Assassin’s Creed: The One With Boats Has Cool Boats

By Nathan Grayson on July 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Sure, we just blew up their ship and slaughtered all their best friends, but I don't see why those folks won't make loyal additions to the crew.

This is reporter Nathan Grayson, on the scene for the SHOCKING NEWS TIMES. You might be disturbed and even somewhat aroused to hear that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has boats by the boatload, but I can exclusively confirm it via a non-exclusive video. In it, you’ll witness scandalous scalawag Edward Kenway steering a ship, upgrading said ship, shooting other ships, leaping between ships, and even disembarking once or twice because he doesn’t play by your dumb rules. Go on, watch. Be shocked and infuriated, because that is the purpose of news.

Seriously though, it does look rather nice. Naval combat seems much more polished and fleshed out than it did in Assassin’s Creed III, where it was sadly more of a (really neat) sideshow. I’m also a fan of how all the boat vs boat/boat vs fort/boat vs its own emotions and on-foot swashbuckling blends together, with Kenway murder hopscotching between land, sea, and air with the greatest of ease. Yeah, it’s another Assassin’s Creed game, but it at least looks like a fairly well-thought-out one.

Also, that map. If Ubisoft gives me a mostly open ocean and just lets me do my best Jazz Boatman impression while exploring/upgrading at my leisure, I think I might just be on board with this one. And that’s saying quite a lot, given that this series lost me – like a needle in a very Assassin-unfriendly haystack – after I finished up Brotherhood.

Then again, AC III had a gigantic, multi-hour tutorial, because of course it did. So I’m not fully sold on IV just yet, but I am kind of warming up to it – even despite its arbitrary, obligatory (arbligatory?)  delay on PC. How about you?

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42 Comments »

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  1. Njordsk says:

    I so much LOVE the setting.

    I so much HATE Assassin creed.

    Damn ‘em.

    Also Pimp my boat !

    • Tridae says:

      Reminds me a lot of Sid Meier’s Pirates – now from 3rd person perspective!!
      So that’s great.

      I don’t see why people say they “HATE” assassin’s creed nowadays. The games generally always try to do something new with themselves and they really do try get creative with the storyline. The games are mostly open world and non linear, there are few if any QTEs and you get a lengthy play experience out of any title. We get a new character too which is a great way to keep it fresh.

      Is it just cool to hate successful franchises nowadays? Someone explain it to me because I don’t get the hate towards assassin’s creed. IMO the hate for COD comes from how it’s driving the entire FPS genre into linear, multiplayer, unlocky, QTE shooters whilst I don’t see any AC copycats out there doing the same thing.

      I can see people reaching an over-saturation point with AC titles but then just skip one or two.

      Personally I’m very excited for this one. It’s got the mobility of AC with the Pirate antics of Sid Meier’s Pirates and likely a way better storyline.

      • TheMick says:

        Well said, can’t really add anything other than to say +1. I believe the H word gets bandied around too casually when I suspect that people really are just quick to see heavy saturation in a franchise, in addition to the modern day sci fi techno magical story aspects which I admit could stand to be chucked entirely out of AC in general.

      • Njordsk says:

        Well, I hate AC because of it’s dumbness.

        Let’s take for exemple the treasure.

        “Hello there, loot that treasure map”.
        Great, the name of the island is written on it, you just have to sail, which take a few minutes.

        Then you land on the island and 2 min after you find the exact monument drawn on the plan. You climb (how difficult that looks ! ) and when you reach the top you have a “press X button to dig”.

        Sorry, that’s dumb to me, they could do soooo much more. Like drawing the global shape of the island on the paper instead of writting it’s name.

        Then there could be an enigma, like “when you reach the skull rock, count 100 foots to the east”.

        You know, something cool, then you have to dig manually. Make the system a little bit more interesting than “press X to win the chest”.

        I find AC series to have very good ideas, but they’re often (to me), badly executed, so dumbed down so you find that one thing a few secs.

        The whole game is like that, which makes it not-very interesting. FC3 felt the same to me.

        edit : ah, it’s the “hate” word you don’t like”. Replace it with dislike, doesn’t interest me, displease me or whatever. I’m not a native english, so might have used the word with a little excess.

      • Andrew says:

        The series doesn’t seem to be about being an assassin anymore. You could substitute any sort of tough sounding noun in front of creed and it would be appropriate: Ninja’s Creed! Pirate’s Creed! Cuddling Creed!

        At this point it seems like the games are almost handicapped by the structure of the past games. They seem to really want to make an exciting open-world pirate game, but you just know you are going to have to climb a million tall objects to synchronize. Ubisoft, there are a lot of exciting looking things here, don’t be afraid to abandon your precious IP!

        It’s also ridiculous that he is wearing a full overcoat and hood in the middle of the Caribbean. You better be able to upgrade your ship’s water storage because that man is going to be constantly dehydrated.

        • jonahcutter says:

          He does look almost comically out of place in that get-up.

          Like he’s wearing an Assassin’s Creed Halloween costume bought from a drugstore. In July.

        • waltC says:

          Exactly what I thought. It’s 120-degrees in the shade and he’s wearing that getup and a hood, no less!…;) If he actually dove into the water with all that on he’d more than likely drown as it would quadruple its weight when water logged, and swimming with boots on is a no-go. It spoils what otherwise looks like a possible masterpiece–I really like the setting, and the ocean waves and ship mastering have a very real and fluid feel to them. Everything looks splendid, I thought–except the hooded guy running around with the strength of Superman. They need to tone down the Superhero quality of the central character–he needs to wear clothes suited to where he is and what he’s doing, he needs to tire from time to time, and certain feats need to be beyond his ken. More brain, less brawn.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            120º? Good god, that’s higher than water’s boiling point!

  2. Velko says:

    2012: Year of the Bow
    2013: Year of the Boat

  3. groovychainsaw says:

    Yeah, open world boat-piracy might be enough to pull me back in here. Dropped the series after getting bored whilst completing AC2 (even sooner than you Nathan!), haven’t felt the need to go back yet, but running a pirate ship has my interest now. I await the reviews with interest. A ten hour tutorial will probably mean no sale, likewise islands that are too big without any fun free-running opportunities. The game’s always been at its best in big cities with tall buildings, so not sure how they’ll reconcile this with the Caribbean.

  4. BillyIII says:

    Just imagine him all wet and salty. Yack! Also, shouldn’t he be drowned in all this cloth?

    EDIT: Ships don’t work this way…

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    basilisk says:

    Doesn’t look very AssCreedish, but quite intriguing none the less. AC3 felt like a weird choice of setting, but this genuinely seems to have potential.

  6. Kakrafoon says:

    Why do they always have to go way over the top with their (shipboard) artillery? What’s wrong with firing single shots? Cannon worked that way. Those two bronze mortars in the Jackdaws’ bows (so she’s a bomb ketch then) firing on the fort unleashed an unholy barrage of projectiles like an MLRS strike, the swivel gun Edward used to snipe two crewmembers didn’t need reloading, and the broadside guns fired more like a giant semi-automatic shotgun.

    There should be a certain majesty, grandness and BIG BOOMS for the naval artillery, and if it takes 30 seconds to reload the guns, then so be it. At the moment, everything happening so fast seems to pander to the ADHD crowd. Also, the damn ship handles like a speedboat.

    Besides, doesn’t the crew find it slightly unsettling that their captain just parks the ship anywhere he pleases and just dives from the quarterdeck whenever he feels he has business to attend to on shore? I feel this is incompatible with the dignity of a ship’s captain, even if he is only a despicable pirate. He should do it in a proper naval fashion and order the crew to row him ashore in a boat.

    • Elmarby says:

      Still waiting on a kickstarter wich features a more realistic Age of Sail type game.
      What is it about game devs and their customers that the best that can be managed is some cartoonish pirate action game?
      Even if kept realistic it could offer just so much fun and cool toys.
      I’d love to try my hand on a moderately complex sailing model of a ship rigged vessel.
      Oh, to be realistically grape-shotting the decks or bouncing double-shotted 12 pounders across the entire length of the enemy vessel. Musket and bomb armed sharpshooters in the tops, while on deck boarders are dealt with by use of pike, axe, cutlass, Nocks gun or a brace of pistols.
      How is this even a tough sell?!

      PS
      Mr Picky wishes to point out that a Ketch is a type of vessel popular as a bomb vessel due to its mast configuration. However, putting heavy mortars into a ship-rigged vessel does not make it a ketch.

      • wodin says:

        There is this..but not much info and sounds multiplayer only…

        http://www.navalaction.com/

        • Elmarby says:

          Oh, thanks for that link. And thanks to mzz who did mention it too but google failed me.
          That does look interesting. Early days though, and it reads like it is going to be an MMO F2P.
          Would hate to have to grind for years to get to the good stuff. Especially when other F2P communities do little more then to remind me that people are indeed bastard coated bastards with bastard filling.
          Oh well, not exactly spoiled for choice here. The dearth is so bad I might just end up picking up this particular Asscreed.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Yeah, everything you said. This trailer convinced me not to buy the game. It is very pretty but looks like it plays like garbage.

      And what’s up with the “ability to navigate”? The context he kept using it in seemed to suggest that it’s some kind of ability to auto-free run so you don’t actually have to, you know, play the game yourself?

  7. Snids says:

    I really hope you can swap outfits.
    How can you command a ship in that stupid outfit with a hoody on?

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      RedViv says:

      Undisturbed by the ghastly sun menace?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      It’s not the hoody that’s the problem it’s the lack of tri-corner hat that makes me mad.

  8. luukdeman111 says:

    As for the long tutorial, they confirmed that the full open world will be available to you within 30 minutes in an e3 interview.

    • woodsey says:

      Praise the lord.

      At least that seems to be one issue to cross off the list. Would be nice if they’d let us do the assassinations this time as well, instead of sticking them in a cutscene.

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    Cinek says:

    LOL.
    Hollywood movies are like… infinitely more realistic than that.
    What a pile of garbage is it? Explosions every 5 seconds, cannons firing dozens of bullets, hundreds of mortars shooting a flood of projectiles… WTF?!

    • Premium User Badge

      Snidesworth says:

      The dozens of bullets thing is likely grape shot, or at least some video game interpretation of it.

      Vaguely hopeful that this will be good, though after AC3 I doubt it will be. That the director doesn’t sound that enthused about his own game doesn’t bode well either.

    • Jazzyboy says:

      Well, it is an action game…

  10. mzz says:

    ships look like crap as if they were just recovered from the bottom of the seas
    deck is filled with splinters and dirt (most sailors were on deck barefooted in RL)
    overuse of “it’s important” as if it is very important

    id better play Naval action or Potbs or POTC instead of this.

  11. Flammablezeus says:

    Yeah, nah. I was stupid enough to buy AC3 and can’t even finish it because of all the bugs.

  12. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    It looks good but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will become tiresome very quickly with shallow repetitive game play.

    It will not be the biz or the boz but a right puff pastry hangman! Talking of Jazz http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3XgouVH9-Y

  13. Velko says:

    The Eurogamer article on this ran with the subtitle “Shoot seamen”. Which is exactly what happens in the video, so that’s a good and objectively correct thing.

  14. kouru225 says:

    Naval combat is strategically null if you don’t need to worry about the wind and the waves.

  15. Reapy says:

    Wish they would also not make you invulnerable anymore. The last few games you basically had to try to kill yourself to die. It nullifies the stealth portion (which is buggy/wierd anyway) when you can stride into a fort and kill everyone with any weapon, including your fists.

    I still think they are fantastic world builders and every environment they create is a pleasure to explore, but still I think they need some more difficulty back in the game.

  16. MattMk1 says:

    I hated the way they handled ship design in AC3, and it’s disappointing to see the trend continue here.

    Maybe I’m too much of an age of sail fanboy, but every time I saw our hero’s ship, with its metal armor, bizzare hinged… studdingsail booms? (don’t even know what to call those things that would automatically unfold from the sides of the ship when you made full sail), massive ram, and 50 or 60 cannons on a two-masted ship that somehow managed to have two gun decks, something died inside me, and this looks to be more of the same. Meh.

    Not to mention all the fights against two and three-deck ships of the line…

    I guess what pisses me off the most is not that it’s ahistorical – it’s AC, after all – but that someone decided age of sail warships just weren’t cool enough, and had to be improved on… It’s like sticking spinning rims, spoilers and aftermarket headlights on a classic car.

    • Hydrogene says:

      Great comment, @MattMk1 They could have chosen a large frigate, with three masts and a single deck to achieve the same ship size, and it would look much more real.

      How was sailing in AC3, any effect from the wind or could you sail directly toward the wind?

      • AshEnke says:

        There was some effect from the wind, but when sailing directly against it you still had enough speed to easily turn and get in a more comfortable position.
        You weren’t able to really go forward, but it was a very arcade feeling.

        The ship combat in AC3 was unrealistic, but really, really cinematic. Maybe there are 300 cannons on board, maybe they don’t reload the way they were supposed to, maybe the ship was more agile than it should have been, but when you’re in control of it all you feel is the weight and the waves, all you hear are the shouts and the screams, it was some kind of interactive rollercoaster ride that I will remember for a long, long time.

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          Cinek says:

          It’s not cinematic AT ALL. Watch first random movie with pirates. Even stupid Pirates of the Caribbean. I’d love this game to BE cinematic. Not that GARBAGE.

      • mzz says:

        try http://www.navalaction.com
        it seems to be the thing you want

      • MattMk1 says:

        Thanks. You could sail much too close to the wind in AC3, and the ship handled (as someone called it up-thread) a bit like a speedboat, but they actually did a pretty nice job of modeling (in an exaggerated but fun way) the effect of large waves on ship combat – the motion of the sea would actually affect your ability to aim your broadsides accurately.

        It’s all the other stuff I didn’t much care for – the absurdity of being able to out-gun ships of the line, having to press a button to have your crew duck for cover which magically protected your ship from enemy broadsides, “rogue waves” which were basically random damage you also had to avoid by pressing the magic button, and silly stuff like your broadsides blowing a hole in the enemy exposing clumps of powder barrels (on the gun deck!) which then could be made to explode but *only* if you targeted them with swivel fire…

        But even all that I wouldn’t have minded so much if they hadn’t decided they had to improve on reality where the aesthetics were concerned.

  17. honky mcgee says:

    My diaper is full now…