on November 3, 2013
So I won't lie, and I know that there are hundreds of thousands who would flog me for this revelation, but I have never loved the AC series. Now what I'm not saying is that I couldn't appreciate what was there, it was a technical triumph with a lot of hard work put into its historical mythos. The game had "unique" game play (there's nothing new under the sun but this series adds layers of polish), and truly captivating locals. I think this is why I spent hard earned money on multiple games in the series, on release none the less, only to call the game store within a week and ask the trade in value. Why was such an awesome series not grabbing me and not letting go till the finish line? I don't know, maybe I just suck at games, or possess the attention span of a tsetse fly. Either way I found myself, yet again buying, AC3 when it came out after being sucked in by the trailers and Conner's tree hopping, tomahawk throwing, animal hunting debut. Like clock work the game went back in a week.
This is the part where you get to call me an idiot, I bought Assassin's Creed Black Flag day 1, and here's the part where I get the last laugh; the game is AWESOME!
All joking aside, what ever the element it was that existed in the previous titles, at least for me, is all but gone. I got bored before, and now I find myself playing way to late into the night and happily struggling through my work day to do it again the next evening. The game has strong ties to Farcry 3 (another awesome title by Ubisoft) which may sound weird but it's true. See Farcry 3 was the pinnacle of FPS for me due to the open world, limitless possibilities for accomplishment, and the awesome hunting/crafting aspect. In Black Flag the hunting/crafting system exists, there are more options for accomplishing given tasks, and the freedom to explore and revel in the open world has been greatly enhanced over the games predecessor. This game will hand you a task, and 2 hours later you realize you have been ignoring your task and pirating the living daylights out of the game world instead. When you do get back to the missions you find yourself increasingly endeared to the main protagonist as well as his hearty band of miscreants.
I think this brings me to the part where I have to say "Buy the game". Which for me is a real surprise given my sordid past with this series. The pirating elements of this game are not just a gimmick, but the backbone of the experience with an Assassin's Creed tale woven in. Maybe that's what has bothered me so much in the past, that the game has been a total reversal of this concept, putting a sometimes overly convoluted story as the center piece with all the trimmings around it. This gives a forced experience that feels liner overall. While Black Flag invites you to board a pirate ship offering you the world as your oyster, while spinning a fabulous AC tale throughout. I have fallen in love with this game and Ubisoft finally planned it that way.
There are tons of great review out there better detailing all the in game activities that may be indulged upon. This was not the point of my diatribe (sorry long time fans of the series, I mean no ill will), nor the motivation for said piece. I really am just doing a slow clap for Ubisoft's lates work so all the other pensive purveyors out there can join in. If you want further details on the game you won't have to dig very deep as a plethora of information is being dumped on the web daily. I will say that slowdown exists in the larger cities, and it does suck! However, it is far from a game breaker, and I hope some patches may help in the near future. I also still hate the trailing a target missions, but even these feel more refined and streamlined. The stealth is better, and I love the guns as they are not overpowered and just feel awesome chained into a sword combo. The game is not perfect, oh goodness no, but it is light years in the right direction. Oh, and no more Desmond filled scenes of Shia Labeouf esque drama and angst (thank the maker).
In conclusion, if you weren't sure whether or not to set sail on this new adventure in the AC series, I say with confidence, pack your trunk and make for the high seas. Because this time you shan't find yourself walking the proverbial plank in less than a week. The winds of adventure and tales of intrigue are strong, with the world open before you for the taking. I hope you enjoy the game and I look forward to seeing your flag run high on the distant horizon.
on November 11, 2013
Before I start I would like to say that I have followed this series from AC 1 through to Black Flag. I understand the need to feel like an assassin. I loved the Desmond arc, the crusades, the romp through Italy, and Constantinople. Let's face it some of us faithful are wounded by Connor and his deadpan, somber, detached and uninteresting assistance in the Revolution. This game heals those wounds by crafting a character who is likable, engaging, and does not take himself too seriously. He is a man who wants more out of life and sets off in the only profitable venture he sees available to him in the 1700's He becomes a pirate!
A lot of other reviewers have given out story points, so I don't want to hash the same points. The story is top notch and explores how one man starts out chasing fame and ends up realizing that principles and honor are worth any sacrifice. For now let's talk about other things
The game is beautiful even on current gen. the environment encourages and practically begs you to explore every inch of the world. You explore sunken ships with a diving bell, you can explore Mayan ruins, search for buried treasure, and can even hunt sharks and whales if you choose to. All of this sucks you in with barely a graphical hiccup. Ship battles look great. They even slow the camera down during a fight from time to time to show that big hit. That isn't to say that there is not problems. Some of the collisions are off in spots, ships suffer from the occasional pop in. Most of these glitches are minor and really don't ruin the experience.
So many things to do:
- Sunken Treasure ships (that's right you get to dive and search sunken ships) Watch out for sharks.
- Mayan Ruins
- Naval Contracts (like assassin contracts only at sea)
- Raiding Warehouses (really nice stealth missions that allow you to steal cargo)
- Build your own fleets (cool meta game that allows you to capture a ship in game and then port it to a tablet and earn in game currency) This one is helpful for upgrades.
- Assassination contracts ( old stand by but still fun
- Letters in a bottle ties into the plot and gives back story to an essential character.
- Sea Shanties that your crew sings while at sea. (think Almanac pages but actually worth it.)
- Hunting for pelts for crafting things like gun holsters that allow you to carry four games at once
Never before have I wanted to discover ever secret or item like I do in this game. The exploration actually adds to every aspect of the game.
Not much has changed here but somehow Ubisoft has found a way to make it fresh and new. Sea battles are fun, boarding a disabled vessel is seamless and each one offers a different challenge. Capture forts and they become allies during a fight near them. They also expose more items in that area.
Everything from hidden Blades to swords, pistols and even a blow gun for shooting sleep darts and my personal favorite Berserk darts that turn you enemies against one another.
Everything ties into this. you raid a ship and succeed in taking it over, you get the cargo which you can sell to expand your ships arsenal. Going into port to often because you haul to much. sell it and expand your cargo. want a bigger crew to take even bigger ships..... I think you get it.
Lastly, let me mention that this story is awesome.you really feel for Edward as he grows from money hungry self centered pirate into something greater than himself. Maybe it is the fact that this guy actually has a personality this time, but I can't help but smile and laugh at his misfortune and sometimes his dump luck. If you want to explore the modern day, abstergo is a wealth of information on what happened after Desmond's demise and a few supporting characters make a rather interesting choices in this one. ( Shaun's choice for a career is interesting)
Thanks for reading this rant. In short Buy this game.
Assassins Creed has been a series near and dear to my heart, so I'm somewhat unsettled by the number of flaws that the latest installment has.
The story is the mainstay still. You start off as a down on his luck sailor who accidentally kills an Assassin after escaping from a sinking ship. What follows is a rather pleasant exploration of more of the Templar backstory. The best part is Edward though, who flies by the seat of his pants with a panache thats almost Bond like and a real treat to watch. No training, no prep, you're dropped in the ocean and have to swim immediately. In the modern day, you are a Abstergo employee, silent and with your eyes locked into FP view with a tablet screen never out of sight, it feels like you've woken up in Google Stepford Wives.
Graphics are off. I don't know if is my TV, but everything had too much color, like you were running through a Salvidor Dali painting rather than a Caribbean beach. While this worked great with the jungle environments, in the cities, it always felt like you were slightly stoned with how bright and vibrant everything looked. Similarly, the modern day setting has everything so clean and neat, without any realistic grit to it, that it creates a sense of detachment thats hard to ignore.
Audio continues to be near flawless. Voices match well to characters, the dialogue is set to the time period but still understandable, and even foreign languages all add to the sense of involvement. It'd be more interesting if they messed up a voice badly enoguh to be noticeable with Ubi's track record in that area.
Gameplay is basically all the same. While a handful of minor polishes has been added, theres almost all the core gameplay of AC3. The naval warfare has been greatly expanded, and you have a lot more options with targeting with ship to ship combat, and the boarding actions are well put together, and don't feel railroaded like they were with Connor. Another major improvement is the buildup of your stronghold and ship. It used to feel like you would put in five minutes of effort and have the remainder handed to you on a platter, albeit slowly. With ship upgrades and even cash, you're working every minute. Not hard, but you definitely will debate at points whether to up your guns or your ship armor, or should you get a mortar to attack the higher level fort. You'll also not roll over every sea battle either, and you'll want to pass by several fat prizes and jump on the man o' war way off in the distance because its the one that has the last 100 or so metal you've been scrounging around for, and every battle hurts, even if its just a little bit.
Multiplayer continues to get its slow steady polishing. Aside from general gameplay balance upgrades that are apparent, theres not a terrible amount of difference between this and AC3. The best improvement is that you can now do solo wolfpack, meaning there's the option of doing multiplayer without having to wait for friends or rely on strangers if you just want to make level 35 to get a specific upgrade. The only downside is the story for multiplayer has been cut down to the marrow, and its basically vestigial.
A whole bunch of nits abounded, which is what, graphical anomalies aside, kept this from being 5 stars. You're shotgunned in the face with collectibles immediately, which is annoying. You are also given the option to do Assassin missions immediately, despite not even knowing who the Assassins are at that point(this happens within 5 minutes of starting, so no real spoilers) I want a reason to collect the journal pag-i mean sea shanties, even if its just a token one. The Abstergo overlay is a tad offputting, as it feels like it gives away the game to easily. I really didn't want to know in the first 5 minutes of play that Havana has 7 secrets. Isn't that why they're... secret? I'd have liked to have an option to create a modern day character to not feel like a floating pair of eyeballs. The guards blend in to well with the populace, so its too easy to bump into them.
Overall, this is still a great game. Entertaining story, good main character thats easy to slide in behind, and tried and true gameplay. Just some graphical issues and really jarring nits keep this from another deserved 5 stars.
on November 8, 2013
This is my first Assassin's Creed game, I've just never picked-up any of the other games, I was always playing something else, so I can't relate this to any of the previous games in the series. I've always loved pirate lore and that time in history and have always wished for a game that would allow you to channel your inter pirate, and Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag is that game.
This game is awesomely fun! I love sandbox games (GTA, Red Dead, and so on) I just finished up with GTA V prior to AC 4 being released. I found that good, but I would get bored with it. But when I play Black Flag I lose myself in it, I've played the last three days and haven't touched the main story, I've just been trying to upgrade my ship and character. I play and before I know it, it's 3 hours later, GTA 5 I could only play for about a hour.
The side activities are more enjoyable then I thought, I thought harpooning sea creatures would be ok, but it turns out to be a lot of fun, and rewarding once you get a white whale. Even the underwater game play was better then I imagined, usually swimming in games suck, this wasn't so bad, you'll still get suck on dumb stuff while being attacked by sharks but for the most part it is easy. The sea shanties that you collect from the world are a hidden gem, I find them stuck in my head hours after playing, but in a good way, not in the way that you want to bang your head into something to make it stop. They really are a small detail which adds to the fun of the game.
I give this 4 stars and not the full 5 because the the game will frustrate you for no reason, case in point, you can climb to the top of a church steeple no problem, but then you can't walk up a hill. You can also be climbing and just stop and hang there....there is all kinds of stuff for you to climb and grab onto but no, you stop and hang, it's really frustrating when this happens when you're trying to get away or chasing someone. Not to mention the random wall climb when you don't want to. I don't know if these are an issue for the franchise on a whole or just this game, and I will admit there maybe some user error on my part, but not all of it. I would also like to see an endless supply of assassination contracts, you only get I think 30 or so, and once you complete them all you get pistol swords, which are awesome, so I can see having a set number to do to achieve that but like in Red Dead Redemption bounties never ran out, when you finished one a new one would replace it. The assassination contracts are fun to do and I missing doing them now.
Assassin's Creed IV is a beautiful game, the graphics are amazing, you get some weirdness going on, but on the whole it's awesome. The characters and story keep you excited. There are many places to explore and sailing the ship is fun in itself.
So if you're looking for a fun game, get this game.
If your looking for a pirate game, get this game.
If your looking for a sandbox game that you can just do whatever you want in, get this game.
Bottom line, get this game!
on June 27, 2014
A note about personal bias: I like pirates. My favorite attraction at Disneyland has always been "Pirates of The Caribbean", and "The Curse of The Black Pearl" is on my list of Top 20 movies of all time. That said:
"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" STILL lived up to expectations.
I put in between 50-60 hours on this game, and they were nearly all Worthy. Is it a perfect game? No, of course not, no game is, and I'll list some Cons below (as well as some Pros), but first, let me hit on what I consider to be the 3 major pillars of gaming:
1. Story: For me, this is usually the weakest, and least important, aspect of most video games. But despite the sci-fi wraparound element Ubisoft insists on flogging to death with their Assassin's Creed franchise, the actual pirate portion of the story was pretty decent, hitting most of the classic pirate tropes you'd want to experience. And fortunately, this pirate portion comprises well over 90% of the total story, so it gets an overall thumbs up.
2. Gameplay: Mostly good, and sometimes great. The good is standard stealth and combat mechanics. Some have complained that combat is too easy (Counter + Kill + Chain), but I enjoy feeling powerful - and if you want to challenge yourself, just choose not to counter-kill or drop any smoke bombs. The great continues to be the ship battles, well expanded from their introductory success in Assassin's Creed 3. You earn upgrades for your ship as you continue to play and, again, it makes you feel like you're genuinely earning Lord of The Seas status.
3. Immersion: This is the biggest reason I personally play video games: To inhabit a wholly created world, whether it be historic, contemporary, fantasy, or sci-fi. And here, "Black Flag" delivers in a big way. There are major ports to explore (Havana, Nassau, and Kingston), and each has a different art design. There are also unmarked islands and inlets to discover and, again, each is a little different - some are misty, some are covered with Mayan ruins, some are built on stilts. And then there's all the ocean between them, filled with ships to sink (or board), wrecks to dive, and sea life to hunt (with a fun harpooning mini-game). And you can run, climb, or parkour over almost all of it in a most satisfying way. Like previous Assassin's Creed titles, the environment is really (for me) the biggest star of the show.
Now, onto the promised Pros and Cons:
- Beautiful, varied, pirate-y (?) scenery.
- Good balance of Main and Side missions.
- Plenty of activities (hunting, crafting, naval contracts, assassin's contracts, looting) and collectibles (treasure maps/chests, animus fragments, seas shanties) to keep you busy.
- Sense of exploration and discovery.
- Overall fun feel.
- The sci-fi "Animus" wraparound. I hated being taken out of the pirate story without warning and being forced to complete some tedious mini-mission in contemporary times. Further, while the detailed rendering of the 18th century Caribbean was beautiful, the sequences back at "Abstergo" looked like they were leftover from a PS2 generation game.
- Not all the gameplay was great, or even good. Some of it was downright irritating. Case in point: Follow missions. Where you have to stealthily follow a couple guys for a while and eavesdrop on their conversation - i.e., 10 minutes of walking around trying to avoid detection - which is an AUTO FAIL - just to listen to an exposition dump. And there were A LOT of these.
- The requisite number of bugs and glitches although, I must say, for an "Assassin's Creed" game, there might have been actually FEWER of these than usual!
However, at the end of the day, the important point is, the Pros FAR outweigh the Cons in "Black Flag".
So belay yer delay, matey, and unfurl all sheets to the wind for one of the best games of the
on October 29, 2013
AC4 is a breath of fresh air for the franchise. I don't know if it was just me, but the last two entries felt rushed and a bit boring. AC4 though brings it to the next level for the series. The combat is still the same from Ac-AC3 which is fine but after so many years of the same system it would of been nice to have updated combat mechanics. Over all though you still feel like a badass fighting 12 guys at once! The Caribbean was a great place to set it in. Everything feels alive, from the the children playing in the cities, to wild life roaming the land and sea, You never have a dull moment when exploring the beautiful and unforgettable world Ubisoft has crated for AC4. If you love the past AC games and are on the fence about spending the $60 dollars to buy this one, I would say go for it. There is a lot of content here and this time around I actually want to keep playing. Don't forget to send feedback to let me know if this review was helpful. The full written review will be up shortly.
on November 1, 2013
I was not planning on buying this game at launch. I've been a fan of the series, but Revelations was buggy and disappointing. AC3 was great at times, but also disappointing at times. I didn't want to get sucked in to the hype again, and I figured I'd just buy this when the price came down and some of the bugs were patched out.
But, I watched a gameplay trailer with my wife. She loved it and said that she wanted to play it as soon as it came out. Who am I to argue with that?
Well, it has been pretty awesome. I'm about a fifth of the way through the main story. I don't want to comment too specifically on the story but I will say that I don't really care about the Edward Kenway character yet, and I'm completely OK with that. I wanted to like Connor, but all of the pivotal moments in his story were just missing or undeveloped in the game. Now, I just don't care, and that's better.
One of the main reasons I was on the fence about this game was because of the pirate thing. "Really?" I said. "A pirate assassin? Pfft." Well guess what, past self. You love pirates. You know you do. You're just trying to act cool.
When you (you the reader, not my past self) were playing AC3, if you did, did you ever find yourself saying "Man, these naval missions are awesome! I wish I could just get out and sail around though. They could make a whole game out of just this!" Well, then this is the game for you, because that is exactly what Ubisoft did. There's still plenty of running around in small island towns, with typical AC fare, but this game is pretty much naval missions. Sink ships and loot, raid forts, visit little islands and big ports. That's what this game is, and I'm loving it so far.
on November 17, 2013
I just finished AC4 earlier today, and here are my thoughts (including the Aveline DLC). Spoilers abound, so be warned.
Overall, when comparing everything in AC4 to AC3, there are vast improvements here. The side missions are infinitely more dynamic and fun to play (not to mention there are a lot of more side things to do - the amt. of it reminds me of Brotherhood in many respects). There are a lot of aspects of this game that are fun. I like being able to attack ships and seamlessly board and wrack mayhem on any Spanish or English crew. There is actually more stealth in this game...and you can hunt...find treasure...explore plenty of new places...and the Templar Hunts are really fun too.
Also, fewer glitches, which is always a good thing. I ran only into a few glitches - a floating chair by Edward when I was at the end of the game and a Templar Hunt mission where the person I was hunting literally disappeared so I had to restart the mission. But comparatively minor compared to AC3.
However - this isn't an Assassin's Creed game. You start the game actually playing the main character Edward, unlike in AC3 where you drag along as Haytham for nearly half the game...which is nice, except there really isn't much depth to Edward. He wants to be rich, gets caught up with the Templars and the Assassins because of it, and that's how most of the story carries on. His interactions with other people seem to be really one-dimensional too, only showing the glimpse of any emotion when a major character dies. A lot of the time, characters are introduced that are portrayed as your enemies, but you spend half the time wondering why you should even hate these characters because everything is so rushed, there's not much of an interaction there. The only time where I would say where there was a more dynamic interaction/relationship is with James Kidd, who is by all accounts kickass.
The big problem with this is that until the very end of the game, Edward does not become an assassin. Hell, for most of the game he doesn't want anything to do with them - he's more of a pirate that sees how the Assassins and Templars interact as an outsider, and really only gets involved when coin is involved. It just feels so weird to play and offputting to play. If you thought Connor seemed a bit distant from his Assassin brotherhood in AC3, it's even worse with this game. I would also argue that the storyline itself is weaker than AC3 - it is actually more clear WHY you hate the people you are trying to kill in AC3. With AC4, it's more of a convoluted mess. There are a few times when you get to interact directly with the assassins first hand, and I love those sequences so much...but these sequences are so far and few in between. Really disappointing.
This issue with Ubisoft's issue with storylines carries on with the Aveline DLC. It's three sequences long, and it starts off with a letter from Connor to Aveline asking her to rescue a woman. Going through all the obstacles to find her are actually quite fun, and even escorting her is too. At the end, they talk about going back to the homestead to meet Connor, but that's abruptly where the DLC ends...like, what? Seriously? You're going to end the DLC there? Not even going to have a cutscene with Connor the end the DLC there? Jesus Christ Ubisoft, what are you thinking?
By all accounts, and this PAINS me to say this, I like Connor way more than Edward in this AC series :/ At least with Connor his intentions and interactions actually seemed more enthralling, which is a sad thing to say since a lot of people think he's a bit of a dick. Edward just falls flat, along with this storyline. The side missions are extras are where this game really shines though. I always hope Ubisoft will release an AC game with a great storyline like AC2, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse.
I think this game is teasing as something involving Aveline or Connor in a future game though? Guess we'll find out next year when they announce the next game.
- Side missions have vastly improved
- Pirating is extremely fun and seamless
- Edward really falls flat in this game
- The storyline itself is confusing and boring
on January 23, 2014
So I got this game on a whim since I had a gift card and it was on sale at the time. I was skeptical about a new assassins creed since the previous three (while not bad by any means) didn't exactly win me over. I was starting to feel that the yearly release schedule wasn't helping the games in the long run.
After several hours of playing the game and several more to go, my fears where put to rest. The game not only breaths new life into the series, but it also does a lot of what the franchise has done before in a better way. The ship battles from assassins creed 3 have returned and given tons of polish. Your primary form of transportation is using your new ship to travel around a large Caribbean sea. While out at sea you can attack any other ships you want, find uncharted items, hunt large sea animals, upgrade your ship in your cabin, and find small ports to run around. While back on land the game turns back into the assassins creed we know and love (unless you hate the franchise in which case the land sections can be as few and far between as you want). You can go on missions, take assassination contracts, hunt small animals (you monster ;) ), find collectibles, and upgrade your equipment.
Speaking of the assassins creed we know and love, the story has returned in all its bizarre glory. The ending of assassins creed 3 is rarely brought up and the fight between the assassin and templars is now being looked at from interesting new angles. The main character in the past is Edward Kenway, a pirate who wears the clothes of an assassin but isn't actually a full on member of the creed. He is in a race between multiple factions to find the new macguffin and take it for his own. His story seems more personal this time around and always had me wanting to see where it went.
This is the first game where I tried the multiplayer so I don't know how it compares to the other games. It is pretty fun with some pvp modes and a "wolfpack" mode where a group of players team up against some NPCs to complete objectives. The user interface for the multiplayer didn't feel very intuitive but hopefully I can get used to it. The main point I want to bring up for the multiplayer is the level of customization. Wow does this game give you options! Almost too many if I have to admit, but it definitely kept my attention.
I gave this game a 5/5, but it really isn't perfect. At times the game feels too easy, the assassins creed running can still get clunky at times, and I could understand if anyone eventually get bored of sailing or plundering ships (thought it didnt for me). Fans of the series will want to check it out, newcomers should really check it out, and haters may want to check it out as well just to see the new spin. Overall i had tons of fun with the game and its amazing atmosphere and maybe you will too.
on January 4, 2014
I am fully aware that I'm about the un-cool-ify this game but it is completely awesome. I write this review from a non-traditional perspective -- I am woman, I am over 40, and I love video games. Plus, my doctoral dissertation had to do with the Caribbean in the early 1500s, and I happen to be a Caribbean woman, so I think I have a unique background to bring to this review.
Briefly, I admire the attention to detail. The layout of the lands and especially the building structures was a good reflection of that era, so feel assured that you are walking through what is probably a very good representation of the Caribbean islands at the time. The only thing with which I may have an issue are the accents; slavery was still going on so the accents for the African descent people would have been more African than Jamaican, for example. Nevertheless, since the game takes place in Jamaica and has African descent characters, it makes sense for game purposes to show them with "modern day" accents.
Unlike the traditional gamer who probably sits down with his chips and Mountain Dew for hours of gaming, I sat with my ginger tea and toast for hours. At first I ignored a lot of the missions; I spent hours traveling all over to take money from chests, song sheets, viewpoints and other articles. I didn't pick-pocket or accept any assassination missions. But then I saw the weaponry I could get with more money! I started stealing -- but only from men in rich attire. Not for anything having to do with race, but only because the people of poor attire wouldn't have made much of a difference. I also started to accept assassination contracts as they are not all that difficult. I speak Spanish, so I would stop and listen to the people on the street in their sinful conversations, and sometimes get cursed out if I were caught pick-pocketing a man of means.
I have trouble guiding my ship at sea and moving quickly to catch people, but I am thoroughly enjoying this game! It's really like participating in a movie as the plot unfolds before you -- if you follow the story line. This is my first AC game so I really do not get why he "returns" to that modern day office and what all that is about, but I haven't found it to be a hindrance yet. If you're a mom thinking about getting it for your kids, do it but set up a profile for yourself and play alone! It's fun!