Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag is a brilliant pirate game. In fact, it could be a stand alone pirate game without the Assassin's Creed aspect, and do perfectly well.
Some might say the weak Assassins side-story ruins the game and the experience. However, Ubisoft needed to continue the Assassin's Creed game series to maximise revenue, increase return on investment in their game engine (especially the fantastic at-sea parts of the game), and keep the AC fans happy.
People who have played the Assassin's Creed games in the past will notice a much smaller modern day story that doesn't seem to have much in common with previous games, but the slight references to the original games do kind of continue the story.
New people to the franchise will probably be thrown out of the pirate story and be wondering what is going on. The modern day side-story is seemingly random and does not correlate well with the Pirates side of the game. The historic parts of the game which deal with the Assassin's Creed aspects could be seen as something similar to the magical/fantasy aspects of something like Pirates of the Carribean, and shouldn't damage the gameplay much.
The pirate parts of the game are fun, the missions are not too repetitive and the story and character development are reasonably good.
Overall I'd recommend this game if you're a fan of Assassin's Creed or not.
The online is much like the previous games, slightly more refined and balanced. My experience on the Playstation 3 is much like the experience of AC3 multiplayer on the Xbox 360. At the lower levels a lot of people run around and do not understand the scoring. As you level up the matchmaking tends to do a reasonable job at matching you with similar players.
It's still just as fun to use disguise and poison to stand next to someone in a crowd and watch them die by your side.
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