Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
Ubisoft moves its killer franchise to the age when pirates ruled the seas
- Well-tuned ship mechanics that make sailing and sea combat a breeze
- No extended tutorial mode stopping you from enjoying the story
- All of the side quests and added content can be overwhelming
- Story and setting not quite as interesting as the renaissance era
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the closest thing you can get to a virtual pirate experience. While it doesn’t quite reach the highs of Assassin's Creed II, it’s still one of the best entries in the series.
Price$ 69.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- Assassin's Creed IV 4 Pirate Black Flag Bonus P... 70.99
Another year has passed, and with it an additional Assassin’s Creed game arrives in time for the Christmas season. After diverting the series to the American civil war era with last year’s Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft has this year moved it to the age of high seas and piracy with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. It is a change designed to invigorate a long running franchise, which that has not taken a break since its debut in 2007 with the original Assassin’s Creed.
A pirate’s life for me
Black Flag stars Edward Kenway, a privateer in the Caribbean and West Indies during the 18th century. He is a new protagonist in a new setting that is completely different from past Assassin’s Creed games.
In past games, the protagonist was inducted into the order of assassins through their lineage, but Kenway is a regular pirate that happens to take on the identity of an eliminated assassin. Kenway’s intention was to complete the assassin’s delivery job to get paid, but he instead finds himself taken on a path towards becoming a real member of the assassin’s order.
Third-person environmental exploration has formed the core of the Assassin’s Creed series, though the pirate setting in Black Flag means that ocean adventuring gets pushed to the forefront. The ship sailing mechanic was briefly introduced in Assassin’s Creed III, but it forms a major component of the gameplay in Black Flag.
In fact, you will be in control of a ship soon after starting the game, and before long you will graduate towards open-sea piracy. In addition to climbing up tall buildings and monuments in order to scout out historical figures and kill them, you’ll also be navigating the Carribean with your ship to visit other exotic islands in the region.
Straight into the action
The Assassin’s Creed series went from strength to strength with the trio of renaissance era games (Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood and Revelations), though last year’s Assassin’s Creed III stumbled somewhat. The colonial setting was not very interesting, the protagonist wasn’t memorable, and the game featured an extended prologue that acted as the in-game tutorial. More than that, it seemed as if the series was finally struggling under the weight of its own scale and ambition, to the point where it felt somewhat bloated and a chore to play.
While Black Flag comes with its fair share of content, both existing and new, Ubisoft seems to have taken the criticism on board to make the game more streamlined and manageable than Assassin’s Creed III. Not all of the fat has been trimmed, but the key shortcomings seem to have been addressed in Black Flag.
The Caribbean setting and piracy gameplay are both exotic and enjoyable, respectively, and there is no extended prologue stopping you from playing the actual game. Kenway is not quite as interesting as a character as the renaissance era’s Ezio Auditore, but he is a significant improvement over Assassin’s Creed III’s Connor. Together, these improvements amount to what is likely the best entry in the series since Assassin’s Creed II.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P9 review: lifting photography to another level... sometimes.
- 2 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 3 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 4 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 5 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Sea of Thieves is Rare's grog-drinking, accordion-playing, pirate silliness simulator
- Shadow Warrior 2 hands-on: Lo Wang gets even more wild with fast, furious 4-way action
- Xbox One keyboard and mouse support teased as PCs and consoles draw closer together
- Radeon RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards intensify AMD's affordable gaming push
- Alienware's tiny Alpha gaming PC gets bigger muscles... in the US
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTTechnical Services ManagerACT
- CCSystems Administrator with developer skills | Defence intelligence | NV2 clearedACT
- CCData ArchitectSA
- CCSenior Project Delivery ManagerACT
- CCSharepoint Developer | Air Force project | NV1 clearanceNSW
- CCEngineering Lead - InfrastructureVIC
- CCSoftware & Hardware Asset Management - 2 rolesNSW
- CCTechnical Content ProducerVIC
- CCICT PreSales SpecialistVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst/Data Analyst Capability ManagerVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst- Process Mapping Specialist- Gov / Bank backgdNSW
- CCSoftware Biomedical Solutions ArchitectSA
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCSystems Trainer - Networking/ RadioVIC
- FTTechnical Lead | Senior Java DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Performance & Automation EngineerNSW
- FTJava DeveloperAsia
- CCSystem Engineer (DevOps)WA
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (J2EE/Oracle) 160704/AP/601Asia
- CCContract IT Assistant (IT Security/IT Audit) 160621/ITA/361Asia
- CCTechnical WriterACT
- CCData Warehouse Specialist- Power BI, SSAS DBA, Azure, SQLNSW
- CCBusiness System Analyst - FinanceVIC
- CCRelease & Configuration Manager | Defence intelligence application | NV1 clearedACT
- CCSAP ABAP - Senior developerVIC