Avast, Black Flag's seafaring open-world is the best Assassin's Creed yet

Title Avast, Black Flag's seafaring open-world is the best Assassin's Creed yet
Author Jason McMaster
Posted in Game reviews
When November 13, 2013

The premise of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is that you're a pirate who gets pulled into a secret war between the Templars and Assassins. You're shipwrecked with a crazy man who tries to strike a deal with you and who then tries to kill you..

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I have a serious right brain/left brain thing going on with AC4. Or maybe it's just schizophrenia? Probably just hungry. Anyway, it's a great game that has so many things that strike me as odd, and can't quite ditch the uninteresting things that weren't that great even back in the first game. I like that they ask for my rating after missions, so I can tell somebody (assuming it's not just going straight to someone's garbage bin) how little I care about eavesdropping missions. Even the seafaring, which is the best part of the game, bothers me a bit in how they adhere just enough to reality to make it almost like sailing, but streamline so much that the Jackdaw may as well be a very large car. You can sail directly into the wind! A little slower, sure, but neat trick. I'm also amused that with each passing game, the eternal struggle between Assassins and Templars seems less epic and more like a petty feud. Eventually we'll probably get Assassin's Creed: Hatfields and McCoys, I imagine.

I thought that the ending of AC3 did a great job of hammering home the idea that Assassin's vs Templars was a petty feud. As far as I can tell, that's the whole idea.

A valid point, but in AC4 we finally have a protagonist who's as uninterested in the continuing struggle as I am. So I'll add an extra half point to the letter grade for AC4's score.


You're slightly more generous than I am. I'd go with more like, oh, I don't know, B.9.

You know, I find that super fascinating that it isn't 100% assassin all the time. I like how uninterested Kenway really is.

I do too! It's interesting to me that they actually made Kenway an opportunistic, you know, pirate. At every turn he's being castigated by templars for having no overriding principles and by the assassins for having no conscience and Kenway's reply is always the same - screw that, where's my money?

I should point out that I haven't completed the game though, and there's plenty of time to turn Edward into a hooker with a heart of gold, or something.

So many of the story missions are horrible, aren't they? Which is really disappointing when you see what Volition does in Saints Row IV and what Rockstar does in GTA V. Those story missions are so good. Why can't Ubisoft manage that? Frankly, I hated 90% of the storytelling in Black Flag, but like AC3, it was the stuff outside the story that pulled me through the game.

As for the sailing, I don't think the world is ready for any sort of realistic sailing. Remember struggling your way to the west, upwind all the way, in Sid Meier's Pirates? I can't imagine other folks have the patience for that these days. Which is kind of a shame. I like the compressed arcade sailing in Black Flag, but I also wouldn't have minded something a little less, well, actiony. But then the cannons start firing, the smoke rises up, I'm swinging from ropes to cut down the enemy captain, and all if forgiven.

I'm not even really sure what I want here. I say I would like a little more realism but you're right, I probably don't really mean that. It's just that they put some care and effort into certain aspects of the sailing game and, no doubt intentionally, just breezed over others that might very well step over the line from realism to tedium. I really dig the fleet mini game that lets you run trading routes, I kind of wish that was expanded a little more into an actual economy. I love setting up naval battles to protect those routes, too - I've got this one schooner I love to use because it can get in nearly three broadsides before anything but a gunboat can fire once.

I'm really enjoying this game but I can't quite shake the feeling that it's kind of a stew of things we've done in other AC games, not much new has been added. But then again, I always said I wanted a Master and Commander simulator and this may be as close as I ever get.

is this actually good? its getting good reviews from the usual gaming sites but I hear its more of the same shit from the past ones according to reader/user opinions. They're also milking the naval combat w/c I think was overrated in AC3 anyway.

Before I purchase this game, I have to finish Assassin's Creed 3, which I bought partly on this website's recommendation. And by "get through," I mean "at least finish the tutorial, it supposedly gets better if you get through that and can remember all the elements of the game you've been trying to play for the last year."

I fought through that part pretty hard. It was a chore, but I liked the payoff. AC4 is a lot quicker to the punch, though there's a set up as well.

Naval combat has been streamlined a lot and feels a lot better in this game. It breaks up the city wandering segments with a good bit of swashbuckling so the pacing has somewhat changed. I like it a lot

It's good to hear that the Assassin's Creed franchise still has legs. Sea legs, apparently.

"it quickly turns into a struggle for [the] fate of humanity"
"Never has a game delivered on the promise of living the life of a pirate with [sic] as well as Black Flag"

This makes me want to play Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag:


Unless there’s another thread, doesn’t seem like this game got a lot of attention!

Anyone play it?

I read it was one of the best pirate games on the market, and bought it a while back. I come back to it now and again, but man, I cannot get the hang of sea combat! The very first ship battle mission gets me destroyed every single time.

Anyone have tips?

I’ve been wanting to play it for 10 years, but once I got the time to get back into AC games, I finished the Ezio ones, and then jumped forward to Odyssey.

Can you dynamically change the difficulty? Maybe just lower it to get going and then raise it later once you have some abilities or crew or cannons or whatever the upgrades are.

That’s because the main AC4 thread was named before we knew the real name of the game.

I haven’t gotten to it yet. I have to finish AC3 first.

I started it but didn’t get too far. Liked what I saw, but didn’t get a real feel for difficulty.