Review: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed IV is streets ahead of its predecessor and the emphasis is on freedom and exploration, which is exactly what a game about pirates should be about.
There was great anticipation for the latest Assassin’s Creed instalment, seeing as many were left a little disheartened by Assassin’s Creed III, but where ACIII lacked certain elements of freedom and excitement, ACIV:BF certainly makes up for it.
Your journey begins in the height of the Golden Age of Piracy, 1715, and unlike the other games in the franchise, your character becomes an assassin in a very interesting way. The character in question is called Edward Kenway and he’s actually the grandfather of the ACIII protagonist, Conor.
One of the best things about ACIV:BF is the fact that the player is thrown into the action almost immediately and you could, if you wanted, explore the entire ACIV world without going near any of the main missions.
That, however, will take you awhile, as the map is vast and filled with mini island outcrops waiting to be explored and enough sandbars to keep you on your toes - crashing into one will damage your ship. The map is so big, in fact, that you can now use the vantage points as fast travel locations, which is a nice new feature. However, if you do use the fast travel points you’ll miss out on all the action on the high seas. You also have to collect pages of sea shanties so your crew isn’t stuck singing the one song over and over again.
As you travel from point to point on the open sea, you’ll be able to take on the Spanish and/or the British navies or take a rowboat out to hunt whales and great white sharks. There’s also plenty of floating booty and shipwrecked sailors that you can pick up along the way too.
The best way to describe Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag really is that if Rockstar were to make a GTA based in 1715, they’d be doing a good job to make it as good as Assassin’s Creed IV. There’s just so much to do and explore that you won’t get bored of this game anytime soon and the premise behind it is also pretty interesting. We won’t ruin the fun, but it’s worth reading the little snippets that appear after you complete certain missions.
As for how it looks, ACIV looks absolutely brilliant. The tropical locations are beautifully mastered and there are hidden secret locations dotted all around the map, most of which will have you searching for hours only to realise you’re on the wrong side of the island (it already happened to this JOE, twice).
There are some minor glitches in the game, which is to be expected (such as targets disappearing after some time, meaning you have to start the mission again), but there’s nothing in here that would turn you off playing the game.
If you’re the type of person who likes playing and exploring games at your own pace, but you still what the excitement of previous Assassin’s Creed games (looking at you Assassin’s Creed II), then Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is definitely the game for you.