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Assassins Creed Black Flag: Review

Updated on February 15, 2014

Main Story

First we should revisit the end of the last game (Desmond story), it ended with Desmond freeing the god person. They were warned that if she was free then she would enslave all mankind. Personally the human story was of a great interest to me when playing the assassins creed games, however with this one, no effort was made to improve or even continue the story. The human story now is just you working for templars and eventually seeing the god near the end of the game. She informs you that she doesn't yet have the strength to take on an organic form and just disappears, seems like a big cop out by the developers here.

You are a pirate known as Edward Kenway, you are attacking a ship and end up stranded on an island. You meet an assassin who was on his way to betray his kind and join the templar group. Although you yourself have never been an assassin, you seem to know all of their techniques from the get go. Seems like they didn't make much effort with the introduction story.

Black Flag, step forward or step back

Assassins creed 4 has improved a lot compared to it's predecessor, in my last review I stated that this game will be the decider, on whether the assassins creed games will continue to get better. After the terrible story in assassins creed 3 I am pleased to say Black Flag is a massive improvement. They have completely removed the terrible homestead missions from the previous game, there will be no need to play stupid games like bowling again.

Although they have made some major changes, the game does still seem to be pretty much the same as always. You meet the assassins kill templars and look for some special artifact. IT would have been nice if they switched it up a bit, maybe in the next game you can choose whose side to be on.



Everyone will be happy to know, the upgrading from assassins creed 3 is no longer being used. You know buy upgrades for your ship just as you would buy yourself weapons. In order to upgrade your ship you first need to meet certain requirements. These include:

  • Progressing far enough in the story.
  • Acquiring the correct materials.
  • Finding the correct upgrade plan.

To gain the materials you need you must attack enemy ships and loot their goods, after completing all the side activities you capture the ship. You can then choose to send the ship to your fleet (online activity) sell goods to reduce wanted level or use parts of the ship to repair your own.

Personal upgrades like health and pouches must be crafted from specific materials. To get these materials you need to hunt specific animals and take their skin, the hardest of which are the whale and shark skins. I myself have never been able to kill one of these as either my harpoons would run out, or my rowboat would be destroyed. Once you have the correct skin you can use the start menu to craft your items. The reason you can't just purchase all your upgrades is because by looting other ships you can really easily make money. Rum and sugar sell for quite a high price at the harbor master, so it takes little time to get quite a bit of money. Well that's if you are looting the level 40+ ships.


Ship Battles

Unless you are really good at this game, it is pretty hard to beat a legendary ship without elite upgrades. All of the elite upgrades require a plan, these are found at diving sites or with treasure maps. The ones you can just dive for aren't too bad, they aren't hard to find and the dive site will say if it contains an upgrade plan. You should be able to beat all the legendary ships with just the elite upgrades from diving sites.

There are four different locations for legendary ships, each of them have their own special abilities. One fires motors continuously and can't be damaged from the side, another is extremely fast and takes a gives a huge amount of damage with it's ram. I won't spoil the suprise with the other two ships.

Legendary Ship

Side Activities

  • Ship boarding.

Once you have damaged a ship enough you can board it. Once you have initiated this activity depending on the level of the ship, you have a number of activities to complete in order to capture the ship. You must complete these activities before your crew are all defeated.

  • Diving.

Diving can be quite fun, you have to get to chests without loosing all of your health. To replenish your health you just need to reach an air pocket, return to your diving bell or locate an air barrel. While under water you need to watch out for sharks and other sea life that will try to harm you. You can hide from them as you would hide from soldiers.

  • Assassin contracts.

The same as previous games, except sometimes you may need to dive to find the assassination target. These can get quite boring as it is the same thing over and over again.

  • Naval contracts.

Pretty much protecting a ship along it's route or going out to find a certain ship and sink it. I don't know if it is in all games but in mine there is a glitch so you can't complete the last contract. This also prevents you from unlocking a certain pistol.

  • Miscellaneous.

These are the side activities that aren't really any fun or of any use to you. Like finding the animus fragments, hacking other employees computers and collecting shanties. Shanties you may want to find otherwise your crew will always sing the same song during travel speed.

Bad points

Even with all the new things they are trying with the assassins creed series, they are still yet to make different difficulty levels. At the moment you can only really die fighting the last bosses, nearly all of the soldiers can easily be defeated. It lowers the quality of the game when you can only really die when your ship gets taken down, or you fall off a tall building. They did improve one on aspect though, the soldiers are have better vision in this game especially the gunmen, this makes stealth missions a bit harder.

Another point is that your ship never changes, you always keep the same ship. This was a bit of a disappointment as different ships have different abilities. You will notice this when you get to pilot black-beards ship. Once you start to get further in the story you come across level 40+ ships which from appearance only would obviously destroy your ship. They should have allowed you to increase the size of your ship.

If you have played previous versions of the game then a lot of the missions will start to feel repetitive. stealthily reach your target and kill him, or loot a warehouse etc. Once you realize that it is almost impossible to be killed you can just fight everyone and have no need to hide.

Have you ever had trouble defeating enemies in the game?

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Overall the game is still really fun, I will be looking forward to buying the next installment. Hopefully by then they will have made the game a lot harder.

4 stars for Gameplay


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