Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag – Review – SPOILERS
When I heard about a new Assassin’s Creed game, I was a little apprehensive. Originally supposed to be 3 stories all following from one to the other and Connors story was to be the end of it all. After smashing the game out over a few days, I’m glad to say that it was worth it and if you take the time to dig about, you can really understand the connection between everything in the world and past stories. If you haven’t noticed, Edward Kenway is Connor’s grandfather.
Following on from the death of Desmond Miles in the 3rd instalment, you are now an employee at Abstergo Entertainment who create movies from the stories collected in the Animus. This obviously is a front from the Templars who are using it for research and another source of income to fuel their operations. This unknown character is played in first person and can be rather annoying in the present day missions to actually move about and look about when you you have toiled away in 3rd person missions within the Animus. Otherwise, when you are actually playing the game, you are Edward Kenway, a relentless pirate sailing the oceans and driven to make his fortune and dropped into it with very little idea about him.
In terms of story, it was really enjoyable, searching for the observatory with a bunch of pirates and a multitude of others was good fun. As ever, it is the same sort of tale from the rest. The search for an artefact that Templars want so they can control the world while the Assassins will stop at nothing to prevent this. The mix of characters and players during the game was a nice mix. You didn’t feel like you had to repeat something so many times that it became meaningless and repetitive. With a load of twists and turns, you are thrown through hoops, even if you aren’t engaged with Edward as a character, you still feel for him when friends die or chaos ensues around him. As a character, Edward is fairly packed with a load of crap weighing him down. When he gets the sea, he is extremely cocky and arrogant which makes him really difficult to like but the badass attitude to life and the mannerisms really fit the wicked pirate design. However, he does feel a far better character than his grandson, Connor.
SPOILERS – If you have finished the game, you may have noticed that the Abstergo server room at the end is full of little cubes up the wall. I believe these to be the viles of blood used in the observatory, thus meaning that the memory mining Animus IS the observatory in a new form. The alien figure at the end also means that we are most likely to see another instalment at some point next year.
The gameplay is still plagued by the problematic free running controls. Being chased by 8 heavily armed men?, running through this open door? NOT TODAY!, as you run up the side of the door or stop all together as you have to release all the controls, wait and then move around. This isn’t something you want to be faced with on a fairly regular basis. It’s much the same with the camera angles when climbing through an obstacle course. You catch try to move on the trigger for the new camera angle, you will find yourself having an epileptic fit. You also won’t have a clue about what level your ship is and why any ships have levels. When you are on your own and you are vastly outnumbered, consider yourself dead and get the hell out of there. If you are fortunate enough to defeat several Man O’ Wars and then board them, be sure to send them to Kenway’s Fleet as this mini game will get you a load of money and a few little extras. These are just a few of my gripes with the gameplay but if you grind through this, you will enjoy the rest. Sailing the ocean is incredibly relaxing and can change at a moments notice, especially if you decide to piss on any countries parade by killing them all and then getting chased by pirate hunters. Fighting in general hasn’t changed one bit. You simply have to mash X and B as soon as you see a big red dot coming at you. Not much has changed in the way of gameplay from the rest of the games. It is fairly fast action but minimalism to much smaller spaces, like the deck of a ship and that can make it hard to actually move about. It’s also awesome to see that you wanted levels in towns and cities have disappeared. You can disappear in moments rather than bribing your way through every place you visit, simple because you decided to start a fight with every human soul walking past you at the time.
As ever, there is a lot for you to do in the world, but now we have the addition of fishing. Yes, you heard it right. The fishing is probably a bit controversial as you hunt white whales, humpback whales and many other endangered marine species. You can also play checkers with other pirates. However, playing with them guarantees an unfair game.When they have no move, they simply move the king back and forward, screwing with you and denying you any chance that you could get. If you have any decency when it comes to checkers, stay away from this.
The last few bits is the visuals and sound. Up close and personal, everything can look a bit blurry and uncomfortable to look at, shading can be erratic and too much at points, making it look like characters are grids rather than forms. Yet, when you look at a distance, it is gorgeous. Bright with colour and great with lighting. It makes everything seem real and very lifelike, until you come up close. The colours of the Caribbean ocean are wonderful and really bring back memories of holidays I went on as a kid. Sound is my big problem. I found myself turning the volume up and down on my TV so I could hear with without it knocking down any walls. It was never equalised and made it quite painful when using a headset. The actual music for the game is alright. It reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean, as it should for the era and style, but it seems way to similar. Continually having to shut up humming POTC while I mortar people and run the decks, stabbing the army in the face. It’s pretty damn fun. Then we have the voice acting. At points, Kenway does down like Chris Hemsworth, but it’s not! A lot of the voices fit the characters perfectly, apart from Jack Kidd…who always felt like it needed a bit of work.
With everything considered, it has to be one of the most fun Assassins Creed games and the addition of all the extras and the awesome sailing missions, I think the game deserves an 8/10 for it’s change of scenery and it’s involvement from an overly complicated story, to a truly fun pirate adventure.
Posted on 01/11/2013, in Games, Reviews and tagged 2013, ac4, Assassins creed 4, black beard, black flag, edward kenway, entertainment, game, gaming, new, pirates, review, Spoilers, ubisoft, xbox. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.