At the (re) discovery of ... Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

At the (re) discovery of ... Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

At the (re) discovery of ... Assassin's Creed IV

"Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is not to be considered an Assassin's Creed in the round, but a simple and fun pirate video game". We all, in one way or another, have supported it: the fourth chapter of Ubisoft's most famous franchise, in fact, is still among the most celebrated and honored productions by the most avid fans, returning from the adventures of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, from Connor Kenway and in general from the myth of Altair. This topic, as it was inevitable, could only be addressed in our column "The rediscovery of ..."

Eight years have passed since the publication of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, which in the video game panorama corresponds to the Mesozoic, a real geological era ago. Since then, Ubisoft and Assassin's Creed have changed and, let's face it, certainly not for the better, with very few exceptions; however, we had already talked about this with Skull and Bones, telling us how the new Ubisoft Singapore production did not fully convince us.

A few days later, making the ideas seep, we came across the memories, thinking back to the Caribbean Sea and in general to the adventures experienced by Edward James Kenway, the protagonist of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and the memorable adventure that led us to live the Golden Age of piracy, inserting the classic plot of the assassins that he has never spoiled but who now, reliving the trilogy dedicated to the first civilization, has lost his bite.

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If we think about it, it is the same question that we have been asking ourselves about Assassin's Creed for some time, looking for whether its time has passed or not, and if maybe the time has come to close the series. It is logical, it is inevitable and it cannot be a far-fetched discussion, especially if by now the franchise has nothing more to prove, and this discourse, like it or not, directly concerns Ubisoft. There was a before and after Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag and, as is inevitable, Assassin's Creed is a series that got lost in the waves of the market to chase a game model too similar to the many other open world RPG works which have lost their charm, especially in the last period.

Skull and Bones, however, does not seem to distance themselves from Far Cry and Assassin's Creed and, while we were observing that sea, the memories of Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag took the helm and led us to these pages. Ezio Auditore is the best killer, and no one - not even us - want to remove him, even if the debates on social media are divided between him and Altair. Assassin's Creed VI Black Flag, however, changed the cards on the table and did it in an intimate, precise and direct way, presenting us a character, a game world and a historical context that only Monkey Island and Port Royale were able to represent in a way faithful and spot on. But let's proceed in order, from the outbreak of a cannonball, from a shipwreck and from a mysterious killer who goes by the name of Duncan Walpole.

The legend of Edward James Kenway

Like any self-respecting pirate, Edward James Kenway was a drunkard who earned too little and wanted a decent life. From humble beginnings to great feats, Nathan Drake would say, but Edward Kenway's story is distinctly different. Ubisoft, at the time, presented an atypical killer in its first trailers, leaving immediately a less honorable and considered behavior, but decisive and direct, as is typical of the most famous pirates of the Seven Seas.

Edward, precisely, he began his corsair courier for the Regia Marina until he decides to embark on a ship with the banner of the Jolly Roger, leaving the Union Jack aside, with the dream of making his every dream come true and becoming the most rich and feared. Something that, in fact, any West Indian pirate dreams of, and the game began in the most classic way: a storm, some English ships ready to board and a difficult situation to solve. Without going too specific, things go wrong and Edward, seeing the ship now destroyed, suddenly finds himself shipwrecked with a man wearing a strange hood, with the only request to reach Havana to deliver a mysterious object. Although it's been eight since its release and considering the addition of the fourth installment of the Ubisoft franchise to Sony's new PlayStation Plus, we don't want to do too many spoilers on the main storyline. However, we can tell you that Edward Kenway, by killing that man, will later be involved in a series of bursting events that will follow one after the other, bringing him in the presence of the most important figures in piracy.

Coming into contact with this world, Edward knows both the Templars and the Assassins, and he is sure that both are useful to get to the treasure that craves, looking forward to grabbing it. However, his change later led him to totally reconsider the Creed and the struggle of the Assassins, approaching the Order at a later time, specifically at the conclusion of Ubisoft's work. His evolution, which is connected to the game plot and the rest of his story, is important: after some events, he realizes that everything does not revolve around gold and that the friends lost during the journey are no longer recoverable, as it is. the bond he left in his homeland, thus reconsidering his life and every choice he made.

In Assassin's Creed II we experienced the birth, growth and death of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, reliving his story between his hometown, Rome and Constantinople, feeling an overwhelming empathy from beginning to end, as if he were a long-time brother. Edward Kenway, on the other hand, we understand him later and he represents in all respects a protagonist who, at least initially, we thought was the polar opposite of the memorable protagonists of the other works of the franchise. Instead, not immediately showing himself as an open book, we understand that Edward Kenway is nothing but a man with the dream of living in freedom and conquering everything with the sweat of his brow, even by carrying out wicked acts. We see his movements, his way of fighting and ultimately understand his ideas: he is not graceful, elegant and not even honorable like his nephew Connor Kenway, but he is brutal and more direct.

He is not a twisted protagonist. who asks himself questions, but already has answers and often all include a noose around his neck, a coffin and rum to gulp down to forget the assault on a fort. Initially, we thought he had no scruples but, as we progressed through the experience, we met a profound and complex protagonist. The narrative of Assassin's Creed VI Black Flag, in fact, was a declaration of love by the late Ashraf Ismail for the world created by Patrice DĂ©silets, the actual father of the series, who also devoted himself in the past to the development of Hype. : The Time Quest. If Altair and Ezio Auditore da Firenze represent the pinnacle of the most iconic protagonists, surely Edward Kenway starts at a disadvantage and then becomes a better person, a different and more intelligent man. Humble in hard-earned wealth and at the same time sad for losing his friends.

In a world without gold we would have been heroes

Anyone who has played Assassin's Creed VI Black Flag remembers this phrase uttered by Blackbeard, voiced in Italian by Francesco Pannofino, during a brutal battle that we do not want to reveal to you. In this sense, the narrative of the game focuses on the morals of each character, who is moved not only by their own desires but also by the historical period, one of the most complex and difficult to be free, where the New World was the frontier of a world. that was advancing step by step in progress. And this is where the story revolved, as we, aboard the Jackdawn, survived the pirate hunters and the Templars.

When we initially played the fourth installment of the franchise, we thought that Edward, right from the start, he would have been the classic protagonist in the fight against the Templars, as happened with Connor and Ezio. Instead, he was a protagonist who, taking advantage of this fight, got rich, sometimes paying too high a price. There was the desire for freedom, for a different world and a land where anyone could make a fortune, and it is the philosophy of the Assassins of 1715 that Edward Kenway then understands and assimilates in turn, becoming a member of the Order.

Meanwhile, pirates rule the waters of the Caribbean Sea, following trade routes and shooting down ships from Europe. If nothing else, the historical fidelity of Assassin's Creed is overt and, considering the enormous work done in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame and the Parthenon in Athens, it could not be otherwise. However, Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag is not only the story of a man who realizes that he is better only when everyone around him is dead, but it is a work that has proposed a convincing world and, when analyzed and compared with other current productions. released in the last four years, it still has a lot to teach.

We are talking about an open world full of things to do, not very engaging in the combat system because it is inspired by the winning one and well built of the Arkham Series of Rocksteady, between exciting and fun naval battles that we now remember with great nostalgia and emotion. However, we do not remember with joy the search for collectibles such as the collection of songs, which we hated and found boring and misleading, an addition that did not give anything exciting to the production but only so many hours spent in a useless way, even if the seafaring songs were pleasant to listen and know how to be adored.

There was an intriguing exploration, there were beaches and islets, there was a boundless sea and there was a memorable story. But there was, unfortunately, a connection with the other video games in the franchise and if it hadn't been a work from the brand, it probably wouldn't have had the same success. Imagine it like this, in fact: a video game about pirates starring Edward Kenway without it being called "Assassin's Creed".

How many would have loved and played it, while enjoying a story that would not have included the fight between the Assassins and the Templars? We do not know the answer but, loving the hypotheses and the classic Hollywood "What if", we can not help but mull over it, wondering how a similar production would have been published and marketed. In fact, now the perfect example could be Skull and Bones which, while taking up the naval battles of Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, is the furthest away from the fourth episode of the franchise.

Nothing is real, everything is fair

At this point, it makes sense to ask: Is Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag actually the best work in the franchise? Is it the production that gave new life to the series after Assassin's Creed III and the story of Liberation? Was it the right video game at the right time? The answer is a big and clear yes, because Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag had the ability to address both fans and the general public, carving out a relevant space in the collective memory.

It was the video game suitable for forget Assassin's Creed and the adventures of Connor, at the time considered an exaggeratedly flat and boring protagonist, not in line with the most charismatic protagonists of the series. If nothing else, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag and Edward James Kenway’s short story demonstrated the ultimate maturity of a franchise that, due to so many missteps, has now lost value and is only a shadow of who it really was. We will remember the adventures of Edward James Kenway, first pirate and after Assassin, for the next few years.

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