Assassin's Creed 3 was the most disappointing game of 2012. AC3 was proof that the series has hit a wall in terms of new ideas and innovative gameplay. Think about it. What was the major marketing point of Assassin's Creed 3? The setting. There weren't any ads about Connor's climbing ability, or his weapons. It was "hey America come get a glimpse of your history with Assassin's Creed's version of the American Revolution." I'm not going to lie, the setting is what convinced me to give Assassin's Creed 3 a shot. I was done with the series after Brotherhood, but figured enough time had passed for the series to be fun again. Boy was I wrong. Colonial Boston is nowhere near as beautiful or fun to explore as say Italy in the 1400's or the Middle East in the 1100's.
The biggest new thing in terms of gameplay for AC3 was the Naval Battles. Naval Battles are the fights between battleships that took place in Assassin's Creed 3. Many people who criticized AC3, gave praise to the Naval Battles. Some even used Naval Battles as an excuse to finish playing the game. I guess it comes as no surprise that Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is set completely around the idea of ships and pirates. Ubisoft is pretty much taking the one thing (some) people liked about Assassins Creed 3 and making it the center point in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is apparently a Pirate Themed game set in the Caribbean. The promo picture being set on a ship is a big indicator that Naval Battles are going to be a focal point in Assassin's Creed 4. That's a bummer. I for one wasn't a fan of the Naval Battles. By the time they showed up in AC3 (around the 6 hour mark) I was tired of everything that made Assassin's Creed 3 up to that point. I was tired of the plot that was going nowhere. I was tired of running from one cutscene to the next. I was tired of a series that clearly hurt itself with yearly releases.
AC4 being announced less than 6 months after the release of Assassins Creed 3 is a huge red flag for me. It more than likely will be available this holiday season which means Ubisoft learned nothing from it's mistakes in AC3. What I liked about the Assassin's Creed series was actually being an assassin. Nothing made me happier than climbing structures and stealthily killing people. I'd have fun climbing each viewpoint no matter how repetitive it was to jump in a stack of hay. I loved searching for treasure before AC 3 added a stupid lockpick minigame to the mix. If AC4 can go back to a beautiful city with gorgeous skyscrapers and fun gameplay, I'd be more than excited for it.
Will Assassin's Creed 4 remind me of the things I love about the series, or will it be another snoozefest with more cutscenes than actual gameplay? That remains to be seen, but if it's coming at the end of the year. I almost guarantee it won't be much different from AC3. That means more running from cutscene to cutscene combined with a boring character, boring location, and a boring story. If that's the case I'll gladly pass on Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. I'll wait for the reviews before I decide whether or not to give this game a try.