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Assassin's Creed IV Review

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I haven't picked up AC IV yet (because I'm still not sure if I'm waiting for PS4 to buy all the new games) and I want to hear from you guys, how is in general and how is it compared to the other AC's. What have been improved, what not? And if you can, try and write without spoilers (but I did see like the first hour of the game)

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Exploration Improvements;

- The way you explore the world and complete objectives now is freaking wonderful. It really is as seamless as they said it is, and halfway through I began taking it for granted but sometimes I catch myself and I'm like "OMG IF THIS WERE ANY OTHER GAME, THERE WOULD BE HUGE LOADING SCREENS." But there aren't. The only times there is any significant load is when you load into a Main City. And that's worth it because Main Cities have as much content as a city in AC2 does.

On Foot Gameplay Improvements;

- While Running, you can hold High Profile + Empty Hand to Drop Off of ledges fluidly. This wasn't in previous games, there was a half-functional Drop if you just held High Profile.

- You can dual Assassinate with your Swords now (because you have two, of course). Low Profile and High Profile.

- Camera bob when sprinting. (real nice, not a gameplay improvement but I love it)

Combat Improvements;

- Disarm into Attack is a True Link Combo for basic grunts and guarantees a kill if you delay the second button press half a second. (I'm into a lot of Fighting games so yeah, awesome.)

- Smoke Bombs are back, and well explained.

- Chaining pistol shots makes you feel like Preston from Equilibrium.

- There's a very effective way to kill Roof Gunners if you're in combat: Wait for one to start aiming at you, Human Shield a nearby enemy, as soon as the foe drops, pull out your gun with Free Aim and shoot the gunner in the head while he reloads. Be quick, ground enemies won't wait for you to pull off the perfect shot, so get ready to Counter.

- Hidden Blades have the slowest attack speed but the quickest Kill Streak speed

- Swords have the highest attack speed, slower Kill Streak speed

- Fists are fists.

- Sprinting Fist Assassinates/Takedowns, as far as I know, are Silent even though you're pulling High Profile

Naval Improvements;

- Aiming and shooting is much quicker, especially if you have various weapons to cycle through

- Heavy shot is done by not Aiming and "blind firing" your Broadside Cannons. It's like a shotgun, it does crazy damage if you're beside a ship. Unless they're pretty far from you, there is no reason to use anything except Heavy Shot + Swivels because you will WRECK them ASAP

- Boarding;
You can board ships to take Cargo (you need it for upgrades and money), take the ship itself, lower your wanted level or gain Crew (crew is a resource required to board ships. The bigger the ship, the more Crew you need). My favorite way to board is to stop the ship OUTSIDE of the Boarding range, jump off, Stealth Assassinate or Smokebomb Assassinate as many people as I can, eventually taking out the entire Crew. Then I just sail my ship next to it and Board. It auto-completes the boarding most of the time because there's no one left alive. The exception to this is bigger ships, where you may need to blow up Powder Reserves or take down its Flag.

- Ship Customization;
You can customize your ship's Appearance and Upgrades (they are separate). Mine currently has these awesome Crimson Sails. Mm. Upgrades are very, VERY necessary. Before you get the first Health Upgrade, you will not even be able to finish the lowest level Naval Contract. Trust. Upgrades are your life. That said, Ground Combat is pretty easy if you've played AC3. So don't waste money on upgrading Edward, your Jackdaw needs it so much, so much more.

- Modern Day;
A whole facility to explore!
I love the Modern Day in AC4. It's incredible.
There is a LOT of lore to learn about Desmond, Subject 16, Subject Zero (hehehe) and Abstergo, as well as the Animus and First Civ. All of this is a sidequest though, so you don't HAVE to do it if you don't want to. If you do, you'll play some fun hacking minigames. Makes ya feel smart (It's awesome.)

Also, Watch_Dogs and Assassin's Creed are set in the same world.
That's all I'm gonna say.

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Wow. I wasn't expecting that big of an answer, but thank you. one thing that bothers me is what happened to the world? Now the main story is just Edward story, without consequences on the present? What happened after AC3 ending? If the answer includes huge spoilers, then just say if there's a story in the present.

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How is the mission layout? More stealth? More freedom? Less annoying BS optional objective HUD that are popping in front of your face?

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Vesferatu wrote:
How is the mission layout? More stealth? More freedom? Less annoying BS optional objective HUD that are popping in front of your face?

Good. Yes. Yes. No.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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The Optional Objectives ARE less annoying because failing them won't flash a BIG RED X on your screen this time.

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Wow. I wasn't expecting that big of an answer, but thank you. one thing that bothers me is what happened to the world? Now the main story is just Edward story, without consequences on the present? What happened after AC3 ending? If the answer includes huge spoilers, then just say if there's a story in the present.

There is a HUUUUUGE story in the present.

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I also have a few questions, concerning the targets and main character. How many sequences have you done so far, and how many targets in them altogether? You don't have to give an exact amount, just something like a few or several. Are the targets interesting? How are their assassination missions? How exciting is the story of Edward Kenway? How is he compared to the previous assassins?

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I've only done about 3.5 Sequences so far, that's just because I'm so busy doing the RIDICULOUS AMOUNT of Sidequests.

So far, I've only actually killed one "Main Target" but there are several Templars that do trigger Memory Corridor during the Templar Hunt chain of side quests. I don't know if that counts. The Templar Hunt missions don't have Full Syncs so you can do whatever you want with those. As for the one Main guy I did kill, he's on a ship surrounded by dudes so :/

EDIT: An Eagle Strike seems possible. Also, Sleep Darts, while acquired a little later, do add depth to the game and how you can get through situations.

The Main targets are PRETTY interesting, already. As for the Side Quest ones, well, they're Side Quests.

Edward's story is DAMN exciting and I also LOVE Kidd. He's my favorite character in any AC so far.

As for Edward, he is a very... Different character.
He first runs into the Assassins at around Sequence 4. However, this comes very quickly. It only took me a while because - again - Side Quests.

Compared to the previous Assassins, he's decidedly more brutal.
He's as charming as Ezio, but nowhere NEAR as precise as Altair.
He has Connor's whole "things are gonna work out" thing, but he doesn't really 'care' about things, as a pirate wouldn't. He throws himself into situations, but when he does calculate things, it's really cool. He's pretty sloppy, but he gets stuff done and he definitely has his own take on things. He's a very likable character the more you get to know him, but at the beginning he might piss you off a little ;]

However, his character development so far is pretty sweet. I can already see him changing, slowly.

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This game is amazing and perfect. I'm only on Sequence 7.

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JoeyFogey wrote:
This game is amazing and perfect. I'm only on Sequence 7.

What he said. I'm still on Sequence 5 but my Total Sync is 50%

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Okay so I've just been going with the flow on most of the missions, and I tried to restart assassinations to find different routes to the targets. THERE ARE TONS OF UNIQUE ROUTES AND POSSIBILITIES. So many ways to handle guards and your main targets. Stealth is the key in this game. If you get seen, YOU WILL DIE.

In my opinion, it might be the best AC game since 2.

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JoeyFogey wrote:
Okay so I've just been going with the flow on most of the missions, and I tried to restart assassinations to find different routes to the targets. THERE ARE TONS OF UNIQUE ROUTES AND POSSIBILITIES. So many ways to handle guards and your main targets. Stealth is the key in this game. If you get seen, YOU WILL DIE.

In my opinion, it might be the best AC game since 2.

I can vouch for all of this. Even as far as Assassination Contracts go, there is a lot of freedom to them, Full Syncs and all. I imagine the Main Targets later on are as Joey has described. I've died quite a bit in combat, ESPECIALLY if I get caught raiding a Plantation and some dude manages to raise the Alarm. Oh god. Like, you actually have to use your tools. Pray you have Smoke Bombs.

EDIT: LOL I JUST GOT TO THE MISSION I PLAYED AT FANEXPO
EDIT 2: Oh, son of a- These plot twists are killing me T_T

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Quite nice, dropping a big spoiler right at the end in an otherwise spoiler free post.

Not that I mind much, but still.

This is probably an AC I'll get. Far Cry 3 can wait.

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
The Optional Objectives ARE less annoying because failing them won't flash a BIG RED X on your screen this time.

False. I find that MORE annoying. If you're trying to full sync and you don't see it flash up at the beginning, you never know until the END of the mission... then you have to start all over. The red X wasn't big, and it let you know about the optional objective they practically hid from you to begin with... So that you could start at a check point and get it.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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I haven't been able to... can you throw smoke bombs? If not, it's a bummer

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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It's so fun to see the positive comments on this game! The best AC since 2? I can't wait to buy it!

"Laa shay'a waqiun moutlaq bale kouloun moumkine"
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JoeyFogey wrote:
This game is amazing and perfect. I'm only on Sequence 7.

ONLY sequence 7? How long is this game anyway? Also are there at least a few main targets so far? If you really think it's the best thing since AC2, I'm really interested in confirming that (and if that's the case I shall gladly sprinkle holy water and declare the series cleansed).

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13 sequences.

i've done 10 hours of gameplay and only finished 3 sequences

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
13 sequences.

i've done 10 hours of gameplay and only finished 3 sequences

Yeah, each sequence takes a while, but they're all fun. There's maybe been 2 missions so far that reminded me of annoying scripted ones from previous games, but they weren't as bad as what we're used to.

By the way, the main assassinations aren't the only types of missions that give you freedom. There's one where you have to infiltrate a camp that's holding prisoners. You need to free the prisoners by either killing and/or distracting the guards surrounding each group. You even have to watch out for gunmen that have annoyingly good eyesight and accuracy. That mission in particular took me about 3 tries to get (I wanted to go through without being seen, so I restarted for myself; the game didn't make me).

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and I don't plan to do any more missions for a bit... I'm going to explore the present day (no spoilers, but there are now things for me to do there) and plunder/hunt all night tonight.

One thing I've noticed, at least this early in the game, it's ridiculously easy to upgrade because you get a ton of money from chests and other ships, etc. Maybe that will change later as the upgrades require more than some money and a couple pieces of wood.

Also, you can't throw smoke bombs, can you?

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
One thing I've noticed, at least this early in the game, it's ridiculously easy to upgrade because you get a ton of money from chests and other ships, etc. Maybe that will change later as the upgrades require more than some money and a couple pieces of wood.

Yeah, you'll need to hunt and skin animals/sea creatures to build better equipment. For example, I need to skin crocodiles to get another gun holster. Still haven't gotten that.

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Crocadiles are easy though. Shoot them with your gun in Nassau.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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If you have a lot of money you can go to any General Store and Buy Hunting Goods from them. I speedran my Crafting that way. Yeah, it's a little cheap but this game is already so long haha.

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I called "best AC since 2" to be said a month ago, lol. But from what I'm reading. looks like I know what I want for my birthday....

To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty. The humor is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer's head. There's also Rick's nihilistic outlook, which

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DAZ's big summary makes it sound great, and answers one of my big questions: whether it's possible to take enemy ships with stealthy methods. I have a few other questions though, I hope someone can answer them:

1. If you stealthily kill an enemy with another nearby but facing away, will the nearby enemy turn to see the dead one as soon as he ragdolls, as in AC3?
2. Do high profile (including air) assassinations still automatically alert all enemies within a certain range?
3. Are throwing knives still in, and if so how do they work?
4. How does transitioning between the sea and a large city work?
5. Can naval forts be taken without entering open combat? Also, are naval forts indeed tied to other missions and necessary to progress or are some or all of them optional?
6. Is the rope dart any different from AC3?
7. Can you swim freely on the sea?
8. Do additional enemies still spawn when an alert is triggered?
9. Is the air tackle still present?

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My early answers, only on seq 4.
1. No instant dead body detection.
2. If they're looking at you. Unsure otherwise.
3. Yes. They are knives you throw.
4. Take wheel of boat = 'want to go to open sea?' Then loading screen. I imagine it's the same coming in, i usually fast travel in.
5. Not sure yet, but i thought Ash said no to stealth there.
6. Don't have it yet, unsure.
7. Yes.
8. Not sure, I've been stealthy or avoided combat.
9. Yes...?

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Thanks. Are the knives free aim-able like the pistols? I'm also still curious about number 2, please experiment with it if you can.

I was pretty sure number 1 was that way, but I'm very happy to have it confirmed. Incredible that it took 6 games for this to happen, it was always a serious issue. 5 is really worrisome for me; I'm hearing that the story missions are much better than AC3 in general, but I need an equivalent of Forts/Towers/Dens in this game. Are Plantations the equivalent? They seem similar, but I'm worried they'll be simpler.

The reason I asked about the air tackle was because it has the same command as dropping from a high place, as well as having huge auto aim range, so I'd have times in AC3 when I'd tackle an enemy and initiate combat when I meant to simply drop from a rooftop or something. It was really frustrating. This is the biggest problem with on foot navigation the way I see it.

Again, thanks for the answers.

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I don't know why I feel like doing this because McStab did an excellent job explaining pretty much everything. Here are my longer answers because I just 96%ed this game last night and the ending blew my mind. Holy crap the Modern Day story is GOING somewhere. Anyway. I guess I just want to talk a lot about this game now Tongue

1. If you stealthily kill an enemy with another nearby but facing away, will the nearby enemy turn to see the dead one as soon as he ragdolls, as in AC3?

Enemies in AC4 work kind of like in the Metal Gear Solid games. Whatever direction they're facing is very important, provided you don't make a crapton of noise. You see what direction they're facing on the minimap, because their icons are no longer just circles, they're like little red water drops. Wherever the point faces, that's the direction they look in. Also, Eagle Vision tagging is incredibly useful and you can use it to tail someone without needing to be in their line of sight at all. Because you can see them through buildings, the little 0:20 Timer will never pop up as long as you keep them in your Field of Vision. I felt like Jason Bourne.

2. Do high profile (including air) assassinations still automatically alert all enemies within a certain range?

I haven't fully played around with this yet, High Profile Running Assassinations with both Fists and Hidden Blade do not alert enemies that are nearby unless they're close enough to hear the noise of someone getting stabbed/clotheslined. For Air Assassinations, it's a little similar. I've successfully used Double Air Assassinates to get around in Restricted Areas. Might just be because I'm wearing the Stealth Outfit (complete 1/2 of All Assassin Contracts) which makes enemies take a few seconds longer to detect me, but I don't know.

3. Are throwing knives still in, and if so how do they work?

Throwing Knives can't be bought or crafted, their only method of acquisition is by disarming one off of an Agile (Same body size as a Soldier/Grunt, always deflects your Attack, open up with Break Defense or Counter Disarm, can be Kill Streaked). They are an instant kill, ranged, stealth weapon and quite frankly pretty overpowered. That's why you usually only have one at any given time. You can't Free Aim knives, just highlight an enemy and tap [Head Button] or [Tool Button].

4. How does transitioning between the sea and a large city work?

From Sea to City: You approach the City and it asks you if you want to go in.
From City to Sea: You get on your Jackdaw and it gives you two options;
1) Sail to Sea
2) Open Fast Travel Menu

5. Can naval forts be taken without entering open combat? Also, are naval forts indeed tied to other missions and necessary to progress or are some or all of them optional?

Naval Forts are in a Restricted Naval Area, they will detect your ship instantly when you enter within 300 meters of them. You need to fight them in Open Conflict. Naval Forts are the Viewpoints of the Sea. They unfog the naval map in that section, reveal side objectives, collectibles and locations. They also unlock Naval Contracts when you take over them. They will attack and very easily destroy enemy ships that come near it.

6. Is the rope dart any different from AC3?

It feels faster, more fluid, more responsive. Also in AC3, when I was on a tree and held down the Rope Dart button, it wouldn't let me just strangle a guy, he would break free. I had to Hang him every time. In AC4, if you're above someone and hold the Rope Dart button down, you'll slowly choke the air out of them until they die. You can Craft Capacity Upgrades to carry up to 15 Rope Darts. You can also Craft the Darts themselves (1 Bone each). You can also buy them as Ammunition from General Stores.

7. Can you swim freely on the sea?

You can but it takes so long, so I haven't tried swimming across the entire map or anything. Maybe I will sometime soon. I need to go back, I'm 100% Side Missions, 99% Collectibles, 98% Side Activities and 98% Main Missions.

8. Do additional enemies still spawn when an alert is triggered?

Not in the traditional sense, no. Additional enemies spawn off screen and come at you if someone triggers an Alarm Bell. You can interrupt the Alarm by killing the Guard ringing it before he rings it three times. As for regular detection, only the ones in the area will come for you. I've even done this in restricted areas and needed only to kill two guards before I became Incognito. The Stealth rules are much nicer in this game.

9. Is the air tackle still present?

Oh yeah.

I'm hearing that the story missions are much better than AC3 in general, but I need an equivalent of Forts/Towers/Dens in this game. Are Plantations the equivalent? They seem similar, but I'm worried they'll be simpler.

Plantations are more or less the equivalent. The beauty of them is that they reset over time, so you can make awesome videos ;] And I don't think they're simpler. They may be a little more complicated, or about the same just because of their layout and guard saturation. The added depth some tools give you (Blowpipe, you beautiful thing) is also incredible.

The reason I asked about the air tackle was because it has the same command as dropping from a high place, as well as having huge auto aim range, so I'd have times in AC3 when I'd tackle an enemy and initiate combat when I meant to simply drop from a rooftop or something. It was really frustrating. This is the biggest problem with on foot navigation the way I see it.

The way you Run Off Ledges is by holding High Profile + Empty Hand/Counter. Similar to High Profile + Legs for Sprint in the earlier games. This will not trigger a Tackle.

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Wow. That was an incredibly informative post, DarkAlphabetZoup. Thank you so much, you guys have done more to inform me on some of the things I really care about than all the professional media coverage of the game I've seen combined.

The details for question 1 sound great. From what I've seen you can still sprint at any range and not draw enemy attention, is that correct? I'm not expecting the idea of sound simulation to extend to that, since it didn't in AC3 (though I know it did in previous games - I'm fine with it not being there if it would compromise other elements, I just hope they either go for it in the future or adjust the movement animations and sounds to make them more believably stealthy). I knew about the changed appearance on the minimap and I think it's great.

The stealth outfit is news to me, I've wondered if they'd try something like it. How does it work? Do detection meters still start the same way and simply fill slower? Does that even matter for enemies that will approach you and automatically initiate combat at a certain distance?

Throwing knives being limited like that is something I never even dared to hope for, that's incredible. Does this mean the only silent, lethal ranged weapon available normally is the rope dart? This sounds like the exact opposite of the trend up until now of having multiple wildly overpowered options, and that's wonderful. While you can't free aim, can you still zoom in? I imagine you just can't throw unless you're aiming at a target. Is this the case, or is it something weirder?

I'm not sure if what you've experienced with the rope dart is actually a tweak or not. Your description for AC3's version seems inconsistent with what I know. Still, I'm glad to just have my favorite tool back.

I'm surprised you can really swim freely. I expected restrictions of some kind. I've read elsewhere that you can't swim in stormy waters, but is there anything else? This is more of a curiosity than a critical element, I just want to know the limitations of the system they've built.

Number 8 is fantastic news as well. That's how it should be.

Do some plantations have interesting features like surrounding or inner walls, and multiple vertical levels other than isolated towers and trees? I've only seen one, and it seemed pretty simple, but that could be deceiving. I know it's impossible to give me all the details on level design, but what you've already said is encouraging. About the blow pipe, are sleeping enemies noticed and woken up by others? I assume they just go back to their normal positions if they wake up on their own, but do they get suspicious if they're found? Also, what happens when a berserk dart's effects wear off, and what happens if there's nothing in range for them to fight?

The control method for dropping seems exactly the same as it was in AC3, so the conflict with the air tackle is still there. It's not a problem when I'm approaching a ledge I know I want to drop from, but if I want to survey what's ahead before dropping and there are enemies around it's a serious problem. Trust me, this ruined several runs when I was making videos of AC3. Honestly, I hope they remove the air tackle entirely in the future, since it's almost completely useless. Just make it an automatic contextual action when I try to air assassinate an NPC that needs to be tackled. This opens up the issue of not being able to either air tackle or air assassinate neutral NPCs depending on the implementation, but I don't think that's a serious issue at all.

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From what I've seen you can still sprint at any range and not draw enemy attention, is that correct?

It's been on and off for me. I don't really have the most objective experience with this because as soon as I unlocked the Stealth Outfit it's all I ever wore. When I sprint past enemies behind their backs they don't notice me unless I'm splashing through water. Also if you drop behind an enemy from a building, and make the little "Oof!" as you land, they'll turn around.

The stealth outfit is news to me, I've wondered if they'd try something like it. How does it work?

You unlock it by doing half of the Assassin Contracts. Enemies need to come closer to you to start detecting you, and the meter does fill slower.

Does that even matter for enemies that will approach you and automatically initiate combat at a certain distance?

It does matter. If you're in a Restricted Area, it normally takes half a second with Edward Kenway's Robes for someone to Detect you. With the Stealth Outfit, you increase that time to 0.75 of a second, give or take. However, near the end of the game, Sequence 11,12,13, there is a certain... Type of "guard" that will detect you instantly if you walk into their sight range, no matter if you're Blended, Hiding, Stealth Outfit or not. You're either behind them, or 50-80% of your HP disappears in one shot.

Does this mean the only silent, lethal ranged weapon available normally is the rope dart?
Kind of. You can also use Berserk Darts to kill a guard but 1) you'll kill a few more and 2) It takes forever for him to drop.

While you can't free aim, can you still zoom in? I imagine you just can't throw unless you're aiming at a target. Is this the case, or is it something weirder?

You can't do either. You just have to have your camera facing in an enemy's direction until you see the white Highlight then toss it. I believe it insta-kills everything that's human. It's probably the strongest weapon in the game. There's only one exception I can think of, where a Knife won't instantly kill him. You'll find out who that is as well because Pistol shots also affect them less.

I'm surprised you can really swim freely. I expected restrictions of some kind. I've read elsewhere that you can't swim in stormy waters, but is there anything else? This is more of a curiosity than a critical element, I just want to know the limitations of the system they've built.

Hmm... You can't let go of the Wheel of the Jackdaw during Storms, High Waves or crazy weather. So if you can't let go, you can't jump off, you can't swim. As for swimming everywhere, it's a bad idea because eventually you'll meet a Spanish or British ship and they'll kill you in one shot.

Do some plantations have interesting features like surrounding or inner walls, and multiple vertical levels other than isolated towers and trees?

The Plantations don't vary too, too much, although they do have differences. They DO in SIZE quite a bit however. They also vary in Difficulty (tied to Size). They also vary in terms of how many Alarm Bells they contain. There's a reward for completing/robbing a Plantation without any bells rung (750 Reales for hard ones, 500 Reales for medium ones, 250 for easiest ones). If you feel like it you can sneak around and Sabotage every Bell in the Plantation so that even if detected, they can't be rung. This is required for some Full Syncs, and later on for some regular Main Memories.

About the blow pipe, are sleeping enemies noticed and woken up by others?
Yes. If a patrolling Guard sees a "Zzz" Guard (The Icon that pops up above their head Tongue) they will get suspicious and wake them up. This will also make one of the Guards ring an Alarm Bell if there's one nearby. Knocking out or Killing Guards will also cause others to ring Alarm Bells. An Alarm Bell rung while you are not personally detected will wear off eventually. But it'll make you have to wait and no one likes waiting too long, so you might actually want to hide your bodies in this game.

Sleep Darts do not leave someone knocked out forever. They'll wake up in a very short amount of time. I've crafted all Sleep Dart upgrades so mine knock a guy out for around 40 seconds. That helps. Usually what you want to do to make sure they STAY down is to run up to them after and give 'em a kick.

I assume they just go back to their normal positions if they wake up on their own, but do they get suspicious if they're found?

If a sleeping guard is woken up, they immediately go into Yellow SSI when they get up and alter their patrol path a little bit, for a while. They'll eventually go back to normal.

Also, what happens when a berserk dart's effects wear off, and what happens if there's nothing in range for them to fight?

When a Berserk Dart finishes poisoning a guard, he dies. If there's nothing in range for him to fight, he'll just stomp around, angry and suffering until he falls down. The best guards to Berserk Dart are Captains because they'll kill at least two people. Berserk Darting an Assassination Target is also a great way to make sure they die without you going into Open Conflict because a Berserk guard will always be killed by his allies (unless they're just REALLY strong). Gunners on rooftops are also good to Berserk Dart because they'll snipe people for you while you hide. Of course, they will also be taken down eventually.

Regarding Air Tackle Stuff

I don't know how to explain it but it FEELS better and more responsive than AC3.

---

I love these questions by the way. If you have more, do ask Smile

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Fix me if I'm wrong, but it's sounds like AC IV is the best AC yet! (Well, maybe the second). I don't know if it's true because I haven't picked up the game yet, but from your comments it's sounds like this is a beast of a game!

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
It does matter. If you're in a Restricted Area, it normally takes half a second with Edward Kenway's Robes for someone to Detect you. With the Stealth Outfit, you increase that time to 0.75 of a second, give or take. However, near the end of the game, Sequence 11,12,13, there is a certain... Type of "guard" that will detect you instantly if you walk into their sight range, no matter if you're Blended, Hiding, Stealth Outfit or not. You're either behind them, or 50-80% of your HP disappears in one shot.

This just shouts "arbitrary difficulty" but my first reaction was: oh, that'll be fun. As long as sightlines are modelled accurately.

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161803398874989 wrote:
DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
It does matter. If you're in a Restricted Area, it normally takes half a second with Edward Kenway's Robes for someone to Detect you. With the Stealth Outfit, you increase that time to 0.75 of a second, give or take. However, near the end of the game, Sequence 11,12,13, there is a certain... Type of "guard" that will detect you instantly if you walk into their sight range, no matter if you're Blended, Hiding, Stealth Outfit or not. You're either behind them, or 50-80% of your HP disappears in one shot.

This just shouts "arbitrary difficulty" but my first reaction was: oh, that'll be fun. As long as sightlines are modelled accurately.

It's honestly not that bad. Just don't get in front of them. If you Eagle Vision them from far away you can Dart them or Gun them. They only appear in two very specific Main Memories, and there are no other/regular Guard types in those missions. All you're fighting is them.

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
I don't know why I feel like doing this because McStab did an excellent job explaining pretty much everything.

Hey, now. I was trying to answer questions succinctly to avoid spoilers. I'm really bad at not spoiling things and I was worried that I would. Tongue

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
Gunners on rooftops are also good to Berserk Dart because they'll snipe people for you while you hide. Of course, they will also be taken down eventually.

This is a fun way to approach difficult plantations and the like.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Man, are you done the Story yet? Like wow. It's intense. I'm freaking out, and there's no one to talk to about it haha

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No.

I just got the blowpipe and don't have the diving bell yet. I just took the first fort.

I am not as motivated to finish the story as in previous ACs so am taking my time.

When I finish, I will send you a PM (if I remember).

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Well, I got the game this afternoon, now about halfway through Sequence 2.

The fort mission was great. It still has some of the arbitrary bullshit that marked every AC game for 2 onwards though, but so far I like it.

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DAZ, what can I say, you rock. Thanks so much for giving such detailed answers, even to questions that are pretty vague. I'm... actually running out of things to ask! Let's see...

Is the Stealth outfit cosmetically different, or is it an invisible trait you can carry while wearing any outfit?

Those elite "guards" sounded bizarre until I thought of what their identity might be. I hope my guess is right. I hope they're implemented well mechanically as well of course, and your reply to Phi makes me optimistic about that.

So aiming throwing knives really is weird. Odd that it doesn't conform to the newer aiming scheme, I wonder how that's beneficial.

What you said about being killed by enemy ships while swimming leads perfectly into one of my big remaining questions: can you climb on board ships from the water and attack without them detecting you? I'd so love for this to be the case, it's the perfect intersection between "pirate" and "assassin." Ideally you'd be able to launch a rowboat to initiate such a scenario, but I haven't heard about that being possible at all, I'm just fantasizing. Still, is the general idea of a stealth attack from the water possible?

Spoiler: Highlight to view
Please say yes.

Thanks for the details on the sleep darts. When you say "If a sleeping guard is woken up, they immediately go into Yellow SSI when they get up and alter their patrol path a little bit, for a while," do you mean woken up by another guard, or on their own? It seems like you mean when they wake up on their own, since you described the other scenario in that other paragraph, but I want to be sure.

The power of the berserk darts is the one element that scares me the most at this point, but I'm also really curious how they work when it comes to snipers. I hadn't even thought of that before, and ranged combat between AI is a real rarity in this series. How do the non-berserked enemies react? Do they take cover, return fire, try to attack with melee? It'll be interesting to see what happens if you start little wars between what were formerly united forces by berserking multiple enemies of multiple types. This seems wildly powerful, but there was a video I saw a while back where a berserked guard killed a couple of his allies and, without any other allies in sight, immediately detected and attacked the player despite the player seeming to be out of his sight. Do berserked guards have enhanced detection of some kind, or was that just a misleading scenario or misunderstanding on my part? That could balance out the ability somewhat, but it doesn't seem like a great solution. In any case, I'm not planning to make much use of this kind of dart, I'm just curious how the logistics behind its results work, I imagine all sorts of weirdness could happen.

Thanks again.

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Is the Stealth outfit cosmetically different, or is it an invisible trait you can carry while wearing any outfit?

It is cosmetically different, yeah. It's the same outfit that the current Assassin Mentor wears in this game. It's brown, Edward is barefoot, he has little black puffy legwarmers on his shins, there are native-looking tufts of whatever on his arms and of course he has a hood. I never took it off, with the exception of the DMC-style trenchcoat I got later. After I got tired of being Dante (just not red Sad )I put my Stealth Outfit back on.

Those elite "guards" sounded bizarre until I thought of what their identity might be. I hope my guess is right. I hope they're implemented well mechanically as well of course, and your reply to Phi makes me optimistic about that.

I don't think your guess is 100% right, but just from the way I described it and from what your answer is, I can tell you that you're around 70% right. They hide in Stalking Zones. Essentially they use Stealth Mechanics against YOU. Which is why Eagle Vision.

So aiming throwing knives really is weird. Odd that it doesn't conform to the newer aiming scheme, I wonder how that's beneficial.

They're not meant to be as long ranged of a weapon as the other ranged weapons - because they're so strong. Free Aiming increases your firing range on Pistol and Blowpipe (maybe even Rope Dart, but I haven't Free Aimed with it yet, I don't think you can actually.)

What you said about being killed by enemy ships while swimming leads perfectly into one of my big remaining questions: can you climb on board ships from the water and attack without them detecting you? I'd so love for this to be the case, it's the perfect intersection between "pirate" and "assassin." Ideally you'd be able to launch a rowboat to initiate such a scenario, but I haven't heard about that being possible at all, I'm just fantasizing. Still, is the general idea of a stealth attack from the water possible?

I haven't actually tried this, but one thing I can see making it impossible is that ships move pretty fast. Swimming to them (especially Stealth swimming, which slows you) would be crazy. However, during one mission, I DID Stealth board a NON-MOVING ship that wasn't Incapacitated in Naval Combat. I didn't even kill anyone on it, all I needed was to steal its flag. So I'm sure it's possible to do it with docked enemy ships near fishing villages, islands, ruins or small coastal towns. I'll test it.

Thanks for the details on the sleep darts. When you say "If a sleeping guard is woken up, they immediately go into Yellow SSI when they get up and alter their patrol path a little bit, for a while," do you mean woken up by another guard, or on their own? It seems like you mean when they wake up on their own, since you described the other scenario in that other paragraph, but I want to be sure.

Both.
If they're woken up by a guard, their SSI goes Instant Yellow.
If they wake up on their own, their SSI goes Instant Yellow.

How do the non-berserked enemies react? Do they take cover, return fire, try to attack with melee?
Gunners from across each other on towers will try to shoot each other. They usually die pretty fast though. Enemies that don't have guns will try to straight up rush the Gunner and melee him down to 0. I like Berserking Brutes because they throw grenades. Those are always fun.

Do berserked guards have enhanced detection of some kind, or was that just a misleading scenario or misunderstanding on my part?

As far as I know, no. They have the detection RANGE of a regular guard, but their detection SPEED is much higher, or instant. Remember, they don't have time to be like "Is that a guy who's wearing a hood? Man, does he have a blade hidden under his arm? A.. HIDDEN.. blade, dare I say? Wow, I should go get him!" They immediately attack any lifeform that moves. As long as you hide, it's fine.

One thing I love about Berserk Darts is that for most enemies, when you peg them with one, they're Stunned for one second before they begin Berserking. If there's someone near a Stalking Zone, you can Free Aim (this keeps you hidden in Stalking Zones, whereas Tool Firing will pop your head up and get you caught) and sprint Assassinate him before the poison takes hold. It's a gimmicky, situational tactic but it works when it does.

In any case, I'm not planning to make much use of this kind of dart, I'm just curious how the logistics behind its results work, I imagine all sorts of weirdness could happen.

Yeah, honestly I don't really enjoy using Berserk Darts too much myself. The only time I used them excessively was during a mission where I had to take out two Sentries and Rope Assassinate a Captain. The Full Sync requirement was Stay Out Of Combat for the ENTIRE MISSION. Berserk Darts are just used to cause guards to flow to an area where you are not, that's pretty much it. Oh, and you can kill people with them if you're clever haha

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Darn, the term "outfit" was a giveaway, but I was hoping you could get the stealth buff while keeping whatever appearance you wanted. This wouldn't have been as bad if the outfit was good looking, but I took a peek and I'm not loving it. Oh well, not a big deal.

How do you know what my answer about the identity of those "guards" was? I didn't say anything! I'll put it in spoilers here:

Spoiler: Highlight to view
They're assassins, using eagle vision to detect you instantly.
Am I right?

Please try free aiming the rope dart, it could be aimed in AC3, so it would be strange if they took that away.

Thanks for testing the stealthy ship boarding, I look forward to the results!

Berserk guard detection makes sense. It has the same issues both mechanically and metaphorically as normal detection though, I wonder if they'll ever change the system. The closer you are to an enemy, the faster the detection meter will fill, implying a visibility metaphor, but enemies will always instantly notice your presence regardless of distance, atmospheric conditions and other things, just not immediately identify you as an enemy except in cases like the berserked guards. There really needs to be a state between zero detection and that initial noticing, both to give the player some leeway and to make more metaphorical sense. What happens once they've noticed would have to be tweaked too, but I've rambled enough.

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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
Man, are you done the Story yet? Like wow. It's intense. I'm freaking out, and there's no one to talk to about it haha

I'm like a sequence away, so don't worry! I'm almost there!

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A few more questions.
Can NPCs really swim, and if so, how does it work? I assume they'll want to get back on land unless they made some civilians that like to swim.
How is exploring the cities? I liked the cities in AC1 and 2, a lot of Rome in ACB was just countryside, Constantinople in ACR was packed enough but lacked things to do, and AC3's cities weren't packed enough, plus the frontier didn't appeal to me. Hopefully the cities in AC4 are better.
Also how are the caves, especially the ones where you lose all your weapons? Are they challenging in a good way?

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aurllcooljay wrote:
A few more questions.
Can NPCs really swim, and if so, how does it work? I assume they'll want to get back on land unless they made some civilians that like to swim.
How is exploring the cities? I liked the cities in AC1 and 2, a lot of Rome in ACB was just countryside, Constantinople in ACR was packed enough but lacked things to do, and AC3's cities weren't packed enough, plus the frontier didn't appeal to me. Hopefully the cities in AC4 are better.
Also how are the caves, especially the ones where you lose all your weapons? Are they challenging in a good way?

Not sure about the NPCs that swim. I know for sure that the usual enemy guards can't.

AC4's cities don't look as fun as they are. I've had a blast with them. The designers really made sure we had fun free running through them.

I've only done one cave and it was a basic one. Swimming under water takes some getting used to at first.

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@InTehVaria, nope, you're actually way off haha. But you'll seeee ;D
I'll test all that other stuff soon, blowing up Legendary Ships now (if you've fought Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts, or other Optional Bosses in games, you have a basic idea of how hard these are. I've only killed two so far. Going for the final two now.)

How is exploring the cities?

Cities are amazing but I actually enjoyed exploring Mayan Ruins and Islands the most. After playing 6 Assassin's Creeds, there's only so much climbing challenge you can get out of right angles. Still, Havana's flow is great. It really does feel like Havana too, I had a basis of comparison from when I visited Cuba. Every city feels like its own city. Like it has its own "flavor" or personality.

When I stepped onto those beaches and temples though, oh man. Makes you think. The very first time you explore Great Inagua is incredible. Jungles are also awesome.

Also how are the caves, especially the ones where you lose all your weapons? Are they challenging in a good way?

The Underwater sections are really, really TENSE. I forget to breathe sometimes because you can't fight at all. Everything that's an enemy damages you, and the most you can do is survive. Sync doesn't regenerate underwater, you need to find Air Barrels, which both replenish air 100% and give you 1-2 slices of Sync bar. Your Sync bar underwater is permanently locked at 4, no matter how many upgrades you've crafted for yourself. This makes sense because Eddy isn't carrying the entirety of his gear with him.

There's a very unnerving feeling of, "My air is running out, I need to swim that way, but there's a shark up there and unless I wait for it to pass I'm gonna get severely damaged." When your health is very low, you can't use Eagle Vision as well. I believe this is for Underwater (confirmed) and for Land (will test soon.) This makes it hard to spot Moray Eels, which are secretly the most TERRIFYING thing ever. Something y'need to know about DAZ, I don't like snakes. And UNDERWATER Snakes are even WORSE. Ugh. When those things bite you. The death animation for when one kills you is also sickening. Right for the neck.

Caves where you surface and have to fight Smugglers are called Smuggler Dens. The new Stealth Mechanics (mostly Eagle Tagging) feel adequately sneaky there and High Profile Sprinting Fist Takedowns (sounds like an Anime move) feel wicked. Your health is at 4 Bars there too, because in order to access these caves, you usually need to swim underwater to get to them. There's one exception that you can just stroll into. That one, you can have your Health and your Weapons, but it's the only one.

Getting detected while there are Gunners feels really bad. Dying to gunshots also feels really bad because they do so much damage and you KNOW they're going to hit you because of the Icon. But alas, Human Shields are nowhere to be found when you've killed everyone Tongue

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I just beat it. I'm speechless.

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I just beat it. I'm speechless.

I KNOW RIGHT!? Hop on over to the threads about Story and Instruments of the First Will.

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Long story short: Yes, you can board an enemy boat without ever entering combat (naval or otherwise).

Hang out in a shipping lane and wait for a boat to come to you. Hop on. As soon as you hop on, the ship raises its sails and become incapacitated. Kill everyone. Go back to jackdaw and the ship stays in shipping lane with sails up. You can't board the ship however. But after firing on it (I only did it with one shot, I think this would be normal), you can and it instant completes the boarding. Pictures below.

getting on ship

why can't i sail this ship? it's not broken...

there's the Jackdaw, showing distance swam

just keep swimming, swimming, swimming

incapacitated ship just waiting to be boarded

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Well, I was going to confirm swim-boarding being a possibility (did it just an hour ago), but there you go.

Can NPCs really swim, and if so, how does it work? I assume they'll want to get back on land unless they made some civilians that like to swim.
Yup, they can swim if you throw them in the water. I only tried it with enemies, who would climb back up to the ship. Took me by surprise the first time.

How is exploring the cities?
Havana is a TON of fun. I don't like Nassau much because it feels like a camping site rather than a city to me. Maybe that'll change when I get to know it a little better.

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The civilians I've bumped into the water tread water a little then down.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb