One of the biggest upcoming titles on display at Eurogamer was the franchise title from Ubisoft. Assassins Creed 4 is the next title following on from the previous tales of Connor, Ezio and Altair this time in a carribean setting.
Now for me personally I loved the first Assassins Creed and even more so the story of Ezio from AC2, Brotherhood and Revelations. AC3 however interested me less. This wasn’t due to gameplay or any control issues. I am not a fan of the wild west and American civil war setting that AC3 took part in. This personal taste has also led me not to spend much time with games such as Red Dead Redemption which is rated very highly with other gamers. Following on from this another genre or setting for games that usually disinterests me is pirates. When hearing that Assassins Creed 4 was heading in this direction I was not overly interested. What I personally wanted was more Ezio but as we know that his story has ended that will not happen.
Going to Eurogamer Expo I decided that I wanted to get my hands on AC4 so that I could see what improvements they have made and decide one way or another if I would carry on with the Assassins Creed franchise and play this iteration. The main Assassins Creed 4 stand was upstairs in the 18+ area so both myself and one of our other writers, DaftChunk queued up. It was nice to see that the queues were moving fairly quickly which compared to titles such as Titanfall was a nice change. In total we spent maybe 20 mins waiting in line. Now we expected to see the latest AC title running on the Playstation 3 or maybe on a PC build but we were surprised and happy to see that it was running on what appeared to be the Playstation 4. The new dualshock controller was there waiting for us and after conformation from one of the Ubisoft staff it was confirmed that this was indeed running on the Playstation 4. 2-3 hour queues for a go on the Playstation 4 downstairs and 20 mins wait upstairs, sweet.
DaftChunk and myself sat down and got our first touch of the new Dualshock controller. I wont go into too much detail as this is about the Assassins Creed game rather than the system itself but what I will say that it is comfortable to hold, feels very intuitive especially fo anyone familiar with the previous Playstation controllers but had nice additions in the way of nicer feeling grips and analogue sticks which feel more fluid to use in your hand plus the addition of the touchpad. After drooling over the controller for a few mis we got to the reason we were there and started to play Assassins Creed 4. This was a different part of the game compared to what I have sen previously. This time round we were on board a ship rather than in some camp. This is something that many people have been looking forward to as the ship sections from AC3 proved to be popular. This was also the kind of section that I thought would put me off as im not really a fan of the pirate genre. Well I hold my hands up in defeat. It was great. Everything moved so smoothly, The ship bobbed and moved about in the water effortlessly, the sails and rigging floated in the wind just as you would expect to see. the graphical improvement was impressive. This only got better the more we played.
I spent some time sailing around getting a feel for it and then set course for the nearest other ship I could find to test the combat. I was not disappointed. Combat is handled very nicely, smooth controls let me tack tightly and come about alongside the enemy and launch a salvo at them causing severe damage. I was expecting to just be able to blast them out of the water but you can board them and take over the ship. This was handled well although I did maybe feel a little like I wasn’t controlling some parts as the ship came about as it was positioning both ships ready to jump over. This however would have been handled in an FMV sequence in previous games where this time round it was all done without breaking the screen and only lasted for a couple of seconds before I regained control again and leapt over to the opposing ship to attack. Hand to hand combat is as good as ever, blocking, counters and striking all felt familiar and easy to control. Once I had taken over the ship I had the option to repair my own ship or have the other ship join my fleet etc. This showed that there will be real depth to this aspect in the full title which I look forward to seeing more of. One thing that may be small to some people but both DaftChunk and myself commented on was the huge improvement in the way the water moved and reacted. Diving into it and swimming around look for want of a better term, real. In previous games you got a splashing look around the character but it never looked quite right somehow. This time round the water moved as you would expect when you swam, dove, climbed up and down through it. The light from the sun reacted off it in ways that I would expect. Considering that Assassins Creed 4 will spend a large amount of time on the water it is really nice to see that they have really pushed the look of it. The Playstations power being put to good use to make everything look leaps and bounds above previous iterations.
The gameplay demo lasted for 10 mins and in that time my opinion changed. From not being interested in the genre which was putting me off the title I had changed to deciding that this will certainly be a purchase as it has plenty for me to get my teeth into. I’m still not a huge fan of the genre but there will be many that will and im sure that the story will weave itself very well and keep me enthralled. I could have easily stayed for much longer than 10 mins playing this. It showed me what I wanted to see and teased for so much more.
If it wasn’t for getting my hands on this at Eurogamer Expo I might not have picked this iteration of the Assassins Creed franchise but now it has placed itself firmly in the ‘must get’ pile. I want to also say that the Ubisoft representatives there were also happy and helpful as well as being willing to chat unlike some other stands we could mention. The addition of having 48 Playstation 4’s on hand was also impressive.