Ep2: It shouldn’t be called Assassin’s Creed 4, it should be Sailing Ship Manager 2013.

–This is not an in-depth review of the game, it’s simply my opinion that I’m putting out there. I don’t believe I (still) have the amount of experience required to write a full review for a game.

Assassin’s Creed is a great franchise. I’m not a hardcore fan and I haven’t finished all titles, I didn’t even play AC2, which is considered by many to be the best one, but I have had my fair share of game time. I really enjoy history and I love games about history, even if it is not a 100% accurately portrayed. I loved playing as Altair, Ezio or Connor, lurking in the middle of the crowds and tearing sh*t up from there; I’ll just never  see the AC games as stealth games. But I still enjoyed them. I loved the badass side of the game (a pretty huge side if you ask me), and eliminating enemies in style is something I love to do. I didn’t really care much for the story outside of the Animus, which was a bit bland, and the characters weren’t all that attractive to me, but what happened inside the Animus was wicked, and I’m just talking single player. The first AC multiplayer I played was in AC Revelations, and I loved it. It was very refreshing from other forms of multiplayer, and it really captured the core of being an assassin, at least in the AC series, as stealth and subtlety was more than a requirement to do well. Assassin’s Creed III wasn’t exactly the gamer’s favourite, and I understand; it’s very different from the previous ones. Connor is not exactly “Assassin material” the way Ezio and Altair were, but he still fit. In terms of gameplay, I enjoyed the addition of multiple firearms and the reinstatement of horseback riding, as well as the large, beautiful landscapes of North East America. Sure, he was a bit dull at times, but hey, the game was still good. Naval warfare was a nice addition and I remember getting really excited in the middle of a full-fledged naval battle, destroying anything that moved in my way as I progressed towards my objective. Then came Black Flag.

When I first started playing it on the Xbox One, I was enthralled. The graphics were beautiful, the movements were so smooth and the colours were fascinating. The sandy beaches of the Caribbean, exotic, clear waters and a charming little city called Havana made me almost feel like I was there. The soundtrack was everything I loved; fast-paced celtic fiddle and epic drums really made the fights much more intense. As I started playing, I also discovered there was crafting, which was really cool, along with a lot of side missions and collectibles. Shortly after that, I found myself on the boat, once again, trying to go to some forsaken island to find some “treasure” to buy myself a new gun, but before that, I had to tail a random shoemaker because he seemed to know a guy who knew the aunt’s husband of the warden of the pirate that was captured by the admiral that once overheard a man talking about the Observatory.  And so on and forth went the loop. The story just dragged on and on and on, with 50% of the game being me getting lost at sea, and the other 50% tailing or eavesdropping on someone. 

I loved the sea battles in ACIII, and I can really say that they were an integral part of what made the game so special to me. However, when I need to spend more time sailing in between tiny islands than in freaking Wind Waker, there you know there’s a problem. “But of course there would be that Edward Kenway was a pirate, and pirates sail the seas.” True, but where on the game title do you read  “Pirate’s Creed: Gunning down Spanish and British ships then finding a bottle in an island”? I understand that maybe Ubisoft wanted to try something different, and soon they’ll probably come up with assassins flying on hot air balloons to perform missions, but this is going to far away from the roots of the game. It was a nice try, but it just didn’t work for me, I play Assassin’s Creed to air assassinate and engage escape from a brigade of angry guards. 

Even the land part of AC: Black Flag wasn’t satisfying; not only is it very short, but it’s also become dull. I cannot express how much I loath tailing/eavesdropping missions, which, for some reason, the makers decided to spam every two missions. They’re too slow and uninteresting, and they really feel like forced stealth (I’m not even going to talk about the AI, where guards seem as perceptive as moles with terminal myopia). And the battles? Keep pressing the counter button and you can pretty much face the entire British and Spanish armies and take them all out in one go. Who needs military tactics and strategy when you can counter? But honestly, it’s just become way too easy, even if enemy hits now deal more damage, the fact that they’re so easily counterable defies the purpose.

Overall, I didn’t really enjoy AC: Blackflag. The atmosphere, graphics and the general feel of the game is really praiseworthy, but as far as gameplay and story go, I really don’t feel like I’m playing an Assassin’s Creed game, and I’m not enjoying it . Change and innovation is good for any game, but not when you take away what made a game “good” and replace it with what seems to be time filler, then that’s a problem. 


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