Archive for Assassin’s Creed IV

Assassin’s Creed IV:Black Flag or Where Do We Go?

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , on December 13, 2013 by Rabidgames

First of all: You’ll find shitloads of spoilers here! Sail at your own risk.

Second, one paragraph about classic review stuff: Black Flag brought fun back into the series through less linear missions, more things to do and giving us a huge naval sandbox to explore (should we call it a bath tub instead of a sandbox then?). It is not perfect though: Those fucking tailing chores, the awful diving controls and Kenway’s Fleet being online only – meh. Yet, it’s pretty easy to look past these inconveniences after you have brought down a whole fleet, including two Man-of-wars, or after having bombarded a level 3 fort …

But the one thing where Black Flag definitely stands out is the story: Ubisoft combined the present and the past (and the distant past) on an ingenious level; at the beginning, nothing makes sense and everything seems loose, then you slowly start connecting the threads until you realise John/Roberts/The Sage are all one person, Aita, Juno’s former lover, who has been trying to resurrect her. Piece by piece, collecting bottles with messages from “another” Sage, Robert’s strange character and John’s erratic behaviour form one arc spanning time and place. Well done, Ubisoft.

But that’s not where it stops: In the past, Edward’s story differs from the other assassins we’ve known – throughout most of Black Flag, he doesn’t give a monkey’s shit about creeds and orders, he only cares about money, the pirate life and the occasional tail for most of the game, and yet he is a pretty interesting character perfectly fitting the hedonistic pirate theme. True, his ending is pretty weak, but at least Ubisoft acknowledges him settling down and introducing Haytham James B. Kenway with the ironic achievement “saw that one coming…”

Speaking of irony, how did you like to play as Abstergo’s puppet in the present? First thing, Black Flag starts with Abstergo Entertainment as a developer , and then our faceless and nameless avatar is bound to help Abstergo unearth countless mysteries. In the light-hearted beginning, it was all fun and easy-going, and true, not everyone there is a bad, bad person. Again, well played, Ubisoft.

Of course, it doesn’t take long until we meet Rebecca and Shaun, and our friend John asks us to deliver some information, and that’s how the present story comes into motion. Basically, evertyhing that happens at Abstergo, the hacking, the dialogues, the way everyone there is presented, is a nod to Ubisoft itself (maybe they were showing off their own studios) and finally a sign that they’re not taking themselves too seriously. And it mostly because of this leisurely and fun atmosphere (as if games development was that – leisurely fun …), the lockdown and the confrontation with Johnaita later on have more impact by showing us Abstergo’s “paradise” before we get glimpses of the obviously darker truth.

But where do we go from here? With Abstergo’s Olivier disappreared, Juno still too frail and the Assassins severely weakened yet still in the game, the next Assassin’s Creed will have to answer these questions: How will the the present day story evolve? Who will be our avatar, and fingers crossed he’s not nameless and faceless again. And will we be able to stop Juno? Of course, there’s also the big questions: When and where will the next Assassin’s Creed take place? Feudal Japan? China? Victorian London? French Revolution? Ancient Egypt?

Rabidgames muses: Black Flag hit the bull’s eye with a musket. Good gameplay, decent characters, and three timelines uniting in some pretty cool twists. The big arch about the First Civilisation has progressed in an intriguing way, even though it seems to have sidelined. But the best thing is the fact Ubisoft is not taking themselves too seriously. They had fun, and we had fun in the Carribean waters.

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

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2013 by Rabidgames

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!

Assassin’s Creed Reloaded or From Animus 1.0 To 4.0

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Revisited with tags , , , , on October 29, 2013 by Rabidgames

With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag around the corner, why shouldn’t we take a quick look at how the series evolved from its not that humble beginnings? Well, let’s at least have a look at the console games … the handhelds don’t really count after all, do they?

Assassin’s Creed (2007)

Basically, the first Assassin’s Creed is a tech demo. On the plus side, it is a breath taking one. Three huge cities to climb and explore, a story that combines the middle eastern past witnessed by protagonist Altair with the dystopian present (the game was set in 2012), and awesome assassinations. On the other hand, the gameplay was repetitive to no end (9 assassinations, and the preparations played out all the same) and collecting hundreds of flags felt even more pointless than shooting pigeons. There was some gameplay depth missing, and the only things standing out were the interesting beginning and the amazing end of the game. But the game laid the foundations for the Assassin’s Creed series – from introducing the perennial war between Assassins and Templars aka Abstergo, the pieces of Eden to the mind-boggling reliving history through DNA arch we now take for granted.

Assassin’s Creed II (2009)

We switched from Altair to Ezio, a playboy turned Assassin. The second game did a much better job in progressing the story with many new gameplay ideas, and diversity in mission design. This time, we had 2 big cities, 2 towns and one village which doubled as home base. Above all, Assassin’s Creed II was fun; Ezio was more cheerful than the stoic Altair, there was a more fleshed-out backstory taking place throughout Italy, the gameplay included fighting, sneaking, silently assassinating to races, an economy system, tombs to explore Tomb Raider style and puzzles to solve to unlock “The Truth“, and of course this fourth wall breaking ending of the game:

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. There was some feeling of repetition in the middle of the game, and the removal of sequences 12 and 13 to be given back to us as DLC was truly disgraceful. But let’s be honest, that’s just nitpicking …

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010)

The bad news: We went from 6 locations to one, Rome. Although the city was huge, there was a certain element of freedom missing. The good news: The rest of Brotherhood. Be it commanding a full-fledged Assassin’s guild including the arrows storm and sending your soon-to-be Assassins across Europe, the many guild challenges, the Metal Gear Solid style Leonardo missions or the puzzles from Subject 16, the Desmond stuff in the present … Brotherhood had it all. Oh, and Rabidgames should not forget to mention that awesome cliffhanger at the very end of the game! That’s how it’s done.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2011)

For many, Revelations is the low point of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Rabidgames agrees (actually, he never finished the game). Assassin’s Creed II.3 felt like a mere add-on to Brotherhood. Constaninople felt rather weak (different from other cities through architecture only), the Desmond sections went quickly from interesting to fucking boring as hell, the minigame Den Defense was one of the worst tower defense incarnations ever to see the light of virtual day, and the whole game felt a bit stale. If it hadn’t been for the exploring and the refined Mediterranean Defense minigame where you sent your Assassin recruits to missions across Europe once more, Revelations would have been completely boring. Revelations was not entirely bad, but it was several steps below the rest of the games, lacking innovation and surprises. Not exactly the revelation Revelations was hoping for …

Assassin’s Creed III (2012)

Goodbye Ezio, hello Connor. And Haytham first … Assassin’s Creed III was mixed box of entertainment: there was tons of awesome stuff, from hunting (bar the fucking QTEs), climbing trees, the entire frontier, the funny investigations, the decidedly grey story of the American revolution and the treatment of the Indians – and of course, naval battles, the highlight of AC3! Unfortunately, 2 protagonists meant 10 hours of tutorials, the game was full of bugs and glitches, the economy system fell flat on its face, and the missions were even more linear than before. Oh, and while the ending in the past was weak, the ending to Desmond’s story was fucking abysmal, especially because of a dea ex machina and not giving us a damn colour-based choice! At the end of the day, Assassin’s Creed II was a good game marred by questionable design choices and a rather bad technical side. Let’s hope Ubisoft learns from its mistakes.

Rabidgames is looking forward to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013): Why? Assassins and pirates, of course (let’s hope for ninjas, too)! Naval battles, a huge with many islands world to explore, several cities to freerun, a new protagonist and us being Abstergo agents promise an interesting experience.

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag Could Be a True Pirate’s Treasure

Posted in News with tags , , on March 4, 2013 by Rabidgames

Well, well, well, it seems Rabidgames’ concerns (and lame jokes) about Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag were misplaced. Just take a look at the following claims Ubisoft will pour into the game:

  • a huge open world with 50 locations (towns, villages, plantations, islands, caves, forts)
  • three big hubs: Havana (with an European feel), Kingston (like Boston) and Nassau (a pirate town)
  • seamless change between land and sea
  • no loading times!!!
  • different ‘currencies’ (gold, rum, maybe some more)
  • huge, upgradeable ship Jackdaw (from 6 to more than 50 cannons)
  • a crew can be recruited (and they might die)
  •  we’ll be Edward Kenway, Conor’s grandpa, buccaneer and Assassin
  • diving for sunken treasures
  • a spyglass to look for side missions and random events
  • a reputation system
  • hunting whales ( a cheap PR stunt to piss off PETA?)
  • the Ubisoft formula: stabbing sharks in the face!
  • hunting game in the jungles
  • assassinations will be less linear
  • released for the current and the next generation

If just half of the above about Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is true, we might be up for an adventure which will make Jack Sparrow look like a mere deckhand. The only thing quite unknown is the amount of time spent in the present … apart from Eurogamer mentioning we might relive Eddie’s memories as an Abstergo employee, neither Ubisoft says nor people know much about it. We’ll see …

Rabidgames surrenders: There is no need to fight. Just capture Rabidgames’ money already.

Assassin’s Creed of the Carribbean

Posted in News with tags , , on March 3, 2013 by Rabidgames

Alright, the annual output of the franchise will be called Assassin’s Creed 4:Black Flag. The black flag probably does not mean a disqualification. We will slip into the role of an Assassin pirate. Sounds pretty cool now, doesn’t it? Apart from maybe an Assassin pirate ninja cyborg, nothing can beat the awesomeness of an Assassin pirate.

Anyway, let’s think about Assassin’s Creed 4:Black Flag for a moment. First, the name. Assassin’s Creed 4? Really? Come on, Ubisoft, this can’t be right.

Then … pirates? No big cities, no Assassin brotherhood? Seems like Assassin’s Creed 4:Black Flag is likely to put an emphasis on naval battles. Yes, they were fun in Assassin’s Creed 3. Because they were optional. And there were not too many.

Now there are two ways this could play out. Option 1: Many naval battles, small islands to explore, 1 or 2 big hubs. Option 2: A huge open sea world with some cities, more villages and many islands. Considering Ubisoft’s annual output and us liking naval battles, option 1 seems like a safe, and rather sad, bit.

Anyway, Ubisoft has just released the first trailer for Assassin’s Creed 4:Black Flag. There are rumours the main character will be a man called Edward Kenway, and he might be the father of our favourite colonial era James Bond, Haytham Kenway (you know, Connor’s father and stuff).

Rabidgames wonders: We have a name and a trailer. And rumours. And a fucking awesome pirate/Assassin flag. There are two big questions: Will the game be open-world? And will it be a next-gen game? Only time will tell how and where we will be able to capture vessels in the way of a proper pirate …