Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Review - Assassins Creed IV Black Flag

Assassin’s creed four is the latest in the AC Series and the sixth major instalment of the franchise. This title takes place After the events of AC3 in the current time line but before the events of AC3 in the animus time line if that makes sense. Now with a huge amount of the story in AC4 revolving around AC3 and to a certain degree the games that revolve around AC2 I will try to avoid spoilers the best I can but I recommend if you have not played the story through to completion in AC3 and AC2 then go off and do so before playing AC4. In this story you play as a welsh swashbuckling pirate called Edward Kenway in the early18th century who finds himself involved in the on-going war between the Assassins and the Templar's by a random act of chance. Without to many spoilers as with most of the AC games Kenway is on the hunt for a magical maguffing which has untold power which Kenway believes will bring him unlimited riches and fortunes. This is the starting point of the story of Black Flag.

Visual Style
Right off the bat Assassins creed 4 is a beautiful and colourful game, being set in the Caribbean opens up potential for great vistas of tropical rain forests, ancient Mayan ruins and beautiful open oceans and AC4 does not disappoint. AC4 has to be the best looking Creed game yet. The depth and beauty of the sprawling worlds with animals running round, bustling markets and lively bars gives the major cities in the game a real “noisy” feel to it, the city’s feel full of life and colour and found it great fun just to stand back and watch the world go by. The oceans sections of the game (where I spent most of my time) are just as impressive with great weather effects and huge storms hitting you as you travel through the oceans. When the storms clear and the sun breaks through the clouds the game looks just as impressive. With ships fighting each-other survivors and loot floating all over the place and shawls of fish jumping if front of your boat as well as events like whales jumping out of the water as you sail by. The Devs behind the art and visual style of the game have done just as good of a job making the oceans feel just as alive as they did with the major cities.

Overall the Devs have done a great job with AC4 making the game a beautiful and vibrant world that feel full of life and energy.


Assassins creed 4 has seen a few new features added and a few removed from the previous games the resource gathering from Ac3 is still there however this time you have shipping routes which you have to travel to take part in trade missions with a fleet and keep secure buy engaging in a combat mini game where you have to engage ships you have captured with the enemy ships. To add a bit of depth to this the Devs have introduced several different classes of ships that have different combat and storage capability’s which is needed for the trading missions and the combat. The bigger the ship the more fire power and storage however that comes at a loss of speed so the trading missions take longer and the speed between reloads in the combat mini games takes longer. You also have the added burden that in order to keep your fleet repaired and functional you need to use diamonds which you earn from scrapping ships that you board which I will cover later.
The sea combat has also seen a bit of an overhaul during AC3 I have to admit that the seafaring combat was the least enjoyable part of the game for me however during Ac4 you could not keep me from sailing the seas the combat feels a lot more natural and smoother than in the previous tile. The option to upgrade your ship with the resources you collect from sinking ships and buy acquiring blueprints or by attacking ships and boarding them. Once you have damaged the ship enough you are given the option to board and capture the ship depending on the size of the ship you will be given certain criteria for the successful capture of a ship. Each type of ship will have a different set of criteria the smaller of the ships requires just the death of five crew members were as bigger ships will involve you having to take out the captain and more of the crew or destroying ammo barrels or kill snipers up in the sails. Once boarded you get the option to either repair your ship add the ship to your fleet scrap the ship for resources or use the ship to lower your wanted level which increases every time you sink a ship. Your level gets high enough you end up with a hunter ship chasing you down. 

One of the main requirements for boarding the ships is making sure you have enough crew to board the ships which you can recruit from bars or rescue pirates from cities, islands and from the ocean as stranded pirates. This you would think would add a bit more of a challenge making sure you keep your crew level high enough to board vessels but in reality you never really get to a point where it becomes a struggle to keep your crew levels maxed out. So that pretty much covers the ship combat a few of the other features added to the sea faring section are the huge amounts of collectible chests and animus fragments almost to many I my opinion.
There is also a new feature of whaling side mission which you have to hunt down different whales and sharks you kill the animal which gives you resources for special items you can craft. The ocean is also scattered with diving points were you can go hunting for treasure and more collectible while trying to avoid killer sharks, jelly fish and ugly looking eels. This can be a rather annoying feature at times and can be most frustrating trying to complete a dive section while constantly being pestered by sharks.
So that pretty much covers the gameplay aspect of the ocean now it’s time to cover the actual game play of the character.
Well there have been a few changes but nothing major the combat feels a little faster and more fluid and there is still the use of support items. You also have the ability to upgrade your health, armour and weaponry so pretty much standard affair for the AC games at this point.
AC4 still has the same mission types as the previous games you have your escort, tailing missions as well as the standard assassination mission this is the point where AC4 feel a little flat and to be honest a bit repetitive it is just more of the same which still seems to fall under the same floors that AC3 had with the annoying problem of your character suddenly forgetting how to free run when you need to rush in a hurry the combat is to easy and you very rarely feel a struggle or challenge during the entire play through. One of the things that strikes me about AC4 is the amount of collectibles you find there is so many.
You have Animus fragments in each city and in the ocean, sea shanties, treasure chests, Templar keys, viewpoints and Mayan artifacts there is so much that it feels as if the game has been stretched out way longer than it needs to be with these collectibles due to the fact there was not enough story to carry the game. I have to admit I did get all the collectibles in my playthrough (which is why this review took so long) and I was so fed up by the end of it the endless collecting just became repetitive and dull.
Another issue I had was that once you upgraded your ship and armour the game becomes even more of a cake run that you might as well be watching a movie.
So overall my opinion on the gameplay is that the sailing parts of the game were pretty awesome but the rest of the game felt drawn out too easy and overall is was pretty much more of the same. Whether or not more of the same is a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide.


This is a more interesting area of the game as I suppose that there are technically two types of multiplayer. There is a kind of social multiplayer in which friends can aid your ships in their shipping routes by either speeding their journeys up or repairing them mid journey and in return those helping will receive explosive barrels which you can use in the ship battle mini games mentioned earlier which I felt was a very nice touch and was not intrusive into your game play in the slightest. The other part is the Actual Multiplayer which I have to admit I have always been a fan of in the AC franchise due to the fact that it is a fairly unique and fun. In the multiplayer you get multiple game types: Quick match, Custom match, Game lab, Wolf pack and training mode. Within those game types you get multiple game modes.
Hunter and pray- A mode in which you play as part of a team of assassins that are either being hunted by a separate group of assassins or you are the hunter chasing them. This is a very unique multiplayer mode and it has been well thought out and refined throughout the AC series. There are multiple tricks, traps, weapons and disguises and tactics to out-smart and out-think your enemy in a great game of cat and mouse. 

Wolf Pack- A group Co-op game in which in you and a team have timed objectives in which you are given targets that you have to assassinate as a group in order to move onto the next round or sequence great fun! You also have the usual levelling up, perks and load outs that come as standard with most multiplayer modes these days.
Overall an enjoyable unique and well thought out multiplayer that stands out from the sea of ill planned rushed out multiplayers that just merge into each other.


This is an area where AC4 falls flat one of the main issues I have with Black flag is the story with going into spoilers AC4s story feels uninspired sloppy and does not carry the same sense of gravitas and magnitude that the AC stories of previous games delivered throughout the whole of the game I was constantly getting the impression that AC4 was a game that they made not because they had a well thought out story line to continue on what should have been the closure of AC3 but that they needed something to continue the cash cow that is Assassins Creed. So this combined with the over the top collectables and the easy gameplay all take away from the great and enjoyable features that have been added to AC4 like the sea mission, combat and ship boarding. A game with great potential but with a weak story and repetitive features constantly preventing you from truly enjoying and being dragged into the whole experience of what great assassins creed game should deliver.

Life span

So Life span part of the reason that this review took so long is the fact that this game took me for ever to complete and when I say complete I mean I got all the collectables all the upgrade maps for the ships after I bought the time saver from the uplay store. I still went through all the dive spots even though I did not have to and I still went for all the Collectables for completion and got all the suite etc. The only thing I have not done is 100% the mission synchronisation and the reason behind that is because I got so fed up it was dragged out way to long and took way too much time to the point where it dull and to be honest frustrating. Now I am no stranger to spending hours and hours trying to 100% a game I have spent more time on the Fall outs and Elder Scrolls games than I dare think about and I didn’t get the feeling of boredom and frustration that I had while trying to 100% AC4. This game is just too long without enough engaging content to help support the length of completing the game.


Assassins Creed 4 has the potential to be a great game sadly the weak story and insistence on needlessly filling the game with empty content and easy combat deliver a disappointing and lack lustre experience that just does not live up to the great story telling and experience that games in the series like AC2 delivered.
AC4 is a good game and a vast improvement on AC3 but it still does not live up to its full potential and is still affected by some of the issues that AC3 had. This game was so close to being great but missed the mark but AC4 is still a good game or at worst it is not a bad game.

1 comment:

  1. That's by far overrated!

    from AC the very first ones I expected not actually not-setting-free marine ambient, but more, far more more exciting urban work and possibilties to explore freedom and sudden action.

    Here it's nada.
    Myabe I got my expectations wrong, but hey, sue me.