For fans of pirates, there’s only one game on their radar for the coming year: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. Although the developers have been emphasizing the ability to explore the high seas for hours on end, exactly how that open-ended gameplay will interact with story progression hasn’t been clear.
Not that we’re criticizing the decision to put shark battles into what is typically seen as a story-driven series, but we continue to receive hints at the systems operating behind the randomized environments. The latest aspect of Black Flag gameplay to be detailed is the player’s ability to engage naval forts in combat, ultimately destroying the fortifications and infiltrating them on foot. The newest look at naval fort combat may be brief, but holds plenty of promise.
We got a chance to see the seamless blending of naval combat and open world exploration during our E3 2013 preview – video of which has since been released online – but battling ships and stationary forts is something players already got a taste of in Assassin’s Creed 3. For Black Flag, the team at Ubisoft knew they would need to expand to keep fans impressed.
As the video from Eurogamer shows, the same seamless transition from commanding the crew of the Jackdaw in combat, to diving overboard and swimming to shore continues to be a major feather in Ubisoft’s cap, and whether on current or next-gen, could set a new standard for open world RPGs.
After unleashing cannon fire on a fortified location (something AC3 proved is satisfying, if not particularly complicated) Edward must proceed on foot to dispatch the last of the fort’s defenders (presumably aided by some of his crew). How exciting players find this addition to gameplay largely depends on their feelings for the core combat loop; and if Ubisoft is planning to make any changes to the formula in that regard, they’re not detailing them just yet.
The quality of animations related to bringing down forts – which grant access to side missions and new territories – are promised to scale with the hardware, meaning at least from a visual standpoint, the activity will pack more punch on next-gen systems. Going only by what’s shown in the footage – the cannon smoke hanging in the air after each bombardment, for instance – Xbox 360 and PS3 owners won’t be getting a downgraded version.
Is this the kind of open world gameplay you can see yourself sinking hours into, or are you more anxious to know what story is being crafted to contain it? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag releases October 29, 2013 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. The title is also slated for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4, but no release dates have been announced.
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