESTO in Apple Wallet. Just hold your device near the reader to pay and go.

Ride, even when your iPhone needs a charge

If your iPhone needs a charge, PRESTO Card in Apple Wallet will still work. Power Reserve provides up to five hours of support, so you can still ride.

Reload on the go. 

With your PRESTO card on your iPhone and Apple Watch, you can easily load funds, right from Apple Wallet or PRESTO App. No need to visit a customer service outlet.

Extra security. Built right in 

PRESTO in Apple Wallet can take full advantage of the privacy and security features built into iPhone and Apple Watch. Your PRESTO card is stored on the device, which means Apple does not see when you use it—helping keep your data private and secure.

If you lose your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can use the Find My app to lock and help locate the device and suspend your PRESTO card or remotely erase the device and its cards.

Mobile Syrup reports that you can choose between adding your existing card to your Wallet, or creating a new one.

There are two ways to add a Presto card to Apple Wallet. You can either buy a new card or move your old one over using the Presto app.

That being said, for simplicity’s sake, unless you have a discounted Presto agreement like a student or senior plan, I think most riders will be happy just making a new card in Apple Wallet and loading funds from that app.

As with any digital card or pass, you can use either your iPhone or Apple Watch, but because each generates a unique virtual card number, you need to use the same device at both ends of your journey.

Express Transit feature

To minimize delays, Presto offers Express Transit support. This means that you don’t need to authenticate using Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone, and you don’t need to double-tap the side button on your Apple Watch. Simply hold your device close to the pad and you’re good (a number of clues are used to detect fraudulent use).

Express Transit also has the advantage that it continues to work in Low Power mode, so you’ll still be able to complete your journey even if your phone or Watch is almost dead.

Image: Presto

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The OnePlus Pad 2 Wants to Be the iPad Air of Android Tablets

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The original OnePlus Pad was a decent all-around Android tablet, but it was not amazing in any one area. Now, OnePlus is back with a new tablet device that packs more power, has a better screen, more speakers, and a higher starting price. OnePlus offers an Android tablet alternative that costs less than the latest iPad Airs, though it seems like it’s hewing very close to the rendition from 2023. 

The OnePlus Pad 2 is a one-size-fits-all 12.1-inch 3K tablet. At $550 for 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, it’s $70 more than the first OnePlus Pad, though it starts with more memory and twice as much internal storage as the first go around’s paltry 128 GB. It’s bigger than the 11.6 LCD on last year’s Pad, though now it’s beefed its resolution to 3K (3000 x 2120) with a stated 600 nits typical and 900 nits peak brightness. It has a variable refresh rate between 30 and 144 Hz, though it’s still an LCD screen, the same as the 2023 OnePlus Pad.

Just like last year’s version, the new Pad supports Dolby Atmos, but it boasts a six-stereo speaker configuration on either side of the device. It may not be as specifically sound-tailored as the Lenovo Tab Plus, but what’s promised is a solid middle ground. 

Last year’s tablet used MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU, which was good enough for most applications but not exactly top of its class. The Pad 2 is now powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile chip. Gizmodo has already experienced some of the chip’s capabilities in Samsung’s latest foldables, and already it’s very promising. We haven’t yet had the chance to compare a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 tablet to Apple’s latest iPad Air with M2, though on the whole, M2 usually performs better than Qualcomm’s mobile chips in bare benchmark tests. How much that matters depends on what programs you expect to use on your tablet. 

Image: OnePlus

Every device maker thinks they need AI to compete, and OnePlus isn’t an outlier here. There are promised “AI Toolbox” features like AI text-to-speech and recording summaries. The AI Eraser 2.0 will also work like Google’s Magic Eraser to remove unwanted photo elements. 

There’s a new $99 OnePlus Stylo 2 and a $150 Oneplus Smart Keyboard to accompany the new tablet. Despite the size and price difference, there will be many similarities between last year’s and the 2024 model. The Pad 2 has the same 9,510 mAh battery as last year’s, plus the 67W “SUPERVOOC” fast charging. It promises 43 days of standby time, though in our experience, the first Pad’s lifespan and promised “one-month standby life” was far more modest in practice, lasting most of the day before needing a recharge. 

With a bigger screen, the upcoming Pad 2 is slightly heavier than last year’s rendition. It weighs about 1.3 pounds, so it’s exactly between the 11- and 13-inch iPad Airs or slightly more than the base 11-inch Galaxy Tab S9 (and far less than the humongous Tab S9 Ultra). It will be relatively thin at 6.49 mm, but it’s not beating the iPad Air’s 6.1 mm or the iPad Pro 13-inch’s holy grail 5.1 mm.

The first OnePlus Pad didn’t exactly break new ground in any one category, though it did show Android tablets had legs. We’ve seen attempts from Goole and its Pixel Tablet, though that, too, wasn’t the pioneer of Android tablets. A better chip and more speakers do seem promising, though, in its effort to be everything to everyone, we’ll need to see if it manages to stand out in any area.

The OnePlus Pad 2 is now available for preorder. It should be available on the OnePlus website starting July 30 and on Amazon starting August.

 

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