Ubisoft basically gave gamers a slight shock when they went with the most recent theme for their newest Assassin's Creed title, as you took to the seas as a fierce pirate by the name of Edward Kenway in his quest for power and money. Stepping away from the streets and roofs that we've become so accustomed to, and spending just as much time on sea as land, you learn to captain a ship and have battles at sea. Assassin's Creed takes the ship-captaining part of Assassin's Creed IV and brings it to your mobile devices, right at your fingertips. Keeping to the tried and true method of synchronization and multiple side missions, Assassin's Creed Pirates puts you on your own ship as you adventure your way across the seas.
Assassin's Creed Pirates - Gameplay
The gameplay of Assassin's Creed Pirates is completely played out on the seaus, pitting you up against various challenges, missions, and ships. If you enjoyed the ship sailing and ship battles in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, then you'll enjoy this game just as much, as it puts that experience in the palm of your hands!
You play the game as the pirate Alonso, who is given his very own ship after encountering the legendary La Buse, making your way around various areas and completing tasks. In all honesty, the story doesn't even matter, as you spend all of your time swashbuckling around the sea, destroying and looting enemy ships. It's much like Black Flag itself, where there's very few Abstergo-based plot points, and there is very little Assassin and Templar connections outside of meeting both sides of the warring factions.
Assassin's Creed Pirates - Sailing
Sailing is done two different ways, at the helm of your ship in first person mode or by tracing your finger over the map in the route that you want to take. The traditional "at the helm" view allows you to sail as you would have sailed the Jackdaw in Blackflag, just with the wheel being manipulated by your finger, while the over the top view shows you the map, allowing you to simply drag your finger to where you want to sail, avoiding ships and land as you go. The game isn't an true open-world game, but you have the ability to sail all over each of the maps you are given access to, exploring every nook and cranny if you wish. Each area has certain side missions you can complete, such as racing, stealth sailing, and quests to fetch items in an alloted time period, giving you more to do than blowing up ships, even if that is really enjoyable.
Assassin's Creed Pirates - Simplified AC4
Obviously, the game is a slightly dumbed down version of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's ship warfare, so the way you play it is pretty simplified. Basically, it's a mix of arcade and Infinity Blade gameplay, with your ship jumping between offense and defense. Every battle starts off in defense, where you must quickly dodge the cannonballs the other ship is shooting at you (by tapping left or right to avoid) until they are on cooldown or you interrupt them with a chain shot. When you are on offense, you are given the ability to shoot cannonballs (which you must aim) or various other ship attacks to win the battle. Unfortunately, the ship to ship combat becomes incredibly predictable and tedious, but it's still pretty enjoyable.
Assassin's Creed Pirates - Map and Upgrades
No Assassin's Creed game is complete without some choice for uprading, and Pirates has that as well. You can get new crew members as you level up and upgrade your ship, allow you to equip "perks" to your ship in order to sail faster, shoot harder, etc. You can also upgrade and purchase new ships, making you faster, more durable, and stronger. Every upgrade really does make a difference, and you'll find yourself seeking to get the next upgrade as soon as you can.
This game is a $4.99 pricepoint, but unlike many other games there are currently no microtransactions, so you don't have to spend a dime to keep playing all you want. This is a very good thing, adding to the enjoyability of the game. This may be a dumbed down AC4, but its a great alternative if you're itching for some ship to ship combat. If you're looking for a game with a ton of content, at a reasonable price on mobile devices, Assassin's Creed Pirates is definitely worth a look!
This review was originally published on 01-02-2014. While care has been taken to update the piece to reflect our modern style guidelines, some of the information may be out of date. We've left pieces like this as they were to reflect the original authors' opinions, and for historical context.