Sailing is one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had in a game.
The music is incredible.
The writing for the characters is perfect.
This game has massive exploration and is presented in a way that doesn't get tiresome.
The story line about Abstergo is beyond boring and frankly is not needed.
The main story line about Edward is certainly entertaining, but it's short and it doesn't answer any questions we had about AC3, because they wanted to make another game, AC Rogue.
A lot of the staple mechanics for AC like free running and climbing is still pretty unpolished.
I don’t know about you but I’ve grown pretty tired of Assassin’s Creed as a franchise, AC 3 was a huge disappointment, as was Unity, but Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag surprised me. Black Flag out preformed everything I expected from it and then some, it’s quite easily the best Assassin’s Creed game to date, and here’s why. For the first time in any AC game, I felt connected to the world, I was intrigued by the treasure hunting, the sailing, the exploration, I loved all of it. It’s not only a really big world that you can explore, it’s an action packed setting! I honestly was not that big a fan of pirates prior to this game, but the way this game presented pirates, AC Black flag GOT me interested into pirates. I seriously wish this was a standalone pirate game, instead of an Assassin’s Creed entry.
What you See and What you Hear
Everything about this game aesthetically is outstanding. I played AC Black Flag on ps3, so it doesn’t have the next gen graphics that it could have, but I was still floored by how beautiful every environment is. Sailing in the ocean when a whale jumps out is incredible, and the music to go along with it is just as perfect. When you’re in the middle of a naval battle, it feels like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean, and when you’re just sailing around you’ve got sea shanties that your crew can sing. Even the little band playing at the bar is pleasant to listen to, I seriously love the soundtrack for this game.
So there’s essentially two stories, a good one and a bad one. The good one follows Edward Kenway, a pirate who dreams of more than mediocrity. From the start of the game, he kills an assassin who planned on betraying his brotherhood for the Templars, and Edwards takes over his identity to make some easy coin. He gets himself wound up in a huge war between the assassin’s and the templars, but it’s not about him taking a side, he’s a pirate through and through.
…The bad story is about a new hire at the modern day templar industry Abstergo. You’re hired to play through Edward’s adventures in a way to find out where this thing called “The Observatory” is. But you get pulled into some bullshit plot line about the alien angels from the previous games…I honestly don’t understand this plot line at all.
Similar to the story, the gameplay can be divided into two sections, on a boat, and on land. Walking feels like any other AC game, it’s pretty clunky, climbing and running are far from fluid, and a lot of the time you’re end up climbing stuff you didn’t want to because the run button is the same as the climb button. But that being said, the land segments aren’t bad all in all. Stealth feels pretty good, even though the only way to move stealthily is within bushes or “stalking zones”. When you’re not taking enemies out stealthily, you’re in combat, which is way too simple. All you do is press counter or occasionally another button for bigger enemies. It’s not difficult, but it’s not fun.
Sailing however is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever experienced in a game. Just sailing with no destination, seeing what comes your way with a sea shanty playing is so relaxing. Naval battles and sailing in a storm is incredibly exciting, I love trying to fight against the wind or lining up my boat to get the right shot.
Assassin’s Creed as a series has always been a sandbox game, one that gives you a big world to explore (though some games have bigger worlds than others) but Black Flag takes the cake with an enormous ocean to explore and hundreds of side activities for you to do. Frankly, I like doing the side actvities more than the actual story, finding a buried treasure off of a treasure map, or hunting sharks and whales! This game has unbelievable amounts of exploration, but in a way that keeps it interesting. It’s not just about what you find, it’s about how you find it, like a treasure map giving you a picture and coordinates, or you just randomly sailing until you find something new.
As much as I love the sailing, what I really love in this game is the writing, and the detail went in to research real famous pirates, you get to meet actual pirates like Edward Black Beard Tatch, Mary Read and Anne Bonney. These characters got me legitimately interested in pirate history, that’s not something a game can do easily. Now obviously it’s not the most historically accurate game, but they got a lot of little details right, and the way these characters are written is perfect for the game.
I seriously wish this was just a standalone pirate game, no Abstergo nonsense, no templars or assassins, just pirates. While about a quarter of the game’s story is bullshit, the other three quarters is great, combo that with great gameplay and amazing music, you’ve got yourself an awesome game.