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This game has to be one of the best games out on xbox. The story line at the start seems hard to understand but after about sequence 4 you find out how it links to the other franchise. This game also is great for free roaming as you just have to complete a few missions before you can set sail and rob other ships and generally do what most people enjoy doing on these kind of games. I think edward has to be one of the best characters in the franchise and oddly this time they went back in time to 1715 60 years before assassins creed 3. Edward is the father to the first character you play as in ac3. There are a lot of new features added to this game such as ship battles, upgrading your ship and a whole new set of combat moves and finishers. The map is absolutely massive with lots of islands dotted around on the sea but most of the map is sea which some people may find annoying but i think it works perfectly.
The graphics are very clear and you shouldn't face any choppiness or lag whilst playing. You can also add cheats to the game if you enjoy hacking but this does disable auto save.
What i think be changed is the fact that you can't capture a ship and then choose it to be your default ship which would be quite cool for when you capture a man o war!.
Another thing that aggrivates me is that there isnt any point in upgrading your weapons as there is barely any difference in them so i would save your money for ship upgrades and hiring more crew
In gaming we have game changes, in my mind this games that change the way we think about gaming. Some turn it in to an art form with brilliantly crafted stories or art work, or some drag a dead donkey 300 miles just to get a few extra pounds out of it. Assassins creed 'was' interesting it had brilliant story telling, a really interesting aspect on history. Then it just started becoming more and MORE AND MORE of a drag, gameplay is...... you know despite what is have said gameplay is a joy to play, but that's just the problem gameplay has not changed! Assassins Creed from its birth was epic, the phase "just like the great white shark it never had to evolve" but hey ubisoft in a forever shifting business guess what? you do have to change! Maybe some more gritty close combat would be a nice change or actually feeling like you're on a ship being able to go below deck, duel with enemy captains not just run around stabbing another faceless enemy. By the way have you ever walked around a ship before? It takes a lot longer than 5 seconds to get around it, little realistic things like these bring the world to life. Now story, why pirates! WHY! Morden day, Rome, samurai, WW1, Greece, any of these to my mind would have been better. Before I go on more about the game I would like to say if you love story driven games that allow you to amours yourself then don't buy this! I hear you can still buy books now a days from WHSmiths.
I brought this last week in the sales as I didn't want to pay full price for it.
It's such a great game. Very entertaining!
Release Date: 29th Oct 2013
Genre: Historic Action / Adventure, Sci-Fi
Game Modes: Single player / Multiplayer
The graphics for all of the AC games are fantastic. This one is no different. Compared to the recently released Xbox one version, the difference is minimal.
My favourite thing about the graphics is the landscapes. There are many different islands and towns in the game. Every single one of them is beautiful. From the trees and the bushes, to the bright sandy beaches. Faultless in terms of detail. They've really pushed the Xbox 360 to it's limits this time.
Story & Gameplay (without spoilers)
The story is set in the golden age of piracy. Between 1700- 1750(ish). It follows Edward Kenway who was grandfather to the AC 3 character (Connor). So it's more of a prequel. It's mainly based around the Caribbean destinations. Such as, Kingston, Havana & Nassau. Overall there are over 70 locations to explore. All vary from a lonely desert island to a busy fishing town. Each location has it's unique characters about it.
What I love about all of the AC games is, you get taught a history lesson while having fun. This game is no different. You meet pirates who were about that time such as Black Beard, Mary Read, Calico Jack and other various characters you meet along the way.
The combat system is pretty much the same as previous games. Swashbuckling with a touch of gunfire. I've found that this time around it's concentrated more on naval combat (Ships & Sea) rather than on the land.
I would say 50% of the single player missions are on land, the other 50% are at sea.
I wasn't a fan of the Naval missions in the previous games, but in this version they've ironed out the faults to give a more immersive & addicting gameplay experience.
What I've found was that Black Flag is more of a free roaming game this time around than any of the others were before, Yes it has a story but I've had much more fun just exploring random islands I've found and upgrading my pirate ship. There's so many things to do!
I haven't really touched the multiplayer as of yet to be honest. Must be a good sign! But I've managed to have a couple of games here and there. The tutorial helps a lot, so make sure you watch that first before heading into the gameplay! But I've found that the multiplayer is a nice bonus bit to the game. I wouldn't have thought they needed it for how big the single player is, but still great stuff!
Anything I didn't like?
It's hard to think off the top of my head, but I've found that some of the story missions can be quite difficult. A lot more difficult from previous games. Had to look on the internet on how to get past a certain bit on various occasions. Apart from that, it's pretty much faultless.
Overall I loved it and I can't stop playing it, if you were a fan of the previous games, then you'll love this.
In my opinion I think it's much better than the previous games. Just for the exploration. It's amazing how Ubisoft can keep bringing these type of games out year after year.
Assassin's Creed - Black Flag is the sixth instalment of the Assassins Creed franchise. My husband and Son have owned and played each and every one of these games so it was only natural that when Black Flag landed in the game shops we were first in the queue to buy it. My Husband is a fan of the sea based section in the last Assassins Creed game and was very much looking forward to a game with more sea based adventures.
We paid £45 for Black Flag in Game, it is available virtually every where for around the same price. If you are not an Assassins Creed fan then it is worth waiting for this to drop in price.
After watching my Husband and Son play this game for a while I decided to give into temptation and have a go. I must admit this game is not for beginners, the extended walk through at the opening of the game does help with mastering the controls and as a beginner I found this helpful but my Husband and Son found this necessary walk through a slight annoyance as the controls have not changed from the previous instalments. They both felt the game did not really start till after nearly three hours of gameplay.
I am not fully versed on the ins and outs of the Assassins Creed story line but what I can tell from watching the cut scenes in Black Flag is that you take on the role of Edward Kenway.
Edward Kenway is a Privateer (a Privateer is an armed ship owned and crewed by private individuals holding a government commission and authorized for use in war). As Edward Kenway you travel around the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy.
The massive free roaming world is dotted with plenty of islands to explore full of the usual Assassins Creed style missions and side quests. There is plenty of climbing of buildings to secure viewpoints that open up the game map and stealth style missions. The game is liberally sprinkled with missions that involve searching for key stones, treasure maps, treasure chests and taking over enemy strongholds.
Despite the game being 60% land based the sea based aspect of the game is incredibly strong. The ability to steer your ship (The Jackdaw) wherever you please across the open seas is an aspect of the game my Husband loves and he spends the majority of his gaming time in combat on the high seas where as I prefer the free roaming land based aspect of the game.
Kenway and his crew can engage any ship they come across in battle, shooting canons at each other then boarding the enemy craft to kill the crew and either plunder and destroy the boat, use it to repair the Jackdaw or commandeer it for use in your own fleet.
There is plenty of swashbuckling that requires the careful combination of key presses to achieve melees and break an enemy's defence. It is at this point in game play where the games annoying habit of the camera angle swinging wildly out of range kicks in and the player occasionally ends up fighting with the enemy from a bizarre angle which causes the fight to be much harder than it should be.
A side aspect of this game that I love is the ability to go hunting. Edward can hunt anything from killer whales to hammerhead sharks at sea and a massive assortment of land animals (monkeys, deer, boars, wild cats etc). The harpooning of sea creatures does take practice and land based animals can be taken down in an assortment of ways. Happily the hunting is not without purpose as the majority of items gained from hunting can be used to craft weapons or new items of clothes for Kenway or sold to traders on land.
Another aspect of the game is that you need to keep the shipping lanes open. This did not play out as my Husband hoped for as there is no actual fighting you just pitch ships from your fleet against ships from another fleet and watch them shoot it out on a rather disappointing screen which as a novice makes this much easier for me.
Once your shipping lanes are open and secure you can send ships from your fleet on trade missions. Successful trade missions provide an income for Kenway in the form of Spanish Reals. The Reals can then be spent in game on upgrades for your ship, but before you upgrade you need to have secured the ship plans which is done by progressing through the game or buying them using real money in the xbox store.
The graphics are rendered well although my Husband has fell through the map once or twice, which proves to be really annoying as all you can do is quit and hope that the last auto save was not to far back. There have also been a few occurrences of crew members floating in the air above the ship and not coming back down. I am sure these glitches will be sorted in the game updates that Ubisoft regularly releases.
The graphics as far as the sea is concerned are impeccable with miles of open sea seemingly rolling out in front of your ship. The storms that blow up are epic (usually while you are involved in a sea battle or trying to secure a fort) with rogue waves, lightening and water spouts, all of which can kill your crew members and the sound of rain and wind whipping around your ship very realistic. While at sea your crew members will sing rousing sea shanties to keep you company on the waves.
There is an aspect of the game I do not like so much so I am glad it is not the main role of the game. From what I can tell your original character is a game developer who is trying to secure secrets to make a better gaming experience. This section of the game involves you using stealth to travel around a high security building and you have to solve some pretty simple puzzles do gain access to new areas. I personally feel the game flows just fine without the inclusion of this part.
While I have not covered all the aspects of the game as I think it is a game best played out by the gamer I feel this is an excellent addition to the growing Assassins Creed franchise. The developers have listened to the gamers by developing a game with a more sea based aspect. There is less time spent messing around in the Animus (the engine used to transport a character back from present time to the past) and more time devoted to being Edward Kenway. The game can be played sequentially following the story line or the gamer can dip in and out of the story as and when they please. The cut scenes are shorter so the game flows better.
As a novice game player I would recommend starting at the beginning with the first Assassins Creed before attempting this game. My Husband and Son who are both accomplished gamers really liked this game once they had got past the walk through at the beginning.
Thank you for reading.
(This is an updated version of my review that previously appeared on Ciao)
The first words that came to my mind playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag was 'Oh Yes! They are back with a bang'. It did not though come as a surprise having always expected Ubisoft to do something special with the console's most famous, popular and enduring franchise.
Doing away with the rather long and double barrelled name in the rest of the review, I shall instead use the acronym ACBF though the appearance of the bombastic name time and again reassures me as a writer than I am indeed becoming part of a truly majestic game.
ACBF is no sequel. It has moved away from the Assassin's Creed 3 altogether. The central character, Edward Kenway is not a noble man unlike his predecessor Connor Kenway of the American Revolution but a cavalier mercenary from 1715. As a matter of fact it does away with the good guy - bad guy theme of the AC3 (acronym for the earlier Assassin) where you had the good Yankees fighting the bad English in the form of the fascists Templars. ABCF has also shades of grey - a bit of Yin-Yang in every character and the story is more murky politics rather than a clear cut ideological war.
Here the story revolves round the domination of the Caribbean trade routes and its surrounding colonies. The main protagonist is a privateer of Welsh origin commanding his own ship and a very grey character that shows a notoriously brutal streak from time to time which is very different from its predecessors in the series. Interestingly he is the grandfather of Conner from AC3.
Privateering, if you look up Wikipedia were part of naval warfare from the 16th to the 19th centuries and the borderline between a privateer and a pirate was at best thin. So ACBF has not deviated from its historical connections as within the game where the ship is used for piracy as well as warfare in the trade routes of Havana, Nassau and Kingston - part of the Caribbean colonies.
Though sea warfare was added as a feature in the AC3, it was painfully inadequate. ACBF takes it to a new high. It is thoroughly entertaining - sailing the high seas, commandeering ships, firing cannons. You can do pirating, shooting, sailing, battling rough seas, exploring, locating maps, unearthing buried treasures and capture enemy ships to loot their cargoes. If it is not enough, you can even jump from rooftops to pluck songs to be sung by your crew.
Commandeering the ship is very straight forward. You need to just walk Edward, the protagonist to the ship's steering wheel and activate. Then it could be turned left or right using the left or right thumbsticks (in Xbox).
It has three speed options for the ship to become slow, fast and travel. These can be controlled using the A button.
As cited earlier it has a very fascinating sea warfare gameplay.
Sea Warfare requires management of a ship crew. The ship crew can be recruited in two ways - helping out some sort of guys when in land, or
- hiring them from the local bar - the rum house. As you must be aware that the seafarers in the 18th century especially along the Caribbean islands would usually hangout in a bar drinking Rum, a liquor made from sugarcane by products, such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation and is largely produced in Caribbean and Latin America.
Ship crew management seems to be the most important task in the entire ACBF gameplay. A constant supply of crew recruits has to be maintained as they are most likely to get killed either boarding enemy ships or drown facing a sea storm.
This ship crew management and sea warfare happens to be USP for ACBF since the traditional land warfare gameplay is very similar to the earlier games within the series.
In land you need to take the same approach as in the earlier games to navigate the map and take up various missions as you proceed to play. The missions are to 'kill the enemy' or 'trail them'. This sort of game resembles what is called as the open world stealth game in gaming terminology.
The game is very fast paced. Within a few minutes from the start you get into full scale gear. And one you get hold of the ship than the whole game becomes accessible. It does however warn if one wanders into dangerous territory.
There is a free run mechanics that allows you to perform complex acrobatic game manoeuvres by pressing the directions that you need to run or climb while still holding down the 'Free Run' button. It is very simple yet intuitive. This mechanics along with the platforming are the most exciting stuff in the ACBF. What makes it doubly exciting is the realistic setting of the scenes and characters from the 18th century. It is not enough that these are very realistic in the art composition but it is made realistic by the use of cleverly crafted conversations in the Caribbean bazaar and animation sequences showing people going about their business. It is this stuff that brings the whole game setting come to life.
The game thus keeps you hooked completely and wanting to explore more.
ACBF requires more advanced planning than any of its earlier avatars. You need to decide your options - destroy the enemy ship or climb on board and capture.
The more difficult the task is greater the gain. Herein, boarding and capturing bodes high level of difficulty. But the gain is also more as you can then sell the captured cargo or still better upgrade the protagonist ship. However, the downside is that you will definitely loose a few men or worse everything trying to immobilise the enemy ship, board it and kill the enemy soldiers.
Destroying the enemy ship is the easier option but you can recover and sell only cargo that manages to stay afloat as the enemy ship sinks, and there is no upgrade.
So how do you try to difficult bit of boarding and capturing the enemy ship? You start by inflicting calculated damage on the enemy ship.
Now this depends on
a) how well armed is your ship and
b) how big is the enemy ship.
At the start, you have 3 attack options -
1) Basic cannons that can be used to fire in the front and sideways, left or right,
2) Then there is the Rear Fire barrel for damaging those that attack from behind which is basically mines that bomb, and
3) Thirdly, you have the Precision cannon for targeting weakened areas of the enemy ship such as exposed gunpowder depots.
This worked fine at the start of the game but these guns looked pretty useless once you encounter larger military ships and ship formations. Luckily by then you should have managed to get upgrades to tackle these mighty enemies. Upgrades come in the form of new weapons like mortar, getting more firepower for its cannons and getting better defensive armour for the Edward ship.
However, upgrades cost you gold, metal or wood that either comes from previously captured cargos or can be bought.
The stealth mode is not perfect. There are several niggles - the oversimplified dynamics make it problematic with the guard's vision - the 3 modes of neutral, alert and aware has many inconsistency. The guard closest to you might fail to notice you but those miles away would spot you and start firing.
The combat system that lets you hit, dodge and counter these guards does not help you either. The only option that works seriously is counter - that is spot the enemy and attack before he can. Other system is not worth the effort.
It varies from retailer to online. Better order it through Amazon or Ebay - costs around £40 plus delivery charges.
I would give a reasonably high score for its excellently shades-of-grey protagonist, Edward, superlative sea warfare gameplay, realistic game setting and interesting side-missions. What would pull the scores down is the stealth and combat glitches. It is not a perfect game but thoroughly playable. Despite its flaws it does have that element of excitement and fun that we have come to associate with the Assassin Creed series.
AC is finally back and continues to hold the flag high for the console generation.
Review appears in Ciao UK under same name