I unboxed my Playstation 4 on November 15th thinking I would have a fun time switching between the four launch titles I got. Three weeks later I finally beat Assassin’s Creed 4, Black Flag (Ass Creed 4), and picked up another game. I did not even look at another game until I was done with Ass Creed 4, so that should tell you a little bit about how I feel about the game.
I know it’s a basically a port, also released on the last gen consoles, so it’s really not a fair representation of what the next gen hardware can do, not that there is really any game beside Knack that can be considered “Next Gen” right now, but it is one hell of a good looking game.
I mean just look at that detail, that rainbow is the most accurate rainbow I’ve seen in video games, and the mist is not just a background layer, it’s an active effect from the waterfalls in the distance. Think that rainbow is there all the time? NOPE, on an overcast or rainy day that shit is gone. Not only that, but for the first time that image you see up there? That’s my actual game play, because these next gen consoles are all about the social media. Sure, it’s just a picture, I gotta grapple with the video stuff some more, but that means that everyone and their grandma is going to be posting game footage. How much easier can they make it to figure out if you want to try out a game?
Pretty aesthetics aside, how is the game play? Not revolutionary, but tight. They fine tuned the mechanics from Ass Creed 3 to make you really feel in control of the character, at least more than the Playstation 3 titles had offered. Remember the sailing sections from 3? Well you better get re-acclimated because that is going to be 60% of your game play time – and it is fun as hell now. With the ship being the main up-gradable resource in Ass Creed 4 the money system is not longer out of whack, in my opinion, and you’ll find yourself immersed in not only fighting ships on the open sea, but delegating sailing missions to your fleet of ships as they become available. These actions can all be done from the ship, your mobile base basically, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t upgrade your port at all to save your cash for the ship, besides buying a whore house on your island to save on petty cash during missions, but even that isn’t really a sound investment. The ship, however, only ever returns your cash – and how! With several attack and defense parameters for you to upgrade, as well being able to upgrade your harpooning equipment, you’ll find yourself constantly hunting down ships to get a better edge with the loot they drop. I’m not ashamed to admit that as of the end of the main story I am still not fully upgraded, despite my efforts, and I have yet to sink a single legendary ship, which really gets my goat! However I did recently get the Freedom Cry DLC so hopefully I’ll find myself yearning for the open sea here again soon.
On the land side of things, the controls that I talked about being tighter are nice, apart from the infuriating aiming of the free running, which will make it harder on you to find the shanties scattered about. Do yourself a favor, look where it floats to start, and just let the bastard fly away. Wait about 2 minutes on the spot and the thing will spawn right on top of you, easy collection, especially for something so trivial in the game. Other collectibles are not goign to be so easy to come by, the most fun one to collect is going to be the Templar Keys, since they have assassinations tied to them, and the least fun is going to be the Mayan Stales. Guess will be better though?
The Mayan armor is far superior, and grants you immunity to metal projectiles, which will save your skin more often than not. However, as awesome as it is, if you collect every Mayan Stone as you come across it, you won’t net the final piece until about 70% though the story line, but you are going to want it for the last haul.
Speaking of story line, this game has the most immersive story line of the series, in my humble opinion. This is due to two factors: One, it puts you in a game within a game as yourself pretty much, which gives depth to the crazy conspiracy theories that are going on, and really gives the ending moments a lot of impact. Two, Edward is not an assassin for most of the game play, and how he gets introduced to the world is much more entertaining than any of the last couple characters. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Ezio, he was awesome, but he was born into it, this is a much cooler story, and Edward a much less predictable antagonist. Edward’s self centered nature keeps you going, because you don’t know what is going to happen next, every time you think “Oh well that’s an easy choice, of course he’s going to help them” NOPE – Edward turns around and does something totally different. The Easter eggs in this game are amazing as well, and compliment a lot of the story, but I won’t ruin them for you. Just hack early, and hack often, and you’ll find the golden nuggets. Protip: they aren’t the boring ass audio files. Sure, they give a lot of depth, and it’s cool to hear about the beginnings of the animus program, but it’s a lot of boring tech talk.
So, if you want yourself a great experience with a story that is going to keep you interested, Ass Creed 4 is your game.
Yo Ho! 9/10 and a bottle of rum.