You may think that you’ve had enough of Assassin’s Creed, but here comes Ubisoft again to change your mind with Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag. After disappointing gamers with Assassin Creed III, Ubisoft has raised the stakes again with Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag. You are a pirate named Edward Kenway, and the only thing you care about is money. This greed drives him away from the woman he loves as he sets sail to West Indies in search of wealth and prosperity. On his way, he stumbles across an Assassin, looses his ship, and ends up breaking bread with the Templars. They’re searching for the Observatory, which is an ancient device that enables its user to locate anyone in the world, or in other words, a GPS in the shape of a skull.
The Templars and the Assassins want to use it to stop each other, whereas Kenway wants it because it’s probably the most valuable thing in the world. The Observatory is regarded as a distant objective, while the story is focused on protecting the island of Nassau, a lawless place inhabited by pirates and their families and all criminals running from the law. Edward Kenway isn’t exactly an Assassin, but a pirate who happens to be at the right place, at the right time.
There’s plenty to do on Black Flag’s many islands, but you’ll spend half your time on the waves, on your ship, the Jackdaw. At half sail your ship can take tighter turns and at full sail the camera pulls back to offer a magnificent view of your vessel carving through the waves while your crew start singing sea shanties. Black Flag’s naval exploration and Assassin Creed’s traditional free running and combat systems combine to excellent effect, particularly when hijacking ships and taking forts. If you defeat a vessel without sinking it, you can board it and draw both ships in a single battleground. The best part for me was to take on the several huge, legendary Ships hidden throughout the map. The ship upgrade system is good but The Abstergo part is quite boring, you wander around the evil corporation Abstergo as an employee charged with digging through Desmond Miles’ genetic memories.
Black Flag’s naval exploration with Assassin’s Creed’s traditional free running and combat system has given this game a different impression
The world is beautiful and islands like Havana, Kingston and Nassau are enormous, with a lot more to explore across the map. As always, you have to climb your way up to the synchronization point to reveal chests, stores and side activities in the area like assassination contracts for money and warehouse raids, which is an excellent way to gain raw materials to upgrade the ship. Raiding a warehouse first requires you to locate the key holder, whom you can either pickpocket, or collect the keys off his corpse and then make your way to the door undetected. Eagle Vision mode is useful here, allowing you to tag guards and track them through walls. You have the blowpipe, which can knock enemies out for a while, or send them in a berserk rage, causing them to attack nearby guards till they die due to poisoning. You are also faced with lethal snipers on towers that overlook most restricted areas, having deadly shots that rarely miss. You can grab nearby enemies and use them as shields just before a sniper pulls the trigger. You almost never find yourself surrounded by more than six enemies and combat is mostly there to make you feel like a deadly assassin. I’d like to see tougher fights with smarter AI or atleast a skill that is harder to master, but for now, we just have to attack repeatedly with an occasional block until they all die.
The archipelago map operates in the same way as the city one does, which means that you’ll be unable to see all the available activities in an area till you’ve taken over a region’s fort which is a tough thing to achieve with their huge amount of cannons and long ranged mortars. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to locate whaling spots and British and Spanish convoys and shipwrecks. The shipwrecks are both interesting and risky and you’ll have to buy a diving bell to travel underwater with limited oxygen supply, while also evading sharks to plunder the remains.
Overall Assassin’s Creed Black Flag is unique and much more interesting than all the other assassin’s creed games. It is worth playing and is quite addictive. You’ll love all the sailing and sea battling and get the feel of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie but don’t expect a Flying Dutchman.