Top critical review
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on 21 January 2015
AC4 Jackdaw Edition is a bittersweet thing, and I really wish I'd bought the base game only. The story is one of the best in the series so far and the ship combat is amazing, but as per usual, it's undermined by awful mechanics. Running up walls when you're trying to run off for example, not to mention slowing down for a game of hopskotch on a bunch of randomly placed stones when there are a dozen soldiers with loaded pistols chasing you. That kind of thing. We seasoned AC players have been there before, haven't we, and we can only wonder why Ubisoft don't do something about it? Worst of all are the incredible number of tailing and eavesdropping missions, never seen before on this scale in an AC game. I got 96% completion by the time I finished, but this is the first AC game I won't even replay, never mind attempt to 100% largely because of the tailing missions.
Still, maybe the extras of the Jackdaw Edition will make up for it eh? Unfortunately not. Freedom Cry takes the worst aspects of the base game and magnifies them. There are more tailing and eavesdropping missions, the most cumbersome firearms in the series so far (the blusterbuss), a ridiculously slow ship, and machetes that don't even incapacitate the weakest enemies after several strikes. The rhythm of the combat in the base game simply doesn't exist in Freedom Cry. It's incredibly disappointing.
As for the multiplayer, Ubisoft have ruined it with their greed. I absolutely LOVED AC3 multiplayer, but you need to level much higher to get abilities and perks in this one, and that's because Ubisoft want you to pay real money for Erudito credits so you can get those perks early. Consequently the game is completely unbalanced for newcomers, of which there are a minority at this stage - so they get to enjoy playing against prestige players who can see through walls and use knives and pistols for a few weeks unless they want to give Ubisoft more $$$$. No thanks. If I hadn't forked out so much for the Jackdaw Edition I might have spent a few pounds on Erudito credits, but no, I'm not going to be nickel and dimed any more. To be honest, the situation with multiplayer has put me off AC, and I regret buying Unity now. I haven't played it yet, but hopefully it will change my mind. I'm not holding my breath.