Developer: Ubisoft
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Assassin’s Creed Pirates is a game that’s appropriately multi-faceted: it encompasses multiple types of gameplay in its quest for pirate action in the Caribbean seas around the time of Assassin’s Creed IV. It’s a game with plenty to do and offers fun looting and boat-sinking times, it’s just structurally sub-optimal.

ACP_Screenshot_Launch3There are two main parts to the game: sailing and combat. Sailing takes place in two different environments: a top-down map view that allows for just drawing lines to get around, and an “immersive” view where players can actually steer the ship, raise or lower the sails to control their speed, find random items to pick up, and challenging neutral ships that they cross. This is more fun, just more time-consuming. Certain missions require a certain view: race missions require immersive view while assassination missions which require stealth to sail past ship patrols use the top-down view.

Once engaged with an enemy, the ship combat – which involves trading weapon volleys – is fun when getting off well-aimed and well-timed attacks but the defense portion is too easy, at least for a while. There’s really only the need to dodge to either side to avoid cannon volleys, and the timing isn’t too difficult to pick up on.

ACP_Screenshot_Launch7The game does wind up feeling like a bit of a grind, as the level requirement to get to a new area is usually a couple of levels higher than what the player is when they end a story mission. So, exploring the current area, completing side missions, taking on random encounters; these all become necessary just to level-up and get to the next area and see more of the story, which feels disconnected from the actual game since it just takes place in cutscenes.

It’s kind of an oddly-structured progression system considering that this would be a prime spot for in-app purchases to make their appearance to rake in more money, but they’re nowhere to be found. It is the strangest thing, this game has multiple kinds of resources and a gold system, and yet there’s no way to skip progression. I’m legitimately shocked.

ACP_Screenshot_Launch10_ENI’m of two minds when it comes to Assassin’s Creed Pirates. I appreciate the multi-faceted nature of the game, and that the developers tried to make something that fits into the current Assassin’s Creed setting but weren’t necessarily tied down to making it play like anything before in the series. And whatever elements that were inspired by other games feel like fresh implementations. Yet, the game feels a bit like a grind and is a bit slow, but it’s not necessarily an un-fun one – just a bit more tedious than it needs to be. Despite the flaws, I have to say that I enjoyed my time with Assassin’s Creed Pirates, and for those who are up for some high seas hijinks, this is worth checking out.


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