Assassin’s Creed, a series published by Ubisoft, has brought a new game into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. This being Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. This new sandbox is different than its predecessors, having 60 percent of the game featuring land, and the remaining 40 being in the vast sea. I thought this game wasn’t going to be as good when hearing about the story, but as I played through it, I was completely blown away, to feel that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was my absolute favourite game in the franchise. Let’s find out why.
As stated earlier, the story of Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag featured 60 percent land based missions, and 40 percent sea-based missions. This changed the perspective of the Assassin’s Creed franchise completely. Not only are you hunting down, and murdering people on land, but you are also sailing, firing at enemy ships, plundering them. This brings an exhilarating addition that earlier games either did not have at all, or did not accomplish as well. The only problem with the naval combat I noticed was that I had never had to upgrade my ship at all. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you are giving the option to upgrade many things, from your ship, to the main protagonist himself, and I wish that upgrading could be encouraged more than it was. The land missions, being okay, were not great. They are the same over and over. You’re either listening in on a conversation, trailing some templar, or killing them. I wish that Ubisoft would have given us some other main land quests instead of recycling these.
The map of this Assassin’s Creed is massive. When sailing through the Caribbean Islands, you feel like you could sail forever. The map goes from lower Florida and Nassau, all the way down to Kingston. Not only that, but the map stretches far horizontally as well. You can get lost while exploring the map in this game. Along with the vast exploration this game provides, you are also given many activities to do. From Harpooning a shark to hunting down someone for money, you have a lot to do, and this can keep you playing for hours. In fact, I’ve played from launch and am still playing today. The only gameplay glitch I came across while playing was the fact that my game froze. However, the game only froze once, making me believe it might be my PS3 causing the freeze and not the game.
The combat in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is like the combat in III, but it’s a bit better. When countering someone in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, someone can come up to you in the middle of a counter and attack. This adds more realism to the game, however it also caused a glitch where Edward wouldn’t finish the first counter and go straight to the second one. This minor problem, may not have made the game unplayable, however it took me out of the world of Assassins. The stealth in Assassin’s Creed IV is really similar to Assassin’s Creeds in the past, hide in haystacks, look around corners et cetera. However, this game, being in the Caribbean, has added plant life that you can hide in as well. This allows you to move more while hidden, and with the trailing missions I mentioned earlier, this is a great addition.
Every Assassin’s Creed has a “present day” to go with the past assassins. This time, since Desmond is gone, you play as yourself, starting at Abstergo Entertainment. Since you are playing as yourself, this portion of the game is in first-person. This makes you feel like you actually work at Abstergo, however I miss the third-person Desmond segments, they were a breath of fresh air from the constant Assassin quests. With that being said, this first-person change does give you a change in atmosphere, and does give you a break from the recycled missions you must do as Edward. However, with an open world like this, it takes you out of that, and brings you into a less open world. You are required to do some missions in this segment of the game, these missions being mostly hacking computers. This may bring a change of atmosphere, however it brings more repetition into the story, as I have said before there is a lot of that already. However, since it does offer something else to do, it is really great to see.
The story of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a lot like the others, stop the templars because they’re going to do something to keep citizens from being free. However, it has a pirate twist to it. A lot of the story revolves around Edward being a pirate, and dealing with that, the assassins and also the templars. To be honest, the story is okay. It’s better than most Assassin’s Creeds, but it’s not my favourite story, that belongs to the Ezio trilogy. However, there are many plot twists to be found and there are many surprises along the way. Without spoiling the game, I can positively say that you will be satisfied by the story, even the present day. The present day, like I said earlier, is mostly hacking into computers, I cannot go much more in depth with the present day without spoiling, but I can say that the present day has one twist that I loved, and people returning to the franchise will surely love it as well.
The graphics in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag are stunning. From the first-person present day segment, to the open world sea inside the animus, this game is flat out beautiful. The only complaint with the graphics is what I had stated before with the combat. There is a glitch with the countering where if you don’t finish a counter and another person attacks you, the other person will drop dead, without finishing the counter. It’s a minor problem that should barely be regarded. As I said, the open sea is stunning. While sailing you feel like you are in the open sea, and you just want to sing along with your crew. The luscious jungle is no different, it feels like you are in the jungle with Edward, especially on the next gen consoles, in next gen, the plants move as you go through them. This is a great detail, however, they did not use this in the PS3 version. Which is the version I was playing. But, it was a great detail in the next gen versions, making me want to purchase a PS4 and see it myself.
The music is phenomenal. The main theme to the game, being my favourite song in the game, is still stuck in my head. Another addition that I really liked was that while sailing in the amazing open world, your crew can sing songs. This is amazing, it adds life to the sea and makes you want to hear more. There is an option to turn it off for people who don’t want to hear these songs, but who wouldn’t. They are really entertaining, it adds to the pirate life and world, and it makes you want to sing along. Whether they’re singing about fish in the sea, or about whiskey, these shanties are hilarious and joyful.