Masquerada: songs and shadows

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows Review

Posted by | PC, PlayStation 4, Reviews, Switch, Xbox One | No Comments

Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (in development)

Many of my favorite games stick with me over the years not because of finely-honed combat systems or impressive visual effects. Often it’s the story and characters that remain the most memorable aspects of those cherished gaming experiences.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows has one of the best stories I’ve experienced in years. It’s an epic tale about heroic sacrifice, forbidden love, political betrayal, and self discovery set within a richly realized world of urban renaissance and ancient mystery. Masquerada’s tactical combat is serviceable, but it’s the story and characters that demand you experience this unique RPG.

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assassin's creed origins

Assassin’s Creed Origins Will Add Educational Discovery Tour Mode

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The Assassin’s Creed series is known for meticulously crafted worlds based on interesting eras of history. October 27 will see the release of Assassins’ Creed Origins, based in Ancient Egypt. This week Ubisoft announced a new non-combative exploration mode called Discovery Tour, coming early 2018 as a free update.

Discovery Tour will let players explore the world of Ptolemaic Egypt with audio guided tours, completely free of combat, story, or time restraints.

“From the beginning the Assassin’s Creed franchise has always explored pivotal moments in history, from the Third Crusade to the Italian Renaissance, and this year Ancient Egypt.” said Jean Guesdon, Creative Director of Assassin’s Creed Origins. “It’s a dream come true for us to offer Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt, an educational mode built specifically for people to learn more about the incredible history of Ancient Egypt through the interactive experience made possible via a video game.”

In Discovery Mode players can explore all the locations within the game, including the Nile Delta, Giza plateau, and cities of Alexandria and Memphis. The guided audio tours are curated by professional historians and Egyptologists. Each narration will focus on a different aspect of Ancient Egypt life, such as mummification or the Great Pyramids.

discovery tour

This sounds like an incredibly cool feature to create an interactive learning tool within a AAA game world. Eliminating timing, quests, and combat would allow students and adults to learn about history while enjoying walking around Ancient Egypt. Given Ubisoft’s impressive attention to historical detail in all the Assassin’s Creed games, it’s a shame it took this many games to bring us this feature.

Assassin’s Creed Origins is launching October 27 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s been rated M for Mature. The Discovery Tour mode will be added as a free update early 2018.

 

survival mode

Skyrim’s New Survival Mode Will Be Free for One Week

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Bethesda Game Studios announced a new Survival Mode for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. If you own the Special Edition on Steam you can opt in to the beta right now. Survival Mode will be added to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One “early next month.”

Here’s how to access the Survival Mode beta on Steam:

  1. Log into Steam.
  2. Right Click on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition in your Library.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Select Betas.
  5. A drop down menu will appear. Select the available beta option
  6. Select OK.
  7. Wait for the game to update.

Survival Mode will be free for one week when it launches. Then it will be added to Bethesda’s controversial paid mod program, Creation Club, which was announced earlier this year at E3.

Survival Mode adds lots of challenging new features and gameplay quirks aimed to make Skyrim play more like an open-world Survival-Crafting game, which have become popular in the last few years.

Here are a few of the major changes Survival Mode includes:

  • Hunger – You’ll need to eat food to live, or risk some nasty penalties. You’ll also need to cook food to avoid food poisoning.
  • Disease – Speaking of food poisoning, diseases are much more harsh. You’ll have to donate money at a shrine to cure them.
  • Fatigue – You need to regularly sleep in a bed or suffer numerous penalties to magicka and stamina.
  • Temperature – Skryim is generally a cold place, and that will be reflected in this new mode. You can die from exposure. Campfires become your lifeline.
  • Fast Travel – Disabled. Pay for carriages and boats, or get a horse. Long journeys will leave you fatigued.
  • Health Regen – Disabled. Need food, potions, and spells to gain health.
  • Leveling – You’ll need to sleep in a bed to level up, as in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
  • Carry Weight – This one hurts. Carry weight has been significantly reduced, and encumbrance will cause fatigue.

The one bright spot in this harsh new mode – vampires and werewolves can feed on victims to restore hunger, and are more resistant to the cold weather. Embrace your dark side!

The Creation Club has been met with some harsh criticisms from the large Skyrim and Fallout fanbase. It’s a way for Bethesda to host mods on their website rather than the Steam Workshop, and make sure all mods are compatible, localized, and (mostly) bug-free. But mods have traditionally been purely community driven and curated, with the best modders often receiveing donations or even setting up Patreon accounts.

Much of what this Survival Mode adds can be found in an old mod called Frostfall, for example.

Skyrim Survival Mode is set to launch in Early October. Grab it while it’s free in the first week.

 

Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite’s Battle Royale Mode Now Free for Everyone

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On the heels of Bluehole (makes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) making some accusatory remarks at Fortnite, Epic Games has announced that Fortnite Battle Royale is free for everyone starting today. But only the Battle Royale mode – the main co-op game (called “Save the World”) remains in paid Early Access with a 2018 release date.

Fortnite launched earlier this Summer via Early Access on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The final game will be free-to-play with microtransactions. It combines tower defense with third-person action and up to four player co-op (read our preview of Fortnite).

The PvP Battle Royale mode was a free update to Fortnite earlier this month. It’s designed exactly the same way as PUBG. Up to 100 players begin with nothing but a pickaxe and drop out of a plane over a large island. You have one life to run around, find loot, and kill (or avoid) other players while a shrinking circular zone keeps you moving. Building walls and forts is available, though you find weapons and traps instead of crafting them.

Recently Bluehole Inc made a firm statement noting the similarities between Fortnite and their runaway success, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. PUBG has reached a level of indie fame previously seen only in titans like Minecraft. The latest numbers show it has sold over 10 million copies. It is firmly entrenched as the number one played game on Steam, with over a million players online at any one time.

PUBG is currently only available on PC, whereas Fortnite is available on consoles. PUBG is coming to Xbox One later this year. Both titles are still in Early Access.

Opening up Battle Royale to everyone also comes with a new update to Fortnite. Most importantly this update will add Squads, letting friends form allied teams of up to four players. Other updates include new weapons and UI enhancements.

Fortnite is due to launch in 2018.