I mentioned in my last post that I recently acquired myself a copy of Assassins Creed IV, the latest installment in the Ubisoft series, this time about all things pirate themed. I’ve been spending some time with it, so here’s the Digital Salad thoughts on it so far.
Before I get to into it though, I recommend you have a watch of this trailer before you read on; it’ll get you in the mood of the game.
It can’t have escaped your notice that Assassins Creed IV is a game based around pirates. A certain pirate called Edward Kenway is the main protagonist; and he is a fantastic choice compared to Mr Bland Connor in Assassins Creed III. Ubisoft would’ve had to have tried damned hard to have made a pirate as boring as Connor, and thankfully they didn’t manage that!
Edward is great. His introduction sets the tone brilliantly. He’s no assassin, he’s just a man out to make a pretty fortune in the Caribbean. He’s a proper pirate essentially, a refreshing break from the high morals and philosophy of previous AC games.
It struck me, as I wandered through the pirate republic of Nassau listening to a tavern band play the Sharpe theme-tune (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpmGoPGFJq0) it suddenly struck me. Not only is Assassins Creed 4 the adventures of a charismatic pirate trying to make a fortune anyway possible, it’s also the adventures of Sean Bean – Sharpe actor and all round expert in cinematic dying. Indeed, I realised even more how apt this analogy is when I thought how many times I have, and will continue, to die as Captain Kenway in the game’s progress. So AC 4 really is the adventures of Sean Bean.
Essentially though, the story is fantastic. The tutorial is dramatically reduced, and even made pretty fun. You’re straight into the action, with a really satisfying plot device to get you going and a well rounded crew of characters (without wanting to give away any plot spoilers).
The combat is typical AC, very fluid and satisfying. Being so ship based is interesting though, because half the time in deck based fights my camera was staring at a mast – obstructing my view. So there’s a few problems with the camera, but it’s manageable and adds an extra sense of claustrophobia to a fight that should feel that way.
Auto-save though is still a problem, it’s so irregular! I wished Ubisoft would make it save more, but it’s manageable when you learn ways round it.
The world is great though, a truly open one – far far more so than any AC before. Every tiny island has a secret to discover, and I’m still loving just exploring it – the story becoming the least of my concerns as I just enjoy the fantastic world. Adding to that is the fantastic, first rate, soundtrack – the crowning glory of which is the sea shanties your crew will sing on voyages.
Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag is a great game, and one that I’m having immense fun playing. I think ubisoft made a great choice setting it as a pirate game (a genre sadly lacking in recent years) and pulled it off really well – learning from many of the mistakes of previous installments.
To me, Assassins Creed 4 is the game Assassins Creed should always have been – a pirate one! Who knows if the next AC will pull off the success of AC4, it has been something of a ruse that would be difficult to replicate. For now, I’ll be enjoying this installment for many more hours to come.
Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com