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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on PC, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4


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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag


The sun is high in the sky, and the seagulls are screeching at the commotion below. There is blinding smoke, blood curdling cries of agony, and clashing swords all over the deck of the small British schooner. Out of the chaos, a sudden chorus of cheers erupts from a band of pirates. The defeated crew of the British schooner has given up their ship to the crew of the infamous Jackdaw. Edward Kenway, captain of the Jackdaw, boards the ship and is given a choice: spare the crew and not raise any suspicion, or dismantle the schooner and use the materials to repair the Jackdaw. This was a typical scene I encountered while plundering ships in Assassin’s Creed IV.

Overall, I felt that Assassin’s Creed IV was a good game. The immense map of the West Indies always kept me interested and was one of the things this game did a good job with. As I sailed around, I was able to plunder ships, explore underwater shipwrecks, and harpoon dangerous marine wildlife. Even when I was walking around on islands, there were a number of things to discover. I was able to hunt wild game such as panthers, alligators, deer, monkeys, and iguanas, just to name a few of the animals. When I wasn’t hunting, I was able to look for hidden treasure chests. These treasure chests contained either money or design plans, both of which were useful to upgrade the Jackdaw (which meant I could plunder even more ships and make even more money).

All of these side activities gave me a sense of freedom to do as I pleased on the open ocean. This sense of freedom immersed me into a surprisingly realistic atmosphere among the pirates in this game, since they sailed the seas doing whatever they pleased. One example of the realistic atmosphere is the pirate crew’s behavior. While sailing the open sea, the pirate crew would sing a few shanties such as “Drunken Sailor” and “Bully in the Alley.” The only time they were not singing was during ship battles, or any other event that required their full attention. Even after I raided an enemy ship, the crew would roister about the deck. One more thing the crew did to immerse me into their world was inform me about the world around my ship. My pirate comrades always gave me feedback about the surroundings, including treacherous winds, rogue waves, and ferocious storms.

The controls were impressively smooth for this game. Free running through the jungles of Kingston was just as user friendly as it was to run along the rooftops in Havana. Piloting The Jackdaw was also well developed, it was simple yet efficient at the same time. Even though The Jackdaw was simple to pilot, certain situations tested my piloting skills. A few of these situations included fighting Spanish galleons, avoiding rogue waves, or navigating through enemy waters. Situations like these kept sailing interesting by changing the pace of the game a little bit. Sailing through clear, blue skies all the time would have become monotonous.

One thing that I felt could have been improved with this game was the hand-to-hand combat. The fighting looked awesome, especially when Edward finishes off a captain with a fatal stab to the throat. From my perspective as a player, however, the fighting was quite obnoxious. Whenever I attacked an enemy, his friend would often hit me before I could deliver the finishing blow. This restricted me to fight defensively, which disengaged any sense of ferocity I had when I fought an entire crew of a galleon. Part of the reason for this was because of how much the game focused on making the fighting look as violent and gruesome as possible. As awesome as the fighting looked, I could not fully enjoy it because of the perpetual defensive stance I had to assume to survive even the smallest of fights.

The plot for this game could have been significantly improved. The game began with an interesting story about Edward Kenway’s life. After the first few missions, the plot quickly deteriorated with an ending that left me confused and bitter. In comparison to the rest of the Assassin’s Creed game series, this game seemed to stray away from the classic Assassin versus Templar engagements. There was sporadic fighting between the Assassins and Templars but not as much as an Assassin’s Creed fan would hope for.

With all aspects of the game considered, I would rate this game a solid 7 out of 10. An improved plot as well as an improved combat system would have given me a more enjoyable game experience. However, the gigantic size of the map and the high number of side activities I can do has kept me hooked into the game.



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