Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag review

(360/PS3/PC)

Assassin’s Creed is back. Prepare to run, jump and make death defying leaps of faith as you battle once more against the Knights Templar. Oh, and you may find a pirate ship or two along the way…

AssassinsCreed4BlackFlag

 

The Assassin’s Creed series has been a phenomenal success for Ubisoft since the first game was released in 2007. Praised by many for their technical excellence, with outstanding graphics and innovative game play that focused on free running playing style, the games stand as the perfect example of just what an AAA title can technically achieve.

This time around the action is set in the Seven Seas, making for a nice change from the traditional environments which we have become used to in the previous games. The new ocean setting is equally, if not more so, just as stunning to explore.

Graphics have always been a high point of the Assassin’s Creed games, and this one is no exception; you will literally be playing this with your mouth open at times as you take in the sheer splendour of it all. You really will be hard pushed to find more beautiful visuals in a game.

The voice-acting is excellent throughout, along with the ambient music which just adds to the atmosphere. You feel part of the action, rather than just someone who is playing this from the third-person perspective; this is a title that really draws you in. There is certainly more than enough here to keep you coming back long after you have finished the main campaign.

Focused heavily on the pirate’s life, you will find yourself sailing the oceans, exploring the vast environment around you. You can choose to plunder ships or raid ports looking for treasure. Ship to ship combat is a hell of an experience, and you choose how to attack any vessels you find, deciding whether to fire upon them in a heavy barrage or get closer for a damage heavy bombardment and to ram them. Just as with your character, your ship has its own damage meter, and different ships have different means of attack.

Naval combat aside, the same land-based gameplay mechanics are still here, although this time around combat has been beefed up considerably. The free running aspect of the game, which allows you to climb buildings, run and jump across rooftops and perform superhuman acrobatics, is better than before. A common complaint of previous games was the lack of control you had as you tried to pull off these moves. On many an occasion, especially when you were in a hurry, you would find yourself climbing up a wall only to accidently miss-time a jump and send yourself leaping off in the opposite direction. Unfortunately these problems are still prevalent here, but markedly less so thanks to the subtle changes made.

The multiplayer mode that was introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood returns again here, and includes the ability to customise your game modes, including with moves characters are allowed to perform. Hours of pillaging fun guaranteed.

In conclusion this is a game that ticks all the right boxes. A polished effort and one that lives up to the sterling reputation of its predecessors.

Mark Pilkington

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