The Life of a Pirate in Assassin’s Creed IV

Ubisoft have released a new gameplay video for Assassin’s Creed’s latest installment showing off some of the improvements to naval exploration and combat.

Naval exploration in Assassin’s Creed III was sort of the surprise hit of the game. The system was relatively simple but the ability to sail across vast oceans and battle enemy ships in the middle of gigantic storms provided a nice break from some of the game’s other features. Now, Ubisoft have run away with the idea and made it core to the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag experience, and those improvements are looking good. I’m really looking forward to just sailing around the big, open world.

Exploration appears to include a lot of variables and it seems like it will be easy to get pleasantly distracted while sailing the seas. As this video details, a body washed up on an island might have a treasure map, so you start heading there. On the way you might have the opportunity to engage in combat with other ships, or find yourself struggling to stay away from looming storm clouds. The world of Assassin’s Creed IV is massive and filled with things to keep you occupied on even the most mundane of voyages.

For those who might want to skip all that travel, though, view points have changed to now also act as fast travel points, so if you need to revisit an area for whatever reason you don’t have to waste time actually getting there. You know, if you’re not enjoying the scenery or whatever.

Upgrading your ship in Assassin’s Creed III was solely dependent on money but the latest game will see a greater focus on collectible hunting and actually searching for ship improvements. Blueprints will litter the game world in buried chests so the focus is really on exploration, discovery and plundering. Well, you are a pirate, after all.

Other new features are smaller changes to the naval combat system for the better – things like an arc to some of your cannon shots that’ll help you connect with the enemy ship when the waves are more wild, and the variety of weapons available to you and the ease with which you can change them (this was a problem in Assassin’s Creed III, where changing weapon types involved pausing the game and going through another screen). Not all of these are going to be gamechangers, but they’re nice improvements.

Remember when I was all ‘ew Assassin’s Creed IV already that’s too soon’? Yeah I’m totally gone now. I’m a slave to the series.

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