We've seen months of hype, endless devblogs and engine trailers showing us how pretty the world is, how open it is, how the combat has evolved but what's been preserved from previous games and finally now it's time see if it's all been worth the wait. While ultimately the gamers will decide what titles float and which ones sink down to Davy Jones' locker, the first taste most people get of a game's worth is through reviews, so let's see what everyone's been saying about Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
The general consensus is that it's pretty damn good. The visuals are heavily praised, the missions are varied and open - as is the main world, which for the most seems to let you explore at your heart's content - and the combat is less flashy, without being too brutal, making fights seem more realistic and less serious at the same time.
There's plenty to do as well, keeping most reviewers busy for dozens of hours throughout their testing, though some have lamented the inclusion of such strange ideas as collecting QR codes in the real world, to help create a pirate video game, for the in-game Ubisoft.
Some people though weren't quite so impressed, with one reviewer suggesting that it's simply attempting to copy the Batman series - and doing a relatively poor job of it. Button mashing works just as well as cleverly strategising your battles and the AI is cited as being particularly poor, often just standing around waiting to be hit or stabbed.
Ultimately though it seems the game's biggest problem lies with the fact that it's an Assassin's Creed game. The parkour feels slow compared to other titles, the concept itself is quite played out and ultimately, this just would have been better if it was a pure pirate game. Make it all about the ship and combat and maybe even taking over the odd port and it would have been fantastic. But it probably wouldn't have sold as well as this will, because it wouldn't have the name.
Overall this outing is a 7/10 and upwards, with a lot of sites giving it a full 9/10. Despite a few shortcomings and a slowly worsening metagame, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag still ticks most of the boxes. It's pretty, has tons to do and has game mechanics that people enjoy. But it's not perfect and is starting to show the signs of age.
Whether an Assassin's Creed V will be as well received, we'll have to wait and see.