Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag review (PS4)

GusHasGas | 362d ago | User review
Reviewing: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Giving Assassin's Creed a Breath of Fresh Air
Let's face it - Assassin's Creed isn't what it used to be. The original Assassin's Creed games were quite amazing and almost revolutionary, but over the years, the franchise has worsened, and Assassin's Creed 3's poor reviews truly show for it. However, with a very different protagonist, a beautiful and expansive open-world, and new gameplay opportunities, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has quite possibly revived the franchise.

AC4 takes place during the Golden Age of Piracy, and it follows the story of Edward Kenway, who is the grandfather of the main protagonist of Assassin's Creed 3, Connor. Kenway starts off as a poor man living with his significant other, Caroline. Edward wants to become a privateer to life easier for Caroline and him, but this would mean that Edward would end up being far from home and far from Caroline often. Caroline and Caroline's father do not like this decision of Kenway, and Caroline somewhat separates from Edward. Edward still decides to become a privateer, and so he does, but while on board, the ship that he works on meets its tragic demise. Luckily, Edward survives, and he later comes across an Assassin who is looking to become a Templar. Edward kills this Templar-turned-Assassin, named Duncan. Edward then meets with the Templars that Duncan had been planning to meet with, while pretending to be Duncan. It is with these Templars that Edward learns of The Observatory, a location which holds an artifact that will allow you to view what specific people are doing (stalkish, much?). Edward soon gets found out, and he is thrown onto a ship where he meets a slave named Odewale. Edward escapes this ship with Odewale, and Edward captures and becomes captain of a ship which he names, "The Jackdaw". Odewale becomes Edward's quartermaster. Now, from here, Edward makes it his goal to find The Observatory before the Templars. Along the way, Edward makes his friends such as Mary Read, Odewale, Rackham, Blackbeard, etc. help him find The Observatory. Because of this, most of them end up dying. Realizing how selfish he has been all along, Edward decides to stop the Templars from using The Observatory and then give up his life as a pirate. Edward started out as a selfish, womanizing, drunken pirate, but ended up as a kind, wise, helpful father. This journey from arrogant to humble was very enjoyable. Overall, Assassin Creed 4's story was great.

Now that I've finished talking about the story of the game, let's talk gameplay. The game's combat system is great, allowing for great fun during combat and while being stealthy. There's also an improved naval combat system, which doesn't make me want to kill myself every time a ship attacks me (*coughcoughAC3coughcough*). But apart from attacking ships, stealth kills and aerial assassinations, the game also features a huge open-world that almost makes GTA V's world look puny (Luckily, you're allowed to fast-travel around this massive world). Seriously, the amount of things you can do in this giant world is incredible - you can complete Templar Contracts, board ships, explore, find Mayan Stelae, find buried treasure chests, complete Assassin Contracts, upgrade the Jackdaw, capture forts, hunt and harpoon animals, craft and find weapons and outfits, and even more. All of these activities caused me to consistently play the game, even after finishing the story. However, not all of these activities are always enjoyable. Fully upgrading the Jackdaw was a hard, tedious, unenjoyable job, and it even sucked me into buying one of the game's microtransactions (which made me wonder if the devs made certain aspects of the game so hard that it would force players to buy the microtransactions, but that's just a conspiracy of mine). You may be wondering why I wanted to fully upgrade the Jackdaw in the first place, and it's because I wanted to be able to defeat the 4 Legendary Ships, which was even more annoying. Another very annoying part of the game was Tailing Missions, which were included in Story Missions and Templar Contracts. Tailing required you to follow and eventually eavesdrop on targets, but these missions seemed unnecessary and were extremely frustrating. Despite these few nuisances, the game felt great, and it (surprisingly) rarely felt repetitive. Plus, an awesome soundtrack and beautiful graphics accompanied the game's great gameplay, although I would encounter a few minor graphical glitches now and then. Either way, the game's amazing gameplay really gives the AC franchise new hope.

Great story, great gameplay, great graphics - there's got to be a catch, right? Right you are, and that catch is a poor multiplayer. The multiplayer hasn't changed a bit, which caused me to wonder if the devs were even trying when creating the multiplayer of AC4. I'm probably not the only one who thinks this, because I could barely find anyone who was actually playing multiplayer. I was only able to play two gamemodes because of this. So, AC4 can co down in history as another one of those games that really never needed multiplayer.

Overall, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag goes down as one of my favorite games of 2013, thanks to its graphics, soundtrack, activities, story, and open-world. The only things that hold it back from being perfect are the minor annoyances and unnecessary multiplayer. But otherwise, AC4 has given a new name to the AC franchise.

Thanks for reading my review. It's one of my first reviews, so go easy on me, but I'm always open to creative criticism.
Ups
Improved naval combat
Huge world with so much to do
Enjoyable story with a great protagonist
Downs
Annoying, frustrating Tailing Missions
Some activities are tedious and annoying
Unnecessary multiplayer
Score
9.0
Graphics Beautiful graphics show off what the PS4 can do. Graphics of characters could be better, though. I also encountered a few graphical glitches.
9.5
Sound An awesome, exhilarating, pirated-themed soundtrack makes the game that much more epic. Voice actors did a spot-on job as well. Some sound effects were odd, though, such as some NPCs' sounds.
8.5
Gameplay Tons of stuff to do, a huge and expansive world, and epic combat that (somehow) fails to get old. However, some missions and activities are annoying, frustrating, and tedious.
8.5
Fun factor As I said, some parts of the game are annoying, frustrating, tedious, and anything but fun. The rest of the game is enjoyable, though.
6.0
Online The game's multiplayer offers nothing new, and the small amount of players actually playing the multiplayer shows for it.
8.9
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
staticdash22  +   361d ago
Whoa. AC3 didn't have poor sales, t's the highest selling of the franchise. Other than that, I agree.
GusHasGas  +   361d ago
Gah, sorry about that. I was writing this review when I was pretty tired, so I must've gotten confused with the poor sales of AC4.
staticdash22  +   361d ago
It's ok, I know what you meant. Assassins Creed seemed to have so much potential, but I think the turning pont was when Patrice Desilets left Ubisoft.
TotalHitman  +   355d ago
I disagree with public opinion. I have enjoyed all the games. Although, I have started to feel fatigue with AC4. It is a good game, but I think it has strayed too much from the original formula. Critics want drastic change to the series, I do not.
robtion  +   360d ago
Nice review. Great game I am loving the whole pirate theme.

Only negatives are the terrible tailing missions (and there are a lot of them), and the 'real world' stuff.

I just want to play as a pirate, I have always disliked AC's Animus concept.
nutcase13  +   359d ago
I completely agree, i hate the experience being a virtual one,the animus bit and all that other crap are useless.
robtion  +   359d ago
Love your Avatar. John Cleese/Basil Fawlty is awesome!

Especially when fire extinguishers explode in his face and talking moose heads fall on him, landing him in hospital.
nutcase13  +   359d ago
@robition Gotta love him!
1nsomniac  +   358d ago
I really liked the "real-world" Animus stuff. I think it broke up the game really well. Whenever anything started getting a little repetitive I found it taking me out to the Animus & then when I got back in it was feeling fresh again. I really liked it & understood why it was there.
lex-1020  +   352d ago
Long ago in a generation that had just begun a game series was created. This game series was supposed to have only 3 games. Two in the past and one in the present. This game was called Assassin's Creed.

Originally that's what AC was supposed to be. The present game was dropped and picked up by another studio to become Watchdogs, and instead we got the terrible AC3. I think Ubisoft is still planning on making a Present day AC. But that's why there's "real world stuff" in the game.
bunfighterii  +   356d ago
Good review. I'm really enjoying Black Flag, first time I've really liked the series since AC2.

At the start it felt a little 'samey' as the others, but once you get past the first few missions it really opens up and becomes a great game.
lex-1020  +   352d ago
I hated AC3. Bad main character, no over arching plot line, terrible controls, ect. AC4 is the best AC I've played in years. I'm glad they made the enemies apparently deaf and you can run up on them. I like that they got rid of the stupid notoriety thing that made guards attack you on sight. I've never liked the AC multiplayer, it's interesting, definitely has a niche appeal.

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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Average Score 8.7 Reviews(133)
Release Dates
PC Release Dates
AU November 2013
US 19 November 2013
EU 22 November 2013
PS3 Release Dates
US 29 October 2013
EU 29 October 2013
AU 29 October 2013
JP 29 October 2013
PS4 Release Dates
US 12 November 2013
EU 22 November 2013
AU 22 November 2013
Wii U Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
Xbox One Release Dates
US 19 November 2013
EU 22 November 2013
AU 22 November 2013