Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag Review
We have been through the time of the first crusades, the renaissance periods and even the American Revolution. Now we venture forth to a time of piracy and plundering ships. What has Ubisoft got in store this time for the award winning acclaimed series? It is time to drink bottle of rum and set sail under the black flag.
Assassin’s Creed IV sees you play as Edward Kenway (the grandfather of Connor in Assassin’s Creed III), now Edward is an adventurous, young and brash pirate but also has the ability to be a brutal assassin. Edward is not brought into the order that easily, as for the first few missions in the game you to be a pirate at heart, however you soon find something that brings attention to the assassins.
Edward is not the only main character in the game, your ship is too. Called the Jackdaw, your ship needs upgrading and also can be pretty useful in big battles. To upgrade your ship you need to gather resources like metal, sugar and of course wood. Using these resources, that you find scattered about the game’s world, you are able to upgrade the Jackdaw to have better hull armour; or if you want the extra fire power you can add a mortar at your disposal.
One cool feature that Ubisoft have added to Assassin’s Creed IV is the feedback feature. This allows the fans to rate a mission once completed out of five stars, which then gets sent to Ubsioft’s servers. Nothing is gained if you choose to not rate the mission, you can just continue on with your game, however it an approach not commonly seen from such a large developer/publisher.
Throughout your journey of treasure hunting and plundering ships you will come across the legends of Captain Black Beard (Ed Thatch) – one of the most feared pirate to sail the high seas – and even James Kidd. Assassin’s Creed IV is big, and when I say big, let me tell you it is a vast playground of things to do, from diving to the bottom of the sea to explore ship wrecks to capturing forts under Spanish control. When diving to the bottom of the sea you get to see how big the map really is; with the sunlight shining through the vibrant blue ocean, it is spectacular.
Black Flag is a fantastic instalment to the Assassin’s Creed franchise, it feels more like a pirate simulation than an actual videogame. Sailing across vast oceans to parts of the caribbean you will hear your crew sing sea shanties, which can become repetitive and annoying once you’ve heard them a few times. You will also face uncertain situations on the seas, such as harpooning blue whales and also navigating through powerful storms. These storms can be a worry at times to your ship and your men; with big waves to sail through, your ship can take on damage and your crew can be tossed overboard.
Ubisoft still have a few things to learn with this franchise, especially with the game’s camera angles. During big combat sequences, either on land or on sea, it is hard sometimes to see what is going on and whom your are fighting against. If you are on land the camera will hide behind a wall or tree, making it difficult to get out of the combat position until you have enough room to move. This also reflects on the sea battles too, making it very frustrating to have to babysit the camera along with all the ships you have to battle against.
Navigation can be awkward at times, especially when trying to understand the mini-map. If you use the mini-map it will show you that you are close to a cliff edge of an island, when on the full screen it will still show you that you have a few more meters ahead before you see the cliff edge, which can be off-putting at times. Boarding the enemies ships is really something to remember the game for; you can really get the feel of what it must have been like in that time, it really makes you feel like a true pirate.
Apart from a few mishaps with the camera angles and navigation, Black Flag is still a great game, and for me this is one of the best in the series. With the single player experience finished you have the opportunity to attempt the multiplayer modes.
The multiplayer lets you play six different game modes; Wolfpack, Wanted, Manhunt, Domination, Artefact Assault and finally Deathmatch. All game modes puts you either in teams or every man for themselves. Apart from the six game modes Ubisoft have added a new feature to the multiplayer experience that is called the “Game Lab”. The Game Lab allows you to create your own game mode where you decide the type of game played and also where at. Using this feature also lets you see what your friends and other people in the world’s creations; and one day you may become famous if Ubisoft likes your maps that you create. The multiplayer modes will keep you entertained for a considerable time.
With plenty of things to do in the single player game and also its multiplayer; Ubisoft have made this one of the best Assassin’s Creed experiences to date. It truly is a remarkable game and puts you in a world of true pirates and a colourful world to roam around in.