The best Assassin’s Creed game is free this week

I like the boat-centric Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag so much that I just went and added it to Uplay even though I already own it Steam. That’s right: an Asscreed I dig enough to voluntarily load up Uplay. Last week, Ubisoft were giving away the tragically de-Steamed RTS World in Conflict, and, as we promised then, here’s your nudge about this week’s Festivus freebie.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is also known as ‘the one with pirates’, aka ‘the first one without bloody Desmond’, aka ‘the one were they set the series right after getting it wrong with AC3’, aka ‘why haven’t they made another one about seafaring yet?’ (The latter question, I speculate, is probably something to do with boats being somewhat off-brand. A boat can’t sneak or climb up a chimney, see).

The open ocean, involving ships to battle, board and kidnap, forts to raze and all manner of treasure to seek, had more than a little Sid Meier’s Pirates! to it, albeit through a third-person action prism, and it was a real – aha! – sea-change from the routine roof-running and conspiracyballs of its predecessor games. Hell, even protagonist Edward Kenway, a good ole’ Welsh lad, seems to enjoy himself significantly more than does most any other AssCreed protagonist.

There’s a lot of nonsense too. It is an Assassin’s Creed game, after all. Conspiracies and Skinner boxes and Ubimaps – but even that latter makes a lot more sense when it’s a seachart rather than a small amount of land littered with magic icons.

All free from now until December 18, anyway. Get it from here. It’s a Uplay code rather than a Steam code, so you will need a Uplay account and installation, however – though the days of Uplay being quite such a gigantic pain in the bottom are long past. It’s more of a minor irritant now.


  1. Optimaximal says:

    A boat can’t sneak or climb up a chimney, see

    Isn’t there a bit in Black Flag where you have to Stealth Boat your way through a swamp following another boat?

  2. Syme says:

    ‘why haven’t they made another one about seafaring yet?’

    What apart from Assassin’s Creed Rogue, which is basically Black Flag 2?

    I mean it’s slightly less sea and pirate focused I suppose, but you’ve got just as much space to ignore the story and explore the sea.

    • Guiscard says:

      I was thinking that. I suppose Rogue feels more like an expansion to Black Flag than a sequel, using near identical gameplay mechanics and resources (Unity having gobbled the AC budget for that year), but as a result of not needing to work so much on the technical side of things it’s got tight mission design, an actually comprehensible story and probably the most thematically interesting protagonist of the AC series (though maybe I’m just a sucker for Irish accents). And a cool boat and ice fields!

      • Syme says:

        It’s a weird one because it was out the same days as Unity, only put out, because lots of people hadn’t upgraded to PS4 or XBONE. I was one of them, and I didn’t have a good games PC at the time. So I picked it up and had a good time with it.

        It’s not the most ambitious entry in the series, it’s got it’s own problems, but it makes for a surprisingly good AC game because it’s a refinement of everything from that generation of AC games. It had some beautiful moments out on the glacier’s, despite the old technology.

        Shay’s irish accent is terrible though.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    I salute your achievement in not leading with “I like big boats and I cannot lie”.

    I know I wouldn’t have been able to summon and maintain the steely resolve necessary for such a feat.

  4. Tyrmot says:

    How many governer’s daughters can you dance with?

  5. Fede says:

    UPlay says it’s free but *out of stock*. At least in Italy.

    Also, does anyone have a clue why half of the Italian text on their storefront is outragously bad and the other half is Spanish?

    • Ghostwise says:

      Time travel accident, sorry. If you look outside, the zeppelins with the giant portraits of Franco will confirm that.

    • Neurotic says:

      The answer is in the first word of your first sentence. :D

      • Fede says:

        Yes, most likely :)

        This trainweck can be funny though: a promotional banner says “no al 75% di sconto” = “no to 75% off”

        I guess they want to stree that we can’t have nice things.

    • Premium User Badge

      Barvahal says:

      Don’t go to the store. Follow the link in the last paragraph of this article.
      Or if you go to the store, you have to click the link in the small text under the image that says “Click here to get Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag complete game for free…”.
      You’ll go to the special giveaway page with a large “Register for PC” button.

      • Fede says:

        I used the banner on the store and it redirected me to another page, but the one you linked to is working.

  6. LennyLeonardo says:

    I still know some of the sea shanties by heart. Therefore, best game ever.

    • Bing_oh says:

      Getting new sea shanties is the first reward for chasing those stupid pieces of flying paper in an AssCreed game that has ever been worthwhile!

  7. michelangelo says:

    It took me a while to stop returning there just to be sailing the sea, breathing the salty air and asking sailors to sing my favorite songs (which is only collectible I was digging out of the game in its whole scale) and occasionally fight some tasty treasures out of the boats loaded with them.

    Even story was fine, since Edward, for lucky circumstances, started his journey of gaining pirate reputation, making his fortune and pimping out tool to make the dream real—his boat. Story and characters chemistry was just working. Even the first appearance of “general Assassins Creed bullshit” personified into one of his pirate companions was fun because Edward was at first calling it bullshit, making fun of it, and not giving much of a shit about it. When he started, even story went blank for me. But I consciously targeted it with amnesia, just to get back to the sailing pirate fun, once “main story” was finally over.

    And I was playing pretty PS4 enhanced version because it was never a good idea to play Assassins Creed game at release (Origins kind of broke that chain). In fact, in case of Unity piece, it’s the no.1 thing people generally remember of it. Except me. I was way, way late to the party, but it was the time when a party was totally fixed, polished and became one of my 3 most favorite Assassins Creed games ever (with few tricks I invented to enjoy it), as well till current day best looking one of the whole series.

  8. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    AssCreed: Floaty Boaty is what I call it. And still the only AssCreed I’ve been bothered to play more than half an hour of (I pretty much completed it, but that was on a console toy)

  9. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    I only just bought this in the steam autumn sale! Damn you ubisoft! That’s 5 and a bit of my hard earned english pounds you made me waste!

  10. Michael Fogg says:

    I’m now looking at my uplay shelf with all the freebies including Farcry 3, Drives SF and now this. It’s hard to believe I actually once payed significant sums for some of them.

  11. Hannibal Barca says:

    Only free for PC?

    • Unclepauly says:

      I would show you the door but consoles get occasional mention around here. And it may not be possible to show you a door through text.

  12. Catterbatter says:

    They finally got me with this one. Wow, Uplay is fun. I had to run the installer as admin, then it stuck a shortcut on the Start menu for my admin user but not for any other users (including my regular account). And I can’t find any way to see my Uplay library except in the client. Silly stuff.

  13. Megatron says:

    Yep, got mine yesterday. *smug grin*

    Looking forward to playing it but last week I decided to give AC3 a go, expecting to spend an hour with it then uninstall out of boredom; your review, Alec, was a small masterpiece of harsh words.

    It is to my unending surprise, then, that I’ve been playing it all day today and thoroughly enjoying it. I’m appreciating the time it’s taken to get to the point of having Connor up and [free] running, the care given to establishing a wee tragic backstory for him with his cool Templar Dad and ever-so-slightly-fridged Mum.

    Black Flag can wait. :)

    • something says:

      Now I want to hit someone in the face with a fidge so that I can say “You’ve been ever-so-slightly-fridged.”

    • welverin says:

      Three is not a bad game and doesn’t deserve the hate it gets. Particularly from a gameplay perspective. I won’t argue for Connor’s personality or the story, which I didn’t mind, but even if you don’t like them if you can ignore that stuff and just play it you should still have fun.

  14. gabrielonuris says:

    The best Assassin’s Creed game? So I’ll assume you live in a alternative reality where Assassin’s Creed 2 never happened. Oh poor you…

    • vecordae says:

      This is definitely one of the more condescending ways to say “I prefer game X over game Y” that I’ve read today.

      • Frank says:

        Ew, that? Is that condescension? I’m afraid it scarcely qualifies as a legible comment, even in its author’s alternate universe, much less a condescending one.

        (How did I do? Oh wait, forgot to say which Final Fantasy I prefer. Damn, better start over.)

        I’ve only played AC2 from the series so far, but I’m looking forward to trying this Blag AssCreed despite what our impressive condescender has to say.

  15. pendergraft says:

    I sure hope somebody’s released a mod by now that removes the insipid pirate stuff and lets you focus on the first-person office assistant part of the game.

  16. BewareTheJabberwock says:

    Maybe it’s just Ubisoft being Ubisoft, but I can’t seem to log in after I’ve created an account. It tells me I’ve successfully created one, but then, when I try to log in, it says “login unsuccessful” with no helpful information. So I change the password and get the same result when I try to log in with the new one. Ideas? Black Flag has been on my short list of things to get for quite some time, but if this is how Ubisoft is about creating a simple user account, maybe I’ll pass…

    • BewareTheJabberwock says:

      Finally got it sorted, but if it helps any other poor souls out there, they’re having problems with login attempts on Chrome AND Firefox, so plan accordingly.

  17. Solastus says:

    Hopefully someone here can help me. I missed out on World in Conflict because of this issue and it still continues with Assassins Creed:
    Using the link in this article (and one provided by Ubi Support on twitter), I get an “unexpected error”. The redirected URL reads “error/Cannot%20read%20property%20’status’%20of%20undefined”
    I’ve tried with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge both in normal and “private” modes (at Ubi’s request) and with Win10 firewall off and Avast shields down.
    Possibly related; my Uplay app does not auto-update and all the news articles will not load. Games do launch without issue though. I have tried launching as administrator and manually updating the app.

    Please help!

    • AshkEl says:

      Solastus, your problem sounds like it might possibly be network related.

      Try setting an alternate DNS server setting on your PC, like as well as whatever your ISP router’s IP address is. I’ve seen a few weird browsing and connectivity problems that were due to low quality ISP DNS services.

      Try rebooting your router. Disconnect power for 30 secs to be sure of a clean startup, wait until it fully reconnects, then restart PC and try again.

      If you can, try it with a different network (like a hotspot off a smartphone), instead of your usual connection.

      If that doesn’t work then there’s something odd happening in software on your machine.

  18. racccoon says:

    Down Friggin’ downloading now, thx uplay & GoG for Fandango! :)

  19. BlacKHeaDSg1 says:

    “The best Assassin’s Creed game”. IMO it is the worst in the series because IT IS NOT AN ASSASSINS’S CREED GAME. No Abstergo, no Animus device, no Desmond IRL like stuff, not Assassin’s Creed game. It is just crappy pirate game which pretends to be a “Assassins’s Creed”. Sorry for rant.

    If you are saying that this is The best Assassin’s Creed game, you are just a pleb to me.

    • welverin says:

      But it IS the best Assassin’s Creed game…for people who don’t like Assassin’s Creed.

  20. Evan_ says:

    That was a close one, but still resisting to make a UPlay account. Nice try though.

  21. welverin says:

    So, who’s giving away Syndicate?

  22. welverin says:

    “I like the boat-centric Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag so much that I just went and added it to Uplay even though I already own it Steam.”

    So you know, any Ubisoft game you own on Steam that uses the Uplay launcher will be in your Uplay account automatically. No need to acquire it separately.