Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PC)

Just some considerations: played the game for about twenty-something hours, no downloadable content, beat the game and then some. Didn’t play multiplayer because didn’t care for that.

Story

The story is great, actually one of the more compelling stories in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. When I play an Assassin’s Creed game, I’m looking for a compelling adventure story that takes place in a setting that is visually accurate to history but loosely based on actual events. This game is definitely that.

The protagonist — like many in that time period I imagine — tries to find a better life by becoming a pirate. Less realistically he is friends with all the well known pirates of that era. It’s a forgivable offense however, since all these characters are represented well and are charismatic in their own right.

Of course the war between Assassins and Templar is largely featured in the story, but they are kind of ancillary. The main story focuses on the protagonist, his experiences as a pirate, and his experience in noteworthy moments in the time period.

The ending somehow managed to choke me up a little.

Gameplay

The combat is standard Assassin’s Creed formula; stand around, wait for someone to attack, counter, then kill. It’s pretty boring and a glaringly substandard combat system when compared to games like Batman: Arkham City and Shadow of Mordor. It’s really boring and kind of sucks you out of the experience.

Sneaking and assassinating is okay, but I wish it was further polished to something of the level of Splinter Cell. Not necessarily at that level, but a little more detailed. It’s satisfactory though.

Parkour is fun, but still needs tweaking. It’s really annoying when your running and magnetically float towards something you did not want to run towards or jump to. It’s mostly tolerable.

The most awesome part of this game is the sailing and sea battles. Man, this part shines. It’s hard to think of other games where you can sail around while your crew sings sea shanties and you ship just rolls over the waves. Seas battles are not complex, but still really fun. Fighting a sea battle when a storm hits is really chaotic, but still really fun.

There are a couple of mini games. There’s a hunting mini game, which I really enjoyed. The music during these hunting portions is exactly right, perfectly expressing the tension of hunting a great white shark in a tiny boat. Another mini game concerns sending ships on trade runs. There some minor animation, but it’s really an excel spread sheet game that mostly deals with numbers. It’s all right.

Graphics

This game came out a few years ago, but the game holds up wonderfully. There’s just no other feeling like sailing the open ocean, passing by islands and other ships, watching the sun rise and set and the weather change. The water looks fantastic. The game looks fantastic.

Sound

The music is incredible, exactly embodying the time period. Loved it.

Conclusion

Loved the game, the weakest parts of the game are the traditional gameplay from past Assassin’s Creed games. The story is great. Visuals and audios are great. Additionally, I skipped as much of the present day stuff as I could. I just did not care. I wanted to play as a pirate and that’s what I did.

Score: 7.4

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