Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag | Gameguide

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black-flag-4Dear Ubisoft, you make some awesome games, and I have come to really enjoy your Assassin’s Creed series. But I have to be brutally honest, I never wanted to be an employee at a French software company, no matter how much industrial espionage I would be doing, no matter how many secrets I would uncover. It just took me away from all the fun I was having in the Golden Age of Piracy. I was deliriously happy when Desmond died at the end of Assassin’s Creed III.

But I am getting off topic now. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is an impressive, sprawling and most importantly, fun game. It builds upon what made ACIII so enjoyable, and multiplies it but a huge number. It’s refreshing to play a character who is so far removed from the usual line of assassins, a man more interesting in getting coin and having a good time, rather than uncovering some perverse secret cult.

Black Flag is a masterpiece, visually it’s probably the most impressive game on the XBox 360, with jaw droppingly good water effects. Sailing your ship through the massive expanse of the Caribbean is an experience that you’ll want to do all the time. Even after unlocking fast travel locations, you’re likely want to just take your time an sail from mission to mission. The massive ocean waves pound your boat, slowing you down as you hit them and speeding you up and you go down the the other side. Knocking you this way and that so that you’re constantly having to re-adjust your direction.

Rogue waves, water spouts, rain and even fog all add to the impressive, immersive experience Black Flag is.

But sailing through an empty ocean would be boring. Lucky then that this is no empty expanse but a living world populated by all manner of ships for you to attack, ignore or flee from. Attacking, crippling and boarding ships is a pastime you’ll never grow bored of, and give you the resources to upgrade your boat so you can take on bigger prey. 

Of course, it’s not all piracy on the high seas, the Caribbean is dotted with many islands and wreaks that you can explore, find treasure or just enjoy.

And exploring is half the fun. More so than in any previous game in the series, I found myself spending more time exploring than I did completing the main mission tasks. There is just so much to do.

Not that completing the missions is a chore, far from it. The storytelling and variety of tasks keeps the game moving along. The Golden Age of Piracy is full of interesting characters, violence, chases and a fair bit of sneakery.

All in all Ubisoft have taken what was becoming a stale franchise (prior to ACIII) and have injected a great deal of immersive fun, creating a game world that you want to explore, with ample and varied mini games to keep you occupied whilst off mission. It’s puzzling then, as to why they insist on dragging you out of this immersive world to tell you in no uncertain terms that you’re just playing a game. Maybe in the next game you can give players the option to have the ‘real world’ stuff turned off.

Rating: R16 Violence and offensive language.



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