Let me begin with a sincere apology: I haven’t written nearly as much as I should these past few months. As I’m sure many of you understand, the tasks of life always seem to overtake the wishes of our pastimes. I promise to be more diligent in the future with my gaming musings and such.
Part of the reason I’ve been away from the blogging scene, besides the long hours I’ve been working, is the even longer time I spent trying to earn a 100% completion rate for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. I determined a long while ago that out of all the kinds of gamers out there, I’m definitely a completionist, especially when it comes to this franchise. It’s almost a kind of obsession I have had ever since the first title, and I definitely cannot stop now. With this title, I was able to experience a whole new type of simulation in the squalor of a pirate’s life as well as the continuing story both past and present that has kept me intrigued for years. I’ll do my best to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. I’d like to focus mainly on the motivations of the protagonist, both the pirate in the history books and the present-day person you control outside of the Animus.
Out of all the assassins I have played as in the games, Edward Kenway seems the most relatable to me. I’m not considering myself rugged or rough around the edges, not at all. However, unlike his predecessors, Kenway was the first Assassin that spent the majority of the game not really believing in either side’s beliefs or creeds. He sailed the seas for nothing more than curiosity and personal gain. I’d like to think that in my life, I walk by a creed of nothing more than taking care of myself and those around me. That sounds pretty selfish, but I’d like to think of it as me not worrying about things I cannot control. Anyways, I see Kenway doing this a lot in the game, though he suffers for it emotional as the years drag on. The journey, though tough at times, was pretty entertaining.
As Kenway, I sailed all over the West Indies. I plundered ships, killed captains and built up my own private fleet. I discovered Mayan ruins and a suit of armor that rivaled anything my enemies wore. I discovered an island that I molded into my own private hideaway, a pirate Richard Branson of sorts. Buried treasure chests, under the sea wonders and even humpback whales filled my hours playing. I lived and died through a lifetime of the good life. In essence, I really enjoyed my time on the Caribbean sea.
I don’t think I could say the same for the present time Abstergo researcher I played as also. Part of what always kept me interested in the series is the modern day story and how each journey into the past ties in with that. Now that Desmond Miles, the modern assassin from whom all these ancestors’ stories come from, is not playable, the replacement character is supposedly yourself. But, I found the 2013 plot a bit lacking. I can see where the creators are going with that setting, but there just wasn’t much to explore and experience. I imagine that the intention was to impress our own desires and feelings and experience into this nameless, faceless character. This could have been accomplished had there been more to do outside of the Animus. However, this could just be the first step in a whole new type of story. Time will tell.
In conclusion, Assassin’s Creed IV was one of the most diverse, busiest titles I’ve played in a long time. There was so much to accomplish, and I did it with every ounce of will I had. When I finished, I felt a sort of sadness in leaving the sea, like the end to a summer romance. I do not know what the future or the past holds, but I’m sure it will be just as complex and interesting as it has always been. But let’s hope it doesn’t take too much longer; a story can only go on for so long before it becomes soap opera length.