Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

You might have noticed a large gap between my last post and the one before it, and the main reason for it is this damn game which really brought out the kleptomaniac in me to collect and do all the things! Well, most of the things anyway. I've always liked the Assassin's Creed franchise but have missed a few after Altair and Ezio (up to Brotherhood). That didn't matter as Black Flag picks up a new protagonist in pirate Edward Kenway who is pretty much motivated throughout most of the game by greed, which sits well in both the setting and the available side activities which are done so well that they don't feel like side activities at all!

Privateers don't attack their own country, so... pirate fits better!

As a "Creed" game it has all the familiar stuff of climbing about, jumping into haystacks, hiding from guards occasionally and generally being a near unstoppable killing machine in combat. If you've played any of the previous games this is all the same. Fortunately it also only comprises of maybe 30-40% of the game (which is most of the main story).

What they've added here and added well is a pirate game. You sail your boat around the huge map (which is conveniently littered with fast travel points you can unlock) and can go fishing, treasure hunting and pillaging like the scoundrel you are. You'll find quickly though, that out at sea you -will- get your ass kicked if you don't upgrade the boat. No matter how good Kenway is at swordplay or his personal gear (which you can also upgrade) it won't matter against a cannonball or mortar shell. Even when you've finally upgraded fully there are a few set legendary ships you can try go after and wow, the Spanish ones especially proved quite challenging.

The only downside to some might be the shanties your crew sings but I found them really cool and was eventually humming or singing along to some of them (yes I played too much), but those can be turned off with a simple setting. Speaking of settings, you'll want to have your subtitles on so you can understand (even if Edward can't) what people are saying when they speak in Spanish, French, Portugese or bad olde English.

The modern day stuff (a standard in AC games I think) is interesting too with little hacking games (of frogger) but generally you'll be wanting to hook into the Animus for the most part to keep following Edward's story to its conclusion, and a fine story it is too. As usual the graphics are great though the camera can do some wierd things at times especially in melee. Not that it matters since the bad guys (erm, good guys?) need all the help they can get in that aspect.

Obviously if you don't like sailing games (or sailing games that don't go into depth of what rigging you put up or the build of your mast) or the Assassin's Creed series in general, this probably isn't the game for you. I found it mesmerising and fantastic, and despite it crashing on me every 30 minutes or less I give it 4.5 out of 5 cannonballs.

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