By Hailinel 13 Comments
Here we are, on the verge of the new generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft, and yet there are a lot of games of the current generation that I haven't even tried yet. And despite the fact that Ubisoft has continually thrown Assassin's Creed titles at us since 2007 (I mean, seriously, look at how many of these damn things they've made!), I never actually got around to playing any of them. I just sort of admired them from a distance while I was playing other games that interested me more at the time.
Well, I've finally decided to jump in with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. And I have to say, it's pretty fun. I'm playing the Wii U version, and in the technical sense, the graphics are sharp and the framerate is smooth. Artistically, the game is quite beautiful, with plenty of environmental variety and detail to the characters. It also scratches that historical itch that gets scratched in a similar fashion while playing the Dynasty Warriors series and its ilk. So just based on that, it's off to a great start.
I'm still early on, having just arrived at Nassau and have yet to do any of the story missions at that location. However, this has still given me plenty of time to get used to the gameplay. And it did take me a bit to get used to it. The control scheme, which I imagine is standard for the series, was kind of foreign to me, and I'm still not great about switching between weapons and so on. But after a while, it's become mostly intuitive. Naval combat is a different beast and, while I've had less time to get used to it, it's also pretty fun. Though trying to steer the ship in the middle of combat while also aiming the cannons and firing on target while in rocky waters is pretty crazy.
On the other hand, there are some things I'm not so hot about. Missions have been hit or miss for me; there's one mission in particular where I had to defend someone from a large-scale assassin ambush, and I kept failing because I would get wrapped up in fighting the assassins, lose track of my allies, and end up getting left behind because they moved on far faster than I was ready for. From my experience thus far, the mission have so far ranged between passable and a lot of fun, but that early defense mission kind of leaves me wary. Maybe it would have helped to use eagle vision? I'm not sure.
It also takes a bit more time than I'd like to get used to the flow of combat. I was aware going in that it was a counter-heavy combat system, but in situations where I'm outnumbered five to one, it can be difficult to really get out. I'll counter an enemy, only to be forced to counter someone else before I can go on the attack, and then suddenly a do a really flashy assassination move without really understanding what I did. Still, it has gotten easier for me, so while it has been rough learning, the frustration has gone down.
I'm really enjoying the story so far. Edward is a fun character, as are most of the secondary cast I've encountered, and it's an entertaining pirate yarn. As for the modern day, I really don't know what to say yet. I haven't exited the Animus since after reentry following my first "visit" to the real world, where I was shown around the offices of Abstergo Entertainment. I have no idea where this is supposed to lead or if the story will even force me out of the Animus again at any point. I also only have a vague idea of what happened in Desmond's story in the previous games and have no idea how that plays into any of this, aside from the fact that the memory I'm diving into is another one of Desmond's ancestors despite the lack of Desmond.
As for Wii U-specific things, the touch screen on the Gamepad is mostly used as a mini-map. It's nice, in that the map doesn't clutter up screen space, though it doesn't really go into any innovative directions with the controller. Still, not a bad feature. I have yet to try multiplayer out, and since I lack a UPlay account, I have no idea what sort of benefits (if any) that grants me in the game, or if it's even worth signing up for one. I honestly don't buy Ubisoft games that often and so I've never really felt the need to create an account.
All in all, it's really fun. I definitely see why people enjoy the series (though apparently Assassin's Creed III is the worst thing ever? So I'm kind of glad I skipped out on it.), and there looks like there's plenty to see and explore, so it should definitely keep me busy. I'm probably forgetting to mention some things since this is all kind of a massive brain dump about my experience thus far, but there you have it.