Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Early Review

As friends would know, I am a die hard fan of the Assassin’s Creed Franchise, my boss often wonders if I am channelling a 12 year old boy in a 35 year old woman’s body… I’ve been trying to explain the characters, Kenway is Connors grandfather, as I detail the figurines on my desk, “You know its not real” he says…

Yesterday was the launch of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag in Australia, I picked up my pre-ordered buccaneer edition for Xbox and proudly have the map attached to my study wall and the figurine sitting on my desk at work.  I also picked up the book which takes you through the entire game, its essentially a really big, detailed walk-through.  I know I’ve been sucked in to spend more money, frankly, I’m ok with that, it has beautiful illustrations and will help me get the perfect score.

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Onto the game, I really love it.  It does feel like its a slight mash up of the earlier editions featuring Ezio and AC4, but with that comes a sense of familiarity.  The four dancers are back that you can hire to distract guards  and help you blend in.  You can also hire four strapping men to be your ‘body guards’ and fight for you.  They have brought across the ability to jump into a window and an auto sequence starts to get you through the building when trying to escape the local law enforcement.  I haven’t come across horses yet, but I have caught and skinned an ocelot, iguana and alligator and have crafted some new tools. Another element that is back is going into the pigeon carrier house and taking an assassination contract.

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The coolest part of this game I think so far is being on the water, on your big ship.  Being able to bring a crew to its knees and steal their sugar and rum is fun and bulks out the game time from the main quests.  The sandbox approach to the sailing is also a lot more fun than AC4, and there are way more boats to plunder and destroy.  I haven’t found any underground tunnel systems yet, but I am only a few hours into the game.  I also see that later on I will be able to explore below, down into the oceans depths, am really looking forward to that, reminds me a little of Tomb Raider when Lara has to swim outside the submarine and avoid the sharks.  One element that I love is being able to stop your boat at any time, jump off and go and explore a little atoll or beach in search of treasure, game or information.  This game has a really open world feel to it on the ocean, not so much on the land.

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All in all the game is fun, easy to play if you aren’t new to it although it feels as though the enemies are a little easier to kill than in AC4.  If you are new to the story you could easily enter the franchise at this point.  It almost feels that all the mythology and background story is over and now its just business as usual on the planet earth.  No sign of Juno yet…

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