Review

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Anchors Away

Assassin’s Creed IV captures the excitement of a life on the Seven Seas.

By Drew Toal • October 31, 2013

[Note: All images were provided by the publisher and are taken from the PlayStation 4 version of the game. They are not representative of the version currently on shelves.—Ed.]

“Up that rigging, you monkeys! Aloft! There’s no chains to hold you now. Break out those sails and watch them fill with the wind that’s carrying us all to freedom!” So commanded Errol Flynn in his role as Peter Blood, the doctor-cum-pirate captain at the heart of the 1935 buccaneer film, Captain Blood. Blood, adhering to the Hippocratic oath, helps an enemy soldier who had been grievously wounded. He’s tried and convicted for treason by some dusty old bewigged English magistrates, but through a remarkable set of circumstances, gets his own ship and bonny crew and trades in his stethoscope for a cutlass and a life of raiding the Seven Seas.

Likewise, the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Edward Kenway (eventual grandfather to a primary character in Assassin’s Creed III), finds himself a product of circumstance. After being shipwrecked, he fights and kills a turncoat Assassin transporting valuable information to the Templar order in Havana. He assumes the dead man’s identity, fulfills the mission, and gets sucked into a war between the two factions that has raged hundreds of years. As to which side he comes down on, that remains to be seen. He’s a pirate, and he’ll go where there’s the greatest chance of profit.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Black Flag comes during a lull in the series. After the back-to-back triumphs of Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood, the next two installments—Revelations and Assassin’s Creed III—were mostly underwhelming. Black Flag turns things around by channeling what Captain Blood promised his men—the freedom afforded by a life on the high seas—and bringing joy back into historical fiction-based contract murder.

Like the previous games, Black Flag takes place in a world where people can plug into a machine called an “animus” and explore history through the memories of dead people. It has always been an extremely clumsy storytelling device, and that hasn’t changed. The coupling of past and present is as stilted and awkward as ever, and it’s a huge bummer whenever you are pulled out of the past and back to the dull-as-dirt present. The out-of-animus experience in Black Flag, though, is less invasive than usual and doesn’t do much to ruin the good times. Rather than being on the run from Templar killers, your present day character is working for Abstergo, a Templar-run conglomerate that is leveraging the animus experience as high-tech entertainment for the paying public. You’re charged with testing out the Edward Kenway module, playing a pirate fantasy for a company selling a pirate fantasy, all of which is imagined by a company (the game’s publisher, Ubisoft) that is selling a pirate fantasy. There’s a lot of meta self-deprecation here. Later, you’re pulled into some corporate espionage, and pieces of the larger Assassin’s Creed narrative are revealed for…

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Wait, I’m up! Where were we? That’s right, pirate fantasy. The game proper begins after Kenway’s cover is blown in Havana. With the help of a fellow prisoner, Kenway slips his manacles, seizes the ship, and sets sail for the pirate enclave in Nassau.

Kenway, it should be noted, acquired more than just the murdered Assassin’s garments. He somehow also acquires all of his deadly fighting skills. When on land, Black Flag functions like all the other games in the series. You adroitly climb lookout towers to get a better view of things. You take Assassin contracts and eliminate targets for monetary rewards. You hide from the fuzz in hay stacks. Money can be used to upgrade your outfit, your blades, your pistols, and your ship. You can also hunt animals and use their carcasses for crafting special upgrades. (If I get mauled by one more stupid leopard, I swear I’m going to kill all the leopards in the Spanish Main and somehow make my sails out of leopard skin.)

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Shipboard is where the game really differentiates itself. While there was a little taste of life at sea in Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag focuses more on the naval shenanigans. This is where that aforementioned pirate fantasy comes to life. Your crew, jaunty sea dogs that they are, will sing pirate shanties and other songs of the sea as you sail among the myriad islands peppering the map, squalls and rogue waves buffeting your boat along the way. Engaging enemy ships is a tense affair and a good deal more difficult than the neck-stabbing you practice on land. The idea is to disable an opposing ship using a combination of fire barrels, cannons, chain shot, and mortars, then board her via rope swing, and finally kill enough enemy sailors that they’ll strike colors and turn the ship and its contents over to you. (Tactics learned from the seminal Sid Meier’s Pirates! are surprisingly applicable.) Nimbleness is a virtue, as one or two broadsides from a large frigate will turn your precious Jackdaw into kindling.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

At times, Black Flag feels like two separate games. Your pirate pals are always trying to convince Kenway to abandon his dream of Templar super-treasure and be satisfied with the more modest haul afforded by raiding ships. My buccaneer brethren had me convinced. I was content to raid the coast ad infinitum and spend my spare booty on barrels of grog. But Kenway is of a different, more ambitious mind, and to advance the game’s story you must push forward into the Templar-Assassin war. This aspect is passably amusing in its own right—it wouldn’t be much of an Assassin’s Creed game if there were no assassinations—but when on land for too long, I found myself yearning for the freedom of the open ocean.

Black Flag’s developers have crafted a terrific pirate simulator, throwing in everything but the asshole parrot. It’s handcuffed to the Assassin’s Creed legacy, even though the two aren’t a natural fit. If it’s the end result of Ubisoft dedicating itself to sure-thing blockbuster games, then it’s a shame because Kenway’s adventure could easily stand on its own without the Assassin-Templar nonsense. However, even with the added weight of series conventions, Black Flag affords enough freedom that it’s easy and exciting to forgo your Assassin responsibilities in favor of plundering and sending the King’s navy into the briny deep. Forget all that Assassin mumbo jumbo. It’s a pirate’s life for me.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: Available now—PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U; Available November 19— PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Price: $60
Rating: M

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  • Lawrence Allen

    You forgot to address the most important issue: how long do the tutorials last?

    • Drew Toal

      Oh my bad. Not long!

    • JamesJournal

      This is the polar opposite of AC3. The story starts In Medias Res re-explanations of standard AC gameplay is token at most.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle

        So you meet the main character before the 6 hour mark of the game this time? What sort of madness is this?

      • Lawrence Allen

        Not to relitigate a dead issue, but I think the endless tutorials on AC3 were probably the most condescending thing I’ve seen in a game since the ’90s obsession with putting nearly-naked women in everything. It was like “Yeah, this is the third game in the series, and yeah, we didn’t really add anything all that new, but you’re probably really stupid, and we need to spend 10 minutes explaining how the notoriety system works.”

        • JamesJournal

          What was really weird for me about that was I was expecting some cool “Batman Begins shit” but the actually training is skipped over while you play as Conner’s dad and do a bunch of bullshit.

          • Carlton_Hungus

            Had those missions not been stupid easy and boring training missions, I feel like the twist at the end would have been much more palatable. I definitely liked the idea of the twist

            *SPOILERS FOR A HATED GAME*

            It showed the similarities of the Templar and Assassins. It was weird to then kill all the people you’d recruited looking all drunk, slovenly and evil once their true nature was revealed.

            *END SPOILERS*

            But the fact that it was just six hours of condescending tutorial really took the polish off that turd.

          • JamesJournal

            The twist may have worked if it happened faster. Maybe if there were just two or three Haytham intro missions. But nope. They let it drag forever. Then they let Conner’s origin drag forever

          • Carlton_Hungus

            Yeah, you’re reward for completing the father’s six-hour tutorial missions and revealing the true main character was: MORE TRAINING! Terrible execution of what could have been interesting in Haytham’s missions. The Connor training missions were simply inexcusable crap.

          • Michael

            Yeah I like the Haytham stuff a lot actually but then playing two sequences as a youth is what kills the momentum of the story.

            It’s the overall structure that pissed me off because I like doing all the side missions and challenges and stuff and you can’t really start doing some until sequence 5, the rest until sequence 6, and then you can’t do any during 8 or 9 (when you’re in the prison). So it’s just paced all terrible.

          • Michael

            I never felt the Haytham part was all “training” missions. I mean you’re stealing/raiding/killing, all the normal AC stuff, so what’s the difference?

        • Michael

          But you’re assuming everyone that played AC3 had played all the previous ones?

          • Lawrence Allen

            A tutorial that extensive for the fifth game in a series is really stupid. Games like it had been around for at least five years and, aside from the boats, AC3 played almost exactly like all the other games in the series. By way of comparison, look at Brotherhood or 2, both of which blow through all their tutorial shit in under an hour and then let you get on with the game.

          • Michael

            Actually they changed a some of the controls for free-running and fighting with AC3.

            AC3 didn’t have a lot of actual tutorials, it had large chunks of the story that were called “training” or whatever.

            I mean really in AC3 you “learn” how to do everything important except drive a boat in the first couple of missions.

      • dreadguacamole

        Thanks for clearing that up. I despised AC3, but everything that I’ve seen and heard of this one has me pretty excited.
        It’s weird what a huge difference tone can make in a game. (See also: Arkham Origins)

  • NakedSnake

    Norman Mailer: “Glorious…I never enjoyed a novel more than Captain Blood.”

  • impromptuJ

    I hated, hated, HATED Assassin’s Creed III. It’d take a lot of convincing for me to go back to this series again–like, an assurance that Ubisoft basically tore up practically everything that was “new and different” in AC3 and basically started over.

    Just tell me this–are there cool pirate cities to run amuck in?

    • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle

      They’re churning these damn games out at a rate of one a year, so it’s pretty safe to assume that it’s a same shit/different bucket situation.

      The only way I’d give AC4 a chance is if the pirate action was more along the lines of this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zuN11L7T6A

    • Drew Toal

      Yeah I don’t blame you. I don’t really even love the “good” AC games, but this one is right in my wheelhouse.

    • Michael

      Well there’s one pirate city, Nassau, their HQ, then two more cities, one Spanish one British (Havanah, Kingston).

      The pirate action is all about the boat apparently (I haven’t gotten that far I just started), but even the game designers said they did that on purpose, it’s basically a pirate game.

  • Morning_Wodehouse

    No asshole parrots? pass.

    Hopefully they fix this with downloadable content.

    • teebob2000

      After the first DLC playing as Adewale, the next one is rumored to be called “AC4: SQUAAAAAWK!!” but that’s all I’ll say.

  • http://gameological.com/author/jasonreich/ Jason Reich

    I lost interest after the first AC, but this might be the one that brings me back to the series.

    • teebob2000

      AC2 is definitely worth a play, then Brotherhood. Great for the series and the Assassin-Templar mythos.

  • DrFlimFlam

    I wasn’t high on this game until reviews started saying that it’s a real Assassin’s Creed but SUPER PIRATEY. Then I was all, “Ooohhhhhhhh.”

    • Raging Bear

      I probably wouldn’t be buying it if it wasn’t also a PS4 launch game, but I’m definitely chuffed to hear positive things about it. I suppose I should try to force myself to finish III and/or Liberation in the next two weeks, though.

      • Drew Toal

        Bah. Don’t torture yourself. But this one is pretty sweet.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Screw pirates. I want Assassin’s Creed:Ninjas. Or AC:Robots.

      • http://blinkinglightsandbleepingnoises.blogspot.co.uk/ The Visible Man

        I am desperate for Assassin’s Creed: Tokugawa Shogunate.

        • DrFlimFlam

          Eventually we’ll realize that Sam Fisher is just the latest assassin, and the circle will be complete.

          • JamesJournal

            I remember thinking the original concept for Splinter Cell Conviction feeling like it would be a modern day AC, like exactly.

            As in, when I was let down by AC I remember thinking “Gee, Conviction is going to cream this next year.” Then the real Conviction launched and I was sad again. But I had AC 2 which was awesome

      • Michael

        I read somewhere a while back (but sorry don’t have the reference) that AC team were hesitant to do a ninja or samurai game because there are already so many.
        I can see where they’re coming from but also I like the AC mechanics enough that it could be good, but would need a compelling story (something the franchise has had a problem with since 2)

        • gfburke

          Too many ninja games, but apparently there’s lots of room for another pirate game!

      • Malkovich Malkovich

        I always thought Victorian London would make for a great setting. But maybe it would be too gun-focused to work in this series.

  • The_Misanthrope

    That Ubisoft “blockbuster or nothing” statement just makes me sad. And I’ve heard similar statements from other big game publishers. Mind you, Ubisoft probably does a better job with their big franchises than most, but it still feels like a ruinous and creatively-bankrupt way of thinking. Blockbusters have to stay on the cutting edge, which means more money thrown into bloated graphical spectacle. which means that they have to continually one-up their previous sales (or conversely, screw over their employees) figure to keep a profit margin. It’s like they built a money-eating machine that will seize up if it is continually fed money and if that happens, they’ll just have to research and built a faster money-eating machine.

    At the same time, the indie market may not be lucrative, but it is sustainable, at the very least.

    • SamPlays

      I know some of us were puffing up IGN yesterday but they have a good article on the state of horror games in the current industry and how the emergent bureaucracy and massive budgets of big-name game developers and publishers have essentially stifled some of the creativity – there is no room for risk when fortune-sized investments demand mainstream acceptance in order to make a profit. The horror theme is purely topical for Halloween and the comments apply to all genre of games. It seems like a handful of developers have left (or are contemplating leaving) for the “independent” market because of greater flexibility, artistic license and, hey, some people realize that bigger budgets often suppress creative thinking.

      http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/10/30/where-the-scary-things-are-whatever-happened-to-real-horror-video-games

      • beema

        Except that horror is alive and thriving, just not in the AAA realm, and that’s fine by me.

        • SamPlays

          Yeah, that’s the key message of the article – it’s not suggesting horror games are in decline. The indie market is where niche ideas are thriving while AAA can’t afford any flops, which is why reliability and mass appeal are the driving factor behind so many franchises and new IPs.

    • Drinking_with_Skeletons

      But there’s also been an explosion of independent titles, partly in response to this and partly because the tools and knowledge needed to make games have become more widespread. The consoles (well, Sony at least) seem to realize that being able to offer smaller, less mainstream titles alongside the AAA juggernauts adds a touch of prestige that helps keep everyone invested.

      I think we may also be discounting the workhorse studios that produce solid titles that don’t necessarily get a lot of publicity. For example, and maybe I’m underestimating it, but I never got the impression that InFamous was an especially big franchise, yet it has done well enough that Sucker Punch has made two of them and a third is going to be a launch title for the PS4. Mechanically sound and possessing better-than-average writing, the franchise chugs along without the kind of fanfare you see for Gears of War or Uncharted, yet I think it stands alongside those titles in terms of general scope and quality.

    • Newton Gimmick

      I’m surprised that the AAA game publishers aren’t setting up indie imprints. Hollywood studios have had a fair amount of success with that approach (e.g. Fox Searchlight). A good $1,000,000 movie can make $50,000,000 just as easily as a bad $100,000,000 movie.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        The big publishers have quietly been publishing smaller titles alongside their blockbusters, like Ubisoft did with I Am Alive and EA did with Warp and Deathspank. I expect we’ll be seeing more of this in the future.

      • JamesJournal

        It is like people didn’t notice how The Walking Dead was mega popular

        • SamPlays

          TWD sold 1.3 million copies across platforms worldwide. However, the mega-popularity of the game isn’t solely a function of the game itself or a demonstration of the independent market – it represents the benefit of having a pre-established market for a product. Before the game, TWD had a loyal following with its comics and more so with the TV show (at the time of the game it was drawing 10 million viewers a week). In all fairness, the popularity of the game looks like an anomaly in the independent game market, especially when you compare it to other high-profile “indies” like Journey*. Perhaps the lesson is that “indie” games can make a big splash with the right license at the right time.

          *If you want a fair comparison, TWD sold 370,000 units on PS3. Journey sold 30,000 even though both are considered “critical darlings”.

  • dmikester

    Just started playing it, and i’m having a somewhat unexpected reaction to it. Because there’s no explanation whatsoever for why you get your magical Assassin powers, and there’s so little setup for Kenway’s character, it’s still fun and pretty, but it feels really by the numbers, like I’ve never been more aware that I was going through the motions of playing an Assassin’s Creed game as I have with this one.

    I’m one of those crazy people that has gotten every single collectible in every AC, so your mileage will likely vary, but when I was able to just suddenly go and clear out Havana’s collectibles with pretty much no limits about two hours into the game (if that), I got pulled out of the illusion of being an assassin and had more of a dear god more collectibles in an AC game feeling. I never thought I would miss the slow build that’s been in previous games (and while I liked Haytham’s intro in AC 3 unlike everyone else, it definitely dragged on way, way too long, so I’m talking more like AC 2′s slow build with Ezio), but there you go. Still, I haven’t gotten to actual pirating yet, so I know it’ll pick up and not feel like the others soon. But still…

    • Drew Toal

      Yeah they really gloss over the magical assassin powers, for sure. Maybe it’s his magic suit?

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Mild-mannered school teacher Edward Kenway is given a magical assassin suit by alien pirates. But he has to learn how to use his new powers by trial and error when he loses the instruction manual!

        Believe it or not

        I’m a Killin’ Corsair
        I never thought I could sail the see-ee-eea!

        Sneakin’ around, stabbin you in your lair!
        Who could it be?
        Believe it ARR not, it’s just me!

        • Chum Joely

          Awesome. Here’s the link to the original theme song for all you youngsters who were never subjected to the power of 80s dramedies.

    • Michael

      My experience is similar to yours, I was also clearing out the Havanah map before starting on pirating.
      You’re also right it’s odd that Edward can do Assassiny things off the bat. The reason is Ubi heard an avalanche of complaints about the previous game that you don’t start being Assassin until too late in the game, so here they bounced it back to the opposite extreme.

      It’s a case of a “you can’t please everybody.” I have already seen complaints- much more visceral and critical than your reasonable observation- that there is no “ramp up.” Looks like game designers just erred on the other side perhaps.

      • dmikester

        I think the issue here is that they spent so much time in every other game making the powers be magical and take a serious amount of effort to attain. So by totally removing the build up, it’s not even that it feels awkward, but it doesn’t work with the internal logic of the series. Granted, this one is being treated as a simulation by Abstergo and openly admits that there are inaccuracies for the sake of entertainment (I love the database entry for the cathedral in Havana that exists when it shouldn’t because people demand “climbable buildings”), so maybe that’s part of their justification, that Abstergo doesn’t get how assassin powers work and just gloss over it. As I sort of mentioned in my first comment, I’m surprised I’m having this reaction, but I’m feeling less pulled in by this one than I have by any of the others, and I can’t help but wonder if it feeling more inconsequential than the others because of the lack of buildup is part of it.

  • CrabNaga

    As someone who detested the ship segments in AC3 (mainly because the optional objectives were ridiculously annoying to complete and very easy to fail), is this game for me? Do I need to worry about stupid little qualifiers like how many ships I’m ramming, or how many masts I break? And does ducking still magically prevent your ship from taking damage in a broadside?

    • Drew Toal

      Tough call. There’s not too much in the way of stupid little qualifiers, but you might have to run up the mast and take down their flag, right before you jump off and stab their captain from a million feet up.

      • CrabNaga

        I was more concerned about the optional objectives that you can fail, rather than things that you’re meant to do in the mission itself. Basically I’m a junkie for 100%ing games, and they handled the optional objectives really poorly in the AC3 boat missions because most of them were very easy to fail and checkpoints were almost unheard of in said missions. If there’s little in the way of optional things that prevent me from playing the pirating segments without a care in the world, I’d consider that a marked improvement.

        • Raging Bear

          Oh man, those optional objectives bum me out, at least in the main missions (as I didn’t play pretty much any boat missions). As a deeply insecure person, I find being constantly chided for failing even when really doing perfectly fine to be a very distressing form of cognitive dissonance. It really contributed to my lack of motivation to finish III.

          At least GTA V (and, I think, some others that have used this mechanic) had the decency to only point these things out to you after the fact, or only made a point of them at all on mission replays. That’s much preferable to having big red Xes in your face when you unknowingly violate one arbitrary parameter after another the first damn time through a mission.

          • JamesJournal

            I hate the gamification of AC games (this game insults me more by having me rate each fucking mission. Working really really hard to break the illusion that I’m a pirate doing pirate shit) but for the most part, I just ignore that shit and play the game

          • Morning_Wodehouse

            For what it’s worth – the optional objectives only show up when you start the mission and after you finish. Most of the time there are only two – one of which is really easy and you usually end up hitting anyway.

            They are much better here than in AC3, which I felt forced you into a certain way of doing the mission.

    • Michael

      The game makers in the run up made a big to-do about how they’ve lightened up on the optionals and how there is more “freedom.”
      Yesterday I tried my first assassination contract (I will wait until I have guns and other stuff before I try to do more) and there was an “optional” objective of doing it without getting into combat. But when I failed, it didn’t give my a red YOU FAILED notification nor does it mess up my sync score (I think?), rather I just didn’t get extra money.

  • stakkalee

    Jesus, it feels like they only just release ACIII and we’re already at the next sequel? The quality and complexity of the individual games in the series has been on a downward slide, with Ubisoft continually paring down the experience, removing all the unique, unexpected elements from the games (why yes, I DO still miss the crypto puzzles from ACII.) At least with the last one I thought we’d get a really interesting “divided loyalty” character in Haytham, but he turns out to be just another antagonist for another boring hero; at least Ezio had style. I really wish Ubisoft wasn’t wedded to their blockbusters and was more willing to let games stand on their own, rather than rely on name recognition to make most of their sales. This sounds like another title that should have been a standalone game, but that had the assassin elements bolted on so it would tie in to the franchise. At any rate, I’ll probably still play this, but no way am I going to pay for it; this is a discount-sale-or-borrow game for me.

    • Michael

      Why is releasing them every year a problem? I mean I know it’s a big criticism but I just don’t get it. I mean either a game is good or it isn’t, who cares if it’s called “Assassins Creed” or not.

      I see these as yearly entries in anthology series. They all take place in different places and time periods with different people, so it’s not like it’s yearly Zeldas or Marios.

      • stakkalee

        My issue with the yearly release schedule is just that it makes it obvious (to me at least) that the game is a cash-grab. Ubisoft’s goal wasn’t to make the best game they possibly could and get that on the shelves, their goal was to slap the “Assassin’s Creed” title on another quickie that uses the same tired mechanics as all the previous entries in the series and get that on the shelves a year to the day after the last one; the fact that this one includes pirate elements is simply because they realized they’d hit on a great mechanic in the last game with all of the sea missions, and rather than spend the time and the money to fully develop THAT idea into a kickass game to buckle your swash with they just joined all the parts together Frankenstein-style because they know slapping AC4 on the cover will boost their sales a couple hundred percent. It’s just naked cynicism on the parts of the AAA developers, preying on our love of nostalgia and the familiar.

        • Michael

          Ok well that’s true to some extent I’m sure, I mean yeah it’s a “cash grab,” of course they want their games to be profitable..
          But it seems like you’d be cool with a pirate game that uses the mechanics of AC3. But really that’s all AC4 is. Well that plus a little but if AC “mythology” nonsense.

          I mean you can totally play this thing as a pirate game and forget it’s AC for like 90% of it, it seems.

          • teebob2000

            Agree 100%. They ARE after all in the business of making money (hence the proliferation of DLC content, but that’s a different thread).

            However, in this case it doesn’t feel to me like a rush-job to just slap a new coat of paint on AC3 and get it into stores ASAP. It’s quite deep in its own right; the writing and character development are really well done, even the secondary ones. (I liked Edward more after an hour playing than I did the Connor in the entire play-through of AC3, though that’s a low bar for me.) Stede Bonnet is one of the more entertaining NPCs I’ve come across in a game in a long time.

  • Chum Joely

    Happy Halloween, everyone! Just a reminder that voting is still open until midnight for the next edition of our Game Revue Club on Steam:

    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/gameological/discussions/2/792924952789854447

    There are 13 candidates in the running (no Assassin’s Creed this time out, though). We currently have a three-way tie for first place between Alpha Protocol, Dark Souls, and Papers Please, with several other games including Bastion and Hotline Miami still within striking distance if they get another 2-3 votes.

    We’ve had great participation so far, with 17 Gameologicians already voting. Join in now if you want to participate in the vote, or any time in the next few weeks if the game we choose tonight is to your liking.

    • ProfFarnsworth

      We really need someone to vote for Sterling “duchess” Thorton, i.e. Alpha Protocol. I love that game and encourage everyone to go and vote!

      • dreadguacamole

        Oh, ok then. But only because I love that beautiful, spastic mess of a game.

      • CrabNaga

        Counter-point: Dark. Souls.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Is it too late to switch my first (wasted) vote from Euro Truck Simulator to also be Dark Souls, or is each person only allowed one vote per game? ;)

          • CrabNaga

            Nope, once per game. You can switch Dark Souls to your first vote, however..

    • beema

      The only one of those games I own is Bastion, and I hate that. Guess I’m out

  • duwease

    Funny, Dr. Cum Pirate is *my* favorite buccaneer film!

    • Chum Joely

      I kind of want to vote this up and down at the same time. Since Disqus won’t allow that, I’m going with the up vote.

      • duwease

        My hope is, 3 months from now, someone will go on a rant about how the comment quality degraded so much after the Big Change, and they will link to this specific comment as proof.

        • Carlton_Hungus

          Won’t somebody think of the children!

    • Carniverous Ruminant

      Dammit. I raced down here to make a cum pirate joke. Kudos.

  • doyourealize

    I skipped on 3, but this one sounds interesting enough to bring me back. I can’t figure out, though, if that’s only because I want to make sure I have something for my PS4 on launch day.

  • His_Space_Holiness

    This is exactly the angle I was looking for from a review of this game. Neither I nor anyone in the universe has ever cared about the Assassin’s Creed backstory, but a good pirate simulator game has been sorely lacking since, well, the last remake of Pirates!

    Although there was that bizarre Pirates! ripoff for PS2 I once got for Christmas. It was called Buccaneers! and starred an ex-Confederate soldier with an alternate personality who explained the controls to you via aural hallucination. Points for creativity, fewer points for being a giant pile of crap.

  • snazzlenuts

    I never played AC3, so I have no idea how the sea battles work, but please tell me the ships are easier to maneuver than Leonardo’s inventions in Brotherhood.

    • Michael

      I think the Leonardo inventions were supposed to be clumsy to operate, since they were prototypes. That actually made it part of the fun I thought.

      No the ships are real smooth- a little too smooth IMO. In AC3 once I got the hang of it I was able to fit in tight corners and engage real slick against enemies, which is odd for a huge wooden vessel on a choppy ocean. But I can’t imagine striking a better balance between “realism” and “fun factor”

      • snazzlenuts

        Cool! Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Bare/2015246 Andrew Bare

    That there’s a new AC game isn’t really a surprise; UbiSoft’s been churning out one a year for a while now.

    I am a little intrigued by the decision to go to a new number and protagonist so soon after III, instead of going the “Assassin’s Creed: New Subtitle” route with another game for Conner.

    I mean, I’m happy. Conner was so boring he actually made me anticipate the Desmond segments, which, you know, says a lot. Especially coming off the Ezio games, which did a great job crafting and developing a compelling character I really cared about, Conner was a major disappointment.

    I do wish we’d eventually get that AC game set in the French Revolution. Man, I’ve been thinking up plots for that game for years.

    • JamesJournal

      Games sell better with the number. Conner’s grandfather is far cooler than his son and grandson. But he isn’t the second coming of Ezio either.

      Really, I think the Ezio trilogy is all the AC we really need

    • Michael

      Connor was not well received as a character that’s why they went elsewhere. And their naming convention has always been: new character = new number.

  • dreadguacamole

    Please tell me the assassin is going to parkour over that crocodile’s snout!

  • RJC

    I kind of lost interest after

    **Spoilers for Revelations**Rose got murdered**OK spoilers done** so I didn’t bother with AC3 at release, then got warned away from it after. Will I have any trouble picking up the storyline if I just skip AC3?

    • JamesJournal

      Nope. So far, this game’s story is completely stand alone. Edward Kenway’s story has nothing to do with Ezio or Conner. And in the present day you no longer play as Desmond, but a new hire at Abstergo with no background in the conspiracy.

      This could very well be your introduction to AC

  • huge_jacked_man

    but i dont wanna be a pirate

  • zgberg

    As soon as I hear Animus, I run. Worst idea ever to bring that into this story. It completely takes away from the immersion.

    • Michael

      It’s the Maguffin that enables the games’ conceit. Considering it only takes up a tiny percentage of game play, whatever. At this point it’s like a silly little diversion.

      • http://utau-inu.com/ Brain Stew

        It’s the Maguffin that used be a Kristen Bell content delivery system in the first 4 games.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      As soon as I hear Animus, I think Animality, which is totally terrible.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B2BePH56dA&feature=player_detailpage#t=49

  • LeGrandSigh

    So, I’m interested in this for the pirate stuff, but I’ve never played an Assassin’s Creed besides 30 minutes of the first game. Is it possible to just jump in with this one?

    • Michael

      Yep. It’s a pirate game with occasional assassin stuff in there.

    • JamesJournal

      Yes, the story is a stand alone adventure. AC 1-3 are continuity TV and require background. AC4 is almost like the Resident Evil 4 of AC, only it stands on it’s own even more than that.

      This could easily be your first AC game

    • teebob2000

      Yeah, as long as you’re OK with button-mashing to fight AI opponents (and I don’t mean that as a negative), you should be good.

      And you REALLY need to play AC2 and Brotherhood. They’re phenomenal and you can pick them up used pretty cheap.

  • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

    I’ve been wanting a good pirate game forever, can’t wait for this game

  • AngeloGoudeau

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    • marsh

      So, I’m interested in this for the pirate stuff, but I’ve never played an Assassin’s Creed besides 30