Here we are the awaited instalment in the Assassin’s Creed series that will shiver your timbers. Yep Ubisoft takes us to the early 18th century where pirating was at its peak in the Caribbean Sea. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag will give us the Assassin’s Creed gaming experience from a pirate’s perspective. Does it prove and justify the hype. Well, even looking only to the previous game, Black Flag is a massive improvement with tons of places to explore and plunder! I guess even Le Chuck himself would envy our hero Edward Kenway.
So, what is the story about this time? As most who play the predecessor of Black Flag, know that Desmond Miles might be dead, well yes he died. This time, thou we still work on memories… the reality part of the game takes place in the modern world where you are the new recruit in the sample 17 project in the Abstergo Entertainment Company. The company basically generates entertainment which memories that you will be able to research from the DNA sample of Desmond Miles that the company has retrieved. You will get yourself to work in the Animus Omega which is an ancestral memory research tool to power your thoughts into creating the superb adventure in the Caribbean Sea.
So enough talking about the modern part of the game and let’s talk about pirates, Yarrrrrr! You will start by playing the part of Edward Kenway, a wannabe pirate for he wants the gold and riches. The story start with Edward talking to his lovely wife Caroline about getting a descent life promising that this pirate adventure will not last more than two years maximum. The funny part of this conversation is when she asks him “Is privateering too dangerous?” and he replies with “Wouldn’t pay so nice if it weren’t”. Talking about that answer is where it all gets. The game is fantastically drawn and immersive. There is a lot to explore and with a huge variety of thing to look into.
As it regards to the story, your main quest as Edward is to find fame and glory but also ending up in the middle of a war between the Templars and the Assassins. The story and cast is great, especially BlackBeard and James Kidd who stand out the most. The voiceovers are fantastic and the body language of the characters along with the fluid movement of Edward Kenway really make the game personal and real.
The open-world of the game is one of a kind where you can do practically any pirate and non-pirate stuff. This including taking over forts, diving, hunting, treasure, shanties, fragments, and exploring. Oh, the last but not least is the ship battles. We have seen some of ship battles in the predecessor, but in Black Flag it’s a whole new world. Having a fantastic presentation not when the weather is fair, but when there is a storm or it’s a windy day, woooooh it was a roller coaster that you would ride for ages and not get bored. The battles are unique and well there’s nothing else to say rather than it was a fantastic experience.
Black Flag gives you the sense of freedom on both land and sea. It’s not totally open world where you can do whatever you want since the game is driven by the story, but it definitely feels like you are making all the decisions. The sea exploration is fantastic and when it comes to land, well it’s even more exciting. The whole island feel unique with their lively vegetation and environments. The graphics look fantastic. Thou sometimes you can see some graphic issues along the way, which are not a show stopper.
During the game you can kill any local fauna, which you can skin and eventually craft objects with. To craft an object you will need specific animal skins. Once you’re in an area it will show on-screen the type of fauna you will find. Upgrades are for yourself (Edward) and you can also purchase upgrades for your ship, the Jackdaw. For your ship’s upgrade you would need to fight other ships at sea and you will gather all sorts of material when you pillage them, such as cloth, word and metal. These materials can then be used to have bigger cannons, battering rams and more to make you fearsome at sea.
We have also noticed an evolution in the combat mechanics of the game. Missions include tailing enemies, eavesdropping, assassination or reaching a specific location. But most of it the combat is about sword fighting and counter attacking. Thou most combat is similar to the Assassin’s Creed series, Black Flag is highly polished when it comes to combat. When you kill someone the enemies won’t remember you if you escape from them, but at sea… your notoriety will prevail. Of course you can always bribe the officials across the island to lower your notoriety.
What we liked
Once you synchronize a location you can still fast travel to it. Thou it kills the idea of realism, spending an hour travelling is not a good idea either. Well when I wasn’t in a mission I love exploring the Caribbean seas. Another thing about the game is that the Eagle Vision is back with a newest feature where the centre foe will be marked and will still be shown in normal vision, even through walls As said, the game is incredible when it comes to encouragement for exploration. There are a lot of treasure chests, hidden locations, maps, notes in bottles and exotic places. Replay-ability is one thing I ended up doing after completing the single player missions.
At times for brief moments, the modern world from the Abstergo Entertainment popup. These parts are pretty short and aren’t much of the game experience. On the other hand, it has some good content to explore. One thing I liked is when you have completed enough from the Edward Kenway’s life memories, you will be rewarded with memorabilia in your office-like shelf. They don’t do anything but they are a nice touch.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is one of the best Assassin’s Creed title. The game experience is fantastic and without any doubt the weather effect along with the graphical details are superb. I really enjoyed this release and loved the ship battles including the seamless boarding system. A fantastic pirate/assassin experience, especially after my kid was watching Pirates Band of Misfits and being a lifelong fan of Monkey Island. So, Black Flag was a climax for a guy like me. Apart from that, Black Flag is the best pirate game ever and if you want in with your cutlass, it’s the game for you.