My review of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag
I know this review comes a tad bit late (the game was originally released October 29, 2013 for PS3,WiiU and XBOX). However, I thought it important to give the perspective of players who havent experienced previous iterations of this franchise. So, let's dive in shall we?
This title focuses primarily on the swashbuckling pirate with a loose moral code of honor, Edward Kenway. Set in the 18th century, the Assassins, pirates, and monarchs of old are all on a desperate search for the ominous Observatory. Without giving much away, I'll say that the story IMO is well enough written (and voice acted) to keep new players engaged without alienating them. I know little to nothing about the previous story arc and yet still felt like I knew what was going on (at least with the current story). There are numerous references, that I'm sure made the fanboys happy, that didn't take away from the present story. It did make me curious though -which I'm sure is what the developers and writers wanted.
Aside from a few control issues, gameplay is pretty solid and intuitive enough not to frustrate newly acquired players of the franchise (which is expanding in popularity at a feverish rate). The parkour elements are fun and easy to pull off (just point and shoot) and combat is just as easy but rewards more advanced players with quicker kills.
IMO the best part of this title is the sea exploration/combat gameplay. It takes the game to a new dimention. I had the most fun, aboard the Jackdaw, just sailing the open sea: hunting whales and sharks, battling weather and frigates alike, looting treasure while singing chanties with me crew.
There is so much to do in this game you could get lost in it for hours: chasing down new chanties, looting dead bodies for treasure maps, solving puzzles (both in the "real world" and the "virtual world") and of course assassinating marks. And I've only scratched the surface here. According to the developers there are up to 80 hours of gameplay here. So, if your a hardcore completionist I'd recommend you spend a lot of time on youtube combing walkthroughs or, if your old-school, invest in a paperback game-guide of some sort.
Amazon Price: $24.99 $14.36 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 10, 2014)
Wont spend much time here as mileage may vary depending on what system you have. The best experience to ba had IMO is of course via the PS4 and XBOX ONE. Graphics on both systems are absolutely gorgeous and the animations are smooth. There are a few wtf moments but those are few and far far between.
The graphics take a noticable hit on last gen systems though: Xbobx360, PS3 and the WiiU. This hit isn't enough to turn you off from the game but it might have you considering an upgrade.
So, IMHO AC4BF is a great title for players new to the franchise. It's highly engaging, hours of fun and gorgeous to look at. Some people pay 100s even 1000s of dollars an hour for an experience like that, but this will only set you back $60. Sounds like a steal if you ask me ;)
For more info on Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag check out the video below. And also, check out the expansion, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: Freedom Song (hefty title isn't it lol). This expansion follows the first mate of the Jackdow, Adéwalé. Born a slave, Adéwalé found freedom as a pirate aboard the Jackdaw as Captain Edward Kenway's second-in-command. Fifteen years later, Adéwalé has become a trained assassin and finds himself shipwrecked in Saint-Domingue with no weapon nor crew, starting a new adventure of his own. I look forward to playing the expansion and sharing that experience. In the meantime check out the video below for a review.
It's refreshing to see Ubisoft taking such a popular franchise and challenging the majority of their demographic to invest emotionally in a character they maynot feel a personal conection to. Furthermpore, I applaud Ubisoft for opening up the character of Adéwalé, giving him another demention for fans to explore.