Last year’s Assassin’s Creed III forced fans of Ubisoft’s throat-slitting series to slog through several hours of tutorial-heavy handholding before they could dig their blades into the best parts of the game. Within seconds of firing up Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, those same fans will pilot a pirate ship through a wicked storm while unleashing broadsides and exploding barrels at swarms of enemy craft; moments after surviving this cinema-rivaling opening, they’ll swim through its fiery aftermath, engage in a free-running foot chase through a breathtaking Caribbean jungle, and filet a foe from behind dual swords. Spoiler alert: Black Flag is a better game than Assassin’s Creed III.
While last year’s entry was by no means bad, its many ambitious parts — from the appealing American Revolution setting to the innovative naval combat — ultimately amounted to an unsatisfying sum. Black Flag doesn’t trump its predecessor in terms of introducing fresh features, but it easily upstages Connor Kenway’s chapter by forgoing over-reaching ambitions in favor of setting its spyglass on unbridled, swashbuckling fun.
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