ReviewsXbox

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)

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Game Info

GAME NAME: Assassin’s Creed IV: Blag Flag

DEVELOPER(S): Ubisoft

PUBLISHER(S): Ubisoft

PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U

GENRE(S): Action, Adventure, Stealth, Open World

RELEASE DATE(S): October 29th, 2013

Look past the history that Hollywood would have you believe, and Assassin’s Creed IV will take you on an adventure in the golden age of piracy as written by history. After the flaws that mitigated Assassin’s Creed 3 in terms of player freedom and that enforced scripted linear missions, you might be hoping for something a bit more open-world. Well what’s more free and open than the world of a pirate? As such, you’ll be glad to hear that freedom underpins this Black Flag. Arrrgh!

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The first thing you should know is that our new hero is nowhere near as dull and uninteresting as that bore of a man named Connor. Edward Kenway, the father of Haytham in Assassin’s Creed III, takes little to no time to introduce himself as a person that has no shame. Right off the bat, you’re tasked to run after an assassin and track him down in a forest-like area, beat the assassin to a pulp, as only a pirate can, and then steal his clothes and throw away his hidden blades. Yup, Edward can, at times, be a little less than the brightest of sparks around and early on gets himself into a bit of trouble as he plays the part of a false assassin that ultimately gets him into hot water with the Templars. It’s here that your mission gets underway and you’re introduced to the REAL star of the game, Jackdaw, his ship.

Set in the West Indies in 1715, the world is totally seamless as you sail the open oceans of the Caribean. You can sail from historic Cuba to Jamaica in real-time, with no loading breaks. Keep in mind that this map is about ten times the size of what you saw in Grand Theft Auto V – it’s massive. There are 50 unique locations made up of various settings including cities, jungles, ruins, coves and caves, all stuffed with treasure and adventure. The ship handles much like what you’ve experiences in Assassin’s Creed III, only that this time round it’s absolutely vital that you upgrade, repair and customise your ship with features to enhance your naval combat abilities. Upgrading the armour on your ship, for example, is just as important as tweaking the strength of your cannons.

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Your aim is quite simple – destroy and wreck enough enemy ships so that you can board it to loot their minerals and items such as rum, clothes, sugar and steel to upgrade your ship. Fire one shot too many and you’ll completely sink the ship with the loot onboard. Boarding a ship is not a simple cutscene as seen in Assassin’s Creed 3 however. Nope, this time you need to hold the ‘B’ button in to activate a boarding scenario whereby you jump the enemy vessel and defeat the required number of crewmembers to overpower it. Your crewmembers, which might have been saved at sea or released from captivity by your hands, will be by your side to fight the good fight. Once victorious, you’re provided with options to either claim all of the loot or promote some of your crewmembers with their own ship. It’s all about building power.

Assassin’s Creed veterans will be glad to know that not everything takes place on the open ocean however. Edward will visit three distinct towns with their own sets of challenges, closer to what you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed title. The towns, Havana, Kingston and Nassau, are all under the influence of either the British, Spanish or pirates, which makes each setting unique to Edward’s situation. Some of these areas branch out to jungles that host animals that can be killed to create holsters for weapons or bigger pouches to carry more money. You can also visit shops to buy or upgrade weapons that can be used on land or out at sea. One standout moment will see you spearing a whale or coming face to face with a shark in the underwater scenes when searching wrecks for loot.

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So what’s the story with the present day Assassin’s Creed? We all know what happened to Desmond in Assassin’s Creed 3. Well, the star in this role is YOU. You’re a research analyst hired by the evil Abstergo to live out the past of various historical figures. It’s played from a first-person perspective where you’re tasked by an unknown assailant to hack parts of the facility to learn more about your surroundings and just what exactly they’re up to. It’s a fresh take on what we all experienced in previous Assassin’s Creed titles and adds another welcome element of stealth to the game.

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Now for the bombshell – Assassin’s Creed 4 is a rather ugly duckling on the Xbox 360. You’ll witness frame rate issues, degraded textures, some of the worst anti-aliasing and realise that this is indeed a current generation game that got last generation treatment. It definitely does not look anywhere near as good as Assassin’s Creed 3. The combat mechanics are identical and still depend on counter attacks which can be a clumsy and lengthy affair. It’s a good thing then that the narrative holds this together. It’s not quite Assassin’s Creed 2, but getting to be a pirate alongside the legendary Blackbeard is likely as ‘Arrrgh’ as you’ll get in 2013, or for the foreseeable future that is.

8 Overall Score
Aesthetics: 6/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Design: 9/10

A massive map to explore | Naval Combat is glorious to behold | Argh!

The graphics have taken a back seat | Combat mechanics feels a bit stale

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Author: Dawid Venter View all posts by
Married to a gamer wife who kicks my ass at most shooters. I’m lover of all consoles. If it’s old or new chances are good I’m game to play it.
  • Garrit4Ever

    I’m hoping to get this on next-gen platforms, I have all of the rest, but I think this will be the first one to get on next-gen, due to the improved visuals and effects, I reaaaaallly hope it’s a lot better than ACIII, which feels like such a slog to get through, I’m only at sequence7 after a year of playing it off and on…

  • Albertus

    I must say that I’d rather play this game on a next gen console than on current gen. Having seen some of the recent PS4 game play footage has ruined it for me on current gen. :-(

  • Matthew John

    I am enjoying this game immensely… I must admit the Abstergo Entertainment thing was a bit confusing but I can see where Ubisoft wants to take this and its great!

    The depth of story is back and honestly I think it could really help rejuvenate the series.

  • Simon Rope

    I get quite bored of this series because it all feels the same, but this Piratey theme might tempt me.. just dunno if to wait till I eventually get a PS4 and get it then

  • Robert

    It looks great! hope it is better than number 3

    • Carla

      I have no doubt that it will be 100% better. 3 sucked

  • Marius

    The more of the same that underpins everything except the sailing leaves me less than thrilled about this pirate excursion. I will most likely wait for a special price on this.

  • Carla

    sucka that the graphics aren’t great, but it will probably look better on PC. It might be a while before I get this, but I WIll get this!

    • Dian

      and I WILL raid your PC to play this!!

      • Carla

        Sometime I get the feeling you only love me for my PC

        • Dian

          Now this is akward….

          • Die Kriek

            Busted

  • Ultra Adorable Best Action Friends: Batfan & Seaman

    Meh; R199 for me thank you… OR… Dawid… can just give me his copy… [cough]

  • Michelle

    Ok well now I WON’T be getting it for the Xbox,how about the PS3 and PC?
    Good review,thanks for the heads up.

  • Mayuran

    Them again, if you really an AC fan, you play it more for the game play than the look

  • Trebzz

    This is something I will pick up for PS4 so thanks so much for this review dude and nice to see it’s better then 3 :)

  • drag_on_my_friend

    Piracy has been plagueing the gaming industry for so long, nothing new here

  • Francois Snyman

    I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure there are a few typos in here.
    1) The last line of paragraph 2 says “Jacksaw” not JackDaw.
    2) Paragraph 5, line 4 spells British as “Brittish”.
    3) Anti-Aliasing in line 2 of the last paragraph is written “Anti-Analysing”.
    This is just me being a Grammar Nazi and speaking out for all those other ones without a voice. Beyond that, happy looting and may Abstergo be forever not in your favour.

    • Carla

      I was about to dislike your grammar nazi ass but then you quoted hunger games and now I don’t totally dislike your comment!

      • drag_on_my_friend

        I dont generaly look at peoples asses

    • http://www.g3ar.co.za Dawid

      Thanks Francois, I’ve fixed those mistakes. I’m glad you pointed it out. You’re welcome to point out anything you see.

  • Die Kriek

    It’s sad how badly I want this game!!

  • Dian

    Actually I dont care about graphics ATM cause my my PC sucks anyway!! SO glad that the gameplay and the story is good!! Will have to get it!!

  • connie

    will wait for the next gen version then

  • Gary

    Solid review though I disagree on the graphics front. The graphics aren’t that bad. I’d give it 7/10.

  • Kristen

    AC are cool games so I’m going to check this out. Good review :)

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