Remember the naval missions in Assassin’s Creed 3? Well, they are back in full force in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Oh, and Grandpa Kenway is a pirate. ARGH YE MATEYS!!
When it came to AC4, I was wary of the game due to how much emphasis there is on sailing. I did enjoy the naval missions in AC3 because they were scarce. I originally bought AC4 for the Playstation 4 but I rarely got a chance to play it since my brother is constantly on it. So a year later, I bought it for the Playstation 3 to force myself to play it. It didn’t help. I still didn’t want to play. I kept thinking about the ship, and all that open water, and never having enough materials to upgrade. Not to mention all the tailing/eavesdropping missions (seriously, Ubisoft, get rid of those).
It wasn’t until Noah Watts (AC3’s Connor’s voice actor) streamed AC4 on twitch and I thought, “Oh snap! I need to beat the game before he does.” And once I started AC4 back up, I was on a roll. I got into my “gotta collect everything” mode that I get into every time I play AC.
The story of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag follows Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather of Connor from AC3. Edward is a simple man who became a privateer (and later, pirate) in search of financial stability which is a goal I can get behind, but the character? Not so much. He maintains this attitude for the majority of the game, and doesn’t falter until a specific point in the plot. Edward is not a bad character, but I found it hard to identify with his selfishness.
Now on to game mechanics. Gameplay hasn’t changed that much from the previous installment. I still find countering difficult, but that’s more of an issue with my reflexes than anything. Jumping and catching ledges is still a problem. I heard that it will be fixed in Unity and I pray it does. The addition of blow darts to the main series is a blessing. They first showed up in AC: Liberation but if I remember correctly, you could only use them in the Lady persona (I could be wrong so don’t quote me). I found myself heavily relying on blow darts since I felt vulnerable without them. And smoke bombs. Smoke bombs are really useful when in combat with a big group (especially against brutes).
Ship upgrading is different here compare to what it was in AC3. All you had to worry in AC3 about was money. In AC4 you have to worry about money AND getting three supplies: wood, cloth, and metal. These can be acquired through naval battles, stealing from warehouses, or random drops in towns and on the various islands scattered about.
My biggest problem in this game is sailing your ship. The Jackdaw isn’t a big ship but it sure is hard to control. The mini-map doesn’t often show the little sandbars that are present pretty much everywhere, and the camera isn’t any help either. Turning the ship is nearly impossible in tight spaces at any speed, though they can be avoided (for the most part).
Let’s talk about collectibles, shall we? My favorite thing to do in the AC series is to collect everything. Murdering bad guys is all well and good but getting those treasure chests… Oh man… That’s the stuff. Wait…what? Collectibles, right! Collecting chests, keys, fragments, and mayan pieces to name a few sends me on a collecting high. I usually stop going on missions just to collect everything in a town or island. But finding these things is hard to do with the mini-map. The mini-map can only tell you if you are in the right area, not the right spot. It can either be below or above you, so always bring up the big map and select the collectible spot to avoid missing it.
So despite taking over a year to play and finish Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, it’s a good game but it’s not a favorite of mine. To me it felt more like a pirate game than an AC title and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. But it is a good game. It has its charm. And it’s a game I would recommend.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
What is a pirate’s favorite letter?
Nope… Not r…
Try again, boyo.