Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate! Megan Highwind here again to present you with my review of my other most anticipated game of the end of the year, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.
Black Flag is a much needed boost for the series. As much as I enjoy the rest of the titles in this series, the team at Ubisoft needed to add something different to make it feel revitalized. This game offers freedom that is unlike that in any other game in the franchise with the inclusion of more of a focus on the naval combat aspect of Assassin’s Creed III. The story follows the pirate Edward Kenway on his way to make a name for himself and a good life for his family by gaining money and fame. Along the way, he meets many different pirates, Templars, and Assassins and plays all sides in order to better himself and his standing. It is an interesting difference from other games in that Kenway is not necessarily for or against the Assassins, unlike Ezio, Altair, or Conner, but instead is willing to do things that both or neither side approve of. The storyline that follows this journey is a fun and interesting one and feels more lighthearted than some other titles, which was a nice change as well. The pirates way of life itself makes things feel new and exciting and is mainly what offers more of a feel of freedom to the player. After exploring for hours on end to plunder and pillage, there is always more left to search out. Whether it be under the ocean itself or somewhere on a distant island, there are no shortage of items to obtain. Also, the player is allowed to spend time hunting, harpooning, upgrading your ship and home, or playing games at the tavern, if collecting items alone is not all you want to accomplish. With all of these different options the game never feels boring. Similarly, the multiplayer is the same enjoyable experience that it has always been and the time spent outside the Animus hacking into computers and exploring Abstergo as a new employee add even more to this already great title.
Assassin’s Creed has always been known for its sprawling landscapes and intricate buildings and Black Flag is no exception. Whether it be the view of the sunset from the middle of the ocean or the night sky from a small island in the Caribbean, the game is beautiful. No matter what system the player is playing on the game holds up well against others in terms of the graphics. On the new systems, the scenes are simply breathtaking. Another thing that this game does well is in terms of the sound effects. The sound of the waves hitting the ship or the wind running through the sails sounds completely authentic and makes the experience more engaging. As well, the characters are well voice acted and the music fits perfectly into the different scenarios the game puts the player in. Best of all, when exploring different islands and towns on the ship the pirates will sing shanties to make the long trips that much more enjoyable.
The only major problem that was prevalent in this title the same one that also plagued the Arkham Origins game; freezing. There were a few times where I encountered some stuttering in the game and once or twice that I was forced to do a hard reset because the game completely froze. Another issue I came across occurred when doing Assassin’s Contracts, where the game would occasionally not recognize that the contract had been completed. This resulted in the area still being presented in red as if there was something to do there and no matter how many times I would go back and re-kill the contract, the game would still not register that it was done. This issue is highly frustrating if for no other reason than it prevents the player from ever obtaining 100% completion. Besides that, occasionally Kenway would grab a ladder or jump one way when I had not directed him to do so. These small annoyances prevent the game from being perfect but do not take much away from the overall experience.
Issues aside, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is an insanely fun game. It is my favorite of the series since Assassin’s Creed 2 and a must play for fans. Even for those that have never delved into the world of Assassin’s Creed, this game is easy to get into and follow without ever having picked up one of these titles before. Between the long and enthralling hours of exploration available, the gorgeous backdrops, the fast paced gameplay and the overall lighthearted feel the title brings to the series, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is a must play.
-As always please continue to read and share! Megan Highwind has left the party.