Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Game Analysis and Review
By Randal West
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Dates: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U (October 29, 2013). PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (November 19, 2013)
Genre: Action-adventure, stealth
Modes: Single Player, Multiplayer
Enter the world of pirates in the year 1715, where a lawless republic has been created in the Caribbean. These outlaws rule both land and sea, dominating and plundering everywhere they go. With the largest world created yet, this latest release of Assassin’s Creed envelops more than 50 unique locations and includes such pirates as Blackbeard, Calico Jack and Benjamin Hornigold. Pilot your own ship and fight battles both on land and sea, as you complete your goals towards your final quest for fame and riches. This latest release by Ubisoft takes a step away from their previous releases into a whole new world. While some characters from previous releases do make appearances — and there is effort made to connect to previous storylines — this is a definite change from previous releases.
Play the role of pirate Edward Kenway as you immerse yourself into a game of pillaging, brawling and pirating. While you have a destination as a goal, the mysterious Observatory, the best part of Black Flag is the journey. With an enormous world to play in, there is about 20 hours of game play and another 20 plus hours of side quests for an experienced gamer. The game’s start up can be a bit slow, with a lot of time devoted to a rather heavy-handed tutorial — but not as lengthy as previous Assassin’s Creed games. However, post tutorial, you’re set you loose in one of the best releases from this series yet — with a well-armed pirate ship to boot.
Utilizing the next-gen Anvil engine, the graphics have amazing depth, clarity and resolution. The PC version supports resolutions up to 3840×2160. The engine has been in use for barely a year. However, over the year, about a half dozen technology upgrades have been done. The quality of lighting, richer colors and more realistic scenes create an impressive immersion effect. The shifting of day to night with realistic changes in light and shadow, along with well-done weather effects improve game play. The rendering is also well done to allow interaction with everything, down to the plants and trees. The most impressive improvement is the ocean scenes with the enhancements showing as you ride the waves.
Multiplayer mode is available with an Internet connection, along with an account, such as Xbox Live or a PlayStation Network account. Creating a profile online is mostly secure. However, it’s important to be careful with your personal information by protecting your credit and identity from online theft. The Sony PlayStation Network hacking incident in April 2011, where millions of users had their account information compromised, angered many gamers over the monthlong outage. But multiplayer online still remains one of the most popular ways to game. And the newest release of Assassin’s Creed offers additional maps and content to those who play online.
PunchDrunkGamer.com Score: 8.5 out of 10
– Ubisoft announced this week that the first DLC for Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag multiplayer, Blackbeard’s Wrath, is available for download on PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and on Xbox LIVE for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft and Xbox 360, computer entertainment system, and PC. Three new characters join the hunt, Blackbeard, the Jaguar and The Orchid, each character bringing their unique skill set to battle for the title of best assassin. Blackbeard, wielding a sword and a short temper is not to be trifled with. His reputation as a feared pirate is justly received and his preferred kill moves include using his tremendous strength to throw his targets off balance and then quickly finishing them with one clean strike.
The Orchid, a Templar-friendly deadly assassin grew up in China, serving as a military advisor in the Quing dynasty where she honed her murderous skills. She executes opponents swiftly and gracefully with her katana, an extension of her mind and body. The Jaguar, Cuali, an Aztec warrior from Mexico, took to the sea to fight against the Spanish conquest of Central America. A fighter, he survived the destruction of his community and joined forces with a growing contingency of native Templars who sought renewed peace and order. Driven by a mystical force, The Jaguar fights like his namesake, striking swiftly and quietly with his preferred weapon, a discreet axe. All three characters are available in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag multiplayer starting Tuesday, where they will join the hunt for survival.
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