Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
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  1. Oct 29, 2013
    While Black Flag feels very much like an Assassin's Creed game, its gameplay reminds me more of Sid Meier's Pirates! wrought in glorious 3D. As in that classic game, you are free to sail wherever your heart desires, and be as dastardly or as benign as you like. Embodying Edward Kenway and living through his adventures on the seas, while also experiencing his struggle with Assassins and Templars alike, is pure escapist delight.
  2. Oct 29, 2013
    Probably the biggest compliment I can give to the developers of Black Flag is that they did a fantastic job of refining the things that needed to be refined and leaving alone what didn’t.
  3. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Nov 11, 2013
    Hereditary sins aside, the core experience of Assassin's Creed IV is one hell of a thirty-cannon salute that has so many tantalising distractions that we honestly can't wait to sail back into its world again. [December 2013, p70]
  4. Oct 29, 2013
    Black Flag is an amazing videogame, full of exploration and an immersive experience. With an absorbing single-player campaign and nice multiplayer modes it's a lengthy and fun pirate journey.
  5. Oct 29, 2013
    The greatest compliment I can afford Black Flag, though, is that I wanted more at the end of my time with it. With such an expansive map to explore and so many alluring distractions on offer, this is the kind of game a player could easily lose scores of hours exploring.
  6. Nov 4, 2013
    It’s one of those games that draw you in with its unparalleled atmosphere and style.
  7. CD-Action
    Dec 13, 2013
    All the distinguishing features of the series – the Templars, parkour and brutal assassinations – are here, but now they are not the core, they are just elements of the best pirate game ever, of a Red Dead Redemption at sea. [13/2013, p.52]
  8. Nov 16, 2013
    Black Flag is a remarkably new take on the series, and I would go as far to say it’s the finest entry we’ve seen to date.
  9. 90
    Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag reinvigorates the series after its patchy performance over the last few years, making it the best game since Brotherhood.
  10. Nov 4, 2013
    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the pirate-themed open-world action adventure that I’ve always wanted. While the meta-story is little more than filler and Captain Kenway’s story could have been better focused, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with these pirates, privateers and buccaneers.
  11. Nov 3, 2013
    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the very definition of escapism, offering a mindbogglingly large amount of content. One could spend upwards of fifty hours exploring the world without completing more than a few introductory missions in the main story — which itself can offer over twenty hours of gameplay.
  12. Oct 31, 2013
    Black Flag is an evolution for the series, not a revolution. It's a gorgeous game that learns from the disappointing Assassin's Creed III and the addition of the naval open world is a triumph. If you're tired of the formula, there might be enough here to bring you back into the Order.
  13. Oct 30, 2013
    It has taken the gameplay of the previous games, refined it, and combined it with a huge open world that is packed with enough content to literally last for days. If you have ever wanted a proper pirate game, this is as good as it gets.
  14. Oct 30, 2013
    Without the slightest doubt the best action game of the pirate and sailor genre ever. Black Flag is smart enough to keep down the Assassin's Creed mythology, and it puts forward its pirates, and colourful and also deadly Caribbean. Instead of a mere expansion of the traditional formula, a charismatic hero along with his Jackdaw ship creates a great tandem bringing something truly new to the series.
  15. Oct 29, 2013
    Black Flag is quite possibly the closest to a real sandbox we have seen in this saga by Ubisoft. Even though its main innovations revolve around the sea navigation and naval combat, this new installment still possesses enough good qualities as to give this saga our vote one more year.
  16. While some franchises are merely pumping out the same stuff every year with simply a new coat of paint, Black Flag is a welcome and well-done reinvention that adds new large-scale elements to an already solid base.
  17. Oct 29, 2013
    Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is the best Assassin's Creed experience in terms of scale, freedom and gameplay. Between land and sea, the journey of Edward Kenway is really captivating.
  18. Oct 29, 2013
    Though the cracks with stealth and freerunning are starting to show with time, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag does the one thing it means to do surprisingly well: pirates. Sailing the high seas, finding hidden treasure chests among gorgeous tropical archipelagos, letting the waves of turquoise water crash into the Jackdaw, plundering enemy ships without remorse, and hearing your crew sing authentic sea shanties has never felt better.
  19. 90
    The game is stunning, and the Caribbean makes for a gorgeous setting.
  20. Oct 29, 2013
    It’s yet another example of what the 360 and PS3 are capable of – a genuinely stunning creation that packs 40 to 50 hours of content into a beautiful, compelling world that begs to be explored.
  21. Oct 29, 2013
    The developers have worked around the series' foibles brilliantly.
  22. Oct 29, 2013
    Ubisoft Montreal has crafted a vibrant world and the strangely endearing Captain Kenway will also likely be your favourite assassin yet. Engage your inner swashbuckler and become the most feared pirate to ever sail the seven seas. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is an experience not to be missed.
  23. Nov 15, 2013
    With the new Assassin’s Creed we find ourselves in the Caribbean with a new main character called Edward Kenway. Black Flag focuses on the sea battles we saw in the third game and continues with this, with some new additions. Overall, you’ll be busy for a while – 40 hours, give or take – but the story isn’t that compelling.
  24. Nov 7, 2013
    We didn't like going out of the animus, the mission structure gets repetitive real fast and the framerate isn't always as solid as it should be. Nevertheless, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag offers a great and varied experience, mostly thanks to the expertly designed world you get to explore.
  25. Nov 4, 2013
    Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is simultaneously one of the best and worst Assassin's Creed games I've ever played.
  26. Nov 1, 2013
    Open-world game design works best when the player feels as though something fun is just around any corner. In this respect, Black Flag is the best Assassin's Creed yet. Strong environment design props up the well-worn, on-foot gameplay and the slightly more persistent enemy AI can present a decent threat to the incautious, but no real ground is broken on land.
  27. Oct 29, 2013
    The overall polish has improved, and there is more fun to be had in this iteration than any previous. It no longer feels like a forced checklist, instead offering players the freedom to partake, skip, or mix and match as much as they see fit.
  28. Oct 29, 2013
    Even though the PS3 and Xbox 360 aren’t equipped to give you the best ACIV experience, the core adventure here is more than good enough for fans who won’t be burying their current-gen consoles any time soon.
  29. Nov 1, 2013
    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag might fall a little short in comparison to something like Brotherhood, but it’s still a far better effort from Ubisoft than its direct predecessor. If you found yourself turned off of the series by Assassin’s Creed III, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well the developers have rebounded with Black Flag.
  30. Nov 12, 2013
    The seafaring aspect of Black Flag is where much of the fun lies, but things feel a little too familiar every time Kenway sets foot on land. Climb buildings, collect items, infiltrate fortresses, assassinate targets. If you've grown weary of this formula, you'll count the minutes until you're back out at sea, plundering ships, harpooning sharks and diving for sunken treasure.
  31. Nov 6, 2013
    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the best of the series since the Assassin’s Creed II without any shadow of a doubt. The experience is broken a little by some current gen restrictions, but not enough to ruin the overall experience.
  32. Oct 29, 2013
    Black Flag is different from its predecessors, but still contains the same Assassin’s Creed DNA. The variation between land and sea missions are what makes it feel fresh. At sea we’re mostly impressed by the open waters and everything to do there, with an emphasis on the wild sea skirmishes. It’ll make you feel like a real pirate, even though it isn’t as historically rich as previous Assassin’s Creed games.
  33. Oct 29, 2013
    Much like Assassin's Creed 2 took the unpolished ideas of the original AC, Black Flag builds upon the flawed AC3 experience. Ubisoft's latest adventure takes the best ideas of last year's game, refines them, and adds surprising new experiences in the form of underwater missions and a genuinely fun modern-day narrative.
  34. It’s not so much what has been added that makes Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag good — but rather, what it lacks. Assassin’s Creed III was a grim game. The world was grim, and its protagonist grimmer. Strip away the environment, and you’re left with the sea. Strip away the American Revolution, and you’re left with humour and plunder of a lawless pirate war. It’s a welcome change — but it also deviates a little too far from the Assassin’s Creed DNA. The core mechanics are there, yes, but after ACIII, it’s been hard not to wonder how much is left to say?
  35. Oct 29, 2013
    Black Flag lacks the spit and polish of prize plunder, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be cast back into the ocean. This is as much an enjoyable on water excursion as it as an exceptional stealth game, and while not every mission in its protracted campaign will leave you as buoyant as the Jolly Roger, you’ll find more than enough riches here to keep you coming back for more.
  36. Nov 8, 2013
    Pirate fans will merrily pick this up and discover a solid purchase, but the rest might want to hold out in hopes of something different from next year’s iteration.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1117 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Oct 29, 2013
    playng it since thursday awesome game its a mix of assassin creed 2 with brotherhood with pirates and assassin themes wich is awesome edwardplayng it since thursday awesome game its a mix of assassin creed 2 with brotherhood with pirates and assassin themes wich is awesome edward is a badass Full Review »
  2. Oct 29, 2013
    First off, if we were to review the game as a separate title from the series ACIV is amazing.If we are going to review the game based on theFirst off, if we were to review the game as a separate title from the series ACIV is amazing.If we are going to review the game based on the previous games then it's far away from what Assassin's Creed 2 offered us. Edward is clearly a PIRATE not an assassin. The real world missions are not so good. The yearly releases are ''killing'' this game.Even though Ubisoft said that each game has been developed by a separate team, the game lacks quality.Look at GTA V,they spend 5 years developing the game and the game is SUPERB in every aspect.5 years is too much, but a new game should be released every two years and it must be done by a full team.Nevertheless the game is way better than AC3 but apparently the experience of AC2 won't be repeated again :(.....Also the game misses a main plot. The main plot ended in AC3. Ubi released AC:Revelations and especially AC4 just for profit ,'cause their initial ideas for the game, when they didn't know it would have become so successful ,ended a year ago with the release of AC3. AC4 is a new game and part of a new series and that ''IV'' after Assassin's Creed is ''useless'' and inappropriate, it can be a spiritual successor but not a real sequel.I'd give it a 9/10 ,if not related to the other games and 5/10 as part of the series, 'cause the game focuses on pirates and hackers and not assassins,characters are weak and the main character,Edward doesn't establish that connection between players and him.As I previously said,the game hasn't a ''Real'' Main plot..... Full Review »
  3. Oct 29, 2013
    This is, by far, one of the best entries in the series. It feels fresh and different. And you know that feeling? Yeah, the one you have whenThis is, by far, one of the best entries in the series. It feels fresh and different. And you know that feeling? Yeah, the one you have when playing AC2 and that was missing from AC3? It's back. Full Review »