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BATISTABUS
04-18-2014, 09:13 PM
I did one of these for AC3, and it was moderately successful.
http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/771774-AC3-5-Best-5-Worst

List and explain your 5 favorite things about Black Flag, along with your 5 biggest complaints.

Best

The Main Cast

The main cast of AC4 was incredible, and that includes almost everyone. From the writing, to the voice acting, to the graphic design, everyone looked and sounded amazing. Edward was a very dynamic protagonist. Ade played his role perfectly, and got a lot of depth in Freedom Cry. Blackbeard, Vane, and Bonnet were a joy to experience. Mary was another standout character. Torres and Hornigold made for fantastic complex villains as well. Ah Tabai was great as well. Kudos to Darby and all of the actors.

Stealth

AC4 REALLY kicked up the stealth department, and I'd say that it has by far the best stealth in the series. Stalking zones and corner tactics from AC3 were already great, but they were really perfected in this game. What they did with Eagle Vision was perfect, and totally puts all other iterations to shape - I cannot imagine Eagle Vision improving after this. The blow pipe tied everything together, as it really made stealth viable and fun. Despite being a "pirate game", there were a ton of infiltration missions, and all of them were extremely enjoyable. They even found a way to incorporate stealth into the naval portion.

Atmosphere

Despite how big and demanding AC4 is, it still ran really freaking well. Draw distances were somehow better than previous games, and they somehow managed the most realistic looking water in gaming history. The score by Brian Tyler was incredible and has a few tracks that are among the series best. Both the pre-Colombian and colonial architecture was stunning, and the natural environments were very convincing as well. Sea shanties and tavern tunes were really the icing on the cake.

Naval

Even though I'm not a huge fan of grinding to level up in games, the naval portion was done extremely well. The ship controls are very intuitive and responsive, and despite the exaggerated speed, traversing over the waves and through storms looks, sounds, and feels realistic. The seamlessness when transitioning from boat to land is a HUGE part of the naval success to this game, and that cannot be understated. Naval activities such as harpooning and shipwreck diving are extremely fun and rewarding, despite controlling differently from the rest of the game (as compared to cannon/carriage portions of other games, which sucked). They tied in the recruits mini-game from ACB perfectly with the fleet.

The Modern Portion

After Desmond I was ready to let the modern portion go, but AC4 took a fresh approach and nailed it. I haven't felt this intrigue in the modern portion since the first Assassin's Creed. Hacking allowed for some interesting and hilarious reads, and it really held a lot of fan service. While I had some concerns when this was announced, I am extremely pleased with the final result.

Overall, AC4 felt like the first actual step up for the series since AC1. It's not that I didn't enjoy the rest of the games (I certainly did), but they never felt as fresh as AC4. Be it through the level design, mechanics, or the protagonist (how Edward didn't start of as an Assassin and could have just as easily became a Templar), AC4 accomplished what AC2, ACB, ACR, AC3, and ACL could not. Easily one of my favorite games, and certainly among the best of AC.

Honorable Mention - Fast Travel

Applying fast travel to viewpoints was genius. Thumbs up for whoever came up with that.

Worst

Some Underdeveloped Characters

While the main cast was fantastic overall, there were a few characters that could have been better developed. Calico Jack is certainly the most lacking in this department, and Darby even acknowledges it (as his sequence was cut). Woodes Rogers was presented as a serious threat, but I don't remember him as well as I feel I should. Bart Roberts ended up playing a huge role, but somehow didn't leave much of an impact on me personally.

Hunting Still Feels Useless

I never upgraded a single weapon or pouch, and got through the game just fine. Hunting is still extremely easy. Animals appear to be slightly faster, but the fact that you can use anything to kill them (including sleep darts) just makes the activity pointless for me.

Combat STILL Too Easy

If anything, the combat in this game feels slightly easier than AC3. Sentinels were a nice touch, but guard detection is still somewhat flawed. I would still like more archetypes. Upgrading weapons and gear is useless as with every previous game.

Not Enough Interaction With Crew

Later in the game, Adewale expresses his frustrations with Edward's quest. He says the crew is growing tired of it...but you can only really see that in Ade. The crew still cheers when you get on the boat, and you cannot interact with anyone on your ship anyway. I know the crew is extremely expendable in that game, but it would have been nice to have at least a few notable members that stick around and pop up once in a while like in AC3 (AC4 could've gone with the Shanty guys or something). Even if the interaction was only minor, something along these lines would've really perfected the atmosphere of the game.

No Sea Shanty Playlist

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one, but I would have liked a playlist for the sea shanties. There were some I loved, and some I didn't like as much. I wish we were able to play songs on demand, or at least create a shuffle playlist with the songs I chose.

oliacr
04-18-2014, 09:40 PM
Some Underdeveloped Characters

While the main cast was fantastic overall, there were a few characters that could have been better developed. Calico Jack is certainly the most lacking in this department, and Darby even acknowledges it (as his sequence was cut). Woodes Rogers was presented as a serious threat, but I don't remember him as well as I feel I should. Bart Roberts ended up playing a huge role, but somehow didn't leave much of an impact on me personally.

Hunting Still Feels Useless

I never upgraded a single weapon or pouch, and got through the game just fine. Hunting is still extremely easy. Animals appear to be slightly faster, but the fact that you can use anything to kill them (including sleep darts) just makes the activity pointless for me.

Not Enough Interaction With Crew

Later in the game, Adewale expresses his frustrations with Edward's quest. He says the crew is growing tired of it...but you can only really see that in Ade. The crew still cheers when you get on the boat, and you cannot interact with anyone on your ship anyway. I know the crew is extremely expendable in that game, but it would have been nice to have at least a few notable members that stick around and pop up once in a while like in AC3 (AC4 could've gone with the Shanty guys or something). Even if the interaction was only minor, something along these lines would've really perfected the atmosphere of the game.

No Sea Shanty Playlist

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one, but I would have liked a playlist for the sea shanties. There were some I loved, and some I didn't like as much. I wish we were able to play songs on demand, or at least create a shuffle playlist with the songs I chose.

Agreed with these. However, I think the hunting wasn't so useless, only you needed it till you got your upgrade. I really missed the Sea Shanty playlist - sometimes I wanted to listen the "Leave her Johnny" shanty and I could listen everything but not that.

AherasSTRG
04-18-2014, 10:07 PM
BEST
1. Much Stealth
2. Great story and protagonist (both modern and ancestor's)
3. The boarding mechanic
4. Big world with many (awesome) activities
5. Atmosphere as created by the awesome grahpics and soundtrack

WORST
1. Console compromises for the PC version
2. No Sea Shanty playlist
3. The terrible Kenway's fleet mini-game as a requirement for the 100% completion
4. Inability to retake the Forts, which was the greatest thing in the game imo
5. Console compromises for the PC version.

SixKeys
04-18-2014, 11:12 PM
Best:

1. Open world. A true sandbox where there's lots to do and you have almost the whole world at your traversal right from the start. It's also the only AssCreed so far where there's no disconnect between the character and the player messing around. (As Edward has no qualms about randomly starting fights, getting ****faced or stealing.)

2. Graphics. The animations aren't quite as good as AC3, but the scenery is breathtaking. I love simply walking around Great Inagua at night or during a thunderstorm. Atmosphere is vital in these games and the graphics really added to it.

3. Wealth of content. Ship-boarding, proper assassination contracts, diving, treasure hunting, plantations, forts, Templar hunts, meaningful collectables (shanties and bottled messages), saving crew members, upgrading your ship/hideout/character etc. etc. I like that there are many secrets to uncover in the modern day as well, like Desmond's diaries and Abstergo propaganda.

4. Soundtrack. This ranks up there among my favorite AC soundtracks. Brian Tyler captured the feel of Jesper Kyd's atmospheric scoring in a way Lorne Balfe never did. The game has its "epic" PotC moments, but the music really shines in the more subtle tracks like "Into the Jungle" and the city themes.

5. Modern day. I have to agree with Batistabus. Modern day hasn't felt this fresh in a long time. It brought back the sense of mystery and simplicity of AC1 which I really enjoyed. The puzzles were crap, but the rewards were always worth it. I think the devs struck a good compromise between a modern day that rewards players who like to dig deeper and enjoy modern day mysteries, and the people who really wish they could skip the whole thing.

Worst:

1. Social connectivity. Worst idea ever. Let this bull**** never appear in AC again. There's always something wrong - if it's not Ubi's servers going down for the umpteenth time, it's some patch messing up the social collectables. For some players they don't work at all, for some they're too frequent to the point of being pointless. I got stuck in the mission that introduces Kenway's fleet and couldn't progress with the single-player campaign until Ubi's servers came back up. That's inexcusable.

2. Characters. I just couldn't get attached to any of them. People kept coming and going at such a rate it was easy to lose track of who everyone was (I still keep getting Hornigold and the scarred guy mixed up - and still can't remember the latter's name, as you can see). Governor Torres was a pathetic villain - it's hard to even label him as such since he barely appeared in the story and didn't do anything important. Blackbeard, Adewale and Anne Bonny had such potential, but were pretty much wasted. The only characters I liked, apart from Edward, were James Kidd and Charles Vane.

3. Story. Kind of muddled and confusing. I had the same problem with ACR (another game penned by Darby) where even after replaying it, I still couldn't give you a broad description of the events and how they all connect with one another. (Although to be fair, I had the same problem with AC2 so it could be just me.) I remember individual moments but not the order in which they appeared or how they fit into the big picture. These games could do with less trying to fit in every important character and event from the time period into the game and focus on just telling a coherent story.

4. Too many tailing missions. I hate to complain about these, because on my first playthrough they didn't bother me, but upon replaying the game I am really noticing just how many of them there are. It lessens my desire to replay the game because some of them are supremely annoying, a complete antithesis of the otherwise brilliant open-ended mission design and freely traversable world.

5. Meaningless "fat". Animus fragments, a dozen weapon sets that all do the exact same thing, useless hunting/crafting etc. I think it was a mistake to allow players to just buy all upgrade ingredients from shops. It feels like the only reason they did this was because they knew some people would find hunting boring (in which case, why not make sure it's NOT boring?) or because they already suspected the social collectables like white whales might cause problems for completionists (in which case, don't put them in the freaking game). I guess I don't mind so much that it is possible in general to just buy everything, I just wish everything wasn't available to buy as soon as you've collected enough cash. Such an option should have been a late-game progression reward, like the armor sets in AC2.


I have mixed feelings about stealth. On the one hand I agree with Batistabus that it was the best out of all the games so far. Unfortunately, that isn't saying much. It's still ridiculous that an enemy can clearly spot you diving into a nearby bush and then just shrug and walk away. There are still too many instances of me run-assassinating a guard in broad daylight while his mate is two steps ahead and somehow can't hear me. I liked snipers having a long range - it reminded me of the Kingdom archers in AC1, something that brought challenge into the gameplay and made stealth all the more satisfying. The blowpipe was a bit OP. In a game with more robust stealth mechanics it really would have felt like cheating, but in this game it served its purpose of getting you out of situations where you otherwise would have felt cheated out of victory due to the game's own faults (like enemies not showing up on the minimap or appearing out of thin air). The stealth is a huge step up from AC3, but still bad compared to other games like The Last of Us.

Sushiglutton
04-18-2014, 11:21 PM
Best:

Terrific overall sidecontent: I've been trying to come up with an openworld game that I think has better sidecontent than AC4, but I can't. Plantations, smuggler's coves, naval forts, legendary ships, naval in general, assassination contracts. These are all fun activities that rely on robust gameplay (stealth and naval). I would also like to mention harpooning which even though it was pretty shallow (which I didn't mind at all) had an excellent visual presentation.


Much improved stealth: Stealth in AC4 wasn't perfect but it went from aggrevating (AC3) to something I enjoyed a lot, which is all I hoped for. Several good additions. New enemy archetype (sharpshooter) that really changed how you approached missions as you got a natural first priority. Blowpipe made sure you never got stuck and gave rise to some exciting moments as you tried to reach gunners before they woke up. Being able to see which direction enemies faced on the mini-map meant less "cheap" fails. Enemies no longer magically turn around when their comrades are down. All AI inconcistencies are in the player's advantage, which is fine by me. Ofc it would be better if there weren't any at all, but this way is far less annoying.


Lots of open missions in the campaign: Plenty of missions in the campaign that I could play how I wanted, without feeling like they lacked identity (the prison break is one example). I also liked the way many missions went from land to naval (or vice versa) in a seamless fashion! Of course an important reason why these missions were fun is the improved stealth.


Beautiful and varied world: The world in AC4 is simply stunning. There's also a lot of variety between different types of enviroments and weather conditions. You can be out in a brutal storm one moment only to be in sunny Havanna the next. One visual treat I appreciated especially was the dense stalking zones and how the leaves shivered in the wind.


Great overall cast and dialogue: Felt the voiceactors overall did a very good job. Blackbeard, James Kidd and Edward were my favourites. It also helped that the dialogue was so good. Many of the last words were especially memorable ("In a world without gold we might have been heroes" and "You wear your convictions well. They suit you...").




Worst:

Too many junky collectibles: As much as I praised the sidecontent above I still got several problems with all the junky collectibles in the game. First off they reduce immersion and makes the whole world feel more gamey and cheap. Secondly, as they are all revealed on the map, they lessen the lust for exploration and discovery, which is the exact opposite of what they should do. Third, obsessive as I am, they make me run around like a fool doing chores I don't enjoy. The bare minimum fix would be to remove the chests from the map and synchronization requirements.


Lack of HUD customization: Several issues here. First problem is that the naval and on land HUDs are not seperated. Since naval is more tactical than the on foot gameplay I would like to have more HUD enabled (for example the health of the Jackdaw). Second problem is that the SSI category is too broad. I don't want icons over all the enemies, but this means I won't get information of what's in the chests when I open them... Third problem is that mission objectives can't be disabled. This was especially problematic in Freedom Cry as you were given a constant reminder of what to do unlock the next mission.


Some mission types just aren't that fun anymore: Chasing, pickpocketing, eavesdropping, tailing. All these classic mission types feel oh so stale to me. They are also kind of fiddly and just annoying. Should be used sparingly imo.


City gameplay is overall lackluster: Ok I understand AC4 focused on naval and plantation type stealth and kind of just inherited stuff from AC3. Still thought I should mention this though. The new parkour system is too automatic which means reaching synch points isn't as fun anymore. Escaping guards is way too easy. You can just hold the stick in some direction and run straight pretty much. This kills the incentive to use many of the city's mechanics (like hiding spots, throwing money and courtesans). Since there is no notoriety like system the entire experience is just kind of pointless. Stealth in cities is not as fun as on the plantations. Part of the reason is the fiddly parkour system imo which leads to many grievances.

Hopefully Unity can reignite the city sandbox!


Flat combat system: As a gamer who enjoys melee more than stealth the flat combat system is a big issue to me. I don't need it to be hard to survive, but I think the skill ceiling and level of control need to be significantly higher. Many of the random events (freeing pirates) and stuff like barfights suffer because the combat is so simplistic. A better system would mean lots of new and exciting sidecontent as well as core missions!

Sushiglutton
04-18-2014, 11:44 PM
Honorable Mention - Fast Travel

Applying fast travel to viewpoints was genius. Thumbs up for whoever came up with that.


Very true. In hindsight it feels so obvious, which is the true mark of a genius idea :)!





Hunting Still Feels Useless

I never upgraded a single weapon or pouch, and got through the game just fine. Hunting is still extremely easy. Animals appear to be slightly faster, but the fact that you can use anything to kill them (including sleep darts) just makes the activity pointless for me.


Yeah they still have some work to do in this area. I think that if they built a better combat system they could implement some of the animals like a (very special) kind of archetype. That would give the close encounters a bit more meat. Also some of them should be a bit tougher to find and be more shy. I guess hunting may not be in Unity at all though? Still it's an important activity in many cultures so it will likely come back in some other historic context.

Megas_Doux
04-19-2014, 12:25 AM
Best:

1 Stealth and mission design! Despite excessive usage of tailing.
2 Overall enviroment! At first I was not excited about the setting and it ended up being my very favorite one in the series. The soundtrack, the graphics and how all the side content integrate with the setting like never before, which leads to....
3 Lots of content! Forst, plantations, templars hunts, contracts, underwater, etc etc.
4 The seamless mechanic in terms of boarding and invading forts.
5 Great voice acting!


Worst:

1 AC IIIīs combat was my favorite, whereas AC IVīs felt boring.
2 No platforming levels!!!!!! The setting had TONS of possibilities: More Mayan Ruins, plenty of non mayan precolumbian caves through the caribbean, mines, etc etc etc
3 The observatory was dissappointing and the "Pirate heaven Nassau" is just BORING!
4 Underdeveloped characters and not enough interaction with the crew aside from the "YAYYY" when you are back to the ship.
5 And my main reason....EAGLE VISION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It killed my immersion MANY times....

Shahkulu101
04-19-2014, 12:38 AM
Best:

- Open World, Side activities; The open world is not only stunningly beautiful, it's choc full of seemingly endless fun. It's impossible to not get distracted, maybe you set a marker for the next mission, you spot a Man O' War with that exact number of metal on board you need for those golden mortars - you pursue. You destroy, you reap the rewards. The Open-sea is filled with enemy ships, and the boarding mechanic takes a long time to get boring. On top of that, you've your Assassination Contracts, Forts, Naval contracts and more. And they're all fun, they're all rewarding. Just brilliant.

- Naval combat: The Jackdaw was easy to maneuver, making enemy encounter smoothly in your own control. I loved how each level of ship real did mean something - forcing you into a variety of tactics depending on the enemy. The sound effects, the graphics and that godly feeling of feeling of power when you smite an entire fleet. It was simply a blast.

- Open ended missions: It felt so good to be free from the leash. Assassination missions brought back stealth as well as a presenting variety of different approaches to reach your target. You were free to use everything in your arsenal; or not. It also helped that the areas were often large enough to encourage experimentation too.

- Protagonist: Edward is just plain awesome. He's a cheeky, cocky scumbag but also a respected leader and a loyal friend. I loved his dialogue - especially his flashes of wit "Is it envy Ben...because mine's bigger than yours.." and his enthusiasm for the carefree pirate life really comes through "As is custom among our kind, we do not plunge headlong into folly on the orders of a single madman. But act according to our own, collective madness." I also liked that he was a pretty conventional guy. Not a noble, or born into the order - nor sent on a quest by some manipulative creepy space queen - just a guy who wants his wife back. Trying to find his way.

- Characters: I admit that they are underdeveloped in some respects. We start to get a glimpse into Bkackbeards softer side - nope he dead. Stede's a funny guy, eh? Wonder what he's upto next "Bye Edward, I have conveniently formed my own crew with no explanation!" But still - they're great. Stede is simply hilarious. Mary Read is an awesome character - her and Edwards conversations were always entertaining. Charles Vane, too - brilliantly performed and his OTT actions and callous attitude were a joy to observe. Long story short; I think that the side cast have interesting personalities and are well written, but lacked development due to time constraints and cuts (I'll never forgive them for cutting the Bonny - Read sequence lol!) but I still enjoyed them.

Worst

- Tailing and eavesdropping missions: Boring, boring, boring. Especially when there's a ton of them. The conversations are lost when you spend half the time cursing as you try to fit inside the circle. And it's just not much fun at all to walk around for 5 minutes.

- Combat: Again, boring. Far too easy and requiring little thought from the player - once you learn the archetypes you can just rinse and repeat the same old counter or break defense moves. It's also just not very fun. Leaving piles of dead bodies again and again with no effort just wears on you.

- Stealth: Sure, it functions with the removal of telepathic A.I - but then we are exposed to how terribly they respond to player actions. Sprint towards a bush with a guard 5 meters away and your golden. Nevermind the fact he looked right at you, he'll just meanderingly inspect the bush and go on about his day - even though half his friends are dead. Not on.

- Collectibles: Countless animus fragments feel like complete filler content. I don't want to stop at a tiny island every two seconds becaus of one little fragment that ultimately leads to nothing noteworthy for your single-player experience - apart from a few gimmicky cheats. Giving us 200 of the damn things is annoying for completionists like myself

- Redundant locations: The fishing villages are lovely to look at at first but they are cloned about a dozen or so times. There's also nothing to do on them except daft board games, or the odd assassination contract to pick up on the go (only one or two take place on the islands). Same goes for the many playas scattered on the seafront. Nothing but a few hundred reales and another damn useless animus fragment. And there's 75 of the bloody things.

roostersrule2
04-19-2014, 02:34 AM
Best:

Open World: Packed with so much content, it's always fun to explore the little fishing villages and islands. Battling other ships is a blast, plundering is great (it'd be better if the combat wasn't so bad), assassination contracts were much improved over AC3, there's still room for improvements but they're fun. And not only is it fun and full of stuff to do, it's beautiful to look at, the crystal clear blue water is a spectacle in itself and when the sun shines on it's gorgeous.

Naval: Was great in AC3, was better in AC4. The Jackdaw was fun to drive and it was great upgrading it. I can't think of one new addition that didn't really work.

Edward: Was cool.

Open-Ended and stealth missions: A return of these were greatly needed, and greatly accepted, although stealth wasn't to great it was definitely needed.

Voice Acting: The acting performances from the voice actors was top notch, the best in the series.

Worst:

Story: Was boring and unimaginative, was so straight forward, worst in the series. I couldn't even finish it a second time.

Characters: They were cool, would've been cooler if they had more then 10 lines between them, they were so underdeveloped.

Missions: Way too many tailing missions, got real repetitive, Naval was a tad overused.

Combat: Worst in the series, was AC3 style (which is my fav) but it was just bad, was uninspiring, boring, easy.

Cities: Were great to look at, but weren't fun. The save pirate random events were bad and they just weren't great for running around and causing mischief. Nassau was really bad.