A Review of “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag”

Released in October 2013, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is actually the sixth installment of the popular video game franchise. Like its predecessor Assassin’s Creed III, the story alternates between a framing modern-day story and a time-traveling trip. The distinguishing characteristic of this latest Assassin’s Creed tale is its exciting, swashbuckling, pirate-themed journey into the past.

Story

The modern aspect of the story is a sequel to Assassin’s Creed III, while the historical tale is a prequel to the history in that game. As an employee of Abstergo Entertainment, you plunge into the genetic memory of one of your ancestors to assess its suitability as a virtual reality video game. In reality, Abstergo is a cover for the Templars, the enemies of the Assassins Brotherhood, and they are using your ancestor to search for a powerful artifact hidden in an observatory. It turns out that your ancestor, Edward Kenway, has a predilection for piracy and a lust for loot and adventure.

Game Play

Unlike previous Assassin’s Creed games, this latest installment minimizes the modern story and emphasizes the epic historical quest. The Caribbean during the golden age of piracy is a huge open world in which you can explore and complete side missions. Once you acquire your upgradable ship, the Jackdaw, you can sail the high seas and discover the intricacies of this complex world. You learn sea shanties, read back history on messages stuffed in bottles, find the location of plunder on treasure maps, go fishing and whaling, hunt game on islands, and defeat patrolling ships and assimilate their crews. The sea is divided into 11 segments of which you can take control by attacking and defeating British and Spanish ships. As you proceed you carry out assassinations and learn secrets that keep you progressing along the main story line.

Setting

The game’s greatest strength is its vast open world that is rife with possibilities of adventure. The three main cities in the game, Havana, Kingston and Nassau, are rendered in amazing detail, full of active citizenry and intricate architecture. There are remote islands, swampy jungles, mysterious bayous, military fortresses and jungle temples. In fact, as you proceed through the game, you come to regret being ripped away from this enthralling landscape to the modern day setting in the high rise skyscraper, which seems drab by comparison.

Multiplayer Mode

The online multiplayer component of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag features an innovative game lab that allows you and the rest of the community of players to tweak multiple parameters and set the rules for online game play. You can participate in timed game events and share adventure and plunder with other players from around the world. It takes time and effort to learn to modify the game to suit your collective tastes, but in the end you get an absorbing tailor-made gaming adventure.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag comes up the best of its predecessors. Though the main story line is perhaps a touch pedestrian, its magnificent pirate world with its open game play, fascinating side missions, awesome graphics, rousing naval combat, swashbuckling swordplay and, of course, deftly executed assassinations, makes it a brilliantly immersive action game.

In addition to video games, Stanley Vincent writes on comic book conventions, Star Wars lore, Star Trek trivia, movies, mtg Born of the Gods, board games and other nerdy interests.

Image credit goes to petermarsden1.