It’s no secret to anyone who may know me personally that I have never been a fan of the Assassin’s Creed game line, however on a whim I decided to add Black Flag to my Gamefly Game Q to try out. What I found out is this game to me is incredibly enjoyable and found myself spending way too much time playing the game, the sign of a well-crafted game.
I still am not too fond of the first or second games in the series but I do have a greater understanding for them now that I have played and beaten the 4th Game in the series. I did at the time it came out buy Assassin’s Creed 1 just never finished, I am considering going back and re-playing these games and see if I can find renewed enjoyment in the series I once found droll and boring.
Ok now that that gushing is out of the way let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk about what I liked and did not like about this game, I think you will find the list of Likes will outweigh the list of dislikes however you be the judge.
Things I enjoyed
- Unique Gameplay for navigating the massive world – If you’re not familiar with this game you are playing the part of a pirate who oddly has a knack for killing people using stealth that has become the pinnacle of the series. You move from one Island to another using a pirate ship which you can upgrade to make it more deadly and engage in combat with computer NPC ships to loot resources of sink them out of spite and try to recover whatever little bit of the resources they carried that did not sink with them.
- Ship Battles – As mentioned above these were new to this version and are extremely enjoyable, the game starts out making them very easy but they get progressively harder as the game moves on forcing you to upgrade your ship or play the reload game.
- Legendary Ships – These are ships (sometimes 2 or more in a group) that have higher than normal armor and the damage output is higher as well, however to balance out the increased difficulty they also offer larger rewards if you manage to fel one of them. Watch out though it seems their favorite tactic is to ram you which do a surprising amount of damage even with the maximum amount of armor you can upgrade to.
- Chase sequences – They have these in both the ship mode as well as on foot, and while these may have existed in other versions of the game I found that they were particularly enjoyable in this game. The game seemed to know when you’re chasing someone across roof tops and through crowds, as the AI would tend to clutter the NPCs more in your way or have more enemy’s looking to the roof tops to try and target you.
- Shanties – Yes you can hear your ship’s crew sing authentic Pirate songs as them tend to the ship while sailing around the sea, you can increase the variety of songs they sing by chasing down music pages on Islands that will start blowing away when you come across them, catch them and your crew learns a new Shanti allowing for a wider variety of songs.
- Private Island – Toward the beginning of the game you get an Island you took from the Spanish that you can upgrade allowing for your own private place to repair your ship or purchase upgrades that allow you to hire Drunk pirates in random cities as body guards, you can use these pirates to distract guards by using them as cannon fodder while you track the main target. You could also just have them follow you and take part in any battle you come across during your time on the Island. Normally these are able to be hired but with the upgrade on the Island they become free.
Now comes the ugly part, the things I found wrong with this game
Things I did not like at all
- Story – While the idea for the story is nice, it’s bifurcated between the “simulation” and the real world. What I found most jarring is that they setup this huge plot line for the few scenes your actually in the real world and not engaged in the “simulation” then play it down toward the end like it was all the ramblings of some crazy IT guy. Now this would have been fine if they did not go to lengths to make your playable character believe what he was actually telling you by showing you things you could not have seen if he was in fact crazy.
- Touchy Controls – Sometimes when you need to be discreet and sneak up on an enemy the controller on the PS4 would mysteriously hit a button causing you to lunge or jump out of your hiding place which would set the alarm off blowing the whole stealth aspect. Now I know for a fact some of these were me being overzealous with the controls but there were a few times the control seemed to hit the buttons itself. I have not had this issue with other PS4 games so it would appear specific to this game.
- Precision – Yes this related to the last point above, however it felt it needed a different point. When trying to climb up a wall or jump down and assassinate your target sometimes getting the target lined up right can be a tricky prospect. Again not sure if this is present on all versions of this game or just the PS4 version (which is what I used).
- Poor story Development in DLC missions – There was a DLC released called Freedom where you play as the character that is your Quartermaster in the main game, Your told you will find out more about the man but are quickly brought to the reality that about 10 % of the DLC focuses on him while the rest seems to revolve around freeing the slaves and sighting a revolt among them. This is a good plot line but all in all it felt rushed and while they also had a ship segment like the main game, they seem to discourage pillaging ships and instead want you to get resources by liberating plantations which would be fine if they were as readily available.
- Main Characters with names to similar to each other – I found it hard to follow the plot when you have to go from killing someone named Rogers, to Roberts and so on. It just makes it very confusing. You begin thinking to yourself “Roberts did I not kill him already?”
Bottom line here is that this game is worth getting second hand or renting through Gamefly or the like, however I find it hard to suggest buying it new as it just has way too many issues and for me anyway this game just is not worth the $50 (49.99) it costs to get it for next gen systems. I enjoyed the game so much I bought it from Gamefly after they sent it to me for $22 which was more of a reasonable price I think.
Due to how much I enjoyed this game I would seriously consider investing my time in future games in the series and maybe even going back to past titles in the series with renewed excitement. Yes this game is that good that it can turn someone who hated the series in to a possible fan of the series.