So here we go: Ubisoft's chance to prove to fans that they learned from the disappointing Assassin's Creed III. That game was full of good ideas hampered by poor execution, wrapped in a story that started very slow and sprinted towards an unsatisfying finish. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a chance for Ubisoft to show that they acknowledge what went awry before and prove they've used their year of development to create a better experience.
Black Flag drops you in the shoes of Welsh pirate Edward Kenway, who immediately struck me as a more charismatic personality compared to his stoic grandson, Assassin's Creed III's Connor. Like Connor, Edward's motivations are clear, but unlike Connor his motivations drive the story forward. Edward's quest for riches made him to become a pirate and they've landed him right in the middle of the age-old war between the Assassins and Templars. Early on, Edward isn't really on any side except his own; he's honorable to a point, but coin is what pushes him forward, not his conscience.
The story doesn't necessarily fare as well, but it's a passable effort. It gets Edward from point A to point B, but Black Flag's real strength is in Edward and his supporting cast. Blackbeard and James Kidd are among the standouts, but the rest do a great job as well. Even wrapped in byzantine machination upon machination, the characters shine through.
Speaking of characters, one of the standouts in Black Flag are the Templar Hunts missions, which put you in contact with the lead assassins in certain regions. I loved all of these folks. Every single one is interesting; I did their missions just to keep having Edward interact with them...
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