Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review (Part 2)
November 29, 2013

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review (Part 2)

Be sure to read Part 1.

In this second part to the review of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag we’ll discuss the combat, because what could be more important than stabbing a guy in the neck with a Spanish rapier?

Whales. Whales are way more important than that.

AC4: Black Flag has brought along the same elements of combat from AC3 with no real addition to how we counter and block. The character needs to always stay on the offensive; otherwise you’ll have a handful of Spanish soldiers swinging at you all at once. Of course a lot more room has been made for a defensive stance, but going that route will slow down combat really quick.

Edward chooses dual swords as his weapon of choice, a big change-up from previous characters in the series. Instead of being a defensive fighter, Edward is all about speed and maneuverability, meaning that he chooses to get as many hits in as possible before vanishing to another part of the area to start all over again. His dual swords are as quick as they are deadly, but his ability to bring in his pistols is the icing on the cake.

Pistols have been redone in combat to reflect the ease of access to your ranged fire button without slowing you down. What this means is that the simplest of gunshots can be given in any direction as long as you don’t slow down the pace of the fight to admire the bloodshed. In a big way this makes pistols a subtle, if not minuscule change to Black Flag. Sadly, I’m still a bit confused about who I’m supposed to be countering, since some enemies are attacking without warning while others do.

This is probably the game trying to train me to read enemy movements without warning signs, but I think it should be a choice if the warnings will be turned off. Not having a system or setting to fix this really bothers me as I have to jump back and forth to different observation styles, which can be very frustrating if you want a flawless victory. For now I can live with it, but Ubisoft should really take a note out of Arkham Origin’s book on proper counter and strike design.

Also, newer enemy types have been tweaked so that the takedowns are much more balanced and quicker. I still can’t strike a brute without being punched in the head, but at least I understand what buttons I’m supposed to be pressing this time around. For the most part, enemies have a very fun variety and will easily be a challenge to newcomers and veterans of Assassin’s Creed.

Apart from a different animation system, Edward doesn’t really add anything drastic to the combat other than a few gunshot wounds. This might sound a bit daunting but the game is much more than its combat system. I could discuss at lengths what could have been added to the combat, but it’s much easier to just call it good.

Black Flag’s combat is good, not great, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

Image Credit: Ubisoft

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