Avast ye maties, Capt. Vatsu here with a brand new review, dug up from the treasures of Davey’s Locker itself! Batten down the hatches and hoist yourselves for an adventure the likes of which you have never seen before! (Ahem). Assuming those of you interested are still reading and have not thrown the article away in disgust, I am here to talk about the latest Assassin’s Creed game to come out from Ubisoft – Black Flag (PS3/PS4/360/Xbone/WiiU/PC). Technically the 6th entry in the series, the formula has been getting a bit stale, with the last release, AC3, getting mixed reviews all around. That being said, it looks like team Ubisoft has listened very carefully to the critiques as this latest entry might be the best of the series thus far.
As this title is both the latest entry in the series and one of the first multiplatform titles for this gen and next gen consoles, Ubisoft took the rather smart route of introducing a new protagonist. Unlike AC3, this new protagonist is a new employee at Abstergo Industries and as such the game does a good job of showing you a day in the life of an employee, the inner workings of the Animus, and the company behind it. As canon with the other games, the game takes place in the present day, but you, being the new employee, are hooked up to the Animus machine and tasked with navigating the genetic memories of AC 1 and 2 figurehead, Desmond. Coincidently, this leads you to playing out the life of the swashbuckling pirate Edward Kenway, grandfather of the Native American assassin Conner from AC3. It all sound a bit confusing, but all you need to know going in is that there is a machine that lets you live the lives of your ancestors and you are tasked with finding out more about the past to help with current day issues. The games does a very good job making sense of both the present day Abstergo and the 18th century Caribbean, ensuring you won’t go about scratching your head whether you are a newcomer or been with the series throughout.
Doing an adequate job of introducing you to the world leaves you with more time to explore it, and explore it you shall. As mentioned above, the game is split between two worlds: the present day and the 18th century (circa 1715). During the present day segments, you are able to wander around the laboratories, interacting with the other staff workers, hack into systems to learn more about company secrets, and of course log back into the Animus. It’s during these jumps back in time, however that the game really shines, as it’s the first in the series to allow for full land and sea immersion. Once you gain hold of your pirate ship, you are free to surf any sea in search of naval battles, whales and the like to hunt and sell for new gear. You can also dive for rare treasures and trinkets under the waters below.
In addition to the massive single player journey, the classic hunted multiplayer mode returns. Similar to how it worked in the other games, your team of 4 goes up against another team of 4 in a random environment where you are each tasked with assassinating a random member of the enemy squad. Likewise, there is also the free for all mode where you are each assigned a target that changes as time progresses. The kicker for both modes is the fact that the game world is populated by random NPCs that look like the 8 player characters in the map. What this means is if you assassinate the wrong target, you will let off a big warning sign to the other players as to which one is the real you. If you have played the other games, this mode is largely the same, except that there are now a plethora of perks and options you can use to edit the game so that each match plays slightly different than the last.
Bottom Line: As an avid AC fan, I worried over giving an unbiased review. However, I do not have to worry, as this game is indeed one of the better titles to come out this year, and it’s a nice purchase for those of you looking for a next-gen launch title. The world is vast, the story is well-scripted, the graphics are outstanding (especially for an open world game) and you don’t have to have played the other games to get into it. While the multiplayer is sub-par, there is more than enough to keep you active over the dozens of hours of single player. Whether this generation or the next, buy this game and I will promise to never make an intro like that again.
Next Review: Call of Duty Ghosts
by: Ayodeji “Vatsu” Asagba