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Hands on with Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

It is probably no shock to you all that when I arrived at Eurogamer Expo 2013, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag was my first destination. The sheer size of Eurogamer always surprises me, but when it comes to potential Assassin’s Creed play time, I get over that and head straight there. Yesterday was no exception, one of the many joys of being press is the early entry, and with early entry you beat the crowd in. I waited only 15 minutes to play a truly awesome game today!

Assassin's Creed IV: Black FlagI think I should first mention that Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag was on played on the PS4 today, so an opinion piece on that will follow very soon!

Once ushered to a seat to take control of Edward Kenway, a pirate trained by assassins, the game begins with you taking up captaincy of the Jackdaw surrounded by enemy ships from Spain and England, I chose to fight. It is possible to avoid confrontation in the open waters when not necessary but I thought I’ve came this far, I’m going to put the Jackdaw and its crew through its paces. The first thing I noticed, even before the first cannon fired, was just how expansive the sea looks; Ubisoft have really managed to make it look like this vast open space with countless places to explore. The way the ship travels over the waves is brilliant. Now I don’t have much knowledge of how pirate ships handle in the ocean, but you do get this feeling of just how large the the Jackdaw is. When it came to battles in the open sea, it varied depending on the enemy you faced. I faced several types of enemies, some the same size as the Jackdaw that relied on canon fire and quick movements through the water and others including small frigates from Spain that would drop explosive barrels in the water to catch you off guard; but with just a well placed volley shot and some hits from the swivel gun, they were just another wreckage joining Davy Jones’ Locker.

The demo, that was put in front of us at Eurogamer gave you the opportunity to explore off the ship as well. I docked up at a small island where there was a number of things to do. I headed to the tavern though, you know, like a pirate should. Upon arriving I was shoved by some brutish looking men, who I could only assumed ‘wanted a piece of me’. The mini objective stated to get information from the tavern you would need to beat up the group of brutes. Simply put the fighting mechanics haven’t changed a lot between grandfather and grandson in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. Players will easily pick up on how to use their fists in the game as it is more or less the same in Assassin’s Creed III. Once the men were taken care of, I headed to the tavern owner to receive my information only to be asked to hand over 200 coins. I had zero. No info for Edward. I continued around the island to the assassination contract, the contract was to kill a Templar who was transporting slaves. His ship was docked up too, but heavily guarded. The first two soldiers that stood in my way Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flagwere at the very beginning of the docks. One of which received a blow dart to the neck causing him to attack his fellow soldier. Once they were dead I made a dash towards the ship only to be spotted. The ship quickly set sail, with Edward leaping and grabbing hold just in time. Upon climbing aboard I was greeted with the steal of maybe 11 soldiers and the man who had to die. Edward drew both his swords had chaos ensued. The double swords were amazing and Edward handled like a killing machine! I struggled to add some pistol fire in there as buttons have changed since the last game but I was more interested to see how two swords would work. Let me tell you it works really well! Once the soldiers were taken care of it was time for the target to be finished. When I play Assassin’s Creed, I like to stay true to the game and make sure my assassinations are carried out using the hidden blade. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag was no different, I walked over to the man and let my blade do the talking.

Upon finishing the contract it was game over for myself and everyone else around me. Once I stepped back from the PlayStation 4 and looked around to see what other players had been doing, several gamers were mid harpooning and there was one person who I think may of struggled a bit as they were just hanging aimlessly from the mast of the Jackdaw.

Overall Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag was a great game! Ubisoft have overhauled the open water and ship side of the game massively and you can really feel the difference. Edward appears to be a great character who I think players, including myself will enjoy experiencing the life of.

Keep a close eye here on n3rdabl3 for more hands on coming from Eurogamer Expo 2013, including the Xbox One and PS4. As well as many games!