IMMERSION: Assassin's Creed 4, or AC4 for short is a third person game so it must first try to immerse players in the character, and the world second. AC4's main character is a Welshman called Edward Kenway, who went to sea to seek his fortune and ended up in the Caribbean fighting in the conflict called "Queen Anne's War." He is an opportunist, who really doesn't mind working for either Templars or Assassins. So, he has something of a personality, even if it is a bit weak. AC4 reintroduces players to the open sea and captaining an 18th century sailing ship. It works for a while, but the length of time it immerses the player in sailing and naval combat is dependent on performance. The on shore missions are similar to other AC games, and do not seem to offer much in the immersion department. Graphically, AC4 offers some immersion, but repeat players will be more accustomed to it and so the effect is lessened. The audio is agreeable, but after about the second repeat of a sea shanty it loses impact. Combat, that is hand to hand combat in AC4 offers some immersion because it is seemingly quicker than previous games, more frantic, but it is almost too quick, making it less a question of skill or challenge than luck, pressing the right button at the right time. That reduces the impact of combat and the immersion value. Overall, though it doesn't really immerse the player for very long in any one aspect of gameplay, it will at least keep players occupied with a substantial amount of tasks to complete. (8/15) dropping quickly to (6/15)
DIFFICULTY; AC4 is an open world game, there are no difficulty sliders to adjust. The naval combat is a worthwhile challenge, until the player's ship gets upgraded sufficiently, mortars and the like, and or the player learns effective naval tactics, crossing T's and such. Combat in inclement weather is more difficult. Hand t hand combat is as previously noted seemingly more difficult. The game's controls are unchanged, and work well enough without impeding enjoyment. Apart from the usual assassin's creed issues of the random climbing and jumping. Overall (7.5/15)
LASTING APPEAL: As previously noted, the lasting appeal of the game falls off pretty quickly. If players elect to adopt a completionist approach, obsessively getting every upgrade it will last a bit longer. 7.5/15
OVERALL: On the whole, it's not a bad game at all, Ubisoft seems to have found a way of getting around the animus and making it plausible, finally making the modern sections interesting. May Ubisoft keep doing that. Naval combat loses immersion quickly, and hand to hand combat gets old. Then the story loses impact once players realise Edward is uninterested in anything but his own interests (7.6/15)
SUBJECTIVE SIDE NOTE: Naval combat was unique and new in AC3, like the toy in a Kinder Surprise egg. In AC4 you've got fire hose of chocolate fired at you and plastic toys raining down on you. Good for a while, but it's not so good every day. A first person HD Sid Meier's Pirates, this isn't.