October 29, 2013

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Lasting First Impressions

Get ready to set sail in the biggest and the boldest Assassin’s Creed title yet.  Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the culmination of 6 years’ worth of AC games into one that is sure to have something for everyone.  This series has definitely come a very long way since it debuted in 2007.

For the first time in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag goes backwards in time to a period before the events of Assassin’s Creed III.  Players take on the role of privateer-turned-pirate Edward Kenway, the grandfather of AC3’s hero, Connor.  A man torn between his love of privateering on the high seas and his desire to provide a life of comfort for his wife, Christina, back in England, Edward soon finds himself embroiled in the eternal struggle between the Templars and the Assassin Order.  Like Ezio before him, the charismatic yet brual Edward Kenway is sure to be a character that will be hard for anyone not to like.

Assassin's Creed IV Screen (3)

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is an absolutely huge game in terms of both sheer size and in activities to keep yourself busy with.  For the first time ever, players truly become a pirate on the open seas and sail anywhere they want from Nassau to Kingston and any number of the nearly 75 uncharted islands found here.  Take part in activities ranging from looting underwater shipwrecks, hunting rare animals, searching for treasure in lost ruins, and much more.  Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has so many activities for the player to take part in that it took nearly 10 hours for the game to gradually introduce everything there is to do.

Although Assassin’s Creed III introduced players to naval battle, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has integrated naval travel into the game seamlessly.  Players now transition directly from land onto their ship and begin to sail away with absolutely no loading screens to be found. Once out on the ocean’s surface, I found myself completely mesmerized by the unbelievable realism as the ship rocks over the waves, the water splashes around the boat, and the crew begins to chant pirate songs, I just wanted to keep sailing forever.  Then one of the many other ships out there would cross my path and, being the pirate that I am, I just had to initiate the most intense and exhilarating naval battle I have ever experienced.  Once I was victorious, I would board the losing ship to battle the remaining crew hand to hand and pillage the boat for its spoils.  All in good fun, of course.

Assassin's Creed IV Screen (4)

Like previous games, forts make a return to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag which, when captured, secure the area of the map they control for Edward and his crew.  This time, however, capturing forts are two-fold. First they must be bombarded from the ship while evading returning mortar fire. Once their defenses have been breached, Edward and his crew must infiltrate the fort, find its commanding officer and assassinate him.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the most gorgeous of all the games in the series.  Great care has been taken to make the most realistic looking Assassin’s Creed game ever.  The water, the variety of lands, the people, and the atmosphere come together seamlessly to envelope the player in the world of pirates in 1715 Bahamas.  Beaches are strewn with debris from shipwrecks, crabs crawl along the shore, people mill around going about their business, and musicians play lively songs at the local bar.  The smallest of details, such as rainbows forming atop waterfalls, is incredibly beautiful.  Ubisoft has taken so much care in creating an immensely realistic world, one that has single islands nearly as large as the cities found in previous games in the series.

There is so much put into this game that it is hard to describe everything.  Collectibles return with treasure chests, treasure maps, letters in bottles, Animus fragments, music sheets (called Shanties), Assassin contracts, and, of course, viewpoints.  Each of these make for single islands one could spend hours on before leaving to find another.  Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the biggest and most detailed game in the franchise.  Ubisoft has taken everything fans loved about the previous games and created the ultimate Assassin’s Creed game with something for every fan and enough to bring the non-fan into the series.  Is there such a thing as having too much to do in a game? No, I didn’t think so.  With over 40 hours of gameplay stuffed into it, I don’t think I’ll be coming up for air anytime soon.

Well done Ubisoft, I am incredibly IMPRESSED!

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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