Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ is the sixth installment in the Assassin's Creed series; this installment sets out with a new protagonist, setting and other mechanics in order to reinvigorate the series after the somewhat mediocre affair of Assassin's Creed III. I can safely say that Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ is the installment I have enjoyed the most, and will be incredibly appealing to newcomers of the series and long time fans.
This time the player is in control of Edward Kenway; legendary pirate and grandfather of Connor from Assassin's Creed III. Edward isn't a member of the Assassin order, and only manages to join their ranks by murdering one of their own and stealing the dead Assassin's garments. Edward's roguish behaviour puts him at odds with the stoic mysticism of the Assassin's, and sets the tone of light hearted pirate adventures in the Caribbean. Edward and his companions are wonderfully voice acted, and are incredibly entertaining to interact with. Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ probably sets the bar for the best narrative of the series, and the change in perspective makes incredibly positive contributions to this.
Gameplay in Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ consists of sailing to various locations, engaging in city exploration, engaging in naval combat, and the usual parkour/sword fights from the other games. Edward's pirate ship, the Jackdaw, allows him to sail between ports such as Havana and Nassau to collect the usual assassination quests, synchronisation towers, collectables and other Assassin's Creed stuff. You can use the Jackdaw to sail to these locations via the open seas, or fast travel via the map menu. On the seas, you can engage in a more refined version of the excellent naval combat from Assassin's Creed III; this consists of using mortars and other ship-based weaponry to completely obliterate enemy vessels or severely damaging them so you can board and steal cargo and passengers. This is incredinly entertaining and it helped to make this installment feel fresh and unique after the relative lack of innovation evident in previous titles. The open-ness of the world in Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ in addition to the encouraged exploration and open ended mission objectives help make this feel like a very unique experience and far more enjoyable to play.
On a technical level, Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ satisfies in most areas. The PC optimisation leaves a little to be desired, but the suite of options is perfectly acceptable. The visuals in this game are particularly nice, with special mention going to the excellent foliage, fog, water and lighting effects. This game often looks quite dazzling due to the nice colour palette used in most areas.
In conclusion, Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ is an excellent game that has managed to reinvigorate a dying franchise with new mechanics and an exciting story, complete with entertainingly interesting characters. The excellent naval mechanic provides a fascinating new angle complete with awesome upgrades and a wealth of content to work through. I can easily recommend Assassin’s Creed® IV Black Flag™ to fans of the series or anyone looking for a great open-world action game.