Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review (Xbox One)

I’ve had mixed feelings with the Assassin’s Creed series, I thought the first was a good start but needed some big changes to make it into the amazing game we were promised. I felt like we got this with II and Brotherhood. Assassin’s Creed II gave the series the big push that was needed to legitimize Assassin’s Creed, Brotherhood just further proved Assassin’s Creed was here to stay. Since the release of Revelations the series has hit its lowest point in quality for me, and sadly the quality drop carried onto Assassin’s Creed III with another disappointing entry. Thankfully Assassin’s Creed IV shows that Assassin’s Creed isn’t dead just yet.

Assassin’s Creed IV stars Edward Kenway who is Connor’s Grandfather meaning for the first time in the main series we are going back earlier in time after going later in time in the previous game. Edward Kenway is so much more interesting than AC III’s Connor who was extremely bland and boring. However Edward will be a character that players will enjoy to the point where skipping cutscenes would just not be option anymore. Assassins-Creed-4-Black-Flag-Caribbean-Sea-Naval-BattleEdward is also a pirate who is determined to get that one big score so he can stop living life with little money and a “Peasant” which he calls himself in flashback prior to the game while speaking to his wife.

For the first time in the Assassin’s Creed series you do not play as Desmond in the present chapters of the game, instead you play in first person mode as one of Abstergo’s researchers. You go into the Animus as usual but now there are small missions that take place throughout the game given to you by “John” you can also roam around and hack other computers to get videos.

With the pirates theme in Assassin’s Creed 4 there have been some changes to how ships work and has even had some changes to it, sounds weird? But it will make sense soon. Ships are a major part of traveling because of the vast amount of sea in the game (Trust me it’s a lot) the ships mechanics function similar to AC III with the sail speeds and attacking ships but now you can upgrade your own personal ship named “Jackadaw” to create the ultimate ship. Upgrades include the hulls armor, ramming strength, cannons, storage, harpoons and much more! Along with upgrading its combat capabilities you’re also allowed to make some cosmetic changes, such as the style of the ships wheel, the design on the sails, and even the figurehead. These features truly allow you to make the ship your own

Ships upgrades are a must not just for main story purposes but also for free roaming around the sea as there will be other ships that you can attack and board to steal their items inside the ship. While lower level ships are much easier to take over they still have items needed to upgrade your ship such as wood and metal. Lower level ships also store less valuable items to sell as well like rum. The high level ships will have valuable items and also high amounts of money storedassassins-creed-4-black-flag-screen-3 making ship upgrades that much more important. There are also four “Legendary” ships around the sea, that also store some valuable loot… If you can handle the challenge that is. I found myself wanting to upgrade my ship more until it was the ultimate ship because I enjoyed taking over ships that much, I put crazy amounts of hours into going after ships before finding myself back to the main story. Oh and swinging from my ship to another ship while assassinating a enemy…. so awesome.

In the sea alone there is so much to do that aren’t even “missions” so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of actual side missions in the game. AC4 offers players Naval Contracts that vary between protecting a ship, sinking a ship or collecting loot which again makes upgrading the Jackadaw that much more important. Returning again as side missions are Assassin Contracts, and finally the last side missions are Templar Hunts. Don’t feel like doing any kind of mission? Then you can go hunting for whales, hunt for land animals, collect the many different collectibles in the game like new songs for your crew members to sing and treasure maps along with many other collectibles. Trust me this game like all other Assassin’s Creed games, you get your money’s worth.

The Final Verdict
Assassin’s Creed IV breaks the streak of disappointing Assassin’s Creed games for me personally. I felt like the last two games were not up to the standard that AC2 set up or that Brotherhood managed to keep. It helps that Edward Kenway is better in every way possible compared to Connor and along with the new additions to ships because of the pirates setting makes it that much better. Don’t think that Assassin’s Creed 4 is set just in the sea just because of the pirate setting, because there is a beautiful world waiting to be explored on land. If you were left on the verge of buying Assassin’s Creed games after previous disappointments then I can assure you Assassin’s Creed IV is the one to buy.

+Good lead character
+Attacking and looting ships
+ship customization
+So much to do

+/- Main story missions are a mix bag some are great, while at times
missions stick to the same formula and start to become a grind.

+/- Stealth is hit and miss too

– Eavesdrop missions just flat out suck

Final Score


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