Tag-Team: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Part 1

In an all new feature for the site, two Low Fat Gaming writers go head-to-head – armed with only their opinions and willing to draw blood on a hot-topic. This week Dave Green tackles Doug McCormack on the newly announced Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Part one see’s the former take to the soapbox. He isn’t convinced…

Assassin's Creed IV: Bootylicious Edition

Assassin’s Creed IV: Bootylicious Edition

Let me get this out of the way – I’ve always loved the Assassin’s Creed franchise. As a history buff with a soft spot for wild conspiracy theories the series is right up my alley. I’m also an Assassin’s Creed 3 apologist. While I recognise its (numerous) flaws, I enjoy the setting immensely and the Anvil Next engine, pushing current generation machines to their very limit, has tonnes of potential. With all this said, I can’t help but think Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a huge mistake. Let me tell you why…

Arrrr-nvil

Assassin’s Creed is a series in need of a break. In fact, Ubisoft needs to take the series back to its roots. Assassin’s Creed, a series where you play characters who learn to becomes assassins, is no longer about assassinating people. The franchise has become heavily set-piece driven, to the point where if you deviate ever so slightly from what the developers intend, you fail the mission. Instant restart. Not fun. At the series pinnacle, you can take your pick from ACII or Brotherhood, you were given spectacle and a certain freedom of expression to carry out your missions – this was fun. You may have been gently poked and prodded along the way but the developers were smart enough to know that you wanted to decide. With AC3, and to an extent Revelations, the series began to loose its way and forget what drew people to it in the first place.

Not to mention the Anvil Next engine clearly struggles to perform on our current 8 year old consoles. AC3 is a buggy mess. It still is, even after nearly 5 months worth of patches and updates. Wouldn’t we prefer to wait a year to see Ubisoft’s vision on next generation hardware (something many argue they should have done with the “third” installment)? There are many things that trouble me with this announcement. Why is it a numbered sequel WITH a subtitle? I understand Ubisoft wanting to distance the title from the (relativity) poorly received predecessor but that subtitle smack of a lack of confidence – if this one has poor reviews expect the next sequel to move straight to AC5. It delivers – expect Assassin’s Creed IV: Davey Jones. Then there are the pirates. Oh, the pirates…

Those are some STRONG graphics, but can the current gen consoles handle it?

Those are some STRONG graphics, but can current gen consoles handle it? No.

Landlubber

Since Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow jauntily swaggered on to the big screen, pirates have been big money. Don’t believe me? Next time you go to a fancy dress party, look at the amount of Sparrow wannabees flouncing around the place. People fucking love pirates and lots of people want to be a pirate. Ubisoft know this. Ubisoft also know the most popular aspect of AC3 was the naval warfare sections but people weren’t all that keen on the War of Independence setting. So, how can Ubisoft use the technology they’ve already expensively created (water physics and the American coasts) and guarantee that “Joe Public” will be interested. Fucking pirates.

I know I’m criticising a game without seeing so much as a screenshot, trailer, or (better yet) played it but I can’t shake the feeling that this, more than any other recent AC title, is a game made by a committee. A game made to appeal to a certain person, sell a certain amount and make a tidy profit. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with a games company making money (I wish they all did) but, as I stated before, after the criticisms of AC3 this feels like the series is moving further away from its core. It should be doing the opposite. It feels like the faith in the franchise has been shaken and Ubisoft are looking for a banker to steady the ship. I’m not sure this is the right way.

I’m not apposed to yearly updates if they genuinely bring something new to a series and push things on but I WOULD like to see this particular series given a break. Give me a next generation version, with its wonderful history and insane conspiracies, that focuses on empowering me to becoming a badass assassin. An assassin that has the freedom to explore and carry out my missions as I see fit – be it on land OR sea. Give me that, or give me nothing!

– Dave Green. Tell him he’s a salty sea-dog on Twitter @davidpgreen83

In part 2, Doug McCormack will attempt to blow this out of the water. We’ll keep you posted, me hearties…

5 comments on “Tag-Team: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Part 1

  1. I dont think there is anything wrong with doing a part piratey-themed Assassins Creed in general. Maybe coming ashore in different towns, with a pirate base would be ok – depending on how its done. Although, yes, developing an engine for water physics and ship to ship combat does appear to be straying way to far afield from what makes them Assassins Creed games.
    If they want to do all that, then maybe they should focus their tech on a new IP. Not shoehorn ideas into an existing IP by using a popular one as a sales wagon

    Like

    • Good points, Martyn! The game could well be excellent and a real return to form for the series but, as Dave’s article points out, there is much to be concerned about. We await Part 2 of Tag-Team with great interest…

      Like

  2. Pingback: Weekly News Blast: Gaming News to Please Your Eyeballs | Low Fat Gaming

  3. Pingback: Tag-Team: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Part Two | Low Fat Gaming

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