Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
A perfect night in with EE
Win £200 to spend on the perfect night in
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

GAME DETAILS
Released
28 October 2013
Format
PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4
Developer
Ubisoft

LATEST GAME REVIEWS
Bloodborne
5 Star Empire Rating
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
3 Star Empire Rating
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
4 Star Empire Rating
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
3 Star Empire Rating
Battlefield Hardline
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Bloodborne
5 Star Empire Rating
Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Elite: Dangerous
5 Star Empire Rating
World Of Warcraft: Warlords Of Draenor
5 Star Empire Rating
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
5 Star Empire Rating

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag


submit to reddit

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)
Review
Assassin’s Creed III was a mixed bag. Bigger and more ambitious than anything in the series to that point, it largely failed to engage players with new protagonist Connor.

That shouldn’t be a problem for Black Flag, which jumps back in time to spotlight pirate Edward Kenway – Connor’s grandfather – whose roguish swagger and base motivations make him immediately more engaging. Propelled from a slovenly sailor’s life into the shadow war between Assassins and Templars, Kenway spends a good portion of the game unaffiliated with either faction, playing them against each other in his quest for easy riches before heeding a greater calling.

In the 21st century, the Templar’s modern face, Abstergo Entertainment, is poring through what’s left of previous hero Desmond Miles, mining his genetic memories for the location of a device of epoch-defining importance. Returning players will find a ton of Easter eggs here, from the ways Abstergo white-washes the series’ events to favour the Templars, to the return of supporting characters in surprising roles.

In both time periods, there are additions to the Assassin’s Creed formula, though rarely more than slight refinements. The present day sections adopt a first-person perspective, which bolsters the sense of immersion and mystery as you uncover the secrets of Abstergo. Playing as Kenway brings the usual mix of stealth and free-running, though melee combat is much improved, particularly against larger groups. Naval missions in Kenway’s ship, the Jackdaw, offer sharper controls and more satisfying nautical battles, far less frustrating than those of its predecessor. The multiplayer offerings also benefit from a once over, with the now-familiar hunter/prey modes joined by a particularly thrilling area domination one.

However, Black Flag feels oddly torn between appealing to newcomers and placating long-time fans. Kenway can take on assassination contracts, usually targeting Templars, long before he’s inducted into either faction or invested in their conflict. There’s a weird dichotomy between plot and mechanics throughout the game, making it feel schizophrenic in its progression, or at least forgetful. Basic gameplay elements – puzzle quests for Mayan relics, hunting and crafting, finding cargo at sea – are introduced long after players will have mastered them, something even newcomers to the series will find distracting.

Assassin’s Creed IV doesn’t so much rock the boat as shuffle the chairs on deck. It’s the same core experience, but better. A compelling lead, an interesting story, a vast and gorgeous world to explore – just no real surprises along the way.


Reviewed by Matt Kamen

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Fast And Furious Franchise's 7 Most Insane Stunts
In ascending order of madness...

Empire's Fast & Furious 7 Review
We run the rule on the return of Toretto, Hobbs and co

Empire Meets Alison Brie
The Get Hard star on Ken Jeong, Toto and her favourite episode of Community

17 ‘What The?’ TV Cameos From Film Directors
From Spike Jonze as a music exec to Peter Bogdanovich as… himself?

Empire Meets Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
On A Second Chance, Game Of Thrones pranks and Headhunters' poo scene

The Secrets Behind 44 Classic Cinema Sound Effects
No really, the Ringwraiths are actually plastic cups...

The 30 Greatest Superhero Movies Of All Time
Empire readers pick their top super flicks

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)