Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag or The Best Pirate Sim

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is one of those games where you expect the same old, maybe some improvement here or a refinement there. And then BOOM, out of nowhere, you find out the old gameplay and the new elements work together perfectly.

Black Flag is only an Assassin’s Creed game in the second place. First, it is a pirate sandbox, and a damn good one at that. A good sandbox game makes you do whatever you feel like for hours, without caring about time flying by or missions. And this game does exactly that: Rabidgames has spent hours on the open sea, lurking behind enemy ships, attacking, sinking and the occasional fleeing – without thinking about Assassins, Templars or pieces of Eden. Why? Because Black Flag invites you to explore the seas, to weather the storms, to take a risk against two frigates, to take on a massively defended fort or to fight just one more hunter before finally losing notoriety …

And then, there’s Kenway’s Fleet, a simple yet addictive mini-game where you send ships you’ve just captured minutes before in the Carribean seas to various destinations in return for some coin. You also battle enemy ships to unblock your trade routes. If you liked sending assassins to missions in previous games, this will be your main pastime in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. There’s just one issue: Since it is online (you can speed up friends’ ships, and they yours), it keeps you throwing out all the time. Well, just most of the time. Okay, sometimes. Yet again, we witness the age of always-online is not ripe … yet.

But what about the core Assassin’s Creed experience, like stabbing and shit, you ask? Relax, it’s still there. You get to assassinate, eavesdrop, fight and stealth your way through Templars, Englishmen and Spaniards in Black Flag as well, and it is mostly fun so far (the controls are not perfect, and there are too many “follow these guys and spy on their conversation just like the NSA” type missions).

Let’s not give any spoilers for the present day stuff, but rest assured it’s interesting and you’ll get to know some background info about Desmond – and more, including some poisonous propaganda twists.

Rabidgames preys upon Abstergo: Black Flag is surely a pleasant surprise. Instead of pulling another Revelations, Ubisoft listened to us and gave us an adventure full of naval battles AND our annual dose of Assassin’s Creed. It might not be perfect, but so wasn’t private life, matey!

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