Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Assassin's Creed Pirates Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/assassin-s-creed-pirates-review-77b5329246d4#.hfk1rws3v

Out of all the AAA games I have played that were adapted to mobile, Assassin's Creed Pirates is by far the best. Of course, all the other ones were terrible, so it did not have a very high bar to clear.
Pirates seems like a winning strategy: what did everybody love about Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV? The naval battles! So let's make a mobile game with just naval battles. Out of necessity you only ever control the ship as a whole. No freerunning, no boarding ships, no cutscenes. The reason for this is twofold: the controls would be impossible to implement well, and mobile devices would not be able to render characters' faces with enough detail. This was a smart decision, as everything they left in the game can be done well. It is one of the most visually impressive games I have played on my phone, and the controls felt natural for the most part.
That being said, there is a big problem: the game just isn't that fun. Sure, there are lots of different activities to do, like hunting down cargo ships, fishing, rescuing slaves, retrieving packages, and racing. But none of them drew me in, none of them felt like they were worth my time. It is a massive game (1.01 GB!) with tons of maps and many chapters to the story. And Ubisoft should be commended on supporting the game after launch with new maps and stories for fans to play through. I just can't imagine pushing myself to sit through it all.
The game tries to reward you with collectible treasures and daily challenges. It even sends you notifications if you have not yet played today, which is unacceptable. After a few days I just wasn't interested. I didn't care about any of the characters, and I didn't care about the special items they were hawking. The game is supported by selling in-game gold (ranging from $1 to $100) which does not rub me the right way. It would take a long time to accumulate enough gold without purchases to buy anything useful.

If you really want to check it out and you have the space on your device, it is free on Android and iOS.