Assassin’s Creed 4 (PS4)

As far as franchises go, I have a lot of time for the Assassin’s Creed series.

They are damn well written, feature giga miles of beautifully designed towns, cities and countryside, gel it together with some wonderfully flowing combat mechanics and always come up on top with real good use of modern day technology to make it look fantastic.

I’ve always favoured the suave and svelt Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad from the original game. He was a genuine Assassins student, learning all the tricks bit by bit, unlike his followers who seemed to be assassins from the off. Ezio Auditore da Firenze, our Italian charmer, did a fantastic job of being funny and passionate, which is why it’s hard to like our new character, Edward Kenway, a rather unlikeable pirate who determined to put his own selfish beliefs and endeavours before anything else.

So we now have the story which sees the brotherhood attempt to guide Edward to the path of righteousness, but not before he turns a few hundred hapless souls into reusable tea bags by way of repeat thrusting of his swords.

AC4 carries on the tradition of mixing that beautiful combat mechanic whilst introducing a few new neat tricks. The rope dart is awesome, allowing you to Scorpion style “Get over here” to anyone from a distance. Add to this the excellent berserk dart, which turns any recipient of the blow dart into a menace amongst his friends and there’s suitable expansion of the tools of the trade we’re used to.

But what has been added is the massive side game element of piracy on the oceans. Your ship is now an essential component of the game. You can build on it, upgrade it and take it to battle against both the English and the Spanish with equal violence, choosing to sink ships for plunder or board them for further inheritance.

There’s also a side game where you can build a fleet – it essentially works the same way brotherhood worked, but instead of assassins you have ships.

The game looks absolutely stunning on my PS4. It’s a proper next gen title and there are times when I think that there MUST be slowdown, but there is none as the side cannons of your ship fire a salvo of 20 cannonballs resplendent with realtime smoke and fog and the system just takes it in its stride.

Loved the game enough to finally complete it. But it is a completionists nightmare with a billion collectibles – both on land and under water. Well worth the purchase considering how many hours of gametime I’ve put in.