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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Format(s)
Xbox 360
Publisher
Ubisoft
Developer
Ubisoft
Genre
Action, Adventure

Screenshots

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  • Stalk and kill animals in the world and you can use their bits to craft gear upgrades. Edward can carry up to four flintlocks at once, for example. You can also craft ammo pouches for your blowgun darts.
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  • Land combat sees little change from ACIII. We did, however, find counters a little harder to pull off, requiring more exact timing. Gone are the jarring equip menus. You can just tap the D-pad for quick and easy gear switching.
  • Upgrading your ship makes previously impossible naval battles that little bit easier. More cannons are a given, but you can also improve your crew quarters to ensure boarding goes smoothly. More crew members means more time allowed to complete boarding tasks. Get more sea dogs on decks by hiring at local taverns or by rescuing them in town from the local fuzz.
Large Legendary Ships require a fully upgraded Jackdaw and a fair amount of guile to best.
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  • On PS4 sailing feels satisfyingly tangible, even more so than the last game, whether it be via the gratifying 'clunk' of a completed wheel turn, or the rocky ocean waves bouncing the vessel about like a rubber duck in a jacuzzi. 

The biggest improvement over AC3's naval play is the combat, with a variety of new cannon-based weapons ensuring battles are faster paced and, thanks to new long-range mortars, don't require players to be within spitting distance of their targets.

Andy Robinson
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  • A recent press demo allowed a turn at Wolfpack mode, which AC3 players will remember well. If you never played it, it's essentially a co-op match in which four players team up and make attacks on roaming bands of AI-controlled enemies. The more foes they dispatch, the more heavily armed they become. There's an additional requirement to defend chests from the AI, which also confers points to each player. 

The problem of communication persists in Wolfpack. In order to get the most out of it, players need to work as a team. Unless they work together they won't make the higher levels of synchronisation and they certainly won't enjoy the experience as much. There's something rather thrilling about stalking a patrol as a group and then leaping from the rooftops and shadows in one co-ordinated move. It's certainly more enjoyable than running around the map in a discordant mob, randomly slashing at targets and innocents alike. 

Nick Cowen
  • Assassin's Creed 3 left a bad taste for in the mouths of many dedicated fans, but by far the most pungent was the sour tang of linear assassination missions.

How delightful it is, then, to discover that AC4's recipe is one of freedom and open-world tomfoolery. The sense of scale and adventure is impressive; although not entirely load-free (docking at some major cities requires 'fast travel'), Black Flag's naval playground is bursting with things to discover. Meanwhile, the crafting and hunting systems have been updated to better complement the sandbox.

Andy Robinson
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