2013's year of gaming is coming to a close and that means Neoseeker is deep in deliberation over its "Game of the Year" award. This month, each of Neoseeker's 10 nominees for Game of the Year will be profiled. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade us which game deserves such an honorable award.
Another year, another Assassin's Creed. The series has become a yearly affair, but despite the rapid release schedule, it never fails to surprise us. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is sixth installment (not counting handhelds) and takes us back to the 17th century, when you couldn't sail five feet without running into a pirate. Those were interesting times.
Our new hero is anything but, as we are introduced to Edward Kenway, who might just rival Ezio in terms of charm and overall intrigue. Sure, he's a good deal less refined than all his predecessors, but that doesn't make him any less great a character.
To summarize: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag stars a bright-eyed pirate, his fellow criminal scum, and a ton of naval exploration. I can't remember having this much fun with an Assassin's Creed game since the second one, and I'm quite sure many long-time fans would agree.
Why Assassin's Creed IV?
- Freakin' pirates - Pirates are super cool, at least the 17th century variety. I was initially skeptical of a game that seemed to have one sole selling point: pirates. Turns out, that selling point is a pretty good one, because playing as a swashbuckler-turned-Assassin is a lot of fun. Aside from the era-appropriate weapons and combat, Black Flag includes a heavy dose of naval combat, a feature that appeared briefly in Assassin's Creed III and won over a good number of fans who would otherwise have grown bored of the franchise. Oh, and bumming around with famous pirates like Blackbeard and Ben Hornigold is awesome.
- Welcome to Abstergo - Unless you actually follow the Assassin's Creed expanded universe, well beyond the video games, then your knowledge of Abstergo is pretty limited. What little we've seen of the series' big bad wolf-corporation is fed to us through the Assassin protagonists and some multiplayer snippets. None of this is particularly adequate for understanding the Abstergo company. In Black Flag, we're actually put in the position of a newly-hired employee at Abstergo, and learn a bit more about the inner workings of the company. Hey, they aren't all crazy power-hungry Templars. The office itself proved to be a fun setting to explore, with its many collectible secrets.
- R.I.P. Desmond Miles - He's dead. Finally, we can move on. Okay, in all seriousness, Miles wasn't too terrible a character, and he remains pretty relevant to Assassin's Creed. Yet his relevance to the story didn't exactly endear Assassin's Creed fans to his existance, despite having a rather interesting lineup of ancestors. Rest in peace, Desmond.
We can never be sure where the next Assassin's Creed will be taking us, but there's no denying Black Flag's charm. Edward is a refreshing change of pace after Connor and Ezio, someone who denies what is handed to him in favor of an adventure of his own making. While we might have been left wondering about the future of Assassin's Creed for the last two or three releases, Black Flag seems to pull everything back on track, and exceeds expectations. You can find a more detailed take in our full review.
Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2013 Nominees
- Tomb Raider
- The Last of Us
- BioShock Infinite
- Gone Home
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Saints Row IV
- Path of Exile
- Papers, Please
- Metro: Last Light
Neoseeker's Game of the Year awards are decided by editors Lydia Sung and Rory Young. Follow them on Twitter at @RabidChinaGirl and @bluexy , or read their news, reviews and features every day here at Neoseeker.
Be sure to check out some top picks from our PC community as well.