Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag is the sixth central game in the critically acclaimed Assassins Creed series, released on the 29th of October 2013.
The game places you in the shoes of Edward Kenway, a pirate captain in the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy and while pirates were not exactly known for their subtle ways, Ubisoft Montreal have gone all to out to give this game a brilliant mixture. Including both the typical and much loved Assassins Creed stealth with all the cannon fire and rum swigging you would expect from pirates.
At first glimpse, the game is stunning with beautiful locations and somehow, even the miles of sea you sail across never get boring to look at. Thankfully, the game has learned from some previous mistakes made in Assassins Creed 3. Many players said that the cities felt too small and similar; Nassau, Havana and Kingston will certainly not give you the same feeling, with each of the cities having its own slightly different feel, not to mention the other small islands, forts, beaches and even underwater diving locations.
The gameplay itself sees some marked improvements. The free running system feels more responsive and the sailing and ship fighting controls introduced in Assassins Creed 3 have received an overhaul that makes them smoother and easier to use, meaning you can easily fight off the fleets of ships that have a tendency to get annoyed when you keep robbing them… but hey, you’re a pirate, what else are you going to do?
Well you could attack a sea fort and wrest control into pirate hands, dive underwater and explore sunken wrecks, you could hunt sharks, whales, jaguars or if you are feeling brave, an iguana. But if none of that interests you then, as always, Assassins Creed provides plenty of opportunities and reasons to stab, shoot, explode and just generally kill the time away.
Overall, this gorgeous looking iteration of Assassins Creed feels similar but greatly enhanced with new mechanics and some improvement on old ones, and while at times the viewpoint climbing and eavesdropping missions can be repetitive and irritating, nothing cures irritation quite like blowing holes in ships with a broadside blast from a pirate ship under your control while your men sing a good old pirate shanty.
Words By Chris Yeomans