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Review: Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag

A’Hoy there matey! The Assassins Creed franchise is one of the largest video game franchises in the world, it places you in the robes of multiple assassins throughout different periods of time, incorporating a wide range of historic events and figures among an action packed storyline. Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag steps away from the usual Desmond Miles driven storyline and now welcomes you to your new job,  in which you still delve into Desmond’s memories but not as him, as a new employee at Abstergo Entertainment . The year is 1715 and instead of diving straight into the life of an Assassin, it washes you onto shore as Edward Kenway, a Pirate. The game offers a lot of new experiences for players;  plundering the seas, exploring all sorts of different caverns and coves finding treasure, Oh! and hunting down an assassin and robbing him on his life, gear and possessions, that’s right this is how Edward becomes an ‘Assassin’.

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Reviewed on: Playstation 3
Also Available On: Xbox 360/PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC/Wii U
Release Date: Available Now

So Assassins Creed IV has really displayed something different for the franchise, in my mind this game could of easily become it’s own franchise under another name. I remember when I was just running around assassinating people from above, blending into crowds and now I’m sailing in a pirate ship? I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it’s just some people find it hard to adapt to change and this a problem Ubisoft might face. I’ve been playing Assassins Creed since the first game for Xbox 360, and it’s come a huge way since the early days. On the third games release I was beginning to find the game boring and repetitive, I honestly thought that after the public’s response to the third game, it was the final straw for the AC games. However it wasn’t and they’ve stunned players with this new game, the developers didn’t cap their imagination with this game oh no! I mean a swash-buckling pirate assassin, that strives for the high life by robbing the rich!

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag 2

The gameplay still carries the typical traits of an AC game making room for assassinations and it defiantly feels re-vamped and a lot more responsive compared to previous games. The atmosphere when playing is immense, I mean you’re sailing on your boat (The Jackdaw) cruising around the Caribbean, your crew singing their hearts out. The map is huge and allows the player to sail almost everywhere within the first hour of game play, although I’ve noticed the Southern seas are a lot more tough than the Northern seas.  When sailing it gives the game a whole new responsibility, you’re in control of all the cannons around the boat, the speed of the boat, the back end barrels of gun powder and a spyglass. The Spyglass is very useful when it comes down to choosing which schooners or frigate you’re going to plunder, giving you a reading of what cargo they have aboard them.

The Environment allows room for some excellent cover, you’ll often find yourself crawling around in small fields of Shrubs. This keeps you out of sight from your potential enemy with smooth transitions from one field to another you could remain completely out of site. There is something a bit strange about this cover system though, you could attract a guard over by making a noise. once they’re near you can pull them into the shrub and kill them, this could be carried out multiple times with a lovely pile of corpses in front of you, yet the stupid AI are none the wiser.

This leads on nicely to your weaponry and combat system, not a lot has changed since the last AC game when it comes to combat you’ll still be able to lock targets using eagle vision and shoot your pistol freely but I did notice it seemed to be harder than previous games. before I’d simply mash the counter button and it seemed to work but not in this game the combat feels a lot more raw than before. The weapons make for some good pirate fights with your typical cutlass and pistol but things change when you’re aboard the “Jackdaw” when navel combat comes into play, you’re given control of cannons, crew, explosive barrels as well as sailing the ship itself, all of this makes for an intense feeling when fighting at sea.

The upgrade system is also another great feature being able to upgrade your ship, crew and weapons allows for a dynamic sense of playing. Being able to customise the character to the players specifications is something I think players enjoy. Assassins Creed gives you this option and certainly does it well. I found it really interesting looking through the different swords and pistols you could eventually get and I believe they’re historically accurate among other aspects of the game, which also makes the game that tiny bit more interesting.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag 1

Another great feature is the online game play, this is probably my favourite aspect about the game and can be really intense given the correct game mode and lobby. There are multiple game modes given within the online play and some are better than others, here’s a list of the featured modes;

  • Manhunt – A team based game mode that makes one team hide whilst the other hunts them.
  • Wolfpack – The aim of this is to eliminate all NPC’s either as targets or defending objectives, this can be played solo or cooperative.
  • Domination – The player has to capture their rivals territories to earn points in order to win.
  • Artifact Assault – This is Assassins Creed’s version of Capture the Flag game mode, once the artifact is taken the team must return it to their own base in order to score points.
  • Assassinate – Upon beginning the match the player will be given a picture of their victim and it’ll light up when they’re close, the player can score more points the more intriguing the assassination.
  • Deathmatch – This game mode is pretty self explanatory, the player must kill or stun players that they hunt or avoid, the objective is to get as many kills as possible.
  • Wanted – This game type is the easier version of the mode “Assassinate” therefore giving you a manhunt compus instead of just a picture, the same rules apply in this game mode.

My favourite game mode personally would be Wanted, when you got a few friends playing with you the competition is fierce saying this it’s fierce without your friends. This game type shows the true nature of Assassins Creed’s gameplay as well as having to kill/stun real players (not dodgy NPC’s that sometimes don’t do the most smartest of things) making for some unexpected gameplay. The element of surprise is also brilliant as you’re always on edge wondering if they’re someone is close. Something I should mention is that when someone is close to you a “Whispering” sound will play so you can make some sort of escape or walk them into a stun.

The game offers a lot more than any other Assassins Creed game has ever offered and I fully believe this game was made to give the Franchise more of a name after the third game treading on thin ice. In my opinion they did it right with only a few minor issues with them game itself. I would like to mention at this point that I’m a native PC gamer and playing this game on the PlayStation 3 was actually awful, the FPS was below 30 at some points and the Graphics are clearly dated compared to Next-Gen. Saying this I also got to play the game for the PlayStation 4 and it fixes everything that’s wrong with the game performance wise.

The story isn’t the amazingly good but defiantly works for the game and kept me interested enough to continue playing. There are some points in the game where you can notice a bit of filler game play which can be annoying but is still fun to say the least engaging all the new features really well and keeping the old one intact. As a rule I’m not a very big fan of the Assassins Creed franchise but this game has lightened the mood for me, I still stand that this could of been a completely separate game but surprisingly works well within the world of AC.

The online shows some real intense game play competing against other assassins to kill one another is one of the funniest things I’ve done in a while when it comes to games, what makes this feature even better is the reward system put it in place for stealth kills. Stealth Kills = More points, this stops people from just running around on roofs and allows room for some really good competitive play.[tabgroup][tab title=”The Good“]Open World Sailing
Online Play
Entertaining Storyline

[/tab][tab title=”The Bad“]Performance Issues on the Playstation 3
Stupid AI
Slightly buggy

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I love games and I also love writing, combine the two and what do you get? You get an awesome job! My life is surrounded by games, making them, reviewing them and playing them, this is how I like it!

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