Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag released a couple of days ago, giving all who play a taste of a pirate’s life. Of course, as we all know, it tastes a lot like rum! Ah, yes, what better way to enjoy the pirate lifestyle than with a large bottle of rum! It certainly makes a fun game even funner! Funner? The drinking has begun!

031What’s special about this version of Assassin’s Creed is that it comes with a golden app known as the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Companion. I’ve spent the last few days being a pirate and familiarizing myself with the app so that I can give all other pirates a rundown. I will say right away that this app is definitely for those who enjoy the pirate lifestyle and singing songs. What? Singing songs?

So what makes the companion app worth it for players? Why should they go and download the app? First of all it’s loaded with extra information about the game and its characters. Nothing too exciting, but it’s great for those who like to read further information about them. It also includes information on ships, locations, documents, art collections, and more. Players will even find their Abstergo files that they receive in the office, which includes videos that they can watch. This part of the app is basically a study tool for everything Black Flag.

Players can use the app to check out the world map, which can also be done in-game of course. However, it’s nice to have access to the map without needing to control it on the console or without having to turn the console on. That’s the nice thing about the app; that players can research all areas without having to log in to the game. This makes it nice for those who are out and about with nothing to do as it lets them view a map that contains missions, shops, collectibles, side activities, and locations, as well as informs them of how many items they’ve collected, how many locations they’ve synced with, and how many contacts they’ve completed. It’s pretty nice that it goes that extra step, making it absolutely worth navigating through.

040One last stop before I get into the really good stuff is that it also has the progression tracker that allows users to quickly see their total time played, total sync, and percentage of main and secondary missions completed. It even includes the the percentage of collectibles earned and activities completed.

Now for what makes the app even more interesting and fun: Kenway’s Fleet! This is where users control Edward Kenway’s entire fleet, sending them on missions and battling against route patrols to keep the routes safe while ships are out on missions. All of this can be controlled in the actual game as well, in the captains quarters. It’s still nice to be able to do it immediately as things happen, without having to return to the captain’s quarters. This can also be controlled when the game isn’t even turned on, giving players control of their fleet through the app from anywhere.

Players earn their fleet of ships, one ship at a time, by defeating them in battles in Black Flag. Once players have beaten a ship, they have the option to repair the Jackdaw (Edward’s flagship) or to send it to Kenway’s Fleet. This is where players can use the app to add the ship to their fleet or salvage it for crystals, which are used to repair ships.

Kenway’s Fleet is a simple game of strategy, but it’s more about commanding ships and making sure their success rate is high. There are a number of routes that players use to complete missions, earning them money to use in Black Flag. These missions are time-based, meaning it can take minutes or hours for them to finish. Obviously the longer the mission, the more the player earns in reward. Longer missions also usually mean more cargo, which means the player needs a big ship to handle that cargo.

I spent a lot of time in the actual game collecting low-level schooners that only hold 15 items in cargo. This isn’t helpful as there are missions that require over 55 items of cargo. This means players need to get in the actual game and start hunting down some bigger ships. This is the fun and exciting part, tracking down monster ships that totally outgun the player’s ship. I ran into some tough battles, but I’m the best pirate to ever sail the seas, so it was no problem capturing large enemy vessels. Ok, I lie, because I’m a pirate. I did have tough moments, but it’s worth it once players collect those ships to use in the mini-game to earn extra money.

011The routes that ships take play a part in their success rate. Before players choose missions, they need to make sure to battle enemy ships in order to drop the route’s danger rating. There are many routes, so players will be battling enemy ships often to ensure routes stay safe. As a reminder, if players lose their ship they’ll need to battle and capture another one in game to replace it. So yes, it’s important to keep those routes secure.

The ship battles are simple engagements that players can watch on-screen. They can even interact by selecting to use an explosive barrel on the enemy ships. At first they’re pointless, however once players come across a treacherous zone with multiple frigates they’ll want to use up every last barrel they have.

Kenway’s Fleet is a fun engagement to experience on the companion app. There is often something to do and some route to clear that will keep players watching closely as their ships are out on hour-long missions. I wish I could see stats for how many ships I’ve sunk in battle and how many missions I completed, but that’s nowhere to be seen on the app.

I saved the best for last. The companion app even includes all the shanties! This means the user can tap play to hear pirates sing all the wonderful songs in the game, and it includes the words so players can sing along. OH YEAH! [Editor’s Note: SOLD!]

The Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Companion is certainly an app worth checking out for all fans of Black Flag. It’ll probably interest some more than others, but the hardcore fans can certainly see the value in it as they are able to control a fleet of ships at all times to earn even more money to be used on upgrading the Jackdaw or Kenway himself. It’s also great to look at the map to see where items are located and to quickly discover what still needs to be completed at specific locations. As long as players are engaged in the game, they should definitely have this worthy companion by their side.

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