Home Reviews Games Review: Your first next-gen game should be Assassin’s Creed IV

Review: Your first next-gen game should be Assassin’s Creed IV

Got a shiny new Xbox One or PlayStation 4 ?  Wondering what to play on it because the launch game list is a little underwhelming?  Perhaps consider a multiplatform game, if you do, you should put Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag high on the list.


Zombies, Ninja’s, Space Marines and Pirates, all staples of the Nerd-o-sphere, so when the folks at Ubisoft announced that the Assassin’s Creed franchise was heading to the Caribbean  for its next iteration, there was some excitement.

There was also trepidation, Assassin’s Creed III failed to resonate with many, largely due to the rather overwrought and lengthy introduction to the game, and perhaps the setting of the US Revolutionary War also failed to capture the imagination of many.

In Black Flag the Assassin’s Creed credo (!) becomes more accessible.  The stereotype of pirates is an easy one to grasp, and the sword and pistol play feels comfortable in this setting.

The DNA memory enhancing device, the Animus, has become commercialised, the Templar backed Abstergo Entertainment organisation is developing the Animus for public fun.  As a new employee it is your job to explore the world of fledgling pirate Edward Kenway.  Whilst the modern-day story in the game is intriguing – in a tongue in cheek sort of way – it will be your time as Kenway that you’ll yearn to get back to as you stumble around as a noob at the Abstergo studio.  

As with most Assassin’s Creed games, the beginning can be tough going.  Pirate Edward Kenway is at times, more Edward Wrongway as you come to grips with the free-roaming nature of movement in an AC game.  But in a short time there will be less accidentally jumping up trees, or falling to your doom from atop cliffs or buildings.

Black Flag has two distinct modes that for the most part are seamlessly entwined.  The more traditional land-based missions involving stealth, planning, guile and a bit of luck and button mashing combat are complemented by life at sea.

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Kenway gains the Jackdaw; his pirate ship, early in the game, and like his swords, pistols and outfits, the Jackdaw can be upgraded with new or stronger pirating paraphernalia as the game progresses.

Apart from a few atmospheric tailing missions through fog laden shoals, the action at sea is at times frantic.  Controlling your pirate ship is a breeze, just look at the target ship, raise or lower your aim and fire!

Once crippled, boarding actions will add a spot of swashbuckling sword play including the cinematic soaring rope ride to the crows-nest at times.

Sea battles can be intense, as can taking down a shore-fort which highlights again the smooth integration of sea-based and land-based action.

There is so much to see and explore in this game, and like no other AC game before it, there is a feeling of integration.  Find a cadaver clutching a treasure map, find the coordinates, look at the map and discover the hidden chest.  Your reward will usually be money that can then be spent directly on recruitment of crew or upgrades to the Jackdaw.

Buy a diving bell and explore the world beneath the waves, battle sharks and whales or take on more traditional assassination contracts.  Or if you want, just explore the high seas, admire the beauty of the Caribbean Sea, listen to your crew sing shanties and just relax.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the pinnacle of the series, more enjoyable than even the masterpiece that was AC 2, this is a must buy, even for new-comers to the series, but particularly those lamenting the choice on offer with their newly purchased Xbox One or PS4.  

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Mike Bantick

joomla visitor

Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.