Published on November 7th, 2013 | by Tony6
Review Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
‘Oooooo arr me hearties’ and all that pirate jazz that no doubt every other Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag review on the internet has begun with.
Thanks to the guys at Ubisoft we got our hands on the latest game in the Assassin’s Creed series to review, so thanks to them before we begin.
I have played every other Assassin’s Creed in the series, so I knew what to expect coming into this latest game from good old Ubisoft.
The main question for this game for me was with the last game having such a slow start putting many off finishing it, would it return with less tutorials and more fun?
Also with next-gen around the corner and many gamers holding off buying such a game, would it sell well on the present consoles?
Turns out I should not have worried about the second question, as this week it beat Battlefield 4 to the top spot in the gaming charts, so well done to Ubisoft on that.
The one thing people worry about when playing an Assassin’s Creed game it seems is they feel they must know every detail of the back story to enjoy the game, but this is not the case at all.
Now while I’ve enjoyed the whole series of these games from the very first game, being honest with you guys while the story was there for me and I kind of know a few details, that was never the hook for me.
I enjoy the game for what it offers me and not the story at all. By that I mean how the hell can you not smile while having cat like agility and jumping out of the sky with blades on your wrists to kill a guy, in game form you understand? I would not enjoy doing this in real life! 🙂
Luckily then that with the AC IV story it can be enjoyed by the guys who know everything, but AC IV also offers a fun game to play for the guy who wants to do just that.
I’ve put in around 20+ hours on this review and I have not finished the game yet, but I’ve got to the point where I feel I am ready enough to judge the game on what I have done.
The story of Assassin’s Creed IV starts off in 1715 with you playing the role of one Edward Kenway, a simple loveable rogue that ties in well with previous main leads for the series.
The game begins with your ship under attack from an assassin by the name of Duncan Walpole who, after bits of a tutorial is thrown at you, you then give chase to and once caught offers you the chance of gold.
The thought of big money excites Mr Kenway who, once he catches up with this poor assassin, takes over his life thinking about the big money haul at the end.
Of course nothing is that simple in a game like AC and the story only grows from here and develops into your typical Assassin Creed storyline that mixes both present day and old times into one big ball of awesome sauce.
The game itself is set over a mass ocean map full of things to do and see, with your classic Assassin Creed type levels taking place on smaller locations around the world map via islands.
Most of your time will be spent at sea, but land life is never far away as a fast travel option is open to you once you unlock a synchronize viewpoint anywhere at a location, but half the fun is sailing to it.
Along with viewpoints to synchronize you have tons of side things to do away from the game’s missions, as if you’re familiar with AC games you will know such things as collectables are a huge part of the game.
On land you have such things as shanties to find that will unlock songs for your ship crew to sing along to, also treasure maps to find that will take a bit of brain work to figure out how to find them.
That or a trip to YouTube is on the cards! 😉
Life at sea is just as jam packed if not more with things to do away from the story and island side quests.
You have such things as battles against other ships at sea, hunting whales and sharks via your harpoon boat, right to diving to the bottom of the ocean via an upgraded diving bell that unlocks later in the game.
You start off with a basic ship, but by looting ships that you attack you can add upgrades to your own boat such as more armour, a better harpoon boat, or more power in your guns by doing this and then visiting the lower deck of your ship or local store.
This being said you can also easily sail past enemy ships if you just want to go out and find things, and to be honest that is the best part about the game away from the story.
You truly have this sense of being at sea as storms hit and you find yourself in the pouring rain and wind with huge waves hitting your ship at any point in time, so I have to say well done to Ubisoft for that.
Overall I’ve found my time at sea to be the most fulfilling thing in the game, as you can lose hours just sailing about without a care in the world, but it just feels and plays much better than I had expected it to be.
Combat and feel: The combat in Assassin’s Creed games has never really had a facelift since the very first game, and Black Flag is no different.
You will still get surrounded by enemies with huge axes and swords and guns who almost queue up for a go at what your offering them in death.
With a press of the B button you will push aside whatever they offer in return and be able to kill away looking like Chuck Norris and Freddy Kruegar rolled into one.
So nothing new in combat, but the awesome feeling of tip toeing from tree to tree or rooftop to rooftop while not making a sound is still there in all its glory.
Away from your typical handy shank blades and swords though, there are also some sleep darts and berserk darts that you can craft from skinning animals around the game world, which very nicely brings us onto the subject of upgrades.
I already spoke above on how your boat can be upgraded by looting ships and upgrading via your captain decks, so here I will focus on how you can upgrade Edward. Edward can be upgraded in a couple of ways, which is via shops or via crafting it in your pause menu screen.
While things like better swords and pistols and outfits can be bought via a store at any of the map’s locations that house such a store, things that will affect your overall self will have to be crafted.
You can craft things like pistol holders, your health, to smaller things like sleep darts and special suits.
All of these items have to be crafted from animals around the game world that you have to find, shoot and skin to make them up, or you can buy them at a high price at a store.
While that sounds like the easier option, with such a skin like a red monkey setting you back a quite hefty sum, it is worth the hassle of going out finding it for yourself.
The final thing I have to talk about is the game’s multiplayer, which I will be honest with you has done nothing for me in the past.
The multiplayer in this and previous games has always been a mode where I’ve dabbled with it for a while, but in the end found out it is just not for me.
Now I like the Wolfpack Co-op mode don’t get me wrong, but the actual MP for the game has always felt like it was not needed and was there to please the folk who demand every game has a MP on the disc.
If you are not familiar with the multiplayer, the gist is that in one form or another you have to hide or seek, this means running around for a while until you get stabbed or run after the people trying to stab them.
I wanted to enjoy it this time, but the mode was ruined for me by the community on it, as after two days into reviewing I was playing against guys rank 55 who saw my lack as skill as an insult to them, and mocked me as I would try my best.
When this happens in a game you do tend to give in, but with those with a thicker skin here are some of the modes and what they offer.
Manhunt: In this mode you’re either on the attack or defence trying to get the highest team score.
If you are on the attack you have to find the other team trying to hide in and with the crowds of others by the way of your compass at the bottom of your screen which sometimes you get right and sometimes you will kill a poor civilian, those are the risks.
One of the best modes for newcomers if I’m honest, as it gives you the best chance of doing well than some of the other objective based modes where you will get slaughtered.
Deathmatch: Free for all on this one as without the help of your trusty compass you must use your wit and skill to look out for the target you are given to make foolish mistakes, like running or looking out of place.
It can feel difficult to begin with, but after a while you do start to enjoy it as a simple but fun mode. At least with this I felt I could only blame myself at the end when losing and not letting a team down.
Wolfpack: This is the co-op section of the game, which is a great place to go for noobs like me to enjoy the multiplayer.
You can play it in two ways, either by discovery mode that has cool intros before each game with like a little story to it, or you can play unleashed which is just score as high as you can without the intro bit.
I’ve enjoyed both of these modes when I’ve played them, in fact I would go as far to say they’re my favourite bit about the MP overall.
Here is a bit of footage below for you to watch.
These are the three modes that stood out for me, but the below images cover what other modes the game offers you with full details, but before I end this part of the review I will mention Gamelab.
Gamelab is a way of gamers making their own types of games for players to try out if picked by the AC IV MP team, if they deem them good enough.
I’ve not really dug deep into this mode if truthful, but having a little glance you can see all the maps and modes are open to you to mess with, and you can tweak away to your hearts content.
Such things as turning off lookalikes, don’t allow stuns, turning up the focus speed on kills to a faster setting, it’s all there for guys who like nothing more than coming up with new gametypes to play with friends, or even other gamers if they are lucky enough to be chosen.
Summary: I've loved my time with the single player, as it's a game that always has something to give back be it story or side things to do. Personally for me the MP has not changed enough, as I see it as something for a niche market to enjoy, but for fans of it before it will give you what you want.