discovery tour

Assassin’s Creed Educational Discovery Tour Mode Launches Today

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Not many blockbuster games get an educational mode as a free add-on. Today Ubisoft released Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt. It’s available now as a free download for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC owners of Assassin’s Creed Origins. It can also be purchased as a separate tool from the game on PC.

The Discovery Tour mode allows players to freely explore the world of Ancient Egypt where Origins takes place, without any combat, missions, or time limits. You can also play as 25 different avatars, including Caesar and Cleopatra.

“With the Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt, we give everyone interested in Ancient Egypt the chance to enjoy its beauty and the realization that video games can be a source of inspiring knowledge,” explains Jean Guesdon, Creative Director of Assassin’s Creed Origins.

The Discovery Tour is billed as a new type of edutainment tool. In addition to exploring the detailed virtual world, it also features 75 themed tours created by Ubisoft, in collaboration with History experts and Egyptologists.

“We’ve been in touch with teachers from the very first installment of Assassin’s Creed games. Many of them already used the games during their History classes but soon came to realize that what they needed was an easily accessible educative tool based in our historical reconstructions,” explains Maxime Durand, in-house Historian at Ubisoft Montreal. “With the Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt, you can visualize and understand thousands of things from Egyptian history in their actual context. As both a game and a learning tool, it is quite a unique asset for teachers to integrate as part of their history classes.”

Discovery Tour mode is free to download starting today for existing Assassin’s Creed Origins owners on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Non-owners can still enjoy the educational mode by purchasing it separately on PC for $19.99.

monster hunter: world

Monster Hunter: World Review

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

Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Coming later to PC)

I had the Anjanath on the run. Monster Hunter’s version of a Tyrannosaurus Rex decided he’d had enough of my hacking and slashing, and fled to higher ground. I chased after him, winding up the trees and branches in the Ancient Forest. We reached a nest-like clearing and faced each other, prepared to duel it out again. A terrifying roar signaled a newcomer to the party. We’d wandered into the nesting grounds of a dragon, the Rathian.

The 10-year old within me excitedly cheers as the giant monsters battle each other, the dragon picking up the T-Rex and dropping it from its nest. When the Rathian turns its attention toward me, I make like the Anjanath and run like hell.

Monster Hunter: World excels at capturing these emergent, exhilarating moments, and creating reactive areas where your hunter exists among larger, even deadlier hunters.
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red dead redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 Delayed Again, Coming October

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Today Rockstar Games have announced that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed once again. This time however they’re providing a firm release date: October 26. It’s set to launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

“We apologize to everyone disappointed by this delay,” states the brief post by Rockstar Games. “While we had hoped to have the game out sooner, we require a little extra time for polish. We sincerely thank you for your patience and hope that when you get to play the game, you will agree the wait will have been worth it.”

The bad news comes with a spoonful of sugar in the form of several new screenshots. You can check them out here.

This marks the second time the highly anticipated sequel has been delayed. When Red Dead Redemption 2 was initially announced in late 2016, it was given a Fall 2017 release date. It was then pushed back to Spring 2018, and now finally to Fall 2018. If you guessed ‘two years’ from the time of the original announcement, congratulations you won the release window lottery.

Red Dead Redemption 2 promises to be a massive game. It’s a prequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, which was basically Grand Theft Auto set during the sunset years of the Old West. Red Dead featured some of Rockstar’s best writing and world building. It’s largely considered one of the greatest games of the last generation. It also set the multiplayer stage for what eventually became Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode, Grad Theft Auto Online.

October is among the busiest release window for major game releases. And it doesn’t get much bigger than a Rockstar game. Grand Theft Auto V has become one of the best selling video games of all time, nearing the astonishing 100 million mark. Red Dead Redemption has sold only a fraction as much (still putting it at 15 million), but it was also never ported to PC, nor given any kind of HD remaster treatment.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is set to launch October 26 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will most likely follow other Rockstar Games with an M rating.

 

dauntless

PAX South Preview: Dauntless is Part Destiny, Part Monster Hunter

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Dauntless either has terrible timing or brilliant timing. Indie developer Phoenix Labs had one of the largest booth at PAX South to show off their free-to-play monster hunting game. The booth lie in the shadow of the even larger Capcom booth, whose gigantic Rathalos statue beckoned people to play one of the biggest releases of the year: Monster Hunter: World. Dauntless offers a much more streamlined – and more importantly free alternative to the niche hunting genre.

“We’re big fans of the hunting genre,” said Reid Buckmaster, combat designer for Dauntless. “We wanted to bring together elements of games we all enjoyed to build the ultimate co-op game that we at the studio always wanted to play. We’re using elements from Monster Hunter, but also gameplay loops from Destiny.”

After several crashes on the demo PC I finally loaded up into a mission with a group of three other hunters, called slayers. Four weapon loadouts were available, and I chose the war pike.

Dauntless uses an easy to understand combo system with two attack buttons, as well as a special attack that varies depending on the weapon. My war pike could focus a laser beam, while the dual blades could either be hurled to close the distance, or used to vault away from a monster to avoid danger.

Combos are quickly accessible from the pause menu, teaching me basic strategies for getting the most out of my weapon – button mashing only gets you so far.

“We want to push players to switch between the weapon types,” said Buckmaster. “Players should want to feel like they have a main weapon, but be able to quickly switch out depending on their party composition or the encounter.” There are five weapons currently available: sword, hammer, axe, dual blades, and the war pike. A sixth weapon is being planned for open beta.

The four of us landed on a floating island to begin our hunt. The islands are relatively small zones and contain a number of gatherable resources and plants, which can then be used to craft potions and items back in the hub town of Ramsgate.

As in Monster Hunter we were given a time limit to hunt the monster. “We’re shooting for an average hunt time of about 15 minutes,” said Buckmaster. “If you have the right gear and really know your way around, you could finish one as quickly as five minutes.”

We stuck together and soon found our prey: Skarn. Skarn was a large four-legged dinosaur monster equipped with giant plates of rocky armor. It could knock the armor off and use it as a weapon, or slam the ground and cause rocky spires to jut out and impale us. The four of us surrounded it and began hacking it up, getting knocked around in the process. A big part of the strategy is learning to read a behemoth’s attack patterns and weaknesses, and a live demo on the show floor isn’t the ideal way to tackle it.

dauntless

Skarn retreated to a different area, giving us some breathing room to apply healing before chasing after it. There were some glowing blue outcroppings on the ground we could activate for an additional healing font. We also came equipped with several healing potions. If someone went down we could revive them, provided someone else distracted the monster away.

Sadly the behemoth ended us before we could take it down, though we gave it a valiant effort. Monsters scale with the number of players, and Skarn represented a Tier 2 behemoth. Normally it would not be the first monster you face.

Skarn is one of 18 behemoths currently available in the closed beta, spread out over five different difficulty tiers. The starter monsters at Tier 1 are easier versions of other behemoths, while a few later behemoths repeat the base monster designs but with different coloring and attack patterns.

Fighting behemoths is more than just trying to kill them. Targeting specific body parts and destroying them will nullify some of the monster’s attacks, as well as rewarding you with that body part. Body parts are used to craft more powerful weapons and armor, which in turn allow you to hunt more dangerous prey.

Dauntless is currently in closed beta, with an open beta arriving this summer on PC. Since it’s going to be free to play, Phoenix Labs admits that the open beta will essentially be a soft launch. “For open beta we’ll have the outline of our campaign,” said Buckmaster. “The goal is to have a full story campaign with voice acting and cutscenes. It’s not unlike Destiny where the 10-15 hour campaign shows you the ropes and gets you into the universe. Beyond that you’re grinding out for better stuff and going for the top accolades.”

dauntless

Phoenix Labs promises the game will remain free to play, with no pay-to-win elements. “We are very firmly against pay-to-win type mechanics,” said Buckmaster. “You won’t be able to purchase anything that will affect your gameplay. The only things available to purchase will be cosmetics, like designs for flares and armor.”

Dauntless is planned for a PC launch initially, but Phoenix Labs are eyeing console releases for the future, though no consoles have yet been announced.

Can Dauntless survive now that many hunting fans are knee deep into the recently released behemoth of the genre, Monster Hunter: World? “The hunting genre has been pretty niche and sometimes difficult to get new players into,” said Buckmaster. “That’s something we wanted to do focus on with Dauntless – having a really inviting game that has depth, but easy enough to jump into and start hitting buttons.”