Arrg, mateys! It be finally time to.. wait… yar-harg?... yo h-..Oh.
Apologies for that. I am apparently
a day a week just really really late for Talk Like A Pirate Day, so the rest of this should proceed normally. (probably for the best, since it might've gotten hard to read)
A while ago, I got my hook- er, hands on Assassin's Creed 4(IV?): Black Flag for the Xbox 360. And while playing it, I thought "Y'know, [name]? Since you seem to have gotten some experience with this game, why don't you write a review thingy for it for TAYClassic?" And I probably responded with something equivalent to "Hey, y'know what, [name]? That is a great idea! I'm sure glad I thought of it." And then we both would've laughed.
CHAPTER 0: WHAT STUFF IS THIS?
This game (mainly) has you controlling (1) Edward Kenway, a swashbuckling European who's prowling grounds will oft-be the Caribbean, a lush and wet collection of islands where you will encounter those who seek its riches in whatever forms they present themselves. For you that will often involve killing people! Let's begin!
(Also, to note; this was my first Assassin's Creed game. I am vaguely aware of what's what in the Assassinverse, but I tried not to delve too much into its other stuff (or I conveniently forget said-stuff) so as not to spoil possible future experiences for myself. The forgetting thing is what probably usually happens, though.)
CHAPTER 1: THE GOOD STUFF
You will not be in this experience alone, however. For along your joinery (are you serious, spell-check?), you will meet a modestly-wide berth of characters, friendly and/or fiendish towards your person. Admittedly, while I did not form strong personal one-sided bonds with these folk (although terms of endearment like broseph or brosita could be used on some, if I did not think those were extremely silly), they displayed what appeared to be thought-out actions that made sense with who they were. Most of the time.
Aggressive Boat Maneuvers: The Arcade Game
While the arcade portion of that title does imply a bit of non-technicality to it, I hardly think that takes away from its enjoyment. If you want to be a ship captain who runs circles around their enemies and deftly pummels foes with hurty bits, check into this. (and a pro-tip: Apparently, if you defeat all 4 legendary ships, you gain another attack. And here I was thinking the game just never bothered to tell me that I had it in the first place, considering I defeated them AFTER I had finished practically everything else)
Hope you brought your 'BOOK IT!' card..
Because hoo-boy, there are alot of words here. There is a decent amount of dialogue of the main portion of the game, but you will also find troves chock-full of text and images that aren't essential to progress, but really flesh out stuff within (and outside) the game.
Choir practice is at 8:00, you guys
I don't remember the rest of the music being that memorable, but you will probably remember the sea shanties, either with nostalgia or nausea. While there were some that did more to show that these were not professional singers (and quite the salty sailors), others made them feel like the crew was this choir of grubby angels who were part of some Disney-fied stage performance. My biggest grievance was that they had to stop singing for most immediate actions. I don't care if it's unrealistic, I want those boys to sing rain, shine, or cannon fire!
CHAPTER 2: THE LESS-GOOD STUFF
Conflict-ed methodologies, AKA 'How should I show them my stabs?'
While I can't use anything from the previous games to base from (since I've never played them!), this only concerns whatever's within this game. Countering and combos? I can dig it, even though I probably did not use it to its full potential. Guns and knives? I actually just saved some.. 'reals' or whatever first and then bought what I thought was the best (until I unlocked the best later), so I didn't really experience much progression with it. Thoroughly swabbing an apposing ship's deck of its mateys? There was red.. errywhere. Stalking through a plantation like a panther on a mission? Ohoh, they never saw it coming, and I usually looked forward to it. It's just.. I had some issues with how it wanted me to take on things.
I can understand wanting options, and that can be good, but where one ends and another begins didn't seem all that clear. Recalling the main (and side) objectives you get, they do indeed encourage you to be a sneakster. But it's the age-old conflict, isn't it? Pirates vs. Ninjas and whatnot. Even though I would usually default to stealth by default, I felt less like a ninja and more like pirate who swallowed a ninja and gained its powers, and is now learning about his new self like something you could find in a webcomic these days. And while I was quite deadly when pirate-thugging through enemies, it felt weird that I did so while using instruments that appear to have been meant for something more.. discreet. (who shoots a sleep dart in the middle of a fight??)
Also, did you know you can actually take out normal ships stealthly? If you stop and swim out to the other ship, you can clean out their crew yourself and leave it defenseless. (I felt super-cool when I tried this and it worked, but didn't really do it more afterwards since it's not that efficient for time's sake)
Given the storyline, perhaps it's even intentional, but I might have preferred more defined mechanics in how situations are approached. I've heard Tom Clancy games or whatever have this mode thing, where they have Ghost (you were never there), Panther (silent but deadly), and Assault (anything that moves) ways to play. Perhaps something like that could've been implemented with here. Well, with the exception of Ghost, because hey, the word 'assassin' is right there in the title.
Once upon a time...
The story works, but I didn't write home about it. (granted, I played it at home, so that would've been redundant) Even though you're [minor spoilers] supposedly reliving through actual history, it sometimes seems like the editors got to make 'artistic changes' before we had a chance to play the raw footage. (this could also be intentional, given what you can find within all those non-essential side caches of info) [end spoilers] Like all this talk about 'democracy' and such, it really felt hammed up. ..OK, there might've been some relation to pirates and democracy (maybe), but this sure didn't sell me on it being an actual thing. It was like there was this overall force that wanted everyone to be a Han Solo, rogues with golden hearts.
Y'know what I thought was more memorable, though? The various 'Templar Hunts' you're able to go on. Perhaps it was because of their brevity that they didn't have time to show as many warts, but they were fun to progress through, and I wish could've have more romps with Assassins of that ilk.
A bunch of leagues under some seaweed
The diving wasn't as bad as I had overheard, but it wasn't that great either. Ship upgrades/cosmetics are the main gain here, otherwise you can have fun by getting nips from sharks and eels. It was a tad innovative when it was used to enter an otherwise sealed-off ground area, however. (also, the camera could be a pain at times)
Would you like to play a game? (within this game?)
Not much to say about other little side-activities. Board games, harpooning, the fleet minigame, the whole [spoilers]
"ur an employee at
Microsoft Ubisoft Asbestos Edutainment!" deal [endspoils], etc, they do what they do. (although the fleet one is a VERY useful way to getcha moonies, if you can wait until tomorrow for results)
CHAPTER 3: THE LEAST-GOOD STUFF
Perhaps better left uncharted
First-off, I am not against all the collectables in the game. (btw, I recommend collecting all sea shanties as soon as possible) What I am against here is a certain brand of collectable called "uncharted chests", which are scattered across the game's ocean map on teeny-tiny islands. They are completely nonessential, but they can be such a chore to get to for those who are completionists. While there is no loading time between your ship and the island (a great feature, btw, where they use it), you often follow the cycle of leaping from your ship into the water (it's rare that you can actually get right onto land that way), taking some time to swim to the scrawny isle, getting to and opening the chest (oh, and these island designs are often repeated) then taking the time to swim back and climbing back up to your captain's helm.
Pretty-much all the rest of the collectibles are located at places I might actually want/need to go to. But these chests? They aren't that valuable/unique, there isn't a challenge getting to them, but are just bothersome to get to. (this also applies to Animus fragments located on those same sort've islands) They could've at least had rowboats on the islands, which allow you to return to your ship with nary a button press.
Also, letting go of the wheel stops any shanty-singing, which is a bummer.
While admittedly minor (and perhaps fitting, given how the game is presented), I did encountered some errors. Falling through surfaces (I was usually able to continue somehow), shadows looking weird after a period of time, and (1) Eagle-vision golden-glowning fisherman for no reason at Great Inagua. (I perhaps spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what his deal was)
The following is my (even more) personal experience. It may not flow this way for you if you play this. It could be better! It could be much less-better. Anyways; If you're looking to 100% this game's singleplayer, know that there are some "social elements" in the mix here. It basically goes down that on occasion, when you're jacked into the Ubi-mainframe, you'll come across one of three random "social events", which will then show up in friend's maps as well, and vice-versa. Of the three, I found whales the most, followed by ships. But those chests, ugh. Unlike the other two, where I was able to find enough (and surplus) casually before I finished my runthrough of the game to mark off the in-game achievement, even random island hopping was not revealing the 3rd chest I needed. Thankfully, I found one while stumbling across an easter egg while redoing missions to fulfill their optional objectives.
I'm just saying that this ended up being an aggravating part to my game, and it could be for you too. (perhaps you and friends could play it in roughly the same time period to help each-other out)
(bless ur heart, user named zetopazio)
CHAPTER ␀: STUFF UNCONSIDERED
I'm not the most.. multiplayer enthusiastic, so I never got to playing against other people. (although, when I tried to go on there and it wanted to update, I played a little offline of the co-op/vs.(?) mode Wolfpack, which was sort've interesting, and perhaps it might warrant a deeper look in the future)
"Visa gonna get you many tings, Obi-kan!"
There is various DLC stuff for this game, and I'm not gonna bother purchasing it, because.. I don't want to spend (more) money. They could be fun things! They could just be fancy jackets. Regardless, that's all I've got to say on the matter.
Like an uncle who's name I always forgot..
Minor note, and spoilers I guess in this paragraph?: I have no idea what the deal was with El Tiburón, and why Edward apparently developed this deep connection to him all of a sudden later in the game. It he wasn't coughing up blood, I'd think he'd've told that whacko pirate to take a long walk on a short pier.
>Open the door
>Get on the floor
CHAPTER Ω: STUFF IN CONCLUSION
This game be fast with the slashes, rich wyth lore, but noght deep enough to jump in head-first. If ye be content wid wading, you'll be finding a gymnastic, violence-prone voyage thru the Caribbean sprinkled with cann'n fire and people going on about democracy and hacking or whatever nonsense. But if ya scrape the ocean floor for scallops, the wording shan't be quite wrenching nor rending, the double-standards ain't much greater than 'standard', and they still be going on about democracy and hacking and such hullabaloney.
- Time it said I played: 66 hours.
- Times I passed out drunk: At least once. (for an achievement)
- Percent completed: 100%, singleplayer. (at least that's what it said)
- Number of times I had the crew change shanties: CMON ALREADY
Who would I recommend this to: Assassin Creedos, bargin-binning Bobs and Bettys, lore-junkies, people who want to see Eddie walk around with his manly pirate-legs while wearing the Stealth Outfit.
Who I would advise caution to getting this: Monkey Island monkeys, stealth afinanachos, feels-seeking saps (the good kind tho!), children of Pirate-Ninja marriages looking for closure.
So, um.. yeah, that's what I've got to say about it. But don't just take my word for it! (no seriously that would probably be totes unwise yo) Kotaku's got their own two-dubloons in on the matter, as have other places around the surfed Web. (also, this is not an 'official TAY-Review' as far as I know, so if one of those comes up for this game, that is A-OK in my book)
It can be a fine balance, between researching the game and not wanting to spoil things, but in the end, your efforts will be rewarded, that reward being whether or not you want to get this game.
But let's not just have those who can manage the time to type up really long essays on the matter have a say, YOU TOO can sound off in the comments with opinions on the game! Was it like the treasure chest in your dreams, or did it do more to remind you that the latrine needs a good scrubbin?