Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Conclusion
RATING DISCLAIMER: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, be advised that every author perceives these factors differently. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer revisions that occur after publication which could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on this conclusion, as it represents our rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag provides hours and hours of high quality entertainment. It has the odd moments where the gameplay gets a bit repetitive but thankfully these moments are rare. You can play the game at your own pace but there is a lot to learn to truly master it. Various aspects of the game such as crafting, sailing and fighting are learnt on the fly as you progress through the game. Learning this way is great as it also keeps you interested and develops your skills at a steady rate rather than going straight in at the deep end.
You play predominantly as a free running pirate come assassin and you find yourself travelling between ports and towns on your good ship the Jackdaw. The free running mechanics are excellent and the transitions between the ground, buildings and other climbable objects are seamless. The sea faring portion of the game provides a healthy challenge which requires quick thinking and dexterity.
In this review I played Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770. I was able to max out all of the settings and still get good frame rates at 1920×1080 resolution. The only part of the gameplay that felt choppy was in the Abstergo offices. For some reason the game would lag slightly which made moving around the open plan offices quite undesirable. The textures and models in the office environment seemed to be lower quality than those in the main game which also didn’t help sell it to me.
The multiplayer portion of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is very in depth. Casual players like myself are treated to a quick match button that skips all of the customization and configuration and throws you straight into a random game and mode. For those of you that have more time to dedicate to online gaming or simply want a more tailored experience, you will find a vast wealth of options and a sturdy upgrade and unlock system. As you advance through the ranks you will learn new tricks and unlock items to aid you in your personal quest for domination.
Multiplayer has team and solo game modes and requires a very different approach compared to traditional FPS shooters that I am more accustomed to. A certain amount of cunning and critical thinking is required if you really wish to progress through the ranks. Matchmaking seems very fair and I always found myself playing with players within a couple ranks of my own. I found that multiplayer took quite a bit of getting used to, and Co-op didn’t really appeal the way I though it might. Co-op was repetitive and monotonous and got boring quite quick.
For me, the singleplayer campaign is much more enticing in terms of gameplay and keeping your attention than the multiplayer mode. While the multiplayer mode is rich in detail, customizable and in depth in its own right, it simply feels bolted on. It would have also been interesting if there were some sort of naval warfare on the high sea’s incorporated into the multiplayer mode as there aren’t any games like that available as far as I know.
The almost impeccable attention to detail is let down a little by a few poorly rendered models in the offices and the characters hair models. I can ignore the stuff in the offices as you have to go out of your way to see them and can be easily avoided but the hair is constantly noticeable. In a game where most everything has stunning detail it seems such a real shame to ignore such an important factor.
If you like what you’ve read, pick up Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for $49.99 (Amazon - multiple platforms).
+ Captivating singleplayer campaign
+ Excellent scenery and beautiful vista’s
+ Graphics quality is amazing
+ Environment and physics are very immersive
+ Sea physics and sailing are very convincing and provide a nice challenge
+ Free running mechanics are very convincing and transitions are seamless
+ Highly customizable multiplayer experience
+ Crafting and upgrade system keep the game interesting
+ Side quests and challenges extend the length of the game and provide great rewards
- Co-op can get too repetitive
- Abstergo office models needs more work
- Hair is very unrealistic
- Multiplayer takes quite a bit of getting used to
- Naval warfare not included