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Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag - The Ultimate Critique

Steamed crossword cluehamilton beach food steamer ASSASSIN’S CREED® IV BLACK FLAG™ review Music Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag launched in November of 2013 largely to critical praise for its bold attempt to rewrite the established Assassins Creed formula after playing the game Ive been left with many contradicting feelings that Im having trouble resolving on the one hand I really enjoy Black Flag I think its a fun and engaging game but on the other hand Im really disappointed by the lack of variety in classic Assassins Creed elements in it Black Flag has one key gimmick that it pushes and that is very very well done to be fair and that is of course the pirating according to the games director roughly 40% of the game takes place on the water however I would say that by the end of my playthrough it felt more like 70 75 percent of my time was sailing around just looting stuff as opposed to running around in the cities like Kingston Havana and Nassau which are the three largest cities in the game now thankfully the sailing and naval elements such as the combat or whaling and theyre both very very fun and its one of the best implementations of a new gameplay idea in a sequel that Ive ever seen however this isnt without its disadvantages when 70% of your gameplay time is spent sailing around in an assassins Creed game I cant help but feel as though something has either gone exactly to plan or has broken severely I would personally side with the former as I cant imagine the fun you can have in these naval combat sequences was an accident but I cant help but feel a bit disappointed in the lack of memorable assassinations or large architectural wonders to climb and explore its a little disappointing one of the things I like most about Assassins Creed are the huge sprawling environments and beautiful recreations of medieval cities Black Flag doesnt do this at all really black flag instead spreads out its map across a large Caribbean setting and asks the player to sail around to each of the points of interest for some this will be a welcome change but for others it is an unfortunate reality of porting the game to the Wii U but either way its a change in formula black flag is an attempt at something new and it largely succeeds despite being held back by some of the series long-running faults in this video go through basically everything in the game save for the multiplayer for obvious reasons and Ill try to justify and explain my opinion of the game specifically why I think its a great game but a terrible Assassins Creed entry before we go any further I do want to say that there will be timestamps in the description so if you want to jump around to different sections or skip past a particular discussion then you can do just that and those links are down below along with all of the sources and all the articles and videos and interviews that Im using in this video so you can read them at your leisure now I quickly want to clarify what Im thinking in terms of how this critique or review will work as we go through it now obviously this game released in 2013 its an old game that initially launched on the Xbox 360 the PlayStation 3 the PC the Nintendo Wii U and then was later released for Xbox one and ps4 as well it came out on all of those meaning that was it was held back by the lowest common denominator which would of course be the Wii U in terms of strength so obviously there are technological limitations not just with it being a 2013 game but also being ported to some of the weakest consoles that were on the market at the time so we have to remember that when were discussing things like AI or the graphics in a particular case but for full disclosures sake I will say that I played this game on PC through you play and everything was maxed out to ultra 60fps it ran fine save for a few glitches as I went through with characters not loading in or with a hole in the ocean or ships popping and swaying in weird ways but it by no means ruin the experience and when they did show up they were incredibly rare but they did stand out like a sore thumb now the reason I chose to look at Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag is because its developed by the same people and same team as the team that is currently working on Assassins Creed origins the next entry in the series so I thought that it would be interesting to look at their most recent work in the franchise and compare it and see where they might be taking the franchise next now Assassins Creed is a ginormous franchise and to create one of these games takes a lot of money time and effort and a lot of manpower and this game was not just developed through Ubisoft Montreal which is a huge huge studio of thousands of people it was also developed with help from seven other studios also owned by Ubisoft in Singapore Sofia NSC Kiev Quebec City Bucharest and Montpellier they even had team members from far cry 3s development team that came in and helped with certain elements of the game its not clear on what they helped with but they did help nonetheless point being this is a massive game with a lot of things to do and they had a massive team to try and get it done now the mission director for Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag a man by the name of Ashraf I smile Im sorry if Im pronouncing that wrong I likely am but nonetheless he is also directing both the gameplay and the narrative sections of Assassins Creed origins the next entry in the series and so he was very very very involved in the directing process of Black Flag and now he is completely heading up the series refocusing which is taking place in ancient Egypt now multiple interviews ashraf stressed that the team was aiming for a more historically accurate take on the era of the Golden Age of pirates that Black Flag takes place and that included staying away from those stereotypical images associated with pirates such as parrots Krakens and plank-walking that we all know and love he also said that the team sat down before development when they were in the concept in phase and decided to try and make a fun and engaging game first and then an interesting Assassins Creed title after that plug that in after they had a fun game working and I think that thats very very visible as you play through the game its clear that this was not an attempt to just put out another Assassins Creed it was an attempt to make a fun game that happens to be an assassins creed title and I have no issue with that but I think its interesting that that was their intention and they seem to have succeeded in it but thats about as far as I can get while still being vague so if you are adverse to spoilers or you havent played the game yet and want it to all be fresh I advise you to click out of the video now you can come back later but this is the point where Im going to start talking about gameplay in the narrative and all of that so take this as your spoiler warning whatever blah blah blah and so finally lets get into it Music as they say gameplay is king and in Black Flag this is more true than ever especially for an assassins creed title there is a lot to do in Black Flag everything from the series staple assassination and trailing missions to many games and naval merchant management to massive naval battles and whaling this is a game that says oh you got bored a lot in Assassins Creed 3 well here heres so much stuff to do that you wont know what youre going to do for the next 30 hours because its also daunting and this is where the brilliance of Black Flag really comes out its at its best when the player shrugs off the main quests and focuses on the side content the whaling naval combat exploration the looting these are the parts that the game does very very well however the other elements specifically the assassin elements are all extremely lacking this game can basically be split into two parts the assassin part and the pirate part they often cross over but they never play as a truly intertwined experience as much as they may try to get it to that point sure you may be trailing someone just like the series has always done but youre in a massive ship so it doesnt feel quite as sneaky as the developer seems to think theyre trying to mix the two worlds the pirate world and the assassin world but they just dont go that well together you may be hunting down a corrupt captain of a rival vessel similar to what youve done in other entries in the series but youre basically just assaulting him with mortars and cannons so its really not the a man doesnt play or feel the same as hunting down someone in no trade aam now I wouldnt go so far as to say that the game suffers from an identity issue like I said with horizon zero dawn where it seemed like it could make up its mind as to what type of game it wanted to be rather I think that the game knows what it wants to be but still has to play this sort of homage to its predecessors and has to play nice with the other Assassins Creed games so it has to keep the same tropes the same mechanics the same basic trailing and overhearing and eavesdropping missions that weve come to expect but as I said the game is at its best when you ignore all of this and just focus on what the developer created to be a fun gameplay mechanic which is of course the pirating now I remember feeling this when I first played the game way way back when in high school when it initially launched I thought to myself this doesnt seem like an assassins Creed game it seems like a game that was developed entirely separate and divorced from the Assassins Creed genre and title though is later created and added into the family of Assassins Creed games it seems to stand out pretty drastically from the others all the others whether youre talking about Assassins Creed the original 2 3 or unity or syndicate they all follow a fairly regularize Dadon of gameplay of experience of map variety of questing but black flag says f8 and bucks the trend and I think it works really well but not so much as an assassins Creed game now you could say that it is still an improvement and we should be happy that we have it either which way and I would agree with that its a great game and maybe this is the natural evolution of the series but as somebody who has always played these games and loved them from the very infancy of the franchise I cant help but miss some of those original gameplay mechanics that are completely absent in Black Flag but I dont want to be so vague about I want to get into specifics and prove my point here so lets get specific now were going to break down those two key elements of Black Flags specifically the assassin elements and the pirate elements and I want to go through each of them and show how they dont quite work together as well as they could have or at least as well as the developer would have liked them to beginning with the assassin theres two main things I want to discuss that feed into each other and breed a sort of assassin like gameplay style that previous games have really tried to encourage after all it is the Assassins Creed you would expect them to follow some key tropes the first thing I want to discuss is stealth now this is where its important to remember that were talking about a game from 2013 were dealing with very stupid AI in comparison to what we can get nowadays and I will tell you right now playing through the game recently was a bit of a slap in the face with how stupid the AI was and at this point I honestly am not sure if the AI was stupid back then or if its just stupid in comparison to what we can get nowadays but either which way in 2017 the AI is absolutely my numbing ly painful to play with what does the AI specifically have to do with stealth well obviously if you are going around and youre sneaking climbing up walls or making noise running behind guards you would expect them to be Spartan enough to realize whats going on around them if they see a dead body fall from a rooftop and land in front of them you would expect them to react accordingly look up and find you or you worth to for instance go and punch their friends standing three feet away from them you would expect them to retaliate or chase you down instead of just shrugging it off and forgetting going back to their business none the wiser now dumb AI has always been an issue in any sort of stealth game but especially for Assassins Creed now this is one thing I do remember when I initially played Assassins Creed 3 and Black Flag multiple times I found myself saying wow these guys are stupid and so I was able to totally cheat the system and game it because the AI was so my numbing ly idiotic and wasnt aware of anything that was going on around it so thats the first strike against the assassin and stealth mechanics if the AI is so stupid that it either recognizes you when it shouldnt or doesnt recognize you when it should the entire thing starts to fall apart and its no longer fun its no longer engaging and its no longer interesting or believable it just becomes a chore the second part of stealth and video games are the tools that you need in order to complete these tasks and missions now of course there are the series staple items such as the hidden blades and smoke bombs and those are there in this game they also give you a blowpipe for instance that you can use Berserker darts or sleep darts in order to incapacitate or fill some other enemy with rage so he starts attacking others and this was a trend set by assassins creed 3 which had also dumb AI but you could sort of game it and have fun with it with these Berserker darts and sleeping darts but this really isnt enough for me to constitute true sneaking sleep darts immediately incapacitate an opponent and the Berserker darts are incredibly overpowered and can totally distract an entire encampment of soldiers without even really trying theres no real challenge involved when youre given these weapons now there are some ways that this could probably be fixed whether its by having it much much harder to aim it its really Wiggly or it perhaps has a weapon spread like a gun in a modern FPS game where theres a certain difficulty finesse to aiming it into actually hitting your target accurately something like that so its not as simple as just holding down left trigger and highlighting an opponent and hitting him all of a sudden hes incapacitated for 60 seconds and you can go into your thing its a little too easy at least in my opinion and one of the largest and most commonly taken for granted elements of any stealth mechanic in a video game are of course the controls the actual physical way that you player interacting with the game world in front of you this is something we constantly take for granted in a game that does stealth very very well and when a game doesnt do it well often it has crappy controls just think of a game with crappy stealth and likely the controls are crappy as well now in Black Flag the cover system is entirely contextual so based on where youre standing whats in front of you whats behind you Edward will stand in a different way trying to sneak about but this was always incredibly immersion braking since theres no dedicated crouch mechanic where you can just crawl around a map I found myself often walking between bushes or quickly sprinting across them in order to get from Bush to Bush to Bush to stay undercover whereas in unity for instance you could stay crouched along a wall in that felt at least a little more stinky a little more believable in Black Flag the AI is stupid enough that you can get away with sprinting 15 feet between bushes and shrubberies but it frankly looks ridiculous and sometimes they would hear and would notice it and call me out and attack me so its very inconsistent but the controls for stealth in this game are so rubbish that I have to think it was a conscious decision to avoid it and to encourage more of the melee interactions that you often find yourself in now other than stealth theres another element that an assassin needs in order to be an assassin he needs accurate and usable terrain in order to traverse and find perches that you can assassinate from or that you can hide in you have to have certain cover systems in place so that you can play as an assassin without having to walk right in front of all of the enemies it doesnt do any good to play as an assassin if you all are forced to stand on a soccer field where everyone is in view with giant 30 foot cement walls on either side you have to have some means of hiding and sneaking around and in black flag there are occasionally these of course where only when youre on land on chip sequences there is no sneaking or no assassination mechanics but in this case when youre out on the land there are sometimes bushes there are sometimes houses that you can lean next to or behind theres trees that you can climb up in which was a mechanic that was still very fresh after Assassins Creed 3 the idea of contextually climbing into trees and across branches was very cool at the time I remember being amazed by it but in 2017 it just doesnt do enough for me and its a little ridiculous to think that somebody couldnt see this giant 200-pound man standing in a flimsy little tree 15 feet in the air so loudly running across the roof tiles that anybody could hear them from a mile away again it ties back into the AI but all in all its just bad now this is why I brought up that the game was developed in 2013 or at least released in 2013 because I dont want to make it seem as though these crimes are so unforgivable because at the time its very likely that this was simply the best they could do with the game releasing on the 360 ps3 and Wii U they had limitations as to what they could do in terms of AI they had memory limitations they ran limitations they had cpu limitations everything was very very limited in terms of what they could actually accomplish so I dont want to criticize it too heavily but at the same time I dont want to ignore the obvious which is that this is a game which was not built to be played as a typical assassin so if you are looking to play this as the stealth hiding behind trees jumping into hay bales and killing everybody without being spotted the entire run of the game thats not going to be possible in this game because the AI is so stupid the Train is not accommodating to that play style the tools are so overpowered that if you do that its going to lose all semblance of fun and of course the controls are so clunky that you might not even be able to communicate to Edward than NPC or rather the PC the player character there will be no way of actually communicating that play style to him so all in all this is not a game that was Bill for an assassin to be the main character now of course that begs the question what was it built to be played as and I think thats pretty self-explanatory this game was built to be played as a pirate you were meant to go through this game as Edward Kenway a guy that swinging from ropes sailing a ship around plundering getting all sorts of bootay and thats when the game is its most fun the entire game was built around encouraging that play style and when you ignore the assassin elements and embrace the pirate elements thats when you start having a good time now I break down the pirating into three main categories and of course all of these categories that Im breaking things down to are just for explanation purposes and of course some things will be left out but for broad-strokes purposes I think they get the point across the way I see it pirating in this game is broken into three main categories sailing looting and fighting now sailing is pretty self-explanatory this game has some of the best sailing and naval combat of any game ever so much so that Ubisoft is embracing it making it its own IP at this point as they announced at e3 this past year Skull and Bones I believe its called now personally I welcome this new IP as a bit of a side note I found myself having the most fun while sailing around getting into trouble fighting man of wars and all sorts of craziness out on the open sea in Black Flag and I only noticed this while I was editing this very video looking back through all of my 20-plus hours of footage for this video all recorded in Black Flag and I realised just how much I was sailing around just doing stupid stuff and how much fun I was having while doing it it really is a blast and if youve never played this game I highly recommend that you do even just to experience it as a little taste of what Skull and Bones will eventually offer as a standalone polished 2017 title and if they can bring in that title improved AI and improved graphics thats all I will need to convince me to try it out Im Im really excited for it some people have bashed on it I get that its unoriginal but either way its embracing and making a dedicated game of one of my favorite gameplay mechanics of all time so Im willing to forgive the lack of originality but without saying much more I think that pretty clearly shows that the majority of gamers who played Black Flag enjoyed the sailing in the naval combat so much that Ubisoft saw that desire saw that love of that gameplay mechanic and decided to make it its own standalone title I dont think I need to say much more about it it really is fluid its well done the controls are intuitive and to prove this I actually handed the controller I was playing on an Xbox controller on the PC and I handed it to my cousin who is some aged I dont remember 10 maybe around there and he took the control and I explained briefly how it all worked and literally five minutes later he was fighting a Manowar without much difficulty going through and having a great time while doing it not to be fair the ship was pretty well upgraded but he was holding his own and he was doing a good job of it because the controls were so intuitive now that doesnt mean easy but it means that theyre intuitive intuitive enough that somebody who isnt a dedicated gamer who hasnt played the game for 20 hours can still pick up the controller and very quickly learn how it works now the second main element of pirating is of course the looting and I brake wailing raiding diving and robbing into all of this everything from whaling sharks or whales of course to raiding villages or for instance other ships which is the most common one diving you can dive down into shipwrecks and find all sorts of cool treasure down there with your diving bell that you get during the main quest and then of course robbing which is just a typical thing that you will do another side quests and other things and activities that you do throughout the main story or as I said in cyclists and the third and final thing is of course the fighting the fighting mechanics in black flag seem to be entirely based and built around encouraging the player to embrace a sword jacob frye as opposed to evie frye type of play style they want you to upgrade your swords or buy the newest best swords that you can and go get in there get dirty and fight and do all sorts of messy stuff thats what they seem to be encouraging you to do in all of the missions but it also could just be that the stealth and the train for those stealth missions are so bad that I just find myself doing that and going in whole hog and and not even trying to really stealth through a lot of it thats also possible but either way I would say that it proves my point if I got so fed up with the stealth mechanics that I wanted to just get in there with bloody knuckles I think that proves my point that something went wrong or at least went right in their attempt to encourage a certain type of play style and Ill also just say that when they try they being the developer to mix these two worlds together the pirate world in the assassin world they often dont go well together when they have you doing a trailing or a tailing mission in a giant ship trailing a giant ship its totally immersion braking because I am within probably 300 yards of that enemy ship but for some reason they cant look behind them they only have a field division directly in front of them apparently crows nests only are open to the front of the ship and its totally immersion braking and it totally ruins the entire thing not to mention that theyre overused so much in the series that it gets super repetitive and many times boring just trailing somebody trying to stay at the right distance but not getting too close but far enough away that you arent being absurd and it doesnt mix well when they try to overlap the pirate and the assassin element so I dont think I need to explain that too much but I just want to get it out there tying in to this of course are the quests that the game actually gives you now in terms of the main quests these are all pretty typical they are typical Assassins Creed quests where they have you trailing somebody or for some reason because the game feels like they need to be engaged and have the player doing something during cutscenes they have these moments where you just have to walk behind as theyre doing basically a cutscene perhaps it was a budgeted thing perhaps its a technological thing or a hardware issue that they ran into either which way there are some really weird instances where all of a sudden youre cut out of a cutscene and you just walk a good hundred 200 yards while following somebody because apparently they needed you to be engaged during that time its like theyre afraid that youll get bored in that time so theyll just have you walk next to the characters that are talking its really really strange and I havent seen it much in the series since then or before it was a little bizarre when I first saw it and tonight maybe Im missing something or perhaps theres some great scheme as to why theyre doing this but it was a little weird to me of course there are the typical missions where you need to trail somebody where you need to break into a house without being spotted you need to cut off the alarm bell and then go and kill these other people its really nothing new nothing inspired but apparently this seems to be working for them because theyre still doing these types of missions and unity and syndicate after it so maybe players really enjoy these and I guess I did as well but they really are unoriginal and compared to other games like The Witcher its really pathetic so I hope that origins sees that and tries to at least be creative to some extent in their requesting as for site activities things like side quests or site assassination missions theres a lot to do outside of the main quest like I said whether youre talking about diving or raiding certain areas or whaling and trying to find a you know great white shark to take down all of it is super fun and one of the things that I kind of do is a guilty pleasure is go around the map trying to find every unique and rare animal its I know its weird its like an OCD thing but I really do enjoy it I think that theres a lot to do its nothing thats super narrative ly challenging or interesting like The Witcher threes approach rather they just give you a fun and engaging mechanic to play with and then say go have fun with it will just let you do as much of it as you want to and Im okay with it as I said the game is at its best when you dont take it too seriously especially in the narrative Department you just embrace the gameplay mechanics and have a good time and the last thing Ill talk about with regards to the gameplay mechanics is of course the world building now theres basically two worlds that were built for this game there are the cities the three largest of which are havana nassau and kingston which all look incredibly similar honestly its tough to figure out which is which without a map or without some cutscene explaining it theyre very very similar and I honestly am NOT very impressed by them they seem to be kind of phoned in theyre like okay we need cities we need some sort of urban setting so here you go I guess well have some they dont seem very very well laid out like many of the other cities but again its because the focus is rather on the naval world the naval sections where youre sailing around theres little islands that you can go and find you head back to your base you upgrade your manner that you have and then you go back out and you keep doing that and you just keep making money doing all sorts of stuff its fun its engaging the world is pretty big but its hard to quantify exactly how large the map is because after all were on water its not like were running through a densely populated city or map with lots of things to do rather there are just dynamically generated ships that you often get into fights with theres a couple of course hunting or whaling missions that you can go and do but rarely are there really well-designed levels within the naval world that youre going to be going through but I dont think that they need it I think the game works well as it is with a giant sandbox to just say go sail around and have fun and because those combat mechanics are so much fun I can forgive it so in short I think the world building does its job and encourages a fun play style which is of course the pirating play style if you try to go through this world the cities and the naval world as an assassin first in a pirate second youre not going to have a very good time I know because I tried to do that and it really got lame pretty quickly but that about covers all the gameplay lets move on to the narrative Music when I first announced on the discord and on Twitter that I was going to be making this video many viewers were very excited because they find black flag to be the most fun game in the series or they find Edward as the protagonist to be the most relatable lovable and interesting character in the series usually it seems to be a close match up between Edward and Ezio in terms of the general populace favorite character but I found it very very interesting because they seem at least to me to be fairly different characters in Assassins Creed games the protagonist is usually somebody who started off as a bit of a goofball and then very quickly found some great big purpose but it was never clear why they all of a sudden transitioned and Assassins Creed unity for instance Arno goes from being a sort of punk spoiled brat whos running around getting into trouble and in the span of 30 minutes of gameplay hes all of a sudden an assassin of the Creed and is serving some great world purpose and hes indebted to the zeitgeist its very strange how suddenly the switch happens but Edward is a little different for the first half of Black Flag Edward is entirely in it purely for his own gain he wants to be rich he wants to be able to buy anything he wants hes very greedy in that sense but there are a couple conversations that serve as flashbacks that offer some context to show that this isnt all hes about now quickly thank the guys over at the Assassins Creed wiki for throwing all of this together it is very concise and does a very good job of explaining Edwards personal life so Ill link it down below if you want to read through the entire thing yourself but Im going to be quoting it in certain portions as we go through this narrative section just as an FYI so basically what happened is that the age of 17 Edward met a girl by the name of Caroline Scott who is the woman that you constantly see in all of those flashbacks the blonde woman whos always talking and arguing with Edwards and basically what those flashbacks are are flashbacks to the moments before Edward went off to become a privateer and right before she left him to go back to her fathers house now after young Edward met Caroline he wanted to see more of her because he had instantly fallen in love but she wasnt going to have it because she knew that her father wouldnt allow it considering that there was such a gap between their social statuses not to mention that Caroline had already been promised to another man by the name of Matthew Haig who was the son of a prominent East Indian trading company executive so he was very wealthy and he would be very very good for Carolines family for the Scott family and so her father would not exactly take kindly to her playing around and messing around with a 17-year old farm boy but despite all this Edward continued pushing and eventually the couple maintained a secret relationship and was married in 1712 shortly after which Caroline became pregnant with a daughter by the name of Jennifer Scott which Edward was never informed of at least before he left to become a privateer then during a night of drinking in late 1712 shortly after the young couple was married mr. Scott Carolines father approached a totally wasted Edward Kenway in a tavern and offered him a deal essentially sending Caroline back to him by leaving her in exchange for a large sum of money and mr. Scott tried to convince him to accept this offer but can we fainted before giving an answer and his father-in-law took him to the kennel a farmstead where he took the opportunity to show his distraught daughter what a bad husband Edward was the next day mr. Scott received a visit from Edward who refused his offer and proposed him another deal in accordance with his own plans Kenway was going to try and make his fortune as a privateer in the West Indies and promised not to return to England until he became rich and to mr. Scott who never wanted the merited the first place and wanted it to end Edward pointed out the fact that the odds were very very good that he was going to die at sea which would make care lyonell widow and would make her available to be married to Matthew Haig once again just like her father wanted from the very beginning he also pointed out that mr. Scott could even use the time that he was away to take advantage of Carolines loneliness and try to turn her against him to the point where she would want to marry Matthew Haig of our own volition mr. Scott agreed to Edwards offer and can we then announced his departure to Caroline who left the farm and came back to her fathers house in bristle angry with Edwards decision naturally so especially if she was currently aware that she was pregnant but for whatever reason didnt want to tell Edward now I will just say at this point its never really clarified as to whether or not Caroline knew she was pregnant at this point in time its very possible she wasnt yet aware in which case theres no problem here but if she were aware and for some reason just never told Edward that he was going to be a father and that he shouldnt leave for that reason or that he should clean up his act then that seems to be a little bit of a plot hole unless perhaps she was hoping that he would go off to see die and she would remarry somebody rich who would serve as a good father figure but even that doesnt make much sense because thats not what happens to her as well discuss in a moment so essentially after Edward left to become a privateer mr. Scott sent a Templar group to set fire to the Ken waste farmstead where Edward had been living with his wife and parents while Bernard and Lynette Kenway were still sleeping inside essentially his idea was that if he burned their farmstead to the ground killing mr. and mrs. Kenway of course Edwards parents then she would have nowhere to retreat to and would be forced into the arms of Matthew Haig or some other suitor however Edwards departure was delayed and he returned in time to warn his parents at which point he tracked down the people that were going to try and do this but he was knocked out and put on his departing ship by a hooded mr. Wilson who of course was a Templar who then assured him that no more harm would come to his parents as long as he respected his pact with Scott and only returned when he had made a fortune for himself however this didnt end in all sunshine and rainbows Edward was totally disowned by his parents at this point because after all his actions seemed to have brought on a near-death experience for them so they disowned him and told him he wasnt welcome back at their farm and so at this point with nothing to lose and everything to gain Edward Kenway decided to set out to the West Indies and try to make something of himself try to make a fortune so we started working on a ship by the name of the Emperor and very quickly learned how to fight under the tutelage of another privateer by the name of Edward thatch and at this point he really owned his skills which will be very useful as the player takes control of Edward through the rest of the game however after the Treaty of Utrecht Im sorry if Im mispronouncing that I batted these sorts of names anyway after that treaty in early 1713 all of the major conflicts between the major empires in the world were settled and all of a sudden Edward and all these privateers were out of work making them all looked piracy in order to make their living and so Edward started working aboard a bridge by the name of the Jacob ight and in early 1715 Edward ship was attacked by passing vessel which proved to be too much for the little crew there to handle and after the captain died and were took to the helm and this is where the game starts now the reason I went through all of that is because this is in my opinion very very important background information to the character of Edward Kenway something that I think would have been much better served if they had put it at the very beginning of the game with perhaps you even playing through this sequence or having clearer cutscenes that explain the majority of this directly to the player most of these things that I just described are only accessible through little cutscenes or external sources or papers or writings or things that you have to look for while youre going through the world in order to make sense of the story the majority of people that play black fat Lag I knew it was going to happen at least once I knew the majority of people have played Black Flag that Ive spoken to including myself got through the game at least on their first attempt without ever realizing at least most of the things I just laid out there now its true other games and other resources in the series such as the comic series such as other games in the same line and lineage do help to explain a lot of this especially Assassins Creed 3 but in general this should be information that is readily accessible and available to the player whos looking for more information on the protagonist especially because I find Edwards story truly convicting and relatable somebody who wants to make something of themselves even though they were born into pretty much mediocrity they werent born as anybody exceptional but they want to be exceptional they have a love in their life and they want to provide everything and the moon to that person but they dont have the means to so theyre going to go out and make it happen thats very relatable and I think one of the reasons a lot of people like Edward as a character my only issue here is that most players arent going to get to know that thats Edward as a character theyre going to go through half the game thinking that hes just a really selfish a-hole whos just looking for extra money in coin and is willing to do anything to get it which I guess is piratey enough but its not really relatable at least I would like to think for most people and this is why I said at the beginning of the video that I think Black Flag is a very good story but its very poorly communicated to the player sometimes you need long cutscenes in order to make sense of a lot of different things perhaps five hours into the game you could have Edward go through a dreamlike sequence similar to the ones that you experienced in unity when you first took the drink to become an assassin a long sequence like that where there can be gameplay but where all of this is clearly clearly explained both through NPCs and characters that are saying things to you but also through édouard expositing and sort of proliferating on his own history and past Im sure there will be lots of people in the comment section which are saying exactly the opposite theyre saying well the story was really easy to follow I dont know what youre talking about bro get good which is fine if you had an easy time following the story thats absolutely okay all Im going off of are of course anecdotal examples of people that Ive talked to my siblings my friends and family that have all played this game asking them to explain who Edward Kenway was or what was the most moving part of the story for you and on the whole they couldnt recite much of it it wasnt very memorable it wasnt very relatable or intriguing because it wasnt communicated very well and I think its a real bummer because there is a deep and compelling story here and I just dont think its done justice now with regards to the main quest and the writing therein its pretty typical and its nothing too crazy interesting or revolutionary its a typical Assassins Creed game theres something you need because the Templars are looking for it and the assassins need it so go find that and you have to find it before the other guys find it and make sure it doesnt fall into their hands its really same old same old but whats done differently is how Edward tries to balance his own private goals with the goals of the Assassins Creed which I found very interesting and at first I thought it wasnt going to do much for me but I was really intrigued by it after going through it a little while because normally when were playing through these games we have a character a protagonist who is doing all of these things and going on these quests and missions seemingly for no reason except that hes supposed to because hes a member of the creed but in this case Edward has actual personalized reasons hes getting something out of it whether its personal revenge against somebody who wronged him specifically or if were talking about actual monetary gain from performing these actions overall I think it makes a lot more sense than past protagonists and to be honest after this game future I suppose protagonists made sense even less because they were just do these things because they were supposed to I really like the way that they approach it here as always I would like a little more creativity and inspiration behind the quest that you get more interesting and memorable characters there were memorable characters in Black Flag but I felt that they were never served do justice so many of these characters whether youre talking about Blackbeard or youre talking about Mary all these characters have really interesting qualities but they seem to be brought in briefly you kind of find out who they are and then theyre shoved off or killed in some way and all of a sudden its its too bad you dont get to see more of them I think it could have served the game very well to have one character two characters that are with you the entire playthrough of the game maybe you kill them off at the end I dont care but just so you have some person that you can play off of and see grow with Edward now as for side questing I think its important to bring this up and discuss the narrative element here because ostrov is smile who is the guy that I mentioned earlier the creative and Game Director for Assassins Creed origins the next game in the franchise set in ancient Egypt he has said that the side quests in origins is going to be much more Witcher 3 esque they wanted something much more narrative where theres characters in the side quests that youll remember long after you finish that side quest thats what theyre going for which is a big change from Black Flags side quests and side activities really I have trouble even calling them side quests because most of them are side activities there are things to do there are some quests I suppose you could call them but for the most part most of my time outside of the main quest structure was spent going whaling was spent going through and getting into naval battles finding ways to collect resources and upgrade my ship and then going through and upgrading all of my personal gear and doing all that upgrading my home base and mansion back on that island like all of that is what I saw my time doing I didnt really spend it doing set structured quests and I think it serves the game well of course because that gameplay loop is so addicting and fun but there werent any real convicting narrative elements to these side quests rather I was doing them because the gameplay was so much fun I wanted to do it as opposed to The Witcher 3 where I was doing it because the gameplay was fun sure but mostly because the characters were so interesting and the narrative was so engaging it was like watching a mini movie every time I sat down at the computer the game also employs very interesting approach to the modern-day sequences which is something that Ive constantly complained about through the series and I know much to the chagrin of viewers everywhere but I will say I think its done very well in Black Flag because it doesnt take itself too seriously at least at first for the most part you are playing as a game developer I suppose who is operating the animus to collect data that they can put into their new game now very quickly you find out that its not just about video games the video game youre building is actually just cover for Abstergo larger purpose and larger goals but for the most part its pretty light-hearted youre just a video game developer thats going around doing stuff and its its all fun and games but these real-life sequences actually led me to finding some of the most interesting items of lore in the entire franchise that Ive ever come across to be honest such as finding an audio tape from Joan of Arc in her interrogation before shes executed it was one of the coolest things I had ever encountered an assassins Creed game and I didnt expect it at all Ill play a little clip right now suppressing of the men and have put off my mistress why did you take it who made it me I took it of my own free will with no complain I prefer men to women you made the ghost shell you swore to never get racism and I never had to swear that I would not resume detective why have you done so because it is more hopeful and suitable for me to return to the practice of wearing it meant that people with young men to have a woman because it promised me how is he our redoing rooms are we still in 18th century Hungary no his connection is so stable hes jumped between a few ancestors today were in 15th century France now it turns out hes related to one of Joan of Arcs execution the frying interesting right kind of cool I didnt expect it at all but there it is also another element was when youre going through the computers you can find an email chain that actually points to the future of the series especially this picture right here which you might recognize as ancient Egypt which now we know this very team is going to and if you arent familiar with this I highly recommend that you google it look it up Ill have links and as I said all of my resources linked down below you can go through those but its a long email chain between executives that work at Abstergo discussing where they should take the game next and where they should work next and they actually bring up world war two they bring up really interesting locations such as the Wild West that I didnt see coming and they discuss whether or not they would work so its kind of like an internal commentary I suppose on Ubisofts discussions as to how they should approach these games and why this would work or why this location wouldnt work and its really interesting so I recommend you check that out now I wont go through every little detail of the main quests because I think it would be very very boring I dont think it would serve you the viewer very well I think would be a waste of time I said the writing isnt that engaging on an individual scale on an overarching scale its good enough but its its not really interesting enough to dedicate an hour to going through every element of it but I do want to point out the ending of Black Flag Black Flag has one of the most well put together endings of any Assassins Creed game Ive ever played honestly in terms of beauty and the artistic vision behind this ending I would put it up there with the end of the last of us I think its done just well enough of course there are some sort of narrative elements that are a little Fugazi or that Id like clarification up but they do technically clear those up by the end of the game if youve gone through all the other sources and materials available to you but in terms of their style and how they approach this ending its done very very well so let me just set it up and then Ill let it play for you because I think it can explain itself better than I can essentially at the end of the game after you finish up at the observatory and youre ready to go Edward is handed a letter and this letter he reads it and all of a sudden theres a cutoff and its very weird its like okay well what happened there I dont know what happened there whats it going to say what did it say essentially what that letter read was that Caroline the girl that we talked about just a few minutes ago she died two years prior from a mixture of smallpox and her own fathers negligence and it is revealed at this time and in that letter that Edward also had a daughter Jennifer Scott the girl we referenced earlier so after Edward reads this letter and theres a cliffhanger you go through some modern-day sequences and then you jump back in the Animus and you talk to Anne and its kind of cool you do your thing and then all of a sudden she starts singing and it leads to one of the most beautiful finishes of any game Ive ever seen especially after the initial credits and Ill let this play Oh not air-eye hi I spend and all the heart sad air I learn a lot it was me and all Ive done Music mooing now I come Music so Music ha Music goodnight Joe Music Music and so an essentially things this song which happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time honestly this is like the epitome of beauty in my opinion if you havent heard the Peter Hollens cover of it I highly recommend that you put it into the youtube search tab right above this video get it ready to go and after this video is over go and listen to it its incredible but with that said you see the scene where Edward sees his friends gone and he has this sort of vision it reminds me of lame is robbed at the same time and then you have this ending scene which you see on screen right now where Edward is actually able to talk with and has a conversation with his daughter its at this point that Jennifer reveals all of the nitty-gritty details of what happened to her mother right before she was sent over and of course its a little glitchy as you just saw with her popping out but on the whole this is a really well put together ending and really pretty I dont understand why this type of thing cant be done more often even just in the series more as a way of explaining more characters in a really beautiful way its its really awesome I cant gush about it enough honestly sometimes the best thing is just to let the beauty of the game the music and the characters and the voice acting come out and tell the story without trying to force it by making you walk through some town while youre doing it honestly sometimes less is more so after reading a lot about Edward and analyzing the narrative in this game for this video I would say that Edward has gone from one of the more greedy and selfish characters in gaming for me all of a sudden to a very sympathetic and likable character by the end of the game somebody that I admire who isnt cheesy but is trying to better himself and do right by his daughter an information it breaks my heart that not more people are going to get to have this same conclusion because the story is communicated poorly I hope that they can fix this and hopefully by the time we get Assassins Creed origins we get a story that is well communicated that can show the player how sympathetic the protagonist is that said assuming that the main character is sympathetic of all the money got airai hi Music and so in closing black flag is a game that has left me with many mixed feelings on the one hand its fun engaging and even addicting in its gameplay and mechanical loops that all feed into each other resulting in a believable pirate experience but on the other hand it is an assassins Creed game which brings with it certain expectations when I think of Assassins Creed I think of grandiose structures on spiring vistas reconstructed historical locations all that make the player feel as though they actually went backwards in time and to an extent black flag also succeeds in this though it doesnt seem to succeed as well or as easily as other games in the franchise however I think that this is okay because Black Flag wasnt created to be just another Assassins Creed game it was designed to be a fun game first and an assassins Creed game second this point isnt really even up for debate the games director Ashish Rafi smile even said this in the interviews that Ive linked down below so while the game does keep many of the same series signature activities such as basic assassinations or leaps of faith it reinvents the formula enough in an attempt to create an entirely different experience which it actually does succeed in some will love the changes and some will miss the tried and tested formula of the first trilogy but either way it will be honestly difficult not to enjoy your time with Black Flag I personally enjoy Black Flag I think its a good game even great at times but as an assassins Creed game I honestly find it lacking which isnt saying much because many of the most recent Assassins Creed entries specifically unity and syndicate were also lacking but in different ways its locations and environments are also similar that its hard to differentiate between them without a mini-map telling you where you are or what your doing the enemy AI has also aged terribly the main story is clearly communicated and overly vague in its exposition even though I think there is an engaging an interesting story to be told here I think its just communicated to the player very very poorly the game itself which does reinvent the formula on the whole also at the same time manages to fail in shaking off some of the franchises most noticeable faults specifically the terrible button-mashing combat the Ubisoft Towers and the infamous trailing missions which make up way too much of the main quest activities now I intentionally didnt go into too much detail or description with the Ubisoft hours or the button-mashing combat systems because after all this is for one an older game and it does seem to have been fixed since then moving into origins but also secondly its true of pretty much every Assassins Creed game up until hopefully origins later this year so it wouldnt do much good to call it out specifically but I will mention it right now so I can avoid pedantic comments correcting me and saying that I didnt mention it all of these things detract from an otherwise blast of a game and I cant help but wonder if Black Flag would have been better suited as a standalone title as opposed to another Assassins Creed entry the average gamer without any expectations will find this to be an incredibly fun time and it could even serve as an introduction into the series however the Assassins Creed purist will likely miss out on some of the series staples and prefer unity or syndicate in its place regardless Black Flag is definitely worth your time especially since it is much cheaper than unity and syndicate at the moment and moving into the fall when we eventually will get origins I think it would be a good way to refresh on your assassin skills before you dive into ancient thats it for this video thank you so much for watching and please hit that like button if you enjoyed it I also really appreciate any feedback that you want to give me whether its here in the comments or on Twitter or on our discord all of which is linked down below unfortunately I also have to do a shameless plug for my patreon Im a broke college student and so anything you can give would help even if its only a dollar Id really appreciate it and you get early access to all of my big videos such as this one but with that said thank you for watching I love you all and Ill see you in the next video peace out good night and joy be with you all the night enjoy Music how to share a steam game Thank you all for watching and supporting me, it means a lot! :)TIME STAMPS: 7:05 - Act 1: Gameplay 31:14 - Act 2: Narrative 56:23 - Epilogue Help fund the Bowel Movement on Patreon: Join the Discord! 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