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I didn’t like Assassin’s Creed III very much, and in retrospect, I feel I was far too kind when I reviewed the game. I recently got to play quite a bit of its successor, Black Flag on the PS4 – and I was very nearly convinced that Assassin’s Creed IV would be a return to form for the series. Reviews for the game have started trickling in – and I may have been right.

Here’s what critics have been saying about the pirate adventure:

  • CVG: 9/10 – “Much like the first Assassin’s Creed, Black Flag isn’t perfect. But the treasure trove of memorable experiences on offer here put all but the very best open worlds to shame.”
  • Eurogamer: 9/10 – “Edward doesn’t have the impish wit of fan favourite Ezio Auditore, against whom all Assassin’s Creed protagonists are destined to be measured, but in the end he felt more rounded to me. The revelation, though, is the treasure of a game he stars in.”
  • Gamespot: 9/10 – “If there was ever any question that Assassin’s Creed needed something ambitious to get the series back on track, Black Flag is that game and then some.”
  • GamesRadar: 4.5/5 – “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is an imperfect game, for sure, but I found the overall experience immensely enjoyable. Accept that it’s really a game about pirates, not assassins, and you’ll love filling the boots of Edward Kenway for 30-40 hours.”
  • IGN: 8.5/10 – “The amazing world of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has kept me gladly occupied for longer than any other game in the series, even though its story isn’t the strongest.”
  • Joystiq: 4/5 – “It’s not the proper return to form for the series, but it is a concerted acknowledgement of what that form is today, and what works for the monster of gameplay systems, stealth, ships and oceans that lurks underneath.”
  • Nowgamer: 8/10 – “By now we all know what to expect from an Assassin’s Creed game, and in that sense there won’t be any surprises here.Yet somehow – thanks to the focus on piracy – Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag manages to feel simultaneously new and old.”
  • OPM: 8/10 – “Black Flag’s cocktail of Caribbean capers is so large that the effect is like dropping a shot of tequila into a fishbowl of Sea Breeze. You know it’s there, and you’d rather it wasn’t, but you’ll still enjoy the journey regardless.”
  • OXM: 9/10 – “Where Assassin’s Creed 3 kept players at arm’s length for hours, refusing to let you make your own way, Assassin’s Creed 4 spreads those arms wide. We don’t miss Connor, so much, but somebody should get this new guy a trilogy.”
  • Polygon: 7.5/10 – “For all of its mechanical improvements, for the wonder I felt as I sailed the ocean, orca, dolphins, even great whites breaking the surface to my port side as I outran a royal trade armada, for the excellent performances and character moments throughout … it felt disjointed. Directionless.”
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We’ll have our own review soon – and I have to say…we rather like it. Are you getting Assassin’s Creed IV? I most certainly shall, though having played it on PS4 already means I can’t go back to playing it on current gen systems. I’ll pick it up for one of the new systems, or perhaps even the PC version when they’re all available.

 Here’s how to get the most out of the game, according to our friend Grant. 

    Last Updated: October 29, 2013

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    was reviewed on PC

    Geoffrey Tim

    Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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