Impressions: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Midnight Launch

AC4BF_Black-Red_Logo TO 01

So the launch event hosted by Game at there Hull Prospect Centre branch started from 9:30pm on 27th October 2013 after the game’s release was brought forward from it’s initial Halloween release.
I got there at about 9:25pm already a rather large queue had formed, a few people dressed as Assassin’s kudos to those guys.
The doors opened after 9:30, we were let in and given a raffle ticket with and we queued to collect some booty from the rum punch bar.

A fine young lassie giving out Booty bags to the early birds.

A fine young lassie giving out Booty bags to the early birds.

Then it was time to wander around the store and see what other events were on off. There were 3 PS3’s hooked up for playing Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag on before the midnight release. This was my first port of call, as they weren’t hooked up to the Internet I couldn’t try the online multiplayer out but Two machines were set up for getting a taste of the new improved Wolfpack Mode.
First thing I did was head to the menus and set the game up as a full play rather than the unlimted mode that was running. I managed to have a good ten mins seeing what had changed. The most noticeable difference was that it wasn’t just about locating and killing target but now had mini-objects including protecting treasure chest from AI trying to loot them and a collecting artifacts and killing infected enemies.  The controls were the same but a few things appeared to have changed, I will be writing a full Veteran’s Viewpoint on the new features of the Multiplayer when I’ve had chance to fully explore them, so stay tuned.
After playing Wolfpack I jumped on the system running the single player and again exited out to the main menus which was changed majorly and looks very PS4 like with it all being tiles. I started a new game but after a couple of minutes the staff memeber spotted what I was doing and exited me out of the game as he said we were only permitted to play a specific scene due to spoilers. So he rebooted the game, I advised deleting the new save I created and he loaded the correct save. The game loaded with the Jackdaw sat close to an archipelago and within the proximity of enemy ships. I disengaged from the wheel and jump straight in to the sea and swam ashore. There was a group of enemies fighting in the centre so I took them straight out with a rapid flurry. Then I explore the Island, I spotted a wild cat bombing around and lept on it and killed it. To the shock of the staff memeber as it opened up a cheat for killing the Ocalot, but couldn’t work out what it did. I then proceeded to find some iguanas and skin them. The game controls really well but graphically it looks the same as AC3 but with more vibrant colours. I made me realse how much better the PS4 version look when I saw it at a preview event earlier in the year. You can read about AC4 & Watch_Dogs HERE!.

A life size model of my namesake from the previous Assassin's Creed game.

A life size model of my namesake from the previous Assassin’s Creed game.

So that was enough gaming for now time to explore the what else was on offer. Close to the entrance there was a collection of four Xbox360’s running previous Assassin’s Creed games from AC2-AC3. There was also an apple bobbing style challenge, where an entrant could win an AC4 Hoodie by writing down a Pirate quote and then trying to bite 4 tennis balls and put them in another bowl in the quickest time. When I watch someone did it in 15 seconds, which I knew I wasn’t going to be able to beat. I also had concerns of hygiene of such a task but the guy I watch went on to win the AC4 hoodie.

The Stocks being guarded by one of Game Store Managers dressing in appropriate Pirate garb.

The Stocks being guarded by one of Game Store Managers dressing in appropriate Pirate garb.

There was also a set of wooden stocks set up in the centre of the store where people could have their photo taken in them pulling a pirate expression. It didn’t interest me but some people seemed to be enjoying it.

I persued the store a bit more, the staff announced that if a Strategy guide was bought at the same time was the game the first twenty peoople would get a goody back containing codes and few other bits. At £20 I thought I’d pass but a nice incentive to sell some guides.

I ended speaking to the Ubisoft Representative Mike who happended to be the same guy who did the PS4 AC4 & Watch_Dogs presentation I attended. He asked which version of the game I was getting and what edition I explained I was picking up the Buccaneer Edition for PS3. He explained that he was waiting for next generation versions, as he had the Black Chest Edition ordered for XBone at a substantial staff discount.  I asked if the games had the upgrade code in them for digitally purchasing a next Generation copy. He didn’t know the answer to this sadly, but I a few hours I would know myself.

By this point a few customers had noticed I was wearing an Insert Coin Tomahawk Hoodie, a young lad asked me how much it had cost. I told him I wasn’t sure as I was a Xman gift from my girlfriend but our goodie bags contained an Insert Coin discount card, which he could use if he fancied one.

By this point it was very obvious that the stops had been pulled put for promoting AC4 merchandise. There where tonnes of Strategy Guides lining the counters along with Key rings, badges and the Two interlocking models of Edward Kenway & Black Beard (Game Exclusive). There were massive AC4 posters and Loads of large AC4 branded, advertising Cubes, Cardboard Treasure Chests & impressive looking Gunpowder Barrels all adding to the vibe.

I decided I would see about getting a temp tattoo and joined a queue to have a Sharpied tattoo done. I chatted with the lads in front one who decided to get the AC4 symbol drawn on his cheeck, brave if foolish lad. When I came to my turn I went for the AC4 logo on my inner left arm.

My AC4 temporary Tattoo. Not overly impressed with the finished look but judge for yourself.

My AC4 temporary Tattoo. Not overly impressed with the finished look but judge for yourself.

As the time was starting to tick away they ran a Wolfpack contest to see who could get the largest kill score. I knew full well that given the was it was set up that there was only a maximum score that could be achieved of 1050 points. I managed it on my first kill by blending with a crowd, building full focus and executing the target. A nice idea to win an AC4 hoodie but there are more effective ways of getting an actual high score as about 8 people all got the same result.

I then spent the next hour on Twitter as there was very little left to do, boredom was setting in and I was regretting getting here from the beginning.  Finally they arranged customers in the order they arrived to collect their games, as I’d arrived so late it was a good ten mins before I managed to get my hands on my Pre-ordered Bucaneer Edition, then I took a massive cardbord barrel and got a taxi home.

My booty from the Midnight launch. A Cardboard Gunpowder Barrel, Some strange cardboard promo item, an AC4 poster, Insert Coin discount voucher, A Lush Soap!? & a can of  Saint's Flow!? Front and centre my Buccaneer Edition.

My booty from the Midnight launch. A Cardboard Gunpowder Barrel, Some strange cardboard promo item, an AC4 poster, Insert Coin discount voucher, A Lush Soap!? & a can of Saint’s Flow!?
Front and centre my Buccaneer Edition.

Verdict:
As much as Game and their staff did a good job of keeping people entertained it was far too long a time to wait with too much time spent not doing anything. As this was my first ever midnight launch I’m glad I did it but I’m certain I wouldn’t attend another. The goodies given away in the bags were alright but not really worth the long wait until midnight. I was really disappointed that the version running for play wasn’t the Next generation version, given the fact it’s been shown off on AC4 tours around the countries Universities. With that said I did enjoy having an early bash on the full game even if I did get a slapped wrist for my cheeky efforts. It was nice to be able to get my hands on my copy of AC4 but having to be at work the next day meant I didn’t get chance to play it until I returned from work.

Contents of the Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Buccaneer Edition. Including A rather impressive statue of Edward Kenway, CD Soundtrack, Art cards, Art Book, Game (containing DLC codes and PS4 version discount code).

Contents of the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Buccaneer Edition. Including A rather impressive statue of Edward Kenway, CD Soundtrack, Art cards, Art Book, Game (containing DLC codes and PS4 version discount code).

Coming Soon:

Connor McKervey (aka VDJOMB)

Hull based PlayStation Fanboy, lover of the PSVita, reviewer, writer and podcaster for Joypadandme.com. @vdjomb on Twitter

Hull based PlayStation Fanboy, lover of the PSVita, reviewer, writer and podcaster for Joypadandme.com. @vdjomb on Twitter

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