Diving Deep with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The Assassin’s Creed franchise expands deeper into open-world universes with each sequel, and Black Flag isn’t any different from its predecessors in that regard. Black Flag continues pushing the action genre’s envelope in building a complete gaming experience around several action elements, and this time in the AC series, that depth of action gameplay is brought out under the sea and careening above water.
Ubisoft demoed an entirely new environment to play around in at PAX Prime this weekend. Whether you’re looking for better weapons or valuables to sell, you’ll want to get off your land-lubber arse to take an occasional dip, infiltrate a hidden cave, and take over enemy ships.
I can’t think of an open-world game that has put as much detail and gameplay elements into underwater exploration as Black Flag does. Ubisoft is taking a situation that you'd find in other Assassin's Creed games, like sneaking past a guard to get into a room, and replicating it underwater. You're discovering a new frontier of gameplay situations that nearly matches the scale and complexity of the series' core.
On a larger scale, instead of coming off gimmicky, Black Flag retains the same pacing and detailed ecosystem so that there’s no awkward transition between looting a burning building and digging up sunken jewels.
Ubisoft also demoed its cave exploration—bringing the game back to its stealthy roots—and ship vs. ship combat, sure to create some theatrical, stunning battle scenes.
No release date has been confirmed for Black Flag on PC, although it’s scheduled to launch by the end of the year.
Meeting Your Mobile Match in Watch Dogs
After months of guessing how cross-device multiplayer would work, we’ve finally seen Watch Dogs’ companion mobile app in action. Things look promising.
Ubisoft has developed an app-based PVP multiplayer that pits a PC or console player – controlling Aiden Pierce – against a mobile player. The console player must complete a series of objectives or get to a specific point on the map before the 4-minute time limit is up. The mobile player is tasked with employing any means necessary to stop Pierce, including hacking the Central OS to jack into the city’s grid.
Our live demo featured a Ubisoft Montreal developer on Xbox 360 taking on Esper from Fragdolls, who used a tablet. As Pierce, The dev was constantly rushed to make quick decisions, resorting to hijacking cars, fending off police with his pistol, and dodging traffic and pedestrians on foot. Esper followed Pierce by dragging her helicopter, which appeared on the console screen and aided the police in chasing him down. Esper also activated obstacles scattered throughout the city, like projecting recessed steel pylons from the city streets upward and into Pierce’s car.
In the end, Pierce was surrounded by police and gunned down, but our console player also received XP from playing the challenge. Mobile players will receive XP that can go toward in-app upgrades (like helicopter abilities).
It’ll be interesting to see other challenges that require a greater degree of hacking and maneuvering through more claustrophobic environments like alleyways and high-security buildings. Hopefully, within the next couple of months, Ubisoft will release footage of more challenges that you can take part in with your friends.
Watch Dogs launches on PC November 19.
- Nick "stuBEEF" Pinkerton.