Refreshing new twist to Assassin's Creed series
Wow, Ubisoft really haven't held back in this one. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is an enthralling and thankfully slightly light-hearted take on the Golden Age of Piracy, beginning in 1715.
You will be extremely hard-pressed to find yourself at a loss for anything to do during the course of Black Flag, partly due to how plain fun it is, but also due to the sheer scale of the latest offering from the Assassin's Creed series.
No matter what your preffered console of choice is, you can rest happy knowing that either way you are going to be playing one of the best-looking titles 2013 has to offer.
The current-generation versions are built on the already stunning AC 3 engine, showcasing stunning cinematic vistas and tropical jungles alike. From what I've seen from next-generation consoles, it's going to be breathtaking.
Black Flag learns from AC 3's initial 10 hours of banal hand-holding by immediately throwing you into the action. After a lean and exhilarating opening mission that places you in the blood-soaked boots of Connor's much livelier and more likeable grandfather Edward Kenway, the world blossoms and allows you to explore its vast uncharted waters.
The size of the world is staggering, and the fact that it's absolutely brimming with fun and rewarding activities made me want to get lost as possible as I traveled from point A to point B.
Upon ignoring mission prompts, and setting out on your own for a spot of mischief is where Black Flag truly shines. The world is a huge sprawling expanse that's simply filled with activities. You can sail the carribean to your heart's content, in search of plunder and privateering, or you could simply settle for buying a small fishing boat and hunt for all manner of deadly creatures. Maybe you simply want to climb a high mountain and gaze in awe at the spectacular view in front of you.
Thankfully, this freedom to build your own character and story arc is welcomed in the abscence of an enthralling and engaging main story line. There's one there alright, but it's a bit of a letdown in terms of scope and plot.
Even time spent outside the animus in Black Flag can be interesting, though mostly optional. Exploring the Abstergo facility can yield some interesting insights into the overaching storyling that has continued throughout the entire series, as well as offer a few possible pointers towards future releases.
Assassin's Creed IV is a great springboard for the series to next-generation gaming and a definite recommendation. With a lighter tone, refined online play and virtually limitless replay value, Black Flag is a refreshing new twist to the series.