Assassin’s Creed IV (aka AC4) is the latest in Ubisoft’s stellar series and features you taking to the high seas as Edward Kenway. Much less fuzzy than AC3, AC4 is a massive gaming world that will easily see you spending 30 hours and then some of your life trying to gain fortune.
The tone of AC4 is much lighter than in previous games and there are jokes and interesting stories from main characters, it even takes the proverbial out of itself at times too.
You begin the game on the deck of a ship that is under attack, this is a tutorial of the game basically where you learn to pilot a ship. This intro was a brilliant show piece for the games engine and graphics and also does not bog you down in hours of hand holding as in past games. Once this intro ends you are left washed up onshore and from here your quest begins.
As you know from previous AC the pirate world in this case is actually a virtual world, you are actually a new Abstergo employee working to develop an entertainment product based on Edward’s life. This side element to the game is quite entertaining although can be tiresome at times, but does hint at possible future themes for the AC series.
Of course you do not need to follow the main quest at all and are free to fully roam the AC4 world. If you decide to be a opportunist you can just go around robbing people and wielding death out. Side questions are excellent but again not mandatory. You may decide to become a fisher man, live on the beach and hunt and provide for yourself from the ocean, the choice is yours.
Graphically speaking AC4 is one of this years best looking if not these best looking game. The bright and sunny Caribbean islands and topography are beautiful and striking. When out on the open seas your ship moves and sways with the tide, when weather turns bad the wave engine really shines and you get a real sense of danger and wave height.
In terms of the gameplay mechanics these will be very familiar to anyone who has played a previous AC game. Once you learn the control scheme you can make Edward run jump, climb and fight in an amazingly fluid and realistic manner.
It is amazing to be able to run through a town and at full stride hope up onto a wall, jump to a ledge and climb upto the roof top and then continuing on. This element of free running is synonymous with the AC series and it still amazes.
Sometimes however there are issues such as Edward not doing what you wanted him to do, like jumping onto a wall when you wanted to walk past it. This can sometimes be annoying especially when you are in a chase and you get stuck climbing up a wall by mistake.
Again some issues from previous games are still present such as being forced to tail and follow someone while listening to dialog when all you want to do is move on ahead and get to the good bit.
AC4: Black Flag is an excellent edition to the series and one that any open world gaming fan should get. The main story is good but just not brilliant but at no point should you feel that you ‘have’ to do it. In the words of Primal Scream if you ‘wanna be free to do what you wanna do. And you wanna get loaded. And you wanna have a good time‘ then do it !!
AC4: Black Flag is as entertaining as any game you are likely to pick up this year GTA5 included.