Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag (Xbox One)*

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The saga of Desmond Miles may be over, but players can continue to explore the genetic memories of his ancestor Edward Kenway and go on a swashbuckling open-world pirate adventure in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Beginning in 1715, Black Flag puts gamers in the middle of the Caribbean Sea during the Golden Age of Piracy to let them explore Kingston, Havana, Nassau, and dozens of islands. A great deal of gameplay also takes place at sea, with players captaining their ship Jackdaw into battles with the Spanish and British navies, pirates, and of course Templars.

The terrestrial portions of Black Flag offer familiar gameplay, with players encountering forts, villages, and jungles in the countryside, and clambering onto and over buildings in the larger cities as they take on side missions, collect information, and perform assassinations. The hunting gameplay first featured in Assassin's Creed III returns, with Edward having the added ability to harpoon sea creatures, and gamers can also choose to swim out to sea and capture passing ships. The ship-based gameplay is also a carryover from Assassin's Creed III, though players now have access to a spyglass for examining enemy ships and islands from afar, and they can head underwater to search for sunken treasure.

Like other entries in the franchise, the historical gameplay is broken up somewhat by segments set in the near future. In Black Flag, these portions involve exploration, eavesdropping, and hacking at Abstergo Entertainment, a Montreal-based subsidiary of the antagonistic Abstergo Industries. The 18th-century action is considerably more violent, with players recruiting new crewmembers, often by engaging in swordplay and gun battles, and Edward crossing paths with notorious pirates from the era, including Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, Benjamin Hornigold, Anne Bonny, Calico Jack, and Charles Vane. Multiplayer fans can also join friends for a number of different land-based online modes, including Artifact, Domination, Manhunt, and Wanted.