Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Assassin's_Creed_IV_-_Black_Flag_cover

Title: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher(s): Ubisoft

Platform(s): Microsoft Windows (PC), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U

Genre(s): Action-Adventure, Stealth

Game Mode(s): Single-Player, Multi-player

Release Date: October 29, 2013

ESRB Rating: Mature; Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence

This review contains spoilers from the series.

“Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag: Privateer turned Pirate turned Assassin. Save the world with 2 blades, 2 swords, 4 guns, sailing, swimming, running, jumping. All without an eyepatch.”

My personal stats

I played this on the PC with a gamepad. As of this writing, here are the stats: 32 / 60 achievements. Single-player only. Main sequence: 91% (for me, this is 100%). Side missions: 39%. collectibles: 64%. Side activities: 42%. Crafting: 100%. Edward upgrades: 51%. (That is skipping inferior weapons, so let’s call it 100%.) Jackdaw upgrades: 86%. So I can say I have completed 76% of the game…in 109 hours according to steam… honestly though, can we say half of that is sailing? I will continue to play this game.

Quick Synopsis

ac4-animusIn the present day setting you are an employee of Abstergo Entertainment. The present day timeline occurs after the ending of the present day in Assassin’s Creed III. This is after the present day Assassin protagonist, Desmond Miles, passes away. The present day Templars, Abstergo, was able to preserve several DNA samples from Desmond shortly after death; therefore, due to new technology, the can contain following his lineage as Sample 17 as opposed to Subject 17.

ac4bfsp-2013-11-23-13-26-33-47In the historical setting you are Edward Kenway, a privateer gone pirate and eventual Assassin. This takes place during the golden-age of piracy, when Blackbeard was famous; therefore, the historical setting is before the historical setting of Assassin’s Creed III. You are in the Caribbean when and where you stumble upon a Templar plot within the Spanish and British empires. Though your intentions at first are for profit, as character development goes you become more and more of the Assassin deminare.

So why this historical point? The present day templars are looking for a powerful First Civilization device called The Observatory. Edward, partnered with a Sage, discovers the location of The Observatory.

As far as the rest of the story, play the game to find out more.

Initial Thoughts

I love the Assassin’s Creed games and novels. True, I waited to play through the game, but I have my reasons. I have been a fan since the first Assassin’s Creed, such an innovative game. Assassin’s Creed II built on it, and made it better. For the most part, that is what the series has done in my opinion, gotten better as a whole. I was really excited to play the game finally. I will attempt to be as objective as possible.

Game Play

Pros: 1) At first, I was a little…upset when it came to the balance between ship and land game-play. In ACIII, the introduction of ships occurred. The majority of your main campaign missions was on land, with a hint of ship main story line missions. Let me disclose, that yes I realized this was a pirate story line and pirates were mainly on ships. However, this is me from the series as a whole. The climbing through cities the quick assassinations, the run and hide is what I was a custom to and liked. When I first started, I felt like I was missing out on what I was used to. Come to find out, sometimes change is good. The impromptu ship battles, after you did enough upgrades to the JackDaw were ac4-shipsstill challenging but quite satisfying and fun. There was definite improvement on ship mechanics and game-play from ACIII to ACIV. Now, as of this writing, I have still yet to beat any of the Legendary ships on the corner of the map. The JackDaw needs some more upgrades, and those big @$$ ships can turn on a dime. I don’t get that.
2) Extra activities. Did you get bored with the main story? Want some freedom? Holy cow does ACIV deliver! Explore, provoke your own ship battles, naval and assassination contracts, templar hunts, hunt animals on land, harpoon ocean life, hunt for treasure on land and in ship wrecks.
3) Unlike some predecessors, you seem to jump right into the action and adventure, especially in comparison to ACIII.

Cons: 4) I played with an XBox 360 gamepad on my like I do most games. The control of movement and camera seemed a little off. More times than not, and in comparison to previous AC games, there was often times were Edward would not move properly or precisely. I even went in and played around with the X and Y sensitivity (which I never do) and it did not solve the issue. Was it a show stopper? No, but getting shanties and fragments in harder to reach places was a little bit more frustrating.
5) Ship travel time. Even though there was something called Travel Speed. Which is the Animus basically speeding up the memory of ship sailing, if you did not utilize your fast travel or if you did not have it unlocked yet, it took a long time to get from mission to mission. The campaign portion was quicker like a jump from a memory. I was playing a lot of the side stuff between main campaign to build up the JackDaw and Edward faster, so there was a lot of traveling. I honestly think that accounts for why I have so many hours. Now the pro twist on this con, I stuck around for over 100 hours! And I plan on playing more to try to 100% the game. That has to say something.
ac4-fleet6) The one extra activity I did not enjoy was Kenway’s fleet. After a ship battle you can choose to repair the JackDaw, lower wanted level, send to the fleet. Your fleet can travel to different parts of North and South America, Europe, and Africa. You can get extras for your ship, supplies, and money. Unfortunately you cannot call them to your Aid like you could with assassin’s in AC Brotherhood. Also getting them to go during and after making the route safe gets tedious and takes too long.
7) It seemed like the time spent in the present day was less than previous games. The timers you were their you learned what you needed to and jumped right back to the Animus. Outstanding.

Rating: SBB 4.0 Rating

Graphics

Pros: 1) The transition between in-engine cut-scene and in game graphics was seamless. Sometimes I caught myself still staring at the screen waiting for more cut-scene when it was back to game play.
2) As last gen is winding down, the latter games look incredible. ACIV  is no exception. Details in waves, sand, trees, rain or shine look amazing!

Rating:SBB 5.0 Rating

Audio 

Pros: Assassins-Creed-4-Black-Flag-yarr1) The music and folly sounds added to the experience of the golden area of pirates.
2) Voice acting. Edward Kenway’s voice actor, Matt Ryan now playing as John Constantine, did a superb job developing Kenway as the story progresses. Mark Bonnar, Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Thatch, did a great job grasping the rough and tough pirate.

 

Rating: SBB 5.0 Rating

Conclusion

I will always give Assassin’s Creed a fair shot no matter what. In the end, this game did not disappoint. The balance between ship and land was something I personally had to “get over” and after that I had a blast. I have mixed feelings about the amount of time I spent playing. Do I suck at gaming that much or is there really that much to do? I am looking forward to playing and finishing Freedom Cry, try to finish Liberation, then it is just a matter of is Rouge first or is Unity? Remember, “nothing is true, everything is permitted.”

Averaged Rating: 4.7
Overall Rating: SBB 5.0 Rating

Disclaimer: This review does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Super Barley Bros as a whole.

Bottoms up and thanks for playin’!

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