November 26, 2013
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review (Part 1)
Strap on your swashbuckling boots, because we’re going to hunt us some booty.
I have always wanted to say that.
Thank you, Assassin’s Creed. You’ve broadened my pirate vocabulary.
Ubisoft has brought another sky diving adventure in the Assassin’s lore with Black Flag, the fourth installment in the Assassin’s franchise on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Since annualizing Assassin’s Creed with Brotherhood and Revelations, many fans have expressed worry and doubt that Ubisoft can keep up with the quality of the franchise without suffering another year’s absence of games. Ironically, Black Flag is the largest and most ambitious Assassin’s game since Brotherhood, even living up to the standards of previous games while simultaneously thrashing them in innovation and design.
Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a pirate in the early 18th century who’s trying to make a quick fortune sailing the high seas, killing and plundering all in the name of freedom. If you’ve been following the Assassin’s storyline, than you’ll know that Edward is the grandfather of Connor, the main character from the previous entry in the series. And just like Connor, Edward has as much stamina as he does an overbearing ego.
The story picks up with Edward sailing on a ship, before being attacked by pirates. It’s a very interesting change of pace compared to AC3, which took up to three hours to finally get to the main character’s story. Edward’s ship is trashed in an ensuing naval battle, but his ship’s captain is also assassinated in the middle of all of the commotion by a hooded figure in robes. We already know that Edward will kill this assassin and don his uniform, but it was shocking to actually watch it happen. Edward believes in riches and luxury, even if it means that he’ll have to slit a few throats to get there. He’s not what we would call an anti-hero, but he’s definitely a work in progress.
You will see this work in progress as the story continues to pick up after Edward gets his first robes. He lies and cheats his way into appearing as an Assassin to his peers, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve watched previous generations of assassins kill and stab as many men as their arms will allow them, but none of them ever asked about the possibility of being mixed up in the wrong war. Edward is the exception.
Edward isn’t concerned with moral ambiguity, or even saving lives for the sake of justice. Like many other pirates of his time Edward is only worried about lining the insides of his pockets with delicious gold, and it will take a lot of sailing to truly bring in the cheddar. What can be more refreshing than playing as a bad guy for a little while?
The change is more than welcomed, and there’s so much more to discuss. More on this review in future blogs to come!
Image Credit: Ubisoft