Review: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Hi! I’m Jamie and this is my first review for the site. I know what you’re thinking – I’m really really late to the Assassin’s Creed party, right? Well, actually, I played the first game almost as soon as it came out and enjoyed it, but I lost interest a bit about the time I played Assassin’s Creed III. That was the end of Desmond’s story, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play an Assassin’s Creed game without that dweeb hanging around in the background being manipulated by the First Civilisation. I was also frustrated that the badass protagonist of one of the spinoff games, Aveline du Grandpré, didn’t get a proper outing. I liked her way more than her contemporary assassin Connor, and her gameplay was more interesting too, featuring the personas.

Also, the naval battle stuff in Assassin’s Creed III really pissed me off. I could never do the optional objectives without restarting over and over again, and I’m just obsessive enough that, of course, I wanted to.  So when I realized Black Flag would be at least 50% naval stuff? NOPE. I’m out!

Except then people convinced me that it was really really fun. The Sea Shanties might’ve helped. My boyfriend was playing the game and the music got really, really stuck in my head. So I gave it a go.

And okay, actually, I don’t like Edward Kenway (the protagonist), and I would’ve liked to see James Kidd/Mary Read using the persona system like Aveline (only with genderswitching instead of just changing clothes), because she seemed more interesting and more sympathetic. But overall, the game was a vast improvement on Assassin’s Creed III. The stuff I liked, like hunting and improved climbing, was present – and the naval battles system had improved by leaps and bounds, until I found that I was actually sailing around engaging ships in battles for the hell of it. There’s probably an animal rights activist screaming somewhere as I type this, but I really liked hunting whales, too…

And while I’m not a big fan of Kenway, at least it made a change from Altair and Ezio. He was definitely a different sort of character, and had a different sort of story. (I don’t see how he could’ve managed to make the mess he did with raising Haytham, though. But that’s another story.) It’s not quite the same big twist as we had in ACIII which – I’ll give the game that – did give me and many other gamers a bit of a jolt!

So yeah, even if you were feeling a bit tired of the game by the time you played ACIII, I think it is worth giving Black Flag a try. If nothing else, you can learn some awesome sea shanties. The soundtrack is spectacular.

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