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saicharanb93
11-21-2013, 05:24 PM
Game: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Age Rating: 18+

Genre: Stabbing People, hacking computers and playing alongside pirates like Blackbeard and Charles Vane..............Go figure.

Played on: Playstation 3

Publisher and Developer: Ubisoft

Game Director: Ashraf Ismail

Lead story writer: Darby Mcdevitt
( These guy’s names are mentioned cos they sure as hell deserve it )

Before people started complaining about the previous Assassin’s Creed instalment (AC3), let me just tell you, Ubisoft has been listening; listening very intently to its fans. Now, AC4 may have some flaws of its own but you will be glad that most of the things that we hated in AC3 were taken care of; most not all though.

OUTLOOK
AC4 takes place during the golden age of piracy ( where you play as Edward Kenway, a privateer turned pirate) in the Caribbean ocean with Kingston, Havana, Nassau and 70 other locations and islands with exotic, thick and lush forests that look breathtakingly beautiful. I think it would be apt to say that the team put in an extraordinary amount of effort to create these surroundings. The forests look beautiful. Not only graphically but also abstractly; like you could jus climb a tall old Mayan building and jus look over the forest, gazing out to the Caribbean ocean, watching the sun set. Poetically beautiful. Now, when AC3 had come out many people weren’t actually happy with the frontier ( forest ); there was one games journalist who described the frontier as having “too many right angles”. But it is good to see that the team have nailed the forest surroundings; they look so perfect; naturally organic and breathtakingly beautiful.

GAMEPLAY
Coming to the gameplay mechanics, the naval part was a huge addition. I mean, this game is a boon to all those people who were dying for a real pirate game. The map is huge. HUGE. It would take you an approx of 45min to sail from one end of the map to the other. And its not a boring voyage either. The Caribbean ocean is completely filled with islands to discover, whales and sharks to hunt, storms to pilot through, forts to take down and ships to plunder. Never before have i seen such a beautiful open ocean or such a scary storm in a game. And the best part is there are no loading screens anywhere ( except for 7 or so locations, including the cities, that is ). You can seamlessly jump off your ship, or board another ship without any cut scenes. There are always ships around that you can plunder because you need to plunder to obtain the cargo required to upgrade your ship, The Jackdaw. The Caribbean ocean in this game is a seductive mistress always pulling you towards her with new things to offer every time. I just wish that the wife, the storyline that is, was just as seductive. The plot is great but it jus doesn’t attract you too much. Anyways this is a spoiler free game review so i will leave it at that.

All this talk about the Caribbean ocean, doesn’t mean that the cities aren’t good. They are as interactive as cities in the AC series ever were. And all those who were disappointed by the architecture in AC3, well, the buildings in these are great and have a nostalgic touch to them, taking you back to rome for a moment where you were running around rooftops as Ezio.

The combat system hasn’t changed much. The combat is a bit more difficult than it was in AC3 but its much the same to the veterans.

The hunting system has improved though. Taking inspiration from Far Cry 3 (another ubisoft game) , the hunting system is linked to your health and armour upgrades so the game almost forces you to hunt to make yourselves better. And its not boring either

STORYLINE (NO SPOILERS)

As said earlier, the story was good but could have been better. Personally, i liked it a lot. And the games does a perfect job of helping you connect not only with Edward but also with the other pirates like Blackbeard, Anne bonny, Mary Read etc. My advice, don’t go googling this pirates before you play the game; it feels wonderful to discover their lives and ideologies while playing the game. To wrap this up without any spoilers, lets just say that never before have i felt such strong emotions for a pirate.

REAL LIFE

It seems, that for the first time, Ubisoft seemed to have nailed the real life sequences; FINALLY!!! We play as ourselves, a memory researcher who is hired to by Abstergo to research Edward kenway’s memories so that they can have some amazing footage to make it into a commercial videogame. The abstergo offices are immersely interactive( with a few surprises ); the offices are filled with computers to hack and secrets to unravel. And the best thing; these are optional. Good job, Ubisoft.

CONS
• Unfortunately, the eavesdropping missions are back which are annoying. Like really ****ing annoying. GET RID OF THEM, UBISOFT!!!
• The storyline is slow at the start and and at many parts in between.
• The storyline, though perfectly captures the essence of piracy, fails to actually stay true to its assassin roots.


FINAL VERDICT
This game offers you a solid interactive entertainment of 20 hrs on the main story line. An additional 40 hrs for the side activities. Although, not all missions are great, this game has so much stuff to do, you will be happy sailing for a long long time. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag might have some flaws but it truly embraces the actual essence of sand box gaming.
So polish our cutlasses and clean you guns, lads cos this game is gonna give you one hell of a pirate voyage. YARRR!!!
My score: 9/10

P.S Any feedback on how my review is always welcome.

SenseHomunculus
11-21-2013, 05:32 PM
Game: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

My score: 9/10

I would agree.

egriffin09
11-21-2013, 06:29 PM
Game: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

My score: 9/10




Nice review & score. I would give it a 9.5 or 9.75. A couple of nitpick things that are not necessarily bad, just not as awesome as other parts of the game keep it from a 10 for me.

saicharanb93
11-21-2013, 06:45 PM
Nice review & score. I would give it a 9.5 or 9.75. A couple of nitpick things that are not necessarily bad, just not as awesome as other parts of the game keep it from a 10 for me.
Thanks. :D

Well, for me, the eavesdropping missions were a bit frustrating; i wouldnt say the missions were bad. they were great, but it gets tiring after some time and also i concentrate so hard on staying hidden that i dont actually listen to what those NPC's are saying which is like the whole point of the mission!!!

But what kept me from giving this game a 9.5 was the story. Now, the story was great; but it couldnt match the shine and attraction of the open ocean gameplay. If the main storyline was also as addicting and immersive as the side activities then this game might have been a GOTY pick!!

TheArcaneEagle
11-21-2013, 06:48 PM
I would also give it a 9, but I still have yet to play it on next-gen which might change my score to a 10 due to the 60 frames/1080p and all those nice next-gen capabilities.

saicharanb93
11-21-2013, 06:54 PM
I would also give it a 9, but I still have yet to play it on next-gen which might change my score to a 10 due to the 60 frames/1080p and all those nice next-gen capabilities.

Cool. I heard that the Caribbean ( the forests especially look much more amazing in the next gen )......Happy pirating!!! ;)

Hans684
11-21-2013, 07:37 PM
It's just as much a AC game as the others.

pacmanate
11-21-2013, 07:46 PM
I would also give it a 9, I think it could have been perfect if some sequences didn't have 3 missions in them and if the ending was just more epic.

saicharanb93
11-22-2013, 01:54 PM
It's just as much a AC game as the others.

Yup, it is. In fact i think it is a tad better both on gameplay and the story front.

BoBwUzHeRe1138
11-22-2013, 04:12 PM
Nicely worded review. I haven't played the game but from what I've seen of it... it looks like they improved some things:

First and foremost... the cities aren't just various shaded of brown anymore which is nice. Boston and New York were so blandly colored and so visually similar to one another, I'd honestly forget what city I was in. That never used to be an issue...you knew if you were in Acre or Jerusalem or Venice or Florence. Secondly, the architecture of AC3 may have been accurate to the time but made for a poor free running playground -- Havana on the other hand looks a lot better, though I'm still skeptical about HOW good it is. It looks a LOT more dense but it still just doesn't look as fun to explore as previous cities like Florence, Venice, or Constantinople... it seems like the towers are not as high perhaps (can't tell) and that the large cathedral type buildings of which there used to be several per city...seem to have been cut down on so there are less of the LARGE buildings to climb.

So... Havana: Looks much better than any city present in AC3. It's denser, tighter, and looks to offer a better parkour experience. However, I can't tell if it matches the offerings of Florence or Venice... or Constantinople or even Jerusalem and Damascus. I'm criticizing it since I don't know.
Kingston now... is pretty much exactly like Boston or New York but has the fortunate appeal of being in the Caribbeans and not the Frontier of the American Colonies and thus is a lot more luscious and visually appealing. No more different types of brown all swirled together but pretty and rich lighting plus the beautiful natural aspect that persists throughout the city make the city look like a prettier Boston or NY where even the trees seem to be utilized significantly better than in AC3. That said... it'snot MUCH of a step up and while it may not be as boring to me, I don't foresee spending much of time here and will most likely spend the majority of my time at Havana.
Nassau... honestly, it doesn't even look like a full city from what I've seen so I won't count it as such unless it proves otherwise when I finally play the game.

As for the story forgetting it's Assassin roots... that's what I was afraid of and called when I first heard the game would have a subtitle. I'm also hearing, though trying to avoid spoilers, that Edward doesn't really act like an Assassin -- I don;t know if his character just prevents him from this, if he eventually grows into being an Assassin, if he's officially an Assassin but doesn't follow the creed in many ways like Altair didn't originally, if he'snot even officially an Assassin NOR do I WANT to know. Whatever the case may be..I'd hope it to be similar to Ezio in that he's not initially an Assassin but soon grows into the role. Otherwise, it will be upsetting to play an AC game as not-an-Assassin or "true" Assassin. I wouldn't mind this as much probablt, if it wasn't the fourth "MAIN" installment of the series... which to me seems was never originally the idea. It feels like this game would have been akin to AC: Brotherhood and was initially called AC: Black Flag until some higher up said "we want to launch of next gen with the fourth main AC game, so this is now AC4: Black Flag." The previous numbered installments had no subtitle and the ones that did have subtitles were essentially a spin off -- a "further adventures of Ezio Auditore" before we got to AC3. This almost seemed like it was intended as a similar thing as a "further adventures of the Kenway fmaily." I mean... it's just odd altogether and seems to heavily imply it wasn't originally going to be four in the planning stages. Not to mention AC3 came out a year ago and they expect us to believe a full fledged sequel was released in a year? That said, it IS impressive the sheer amount of content from the size of the game world, the amount of islands to visit, the cities, etc. However, much of that content does not focus on the core aspect of AC (sorry, sailing isn't a core aspect)... I think I'm also done with this time period. It was interesting but we need to move away from the 1700s and even from British stuff. The only exception I'd give would be Elizabethan England so we could meet Shakespeare, scale the Globe Theatre, visit Stonehenge and find out how its connected to TOWCB, etc. Besides, 1500's England would feel a lot different than the 1700s and would be in England and various cities which would be better than frontier, Boston, NY, and Kingston combined IMO.

For gameplay... IMO AC3's combat was significantly harder than AC2, ACB, AND ACR's combat systems. Part of it was from making the counter attack a different button from the standard (which means youre not just pressing the same button anymore which is nice), the added gunmen, the heavy guys who block your attacks, etc. I found it far too difficult but not because of the actual combat itself. If, say, you need or want to escape because your health is low...it was RIDICULOUS how many enemies there were. You'd round a corner and because the goddang streets were so WIDE there'd be like a wall of enemies taking aim, forcing you onto the roofs where there are other musket people and it was just frustrating. I don't mind the chases but it just never let up and that was due to the way cities were and how many guards were situated around the city. Whereas before the roving marching groups were made up of about 4 and stationary groups made up of about 4...this game would have like..6 marching guys, 5 standing together, and then another 4 around the corner waiting for you when the others chase you. I hope Havana's layout is more akin to previous AC games and that guard placement is also like previous games.

As for the rest... parkour has the same criticisms as the last: looks too automated. I miss climbing and actually FEELING like the character has WEIGHT. I also miss how we used to have to do the leap and grip tactic to reach ledges on a wall that were higher than we could just climb up regularly... but now that's done automatically for us by the game. Why? Was this something that casual gamers had a problem with? That isnt streamlining the game, it's the very definition of dumbing down. And AC3 wasn't all bad... for instance, a good example of streamlining BUT NOT dumbing down was the way they handled the fast walk, the gentle push, and pickpocketing. In the previous AC games, you would fast walk by holding A. However, this had the side effect of auto-pickpocketing people and made it so holding A pretty much had no use except as a pickpocket button which seems strange because it should be more for moving quickly but without suspicion. B also used to be the "gentle push" button to weave through crowds. But AC3 went "that's stupid, wouldn't in make sense to combine the gentle push and fast walk functions together? A fast walk implies a need to move fast as does pushing people out of the way so holding A while moving through a crowd should also push people. Then we can use B as the pickpocket button." THAT'S brilliant. A for fast walk/gentle push instead of just fast walk and B for gentle push is a GREAT improvement. Unfortunately...the parkour didn't get the same treatment and just feels WAYYYY too automated and weightless. Perhaps AC4 has helped make Edward feel a bit more weighty but it doesn't look like it from the gameplay.

The sailing aspect looks much more interesting than AC3's. I dislike sailing in AC3 because after the first handful of naval battles...it was just the same thing to me. It felt disconnected and disjointed from the rest of the game. I have the freedom to explore Boston and New York and even the Frontier. I can do what I want but then...I go to the Homestead, go to my ship, press a button, select a mission, load screen, suddenly I'm somewhere in the middle of the ocean... then I fight the boats, mission ends, back at the Homestead. It was the same thing over and over and just magically teleported me around. AC4 however has applied the same mentality of freedom around the land-based portions to the naval stuff and now have the ability to explore the ocean, get into random fights with boats, explore islands, hunt whales and sharks, etc. It also seems less seamless. One question: I thought there weren't supposed to be loading screens between land and sea? I don't really care, I just thought I heard differently. Anyway...the sailing seems MORE fun but still doesn't strike me as core AC stuff and really... still not as interesting to me as climbing around buildings and running around cities.

Eavesdrop missions are back? Like...from AC1? WTF.

Anyway... as I haven't played the game...all my opinions are based on the previous game as well as what I've seen as well as what I know interests me. I may enjoy the sailing but even if I do, it's not AC to me and so at the end of the day, I know I won't want to spend most of my time sailing. That has nothing to do with judging a game before playing it nor does it matter -- I know what I enjoy and the sailing just does NOT interest me. So yeah... looks prettier and better than AC3 but I still feel that it won't hold a candle to the other AC's... :l

MadJC1986
11-22-2013, 08:08 PM
GAMEPLAY
And the best part is there are no loading screens anywhere ( except for the three cities, that is ). You can seamlessly jump off your ship, or board another ship without any cut scenes.


It really annoys me everytime I read this. It is simply not true. Basically every location which is not tiny requires a loading screen.
I have got at least 5 locations in mind which require loading, apart from the 3 cities.
Just to name an example: Great Inagua!

saicharanb93
11-23-2013, 05:42 AM
It really annoys me everytime I read this. It is simply not true. Basically every location which is not tiny requires a loading screen.
I have got at least 5 locations in mind which require loading, apart from the 3 cities.
Just to name an example: Great Inagua!

Sorry, my bad. I think i got carried away. Yes, you are right there are loading screens for 5 ( or maybe more ) locations, but considering that you have 75 locations to discover, i think loading screens for only 5 or so places is doable. And also, you dont get a loading screen everytime you board a ship or dock your ship which, i think, is a huge step up from AC3.

The devs, in an interview, said that they tried to remove the loading screens at the cities too but since the maps are soo big, the engines couldnt handle it.

saicharanb93
11-23-2013, 05:55 AM
It really annoys me everytime I read this. It is simply not true. Basically every location which is not tiny requires a loading screen.
I have got at least 5 locations in mind which require loading, apart from the 3 cities.
Just to name an example: Great Inagua!

Thanks for pointing it out, though. I have edited and corrected it in the main article.

saicharanb93
11-23-2013, 06:17 AM
Nicely worded review. I haven't played the game but from what I've seen of it... it looks like they improved some things:

First and foremost... the cities aren't just various shaded of brown anymore which is nice.

So... Havana: Looks much better than any city present in AC3. It's denser, tighter, and looks to offer a better parkour experience. However, I can't tell if it matches the offerings of Florence or Venice... or Constantinople or even Jerusalem and Damascus. I'm criticizing it since I don't know.
Kingston now... is pretty much exactly like Boston or New York but has the fortunate appeal of being in the Caribbeans.

As for the story forgetting it's Assassin roots...
For gameplay... IMO AC3's combat was significantly harder than AC2, ACB, AND ACR's combat systems.

As for the rest... parkour has the same criticisms as the last: looks too automated. I miss climbing and actually FEELING like the character has WEIGHT.

. One question: I thought there weren't supposed to be loading screens between land and sea? I don't really care, I just thought I heard differently. Anyway...the sailing seems MORE fun but still doesn't strike me as core AC stuff and really... still not as interesting to me as climbing around buildings and running around cities.

Eavesdrop missions are back? Like...from AC1? WTF.

Anyway... as I haven't played the game...all my opinions are based on the previous game as well as what I've seen as well as what I know interests me. I may enjoy the sailing but even if I do, it's not AC to me and so at the end of the day, I know I won't want to spend most of my time sailing. That has nothing to do with judging a game before playing it nor does it matter -- I know what I enjoy and the sailing just does NOT interest me. So yeah... looks prettier and better than AC3 but I still feel that it won't hold a candle to the other AC's... :l

Thanks a lot.

Yup, the cities in AC4 are different, thankfully. All the three cities look different fro each and have their own air and style. Havana doesnt exactly look like venice or florence but you can see that the inspriation has been taken from there. I felt that the vertical height of the buildings was reduced but overall, the parkour experience in AC4 on the buildings was great.

I know people have been talking about AC4 straying from its assassin roots but i request you to play the game without any preconceptions like these. Now the story starts off slow but as it picks on, you begin to understand Edward's point of view. I dont want to spoil anything for you, but rest assured, the story is NOT disappointing.

Yup, i agree with you. In the process of making parkour easy, Ubisoft ended up making it too automated. Unfortunately edward doesnt feel any more weighted than connor did.

There are no loading screens EXCEPT for 6 or 7 locations ( the three main cities and some other specific locations ). The devs, in an interview, had said that they tried to remove the screens in these areas too but due to the vastness of the map, the engines couldnt handle it.

Yea. Remember those missions in AC3 where we have to tail some guys and stay in a certain radius to listen in to their conversations? those missions are back, and ore in number than i like. Sometimes, they get quite frustrating.

I agree with you that sailing is not a core aspect of an AC game but even then, i gotta say, it is a beautiful distraction.

Its evident that you have done a lot of research on this game before playing it. Thanks for sharing you thoughts and i hope you play it soon; i am pretty much sure you will enjoy it. :D