An ocean of possibilities in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

October 31, 2013

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me. You won’t find it written on the box or manual, but I’m certain this is exactly what Ubisoft wants Assassin’s Creed fans humming as they set sail across a sprawling Caribbean ocean in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Though the series is renowned for its recreation of historic metropolis bustling with all kinds of people, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is cut from a different cloth. Edward Kenway’s story is one of swashbuckling pirating, and though you’ll still run through busy city streets and scale towering buildings, the real meat of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is in the sailing.

Sailing isn’t new to the series, a concept introduced in Assassin’s Creed III, but it’s more at the forefront than ever before. So much so that the team of Ubisoft consider Kenway’s boat, and thus the player’s tool for ocean traversal (and more), a “second character”. Series fans will be familiar with unlockable equipment for customising their protagonist, and a similar level of detail has been applied to Kenway’s ship. Indeed, the ship is just as much an anchor to the depths the gameworld has to offer as the main character himself. Pun intended. What this means is you’ll be given the freedom to customise equipment on your ship, such as cannons, as well as the crew, shaping the sailing experience to whatever best suits your play style.

The Caribbean setting provides a perfect template for open world sailing, littering assorted islands across a gigantic mass of water. Size and scale is of utmost important to Ubisoft, the team taking the time to render both waves and weather effects realistically. Shallow island shores give way to relatively calm waters, meanwhile deep sea sailing will have you up against rolling tidal waves. Stay there too long and the next thing you know thunder will boom as lighting illuminates the horizon, and you’ll find yourself wrestling against a devastating storm, your tailored boat and crew the only thing standing between survival and watery death. In the half hour or so of real world time it take so sail from one side of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag‘s massive ocean, you’re sure to run into more than a few intense oceanic events.

You’d only need one hand to count the amount of games with sailing features, so it’s worth paying attention when a new one comes along, especially one that puts so much work into the depth and play. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is available now on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A fancy next generation version with even more immersive sailing will be available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U on 21st November 2013.

This is a sponsored post but opinions are my own.