Title: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action-Adventure, Stealth
Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Have you ever wanted to live a life on the seas, taking what you want freely, not worrying about the consequences? You might want to check out Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the best pirate simulator I have ever played. If you were looking for looking for the strong story-driven narrative of previous Assassin Creed games, you might not be as interested.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the sixth major release in the Assassin’s Creed series and as with previous Assassin’s Creed games, you play as someone in the present day reliving memories of an ancestor using the Animus. The period you are reliving is early 17th century Caribbean during the golden age of piracy. You play as the privateer-turned-pirate-turned-assassin Edward Kenway as he gets caught up in the war between templars and assassins. He often plots with famous pirates from history such as Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch, Benjamin Hornigold, and Calico Jack in an attempt to keep their haven, Nassau, running and free from the rule of any government. The rest of the time, Kenway is either finding some way to make money, or helping the assassins fight the templar. That’s right, fighting the templar isn’t the most important thing to Kenway, and he does it only out of guilt or for money. This is where Assassin’s Creed IV differs from previous assassin’s creed games. Even in the modern parts of the game, where you are walking around the offices and hacking into machines and security cameras, you only do it at first because you are tricked into it, and later because you are blackmailed.
Combat in Assassin’s Creed IV is pretty much the same from previous games with a lot of one-hit kills and parries to dispatch your targets while you are on foot. When you are on the open seas however, you command a full crew of men as the captain of the Jackdaw, dodging cannon fire and returning some of your own. Moving from land to sea is for for most part seamless as this is an open world game, and it really sells the feeling of being a pirate when you can just run down to the port, hop onto your ship, and sail off to another island without any loading screens in-between. Sailing in this game is very gratifying whether you are just trying to get to another island, or fighting several ships in the middle of a storm, which can be extremely difficult, but is so satisfying once you manage to pull it off. One of my favorite things about Assassin’s Creed IV is just sailing along at full speed listening to my crew sing sea shanties.
Other than the main missions, there are a myriad of side-quests, collectibles, and secrets that populate the world of Assassin’s Creed IV which help to break up the gameplay and keep the main missions fresh and interesting. And while you don’t need to complete them to beat the game, it is a lot harder not doing them because they provide resources that allow you to keep your ship upgraded as you progress through the game which prevents naval combat from becoming impossible.
Assassin’s Creed IV is a very well put together game, it is just missing the strong motivations for actually being a part of the assassins that is present in previous games.