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Black Flag Review For Those Who Haven't Loved The AC Series
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.