There’s a lot of fascinating history to devour in Discovery Tour, an educational new mode released for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. You can learn about the origins of the Olympic Games, the myth of the Minotaur, or the history of Athens’ mighty Parthenon. But the tour focuses on more everyday things too: winemaking, religious practices, the role of women in society, and the running of a typical Greek household. And it’s these things—these glimpses of the mundane, the human—that I really connected with as I wandered the streets, fields, and ruins of Ubisoft’s dramatic take on Ancient Greece.
You can learn a lot more about this time period, and with more depth, from a history book, of course. But there’s something magical about being there. Walking through the Acropolis of Athens, pushing through crowds of people, seeing the sun glint off that colossal bronze statue of Athena… it’s utterly transporting. And it makes the various bite-sized history lessons contained in each location incredibly evocative, because you aren’t just passively listening: you’re there, experiencing it, watching it unfold around you.
Origins had its own Discovery Tour, but the voiceover was a little too dry, like something you’d hear looping on a screen in a stuffy museum, which was at odds with the scale and beauty of the world. But the Odyssey tour is much better at creating a sense of place and drawing you into the history. Lively, charismatic historical figures introduce each tour and beautiful cinematography accompanies the narration. The voiceover is still a little too pristine—I’d have liked those famous faces to perform the tours themselves—but they definitely have more personality than the presenters in Origins.
Odyssey’s Discovery Tour is also great because it gives you a chance to explore Ancient Greece without being hassled by enemies. You can still sail ships, ride horses, and take to the sky with Ikaros, but you don’t have to worry about getting into fights with mercenaries or being eaten by lions. It’s an enjoyably sedate way to absorb the atmosphere of Ubisoft’s remarkable open world, letting you exist there as a tourist, which is something I’d love to see more of in games. You can also switch to a first-person perspective, which makes those gleaming temples and monuments seem even more grand.
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