Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Features for Xbox One

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7Out of 10
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The next-generation is an exciting time for us all. It's an event that doesn't come along that often, and the respective release dates of Xbox One and PS4 will be eagerly circled on many calendars. And why wouldn't they be? New technology always bring with it new ways to play and experience games. This cycle alone we received the likes of Gears of War, Red Dead Redemption, Journey and Call of Duty's multiplayer, all responsible for bringing something to the table, be that visual quality, technical prowess, sheer ingenuity, or the embracing of the internet.

As good as all these games are, though, there's a very obvious difference between what we've received over the last eight years or so and what we had before. There's a reason titles like Mario 64 or WipeOut stand out in people's memories: they were genuine game changers. The former took the idea of 3D and made it work. Such was its success, it wasn't until years later that the bigger publishers of the world dared go back to 2D. It's, arguably, the reason Sonic is still struggling to stay relevant.

With the latter, it's best described by's own Steve Burns:

"In previous generational transitions it has been a pure leap in power that best demonstrated the differences between the hardware. Internally, EA counts the PlayStation era as 'Generation 1', and it is easy to see why: the first commercially successful CD-based system enabled designers to create fully 3D worlds with a scale and craftsmanship that had not been seen before. It was the start, to EA at least, and probably to many others, of gaming as the mainstream now knows it: a mainstream, of course, that Sony's canny marketing helped create.

For me, the game that encapsulated how much things had changed was the original Wipeout. Playing it on a demo pod at my local Toys R Us, I was impressed that I could pilot the craft in first-person. I was amazed, however, by the craft bobbing up and down: that touch was my anchor to the world, and the ship's movement and inertia – combined with the viewpoint and graphical fidelity – was as good a demonstration as any that the gaming world has changed."

Naturally this was always going to be the way where video games were concerned. Even now they're still, somewhat, in their infancy, so in the late nineties ideas, innovation and genuine breakthroughs were, in a way, easier to come by. The almost-wholesale move from 2D to 3D was an obvious step forward, bringing with it a whole host of new concepts and exploring the untapped potential in designs such as the open world. It may sound ridiculous in 2013, but seeing Hyrule Field open up in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or GTA 3 throwing away the rule book entirely, were jaw-dropping back in the day.

Battlefield 4 screenshot

Winding the clock forward, what does the new next-generation have for us, at least at first? There's the usual heavy hitters such a Battlefield, Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, and also returning favourites like Dead Rising 3 and Killzone: Shadow Fall. All good franchises in their own right, and all games that'll light up your house the first time you turn your shiny new console on come November.

However, they're not ideas or concepts we haven't seen before, a point made no more obvious than the fact a lot of them will also release on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Again, this is no bad thing, but the start of the era is littered with games that, visuals aside, will be more than comfortable on machines we have now. None of them are different enough that I feel it's essential to drop hundreds of pounds on a new console, rather than play them on what's already sat under my television. Even a big name like Dead Rising 3 – which is exclusive to the Xbox One – is a game that, for me at least, can wait.

It seems the developers themselves are aware of this, too. Speaking to recently, Ubisoft's Jean-Sebastien Decant, gameplay director on Assassin's Creed 4 – and a man who is actively involved in both console's launches from a library perspective – said the new grunt of the new systems wouldn't be seen until next Christmas... as in 2014. The graphical spectacle will start to flex its muscle almost instantly, but the direction the Xbox One and PS4 seem to be heading – namely social worlds with unique services built into the equation – are currently being thought up behind the scenes or waiting for their arrival next year with the likes of Titanfall or The Division. Again, though, Respawn's debut is also a current-gen product.

The fallout, then, is this is arguably one of the lighter console transitions we've seen – in many ways you're subscribing to upgraded versions of games that were coming your way regardless. This doesn't make them any less important, but it may justify why you have that nagging thought of 'maybe I can wait...'.

Sitting on top of all of this as well is the juggernaut that is the PC. A viable and popular platform once again, its importance in the marketplace is set to increase further with the arrival of Valve's Steam Machines. If the brains behind Half-Life have it their way, never again shall the television and PC gaming experience be kept separate.

I have little doubt that both Microsoft's and Sony's consoles will becomes must-have devices before long. The sheer range of games planned will eventually tickle everyone's fancy. When November 2013 rolls around, though, don't be too surprised if a few more wait a tad longer than they did previously…

Editor's note: Obviously for professional purposes, I'll get both consoles at launch.

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User Comments

Xploitrix's Avatar

Xploitrix@ Im_Dave_Angel

Posted 14:49 on 27 October 2013
Xploitrix's Avatar


Personally I am getting a PS4 on day one not because it's going to be some kind of huge technological leap from the last generation, not because any launch titles particularly excite me, not because I am a mindless fanboy who jumps on whatever new product my chosen company throws at me, but because it's an event. It's a chunk of history.

There is so much awful stuff going on all around us these days that I take every opportunity to be part of something uplifting, wether that be celebrating a birthday, making the most of Christmas, going without beer one week so I can buy my son something nice, or... the launch of a new gaming platform!

Any big name in music that you are a fan of didn't exhibit their full potential at their first ever gig... but it would still be cool to say that you were there to witness it.
Posted 14:36 on 27 October 2013
tvr77's Avatar


I think the main reason people are still so unsure and kinda on the fence is because for the most part they are still made to feel very content by what they already have and can see for the near future even through the launch period that they still will be.

I don't really give a damn though i'm one of those idiot guys that just can't help myself, i just have to have it asap. I really do wish i had more restraint.
Posted 20:33 on 10 October 2013
CaptainMellow's Avatar


Wait until a 'Must Have' title is released. And be vary of hardware issues on new machines.
Posted 20:11 on 10 October 2013
CharleSketch's Avatar


Considering I got my PS3 just 2 years ago and a Wii U last December, I'm in absolutely no hurry to get the new machines. Maybe I'll get one (PS4) later on, but I'm not even sure of that. There's so much on PS3 I still need to play, and with the Wii U's backward compatibility, there's even more to explore.

I must also say, it confuses and saddens me a bit that virtually no one considers the Wii U next-gen. People don't seem to grasp that the Wii U has games that look as good or better than current gen stuff... at launch. Its real power won't show later on, maybe not on-par with PS4 and Xbone, but it will look great; even better on first party titles. Graphics never make the games, specially right now. PS4 and Xbone will have streaming, Wii U has Miiverse. Maybe it isn't as exciting, but it's a fun experience on its own, specially when it's integrated with the game itself; something third-party devs should begin to do.

Fanboy or not, I know I rather play Wind Waker HD than any of the games announced for these new consoles.
Posted 19:35 on 10 October 2013
TomO's Avatar


I've ordered a PS4 more due to a feeling that I should rather than actually desperately wanting one. I wrote something similar to this earlier in the year when I was convinced I'd wait until next year, but I felt guilty running a video game business and not supporting it by being an early adopter. Having said that, If I had enough spare cash I'd have ordered both consoles in a flash.

I actually prefer the look of the Xbox One launch line-up, but couldn't bring myself to pay the extra cost for the console when by all accounts it's inferior hardware.
Posted 17:09 on 10 October 2013
Ecosse's Avatar


When they were first announced, I was in the "I Must Have It" camp, but now, I'm 99% sure that I'm going to hold off.

Like most others, there isn't anything that screams out at me that justifies the outlay for one.

Think I'll get a PS Vita (which will in time be a good tie-in with the PS4) this year at Christmas and plod along with the PS3, come next Christmas they will have sorted out any initial launch bugs, price will have come down a bit and there will be good collection of 'Next Gen' exclusive games.
Posted 16:08 on 10 October 2013


I do agree with you Simon.
While I will buy a PS4 at Launch, its not really like I MUST have one. Its just curiosity and because I want something new to play, but I could live happy without getting a PS4 this Year.

It was very diffrent in the Past, new Console where always a very exciting Thing, this Time not so much. But maybe I'm just getting older ^^
Posted 15:54 on 10 October 2013
joeymp's Avatar


Hey I'm fine with paying $400 for a graphics upgrade. PC players pay way more than that over 7 years of gaming. Also current gen games are really starting to show their age compared to what PC games have been doing the last couple years. Also expect these new cross gen games to look terrible on current gen, developers are crafting their games around next gen now and in order to make them run on current gen (because there are over 150mil ps3s and 360s combined) they are murdering current gen graphics. They really want people to jump on board with next gen quickly and it seems like consumers agree because PS4 and Xbox One have received more preorders than any other console launch ever (over 2mil combined).
Posted 15:00 on 10 October 2013
IronMit's Avatar


As you highlighted, there are no 'system-sellers' at launch.
All those games can wait.

The dilemma from a money stand point is the the consoles might not drop in price. If you were to go buy the console in April the RRP could be the same, especially considering the PS4 is selling at a loss. Obviously no one can be sure of this and there may be some better package deals. But considering that, some of my friends who are into Battlefield for example may as well enjoy the better graphics sooner rather then later.

My obsession is MGSV and if the experience ends up being that much better on PS4 I may 'upgrade' a bit earlier then I otherwise would.
Posted 14:36 on 10 October 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar


I'm just waiting for a must have title that I can't play on current gen, then I'll upgrade. Currently there isn't one.
Posted 14:24 on 10 October 2013
DancingRhino's Avatar


If there can't be massive graphical leaps, things like rock-solid frame rates and advanced physics would be great. Although those things are kind of subtle and not really system sellers.
Posted 14:13 on 10 October 2013
RazorGecko's Avatar


Yes I agree too on the fact that the change from PS3 to PS4 or from Xbox to Xbox One isn't that big at all. Personally I think that they should have released it way later.
Posted 13:26 on 10 October 2013
Njeezy's Avatar


Hi Simon,

Nice article, do you think that you'd be more likely to buy them at launch if you weren't going to have them in the office anyway?

Will Dave be writing a why I have pre-ordered everything already article to counter yours?
Posted 13:22 on 10 October 2013
killtubecameron's Avatar


I totally agree with what was said the jump to the ps1 was amazing but the jump for ps3 to ps4 doesn't seem that great although I will still be buying a ps4 it looks to good to miss
Posted 13:09 on 10 October 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 22/11/2013
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 7,713 4290
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