The Assassin's Creed game series has been extremely popular among many types of video game fans, but none of them were able to hold my attention for longer than a couple hours until Assassin's Creed Black Flag came along, the fourth edition to the series.
The game revolves around Eduard Kenway and his quest to fame, glory, and riches through piracy, and also includes the familiar struggles between the Assassins and Templars, two groups that have been at war with each other for thousands of years. In this installment, both groups have their eye on the elusive location of the "Observatory", a place rumored to hold considerable power, wealth, and the ability to give both Assassins or Templars a huge advantage in their never ending war.
Eduard Kenway first learns of the eternal struggle when confronted with an assassin after a battle at open sea, with both of them marooned on a nearby Island. Kenway learns of the assassins quest to travel to Havana to deliver an important package to the governor, and assumes the assassins identity to claim the prize for himself after killing the assassin.
From the onset of the game, both in the open sea battle before the island, and in the island experience afterward, I knew that this game had taken the Assassin's Creed series to the next level. Gamplay was complex, but intuitive. Controls were responsive and well thought out. I thoroughly enjoyed searching the island for the various lookout points, hidden chests, and "shanties", and found many challenging opportunities to scramble up walls, across ropes and tree branches, and through the wonderful environment provided.
As an avid Parkour practitioner, I found this game to be a delight. There are a few aspects of movement that they could have done better with. They need to integrate better vaulting capabilities to improve the movement from obstacle to obstacle, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the abilities of Eduard Kenway and exploring the beautiful areas.
Eventually Kenway steals a ship of his own, and this is where the game really takes off. Exploring the open seas, upgrading your ship, destroying your enemies, creating your own fleet, and unlocking the hidden treasures the world provided was by far them best parts of the game. The storyline was great, but having the ability to explore and do as I wanted with my own pirate ship and crew kept me riveted for hours.
There was great contrast, as well. If I got bored with the pirate aspects of the game (which was very rare), I could always explore the massive urban cities or wild islands. This did bring up one inconsistency that was occasionally annoying: If I can scramble up a seemingly smooth urban wall with ease, why am I so limited when confronted by a jagged cliff face in the wilderness? Cities were perfect, but you always felt rather limited in the wild. Kenway apparently does not do well with nature.
The endless possibilities in the cities were amazing, and the side quests kept me interested at all times. I highly recommend this game. In fact, I may give the previous 3 games a second chance after enjoying Assassin's Creed Black Flag so much.
Amazon Price: $19.99 $8.50 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 9, 2015)