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Ubisoft made groundbreaking leaps with the release of Assassin’s Creed III, the last iteration of the popular series. The ability to kill guards, experience open-world hunting, and use new fighting mechanics (including the proliferation of gunpowder) really enhances Ubisoft’s much-loved world.
This time around Ubisoft is adding yet another layer to the Assassin’s Creed cake of awesomeness: completely free roaming.
The Age of Piracy
Black Flag’s historical timeline is set in the 18th century, at the height of the Age of Piracy. It doesn’t focus on your traditional low-brow plundering pirates, but on the Spanish Empire, with its rich history and mountains of gold.
The game highlights the free-for-all mentality of that time. Newly-unemployed seamen fight, plunder and sail for any hint of gold, which happens to be an excellent scenario for a sandbox adventure game.
The protagonist this time around is Edward Kenway, the baddest pirate out there. He’s a free-spirited buccaneer who delivers eloquent arguments with the edge of his scimitar and the barrel of his gun.
A central part of the plot is Edward’s conflicting values from his pirate life and his duty to the Assassin Order. This is a huge contrast to Assassin’s Creed III, where Connor Kenway spent the whole story babbling on about his duty. A free-roaming pirate, after his duty is done, has no rules, which opens the story and world in a huge way.
Ubisoft has greatly improved the game mechanics in Black Flag. They’ve announced that naval battles will have a larger role than in the previous games, saying that the campaign will be 60% land and 40% water.
This is further enhanced by a completely resized campaign map, which includes several islands and the gleaming Caribbean Sea — open and waiting for players to explore.
Unlike previous installments to the series, the player will no longer be constrained by the animus, which causes the player to desynchronize (a.k.a. lose) when they leave the “memory space.” Instead, the whole world of Assassin’s Creed IV is open for exploration. The catch is that increasingly-tough enemy ships will block the player the more s/he explores.
When I played Assassin’s Creed III, I was sorely disappointed with the four minimal regions they included. Ubisoft heard this from many fans it seems and has remedied the problem with a huge explorable world.
While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, I hope Ubisoft removes some of the restrictions found in the previous games. For instance, the player was not allowed to kill civilians or domestic animals, and had to skin every animal that was killable.
These rules don’t fit the mentality of pirates, who don’t obey any rules. Lifting these types of restrictions would enhance Edward’s bad-boy image and add another dimension to the game. As the old saying goes, “being the villain is more fun than the hero.” Playing as a no-holds notorious pirate, with no actual rules, would be a great gaming experience.
With its larger, roaming world environment and more-open campaign style, I’m sure Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag will be a revolutionary addition to the great series.
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is due to be released on October 29.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Fegelein Puching Zhang.