Game Review

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

A pirate's life for Wii (U)

Unless this is the first time you’re being exposed to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you won’t need a telescope to notice that the landscape has changed drastically from past entries in the series. Residing in the Caribbean, you take on the role of Edward Kenway, an 18th-century pirate who dreams of obtaining enough riches to live well and free of worry. Sure to not divulge too much information, we’ll say that Edward gets mixed up in things much larger than himself, which lends to a story filled with assassins, Templars and, well, more pirates.

And being a pirate is grand. Expanding on the naval sequences of Assassin's Creed III, sailing the capricious seas to the sound of your crew bellowing shanties from the bottom of their gut instils a feeling of freedom and hopefulness, even in the most dire of situations. Whether an opposing fleet initiates a bout of sea warfare or Mother Nature conjures up a hellish storm, it feels like the odds of your crew not becoming shark food aren’t exactly in your favour. These unscripted circumstances are the adhesive of the package, likely to produce as many – if not more – memorable moments than the planned missions.

When first gaining control of your ship – dubbed the Jackdaw – handling navigational duties on top of giving offensive commands can feel slightly cumbersome. No matter though, as it quickly becomes second nature, with movements that mirror what we’d expect from a ship of this magnitude. It will only be a short time until you’re sinking entire brigades, attacking forts, and just travelling the massive map with relative ease. But it’s not all about water in Black Flag; there’s a lot of ground to cover, too.

The open world is, without question, the star of this package. Beyond the vast seas there are sprawling cities bursting with life and inhabitants, along with the smallest desert islands in the middle of nowhere – there’s plenty to explore and do. Accepting assassination contracts will have you stalking your target and plotting the best course of attack. Extracting treasure maps from the corpses of dead men can lead you to buried riches that you likely wouldn’t have stumbled upon otherwise. And of course there are a multitude of items to collect, liberally strewn about the world. Referring to these things as distractions wouldn’t be fair, though we did often find ourselves losing track of the next mission because of them.

Falling into the role of assassin finds you in situations that you’ll presumably be familiar with if you’ve spent any time with the Creed: sneaking about the brush and the rooftops while eavesdropping on conversations, going blade-to-blade with a cluster of enemies, and participating in those aforementioned stealthy assassinations. The majority of the on-land missions rotate between these styles of play. Most of it’s a good deal of fun, while it can also be a complete chore. This is partially because of the all-seeing eye of the enemy guards, and additionally due to the free running mechanic, that can prove to have a mind of its own.

Free running can present some problems; mostly when precision and swiftness is required. Often, with an obvious path meant to be traversed, Edward will instead cling to walls, or interact with pieces of the environment you’d least expect. It’s understandable that imperfections would be present with a dynamic mechanic like this in a massively decorated open-world environment, but when the slightest misstep can lead to exposure, resulting in failed missions, it can become quite the arrgh-ravating affair (sorry, we couldn't resist).

Occasionally button commands will prove unresponsive, as well, and the area in which you need to stand to interact with objects and fallen enemies likes to be temperamental. There were many instances where Edward was climbing a wall, and it would take multiple tries to get him to respond to our directional commands. It’s infrequent, but it does take you out of the experience when it occurs. Issues and inconsistencies such as these and the unpredictable nature of the free-running mechanic have existed previously in the series, so by now we expect fans have become used to compensating for them – though that doesn’t make it entirely forgiveable.

The story can be a mixed bag of exciting, humorous, and snooze-worthy moments as it meanders around a bit though the first half. Luckily it’s more enjoyable than it is not, and the pirate theme injects a much appreciated sense of liveliness to the escapades. Streamlining your adventure by sticking to main missions is expected to take close to 20-hours of play, but if you’re looking to see all the sights and do all that’s doable, expect to double that playtime. When it comes to absolute value, this ship has more than enough firepower to keep you battling until you're ruler of the seven seas.

Speaking of firepower, Black Flag introduces a strategy-type sub-game into its hull. When entering the captain’s quarters of the Jackdaw, you can view ship upgrades, outfits for Edward, and most notably access the fleet management mode. From here you can manage your entire fleet of ships and send them on the attack. Selecting from a list of missions shows each ships probability of success and what commodities can be attained if victorious. This all takes place on menu screens, so once you’ve put the ships into action, you’ll be free to get back to your in-game duties. Ubisoft has even released a companion app for tablet devices – which is said to allow fleet management on the go – but, unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to test this out.

Now the question a lot of you may be wondering is, “how does the game look and perform on the Wii U?” It’s a mixture of great and jarring. The contrast of tropical colorus, like the bursting blues of the rocking waves against glowing greens of the vegetation, are striking and so inviting, we reckon you’ll want to plunge into the screen and string up a hammock . Outside of stiff, blocky hair and alarmingly pixelated shadows, the definition and detail is extremely impressive for a game of this size; the variation of textures – a hot topic of discussion lately – amplifies the satisfaction of aesthetic delights. When at a standstill, there’s so little to complain about.

Sadly, aggressive waters aren’t the only thing that’s choppy in Black Flag. Much like a handful of other multiplatform games that find their way to the Wii U, the frame rate often runs very low. In smaller, more contained areas, it seems to be smoothed out, but just about anywhere else it’s the opposite. Swinging the camera around with the right analogue stick is when it's heavily pronounced, which may make it hard to hold down any rum you've been sipping on to get into character. Thankfully, there aren’t many sudden drops in frame rate; it’s either consistently running low, or nearly unnoticeable. Playing on the GamePad, which softens some of the graphical rough edges, lessens its prominence not literally, but in terms of perception. This isn’t a reason to pass on the game if you’re interested, but it’s something that will unquestionably irritate some.

Assassin vs. assassin has returned for another round of online multiplayer, of course. To summarize, teams of human players will need to blend into a map filled with AI characters, and exterminate the opposition with a degree of skill and subtlety. Fair warning, there’s a bit of a learning curve when first dropping in, possibly further advanced by an intimidating interface. But if you put time in, there’s a highly rewarding and thrilling experience here. Few things can top the feeling in your chest as you cautiously travel the city streets, unable to trust whether any of the civilians around you are human or AI, harmless or lethal. It can be utterly exhilarating. It's worth mentioning that we had zero problems finding or connecting to a match. Things seem to be in top shape on the online end, extending the value of an already impressive package even further.

Whether we were exploring aimlessly, or hunting exotic animals just because we could, the world of Black Flag engaged us fully. It definitely lacks the polish to make for a masterpiece, but that doesn't mean it can't offer up one of the most memorable experiences of the year. Acquainted with the Assassin's Creed series or not, this a great addition to the Wii U lineup, and should satisfy the thirst of those seeking a little mature-themed escapism. Load the cannons, it's time to sink a couple weeks of your social life.


Black Flag is at its best when it allows the player to exist organically in its immensely beautiful and consuming open world. While the bulk of the game is exceptionally crafted, there are rough edges that keep it from reaching the masterful heights to which it aspires. Story missions that require swift execution and a careful step accentuate the clumsiness of the free-running mechanics, and can make the occasional sequence a bother to play. That, combined with low frame counts, will be sure to hinder the experience for some, but we don’t think it’s quite enough to take your sights off the captain’s deck.

The sign of a fantastic open world can be found in its ability to effortlessly suck you into even the most insignificant of activities, and Black Flag excels on that front. Wii U owners looking for an expansive, value-packed adventure should surely set their sails for the Caribbean. There's plenty of gold for the taking.

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User Comments (89)



Vriess said:

I have just started with AC III. As soon as AC IV drops in price, I will definitely get it too.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

Same here. Picked up ACIII, BLOPS2, and BATMAN:AC for $10 each over the summer at Blockbuster. After another (I also own AC on 360) run through Batman I am now 10 hours into ACIII. I love it. The combat could be better, but I love the era. Will pick up ACIV when it lowers.



Samurairu said:

@WhiteTrashGuy Same here and then I traded in an old game for ACIV at a bizarro promo at bestbuy in Canada, trade in any game for a version of ACIV, Ghost or BF3. Long live desperate retailers!



Warruz said:

Kinda throws me that a review would have no in game screen shots.

Here are some

Here is an example where the game just looks worse for some reason(very prominent in the start of the game)



Shiryu said:

It's killing me still not having this one (especially since I am from a sea faring nation, Portugal, which I will be able to plunder in the game!) while everyone is already spoiling me the whole game on Ps3 and 360. But good things come to those who wait, I will pick this up for Wii U on European release... two more weeks to go... Y_Y



Kyoto said:

I was so hopeful for a fluid framerate. Seems they failed at it again...



Flash-Jordan said:

Oh id read it was superior to other versions both graphically and in motion i should know better sm3dw ftw!



Ricube said:

The only AC game I really enjoyed was AC II, maybe because I live next to Venice and that city has not really changed... Now I can't think of the game when I go there and try to climb some buildings I also played AC III on WiiU but all the wilderness was kind of boring after a while. For myself I would appreciate a new AC game that plays in cities



Shiryu said:

@kver0 Yes, I'm from Lisbon and spend most of my time hunting in El Corte Inglés. The Wii U version of ACIV will only be released on the same day as the PS4 and Xbox One (where available) versions. So we will just have to wait... I am Shiryu everywhere but YouTube (ShiryuGL), But I must warn you I am running low on free friends space (last time I checked I was 95 of 100 full).



retro_player_22 said:

An awesome game, it's a 9/10 on my end. I don't care about graphics so as long as the game is enjoyable to me and this game is very enjoyable.



Marshi said:

Nintendo life could you please tell me how the framerate compares to assassins creed 3?



ricklongo said:

I never played Assassin's Creed before, and was dead-set on getting this. Then I discovered there's a modern-day segment (apparently, at all AC games, right?). Seriously, what the hell? I can't think of many things I'd want LESS on a pirate-themed game set in the past.

Still might get it eventually, but I gotta admit that I got significantly less enthusiastic about the game.



Megumi said:

...Was wondering, since I really don't want to go play all the other AC games, you think I'll be ok starting here? My sister wants me to get into the series, and heard something about this game's story compared to the others. Thinking of this for Christmas.



willobee said:

@Kyoto The only time I've seen any frame rate drop is one time when on an island in the open sea, and there were five computer ships blasting away at each other... and it never chugged, just dropped a little.

Every other second has been a fluid 30 frames.



willobee said:

@unrandomsam Uh, no, that isn't what that word means. Fluid means it isn't erratic or jerky, and a steady 30 fits perfectly to that. 60 frames may be even smoother, but that is not the definition of fluid.



tebunker said:

This game runs great, don't know what the reviewer witnessed. I have rarely seen a hiccup, and I have fought with as many as 8 ships at once. Digital Download here, love the game. Solid 9/10, because of the need to have the character hook and latch to do the parkour type moves you can get stuck or repeatedly run up the wrong wall. It is a minor issue with this type of game, it is extremely difficult to make it so the player can easily hook on to stuff while making it so they don't needlessly hook on to everything.



SCAR said:

Is this one 3D compatible like the 3rd one? I'm not too keen on Assassin's Creed(I bought 3 of the games on PS3 with PS+ and figured out I didn't like them), but it does seem to be improving.



Warruz said:

@Yukari_Sendo This is as good of a spot that your going to get to jump in. May I make a suggestion of watching some of those If insert game was a movie things on youtube to fill in the story gaps if you dont plan on playing them.



Subie98 said:

@ricklongo I just beat my copy yesterday, only went for 90% complete. If I recall correctly it only cut away from the actual 1600s or whatever it is like 4 times for roughly...5-10 minutes each. Not nearly as cut away as you're thinking. I suggest getting it. Its roughly a 30-40hr game to complete. More if going for 100% pending on the skill level of said player.



AyeHaley said:

Guys I'm in need of a third party adventure like AC IV, Batman Arkham Origins/City or Deus Ex. Which one should I get? Mind you, they are all 59.99 except Deus Ex which is 39.99.
I prefer exploring over shooting/stealth, but I read Deus Ex is a wonderful experience on Wii U. But I only see an orange-like world on screenshots/trailers and wonder if that'll stay interesting...

Though I love Arkham Asylum a lot (really) but I can only buy my games at the eShop so both Arkham City and Origins are the same price. Is City worth full price or is it wiser to spend 60 on a more recent game like Origins or AC IV? I don't mind paying a premium price for an epic adventure though. Hmm AC III was such a let down but I really dig the Caribbean/pirate-theme/diving for treasure.

I just want a third party game to play between first-party games and to keep me busy for over 25 hours. My gut says a Batman or AC game, but my wallet screams Deus Ex. What to do? And if Batman: which one? Thanks fellow humans



WhiteTrashGuy said:

@AyeHaley ARKHAM CITY is in my top 10 games of all time. (And I'm 32, so that includes the likes of MS. PACMAN and CONTRA.) I've beaten it 4 times and am now on my 5th playthrough. Got it at launch on 360 and then later on WiiU. It's amazing. Stealth, action, and HUNDREDS of Riddler Trophies. Not to mention ARMORED EDITION is like a GOTY version with all the DLC. Easily worth $60 if you've never played it before. AND the most satisfying combat of this generation (without guns).



GraveLordXD said:

@AyeHaley Deus Ex is great I'm loving it I would choose that over any ac or batman game but that's just me
Whatever you choose I would pick up Deus Ex eventually its a gem
Edit I own city and ac2&3 and IMO Deus Ex is better



Tasuki said:

Can't wait to start this game. Seems like friday is taking forever to get here.



Nintendboy14 said:

Everybody talks about wii u frame rate i havent noticed this issue but i also own a ps3 n skyrim is way more choppy n glitches even worse that being said AC4 is best game ive played in a while n the off tv play comes in handy when ur girlfriend wants to watch tv



DrSlump said:

I'm still playing the third episode on my wii u.. the framerate is really low, and this makes it difficult to control the main caracter.
I will not buy this title for wii u.. maybe i will get it for my pc or a next gen console, if i'll buy it.



Zael said:

The frame rate problems continue to be on those conversions
Ninja gaiden re
batman AC
Resident evil
And now Ac 4
I'm not a perfectionist but when you have a ps3 and a wii u and you have to choose a version then you are a nintendo fan but you have to take the better one,
Third parties are working bad on wiiu, they also know that their games wouldn't sell good on wii u so they don't waste time in optimizing the frame rate etc.
There are also some dubts on this hardware, but, for what we know, nintendo games and first parties run better
I think I will buy only nintendo exclusives for the moment, and yes, also third party games but only if optimized.



Zael said:

@DrSlump The same reason why I haven't bought ac3 on wii u, after I saw ng 3 and batman ac I understood that third parties games are bad converted, with frame rate problems
This is also the reason they sell bad on wii u



Flash-Jordan said:

Batman arkahm city was said to be severely hampered by frame rate issues on wii u,i would get it on xbox if u have one,i would say get deus ex though, it really is a special game done right on wii u



Flash-Jordan said:

Batman arkahm city was said to be severely hampered by frame rate issues on wii u,i would get it on xbox if u have one,i would say get deus ex though, it really is a special game done right on wii u



Flash-Jordan said:

Batman arkahm city was said to be severely hampered by frame rate issues on wii u,i would get it on xbox if u have one,i would say get deus ex though, it really is a special game done right on wii u



erv said:

AC3 never had any framerate issues on my wii u, so this might just perform as well as the other.

The ac games have a tendency to mix a lot of very awesome things I want to do and play and make the sum less than the total of its parts though. I doubt I will play this in the future at all. I might be tempted at one of those 15euro promotions one day though...



Luffy said:

My first AC was AC3 because I only play Nintendo systems so I'm new the the franchise. I can't wait to get this bad boy after I beat 3D world.



MAB said:

If anyone is still buying inferior physical discs to play games like this then it's time to stop and get the more superior digital versions with less load times, minimal glitches and nice framerates



Traxx said:

ACIII's problem were constantly low frame rate - not just hiccups. It was very close to constant 24 fps and if it drops from there its slower than it needs to be to simulate movement to an human eye. Totally destroys the idea of the game being a super nimble assassin since frame rate has influence on controls as well - you just don't "feel" the game cause of the frame rate.



Quickman said:

Ubisoft and frame rate issues seen to go hand in hand, there should be no excuse for it in this day an age.



SetupDisk said:

The frame rate is horrible on the PS3 and the graphics are no where near as nice. Just check out some comparison vids and photos.
In other words it's crap.



ricklongo said:

@Subie98 That's good to hear. I'll eventually get it, but that detail did make me go for Sonic Lost World instead as my October Wii U retail game. With Tropical Freeze postponed, I'm thinking I should get AC IV on December.



dumedum said:

This is the only second Wii U review on metacritic and it took a million years too. I wonder how long it will take for the Batman reviews (Wii U and 3DS).



WhiteTrashGuy said:

@dumedum For real!!! Come on Nintendolife, where's the reviews for our new Batman and Lego games!?

I have to comment on this framerate issue. On ARKHAM CITY (Wii U) it gets pretty noticeable durring hectic fights, but on AC3 I've experienced a near constant 30fps. If it's really such a problem for everyone here why don't you become PC gamers. Framerate dips are just par for the console course. Those games that don't have good care taken with them will always have it (unlike Nintendo's dedication to quality), but here-and-there dips do not destroy a game. That said, I agree that Ubisoft's framerate issues are legendary. Hopefully they take care of this during their extra time with WATCH_DOGS.



Mallard said:

All this talk of 30 fps v's 60 fps, makes me laugh, not that many people can see the difference. People read something on the tinternet and jump on that band wagon!



johndevine said:

@Mallard I for one can see the difference, but don't really mind if as long as I get a solid 30 or very close to it.

This game doesn't even do 30 frames, so your comment is irrelevant.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

@johndevine I've heard that from several people. Sad, because off-tv play is a godsend for me! Madaussiebloke suggested above that downloading it ma alleviate some of the issues.



johndevine said:

It won't change frame rate issues, may load slightly quicker.

(Talking fractions of seconds here though)



booopn said:

A little late with the review, as the WiiU review needs to come out at the same time so that people can make a choice between the different platforms.

Also, no mention of the gamepad features?



Mayleene said:

Watched a LP for this and was not impressed. Looked like a bunch of "Catch the blank). In other words, run, catch the blank, rinse and repeat. Am I missing something? Would like to give it a try but looked way too repetitive for me.



ICHIkatakuri said:

@unrandomsam actually I watched a university talk about that on Ted once and an impressive amount of people can't tell the difference between 30-60fps don't know why and I can't remember the statistic, but do remember that only around 10% of those who could tell the difference can notice a change between 60-90fps so I imagine barely anyone can tell if their game is running at 120fps and if they say they can its likely they're bullshi**ing.



n057828 said:

Dont get Battlefield 4 for PS3 Im a fan dont get me wrong but the graphics ie shadings etc are bad. stick with bf3 for PS3.



Dpullam said:

It's unfortunate that the frame rate of this game can be sketchy at times, but I might still consider getting this version. Perhaps once the game goes down in price the frame rate won't bug me that much.



renaryuugufan92 said:

The game is great, I put nearly 50 hours into it so far and I still got alot of collectables and ship upgrades to get, and to those saying its 60fps, maybe on the PS4 and XBone but not the 360,PS3 & Wii U versions as they all run at 30fps and they all have frame-drops but they are not that dramatic sure their noticable but nothing that will ruin your timing. Visually the Wii U version does have slightly sharper textures than the 360/PS3 versions, but its the lighting/shading and draw distance Wii U owners will notice a dramatic difference in, how do I know this, I had a friend bring his 360 over after I beat AC4 on the U and we did a comparison with two 32 inch 1080p tv's (the other tv was his of course and yes it was a pain to do this, but curiosity does that to ya...). What we discovered was that the fps was identical really, and we both came to the conclusion that Ubisoft put all of their resources into the PS4/One versions which we will find out when he gets the One on the 22nd and we play that version of the game, other than that though its an excellent game I recommend it to all Wii U owners! just be prepared to have 50hours and then some stripped away from your life



QuickSilver88 said:


I have it for WiiU and have also tried it on PS3 and can say without reserve the frame rate on WiiU is much better in congested areas than on ps3. There is a large 1.1gb update on first run and I wonder if the reviewer installed this update as it is critical to performance. He fails to mention that the AC series has always chugged in congested areas and if you have played the series you will find AC4 on WiiU no worse than any of the other games and IMO better until we see ps4/xb1 versions.....I am loving it and it does look peticularly sharp offTV.



capitalism said:

So much haters on here lately. Some people must be getting really nervous that their $500 consoles aren't going to live up to expectations. BTW the Wii U version does have better graphics than the 360/ps3 versions as me and my friend compared his 360 version against my Wii U version and you could notice the differences. Like someone said above the lighting is better and the Wii U version has better textures.



Nico07 said:

@Vriess I couldn't agree more. I picked AC III up for PC, but think I'll do Wii U for this version. Can't they release AC in the summer so that it could fit into my budget?



NightmareXIV said:

I wonder how this is mature content wise like stong language, and stuff like that because I don't think that stuff is cool, and I can only take so much in a game so Mature content wise someone rat from one to ten.
1= Could be rated T
2 = Few bad stuff, but otherwise okay.
3 = Getting mildly bad
4 = Tolerable
5 = Barely Tolerable
6 = Hanging by a thread
7 = Defines rated M
8 = Don't waste your time
9 = Not worth it
10 = Defines AO rating
I had to be careful asking this question because one alip, and It'll erase my comment so please answer.Anyone



ricklongo said:

@MegaPineAppleU It's not overreacting; it's having your enthusiasm put down by a feature you 100% don't think should be there. Things like that definitely ruin expectations and the sense of immersion, which in turn can result in a much worse experience, no matter how good the rest of the game is. It would be like a great series like Breaking Bad briefly breaking the fouth wall for a single dialogue; the rest of the series would still be top-notch, but that single slip would forever taint my perception of it.

Either way, like I said, I'm probably still gonna get it eventually.



Azikira said:

I honestly have seen side-by-side comparisons of this game on all consoles that it's out for, and really, I find Wii U's graphics to be second best, under the PS4 but better then the Xbox 360 and PS3. It's too bad the framerate is kinda butts.



cassmi87 said:

@unrandomsam Please remember that the average human eye doesn't notice much difference at 30+ fps. With motion blur, even 18 fps seems fluid (movies in theatres are generally played at 24 fps).



DrSlump said:

I'm playing this game. According to me this game does not deserve an 8/10 score, mainly becouse of technical issues. Framerate is really low, making it impossible to play. Let's keep the first minutes of gameplay, when you must find the assassin: when you must try tu catch him running here and there, commands are unresponsive and there is a really noticeable lag.
My vote? 5.5/10.



Fazermint said:

@DrSlump That's such a hyperbole. How can a frame rate drop that is barely noticeable make it impossible to play? AC controls are frequently unresponsive, but all it takes is a little bit of practice. That does not warrant a 4.5 point deduction.



kyuubikid213 said:

This game is great. I got it for Christmas and I enjoy it very much. I had a few frame drops until I downloaded the patch. Once I did that, no frame drops came that annoyed me.



ricklongo said:

Coming back here to say I'm 50 hours into the game and loving it. I can't talk about comparisons to other versions, since I only got this for the Wii U, but I will say that it is a thoroughly enjoyable open-world experience. If you like this kind of action game, don't miss out on this one!



pukka-pie said:

For a game that seems to pride itself on it 'freerunning' the controls are an embarrassment, it's like controlling a gorilla. The frame-rate is poor, the graphics are deeply last gen, no gamepad implementation to speak of, sub-objectives are a total drag, the fact that it is somehow illegal to walk on roofs, the atrocious combat - so many flaws and i've been playing for no more than 3 hours. Not impressed at all so far... oh, and that Animus nonsense, come on Ubisoft, knock it on the head, what a farce.



jenkje said:

Great game. I love the pirates theme. The best thing is that you can turn off the blood (thumbs up ubisoft). I believe most video games today have to much violence to cover up bad gameplay. Nintendo is the only software company who understands this...



jrob23 said:

I got this game on the cheap ($15 Toys R Us) and I finally put it in last night. It's almost unplayable. Every scene is littered with jaggies and framerate drops. It looks like they ported over the PS360 version. So graphically it is better naturally because it's a more powerful machine but it doesn't look like they did any clean up afterwards. I don't see how anyone can overlook how bad it looks and how poorly it runs. I am putting it up for sale on craigslist today. Ubisoft clearly does not care about Nintendo anymore.



akaDv8R said:

@unrandomsam FLUID is 30FPS, which most last gen games were. 60FPS is silk smooth, but is harder to achieve, especially at full 1080p, not up-scaled.



Hy8ogen said:

@TreesenHauser I picked this game up for 15 bucks last week and I'm pretty sad that I didn't pick it up EARLIER!! This game is awesome! I was doubting at first due to all the negative post in the comment section, but decided to give it a go for 15 dollars.

After 16 hours, I can vouch that this game plays beautifully and the controls are pretty tight!(All you need is some practice and the controls is so much better than AC3). For the naysayers out there, I don't know which game you are playing, but the AC4 I'm playing is not the game you guys are describing at all. There is rarely any frame rate drops, graphics are simply gorgeous (apart from the leaves, they look 1998), the gameplay is SO FUN, and I have no issues in free running at all (maybe you should practice instead of blaming the controls for your newb skillz? Just sayin).

Overall, 8/10 is the correct score for this game. The 2 deduction comes from the ugly leaves (I mean seriously, what's with the leaves?), the occasional shadow "jaggy" in cutscenes, occasional glitchy combat when boarding huge boats and the lack of DLC. Otherwise, solid game and I would totally recommend it to people who are still on the fence.

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