Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review

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  • CitizenWolfie - October 29, 2013 5:56 a.m.

    Obviously I can't comment on the gameplay until I've bought it (waiting for the PS4 version) but this review confirms most of my fears I have for the game. I could totally get behind it if it was a new piratey IP, but it seems like such a tenuous link to the Assassin's Creed series that I'm already dreading the story. The biggest issue I had with AC3's story was the fact that Connor was just stumbling upon the legacy of the Assassins and Templars purely by chance and I kind of wanted to play as someone more "worthy" (like Haytham - all his actions were done with a sense of purpose). From reading this review it sounds like Edward will be another dude who just stumbled into the Assassins.
  • VideoKilledTheRadioStar - October 29, 2013 3:12 p.m.

    From what I've seen, he's really an Assassin in name only. While Connor stumbled into it, he was certainly committed. Edward's just there for his own self-interest. I'm curious how this guy's seed helped birth two (if nothing else) devout individuals. Haven't read the books on the lore sadly.
  • winner2 - October 29, 2013 5:36 a.m.

  • Tranquilbez34 - October 29, 2013 5:35 a.m.

    Quick question, do I need to play 3 or the Ezio trilogy to get the whole point of the story or can I just pick it up and get the whole story from the beginning?
  • GR_AndyHartup - October 29, 2013 6:01 a.m.

    Well, some of the story stuff will seem bizarre if you don't know AC history. The majority of it is just piracy, so you'll be fine with that. However, you may struggle to understand the whole Templar vs Assassins thing, and all the stuff about the Observatory. You'll still have plenty of fun, and if you don't understand something, there's always Wikipedia...
  • Tranquilbez34 - October 29, 2013 2:40 p.m.

    Thanks, I've played most of the first game to know about the Assassin vs. Templar thing anyway :)
  • AKALMoumen - October 29, 2013 5:21 a.m.

    First off Andy wonderful review definitely picking this up with my PS4 when it comes... But I do have a question I'm a huge fan of the Assassins and Templars story I'm such an avid fan actually I love the whole mystical side of the story with the people before... Now this might be an odd question but seeing that you played the game and we still haven't... Do you think it's hopeless as in they should just dump the whole Animus shitic... And just do interesting Assassins in different periods... or can it be fixed?...
  • GR_AndyHartup - October 29, 2013 5:38 a.m.

    Thanks for the kind words about the review. I think the mystical stuff is holding the series back. In Black Flag, the concessions to all the 'people who came before' stuff are by far the weakest parts of the game. They don't feel like they belong in Black Flag, and it's as if Ubi had to bend the game out of shape to accommodate them. In my opinion, they should have ignored it and made the strongest pirate game possible. I really loved the mystical stuff in AC2 and Brotherhood, but I personally think it's a bit silly now, and it's actually holding the series back. The Assassin's vs Templar story is fine (it adds context to the game), and the 'out of Animus' sections here are actually really clever. You'll see when you play the modern day bits that the series is heading towards the idea of interesting assassins in all kinds of time periods and places, so that's definitely happening. Gah - it's hard for me to give too many opinions on the 'people who came before' elements without massive spoilers...
  • AKALMoumen - October 30, 2013 11 a.m.

    Haha nah it's fine I get where your coming from and I see that pushing an element too far might devolved the entire game into something ridiculous... Thank you it clarified some things... As long as Assassins kick Templar butt... And somehow the Templar stay the rulers of the world I'm down for a more sensible AC if it makes better like the good ol' days... Oh and I'll totally come back here and tell you what I think after I play the game... Coz I know your just dying to know haha...
  • Cyberninja - October 29, 2013 5:18 a.m.

    So how does the Wiiu version stack up to the PS4 version?
  • GR_AndyHartup - October 29, 2013 5:40 a.m.

    No idea - Ubi just isn't showing the Wii U version at the moment. I assume it'll look a lot like the 360 / PS3 versions, which are handsome games. The PS4 version lets you use the DualShock 4's touchpad to navigate the in-game map (you can scroll with your finger and pinch to zoom etc), so I expect you'll be able to use Wii U's tablet in the same way.
  • Cyberninja - October 29, 2013 5:57 a.m.

    Thank you for answering my question.
  • taokaka - October 29, 2013 2:58 a.m.

    You've been very busy Andy, reviewing this and battlefield. I've always wanted a good pirate game but have never caught the assassins creed bug so I might pick this up when it's cheap in a years time.
  • GR_AndyHartup - October 29, 2013 3:07 a.m.

    I'd totally recommend that. The AC games tend to appear on PS Plus Instant Game Collection, too, so in a year's time you may even get it for free.
  • Redeater - October 29, 2013 2:20 a.m.

    I'm still enjoying that they realized AC 3 was complete shit and just decided it best to skip to the big 4.
  • Redeater - October 29, 2013 2:23 a.m.

    I may end up picking this up earlier than I thought since Batman keeps freezing on me and countless others every 20 minutes.
  • GR_AndyHartup - October 29, 2013 2:27 a.m.

    Yeah, I didn't enjoy AC3. Too grey, took itself way too seriously. Black Flag brings the fun back for sure.
  • Shinn - October 29, 2013 2:07 a.m.

    Definitely going to go with the PC version for this.
  • SirNinja - October 29, 2013 1:46 a.m.

    Very nice review! I had a feeling AC4 would be more of a pirate adventure than a traditional AC game, but that's okay by me. For a series often accused of catching "Call of Duty syndrome" (i.e., yearly releases with little overall change between installments), it's good to see a main-series title take risks and really shake things up.
  • GR_AndyHartup - October 29, 2013 2:10 a.m.

    Thanks! I agree with you totally. I wish they'd pushed further away from all the 'old' games in the series and really started a new chapter in the Assassin's Creed franchise with this one. The game is absolutely at its best when it's doing its own thing. Which is piracy.

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More Info

Release date: Nov 19 2013 - PC
Nov 15 2013 - PS4
Nov 22 2013 - Xbox One
Q4 2013 - PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U (US)
Available Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Franchise: Assassin's Creed
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence