Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Single Player Hands-On Preview – PAX Prime 2013

September 2, 2013Written by Dan Oravasaari


While at PAX Prime 2013, Ubisoft gave PlayStation LifeStyle an extended private hands-on the single player campaign for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, here are our impressions.

Starting off the demo, we played as Edward Kenway, the father of Haytham Kenway, aboard his pirate ship floating in the middle of the sea. Fans of the boating segments from AC3 will remember these dynamics well, but those that didn’t care for those parts might be glad to find out just how much more fleshed out they felt. Navigating the seas in ACIV is comparatively a monumental leap in the right direction to making the pirating a much more engaging experience.

Simply by traveling across the ocean you can tell just how much more effort has gone into the aquatic portion of this sequel. Riding out the turbulent waters is a unique experience, as not only the weather is randomly generated, but so is are the waves. Besides just using the water to get from point A to B there are numerous enemy ships, collectable debris, the ability to rescue shipwrecked survivors and the option to dive into the ocean in search for lost treasure to help you upgrade your pirate ship. Kenway also has the ability to use a diving bell to locate sunken treasure, but below the water were numerous hazards that he had to maneuver around otherwise he would become lunch – giving the sea portion of the preview a great deal more depth and fun.

Graphically, the game looked stunning from the beginning to the end of the PS4 demo, as the waves came crashing into the boat or crested and fell into the distance, it was easy to get lost just staring at the details.

Luckily, there was a good amount of land to explore as well, so fans wondering what happened to the landlubber assassin of the previous games should be happy. Wandering around one of the cities or the ports, you can tell that not only the waves look like they could be beautifully distracting, but the attention to detail in the city shown reminded me why I am looking forward to the PS4 so much.

As it wouldn’t be AC if I didn’t knock-off a few enemies, I moved across the rooftops in search of my target from an assassination mission picked up from the returning pigeon coop and took out guards with the familiar hidden blade. Once I made it to my target, I was able to use the new blowpipe and the berserk dart inside, to trick trick the target’s friends into killing him, while I sat in a tree. Sadly, eventually I ran into more than one guard and experienced a few glitches during melee and stealth kills – but as Ubisoft Montreal are already working on debugging, I was assured they will be fixed before launch.

Ultimately, ACIV:BF is very much another entry in the series, but it could just be the most realized and diverse sequel we have seen to date.