Hands on with the PS4 // ACIV: BF.

So I went to MCM Expo in London this weekend!

It was a lot of fun. The cosplay this year was sort of incredible. Obviously there were the odd terrible set-ups but, generally, it was a whole lot better than last year, I think.

Anyway at MCM I got the chance to get my hands on a DualShock4 and play Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag for about 10-15 minutes. There was no PS4 box, however. So I probably played on a very bare-bones PC build of the PS4, with the DS4 coming out of the podium.

Using the DS4 was a weird experience, for me. I have a real high regard for the X360 controller–it is the only controller, for me, that rivals the GameCube’s–so when I grabbed the DS3’s new sibling I was extremely taken aback by how much I loved the feel of it. The plastic is durable enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to break in your hands, but it doesn’t feel as firm as the X360 controller’s design. It’s probably about the same weight as the wired X360 controller, too. Major upgrade on the analog sticks. There is just enough resistance for it to feel like you’re making an impact on Edward. The “Options” button was just the “Start” button, as expected. The “Share” button didn’t do anything in this demo, which was odd. Similarly the PS button wasn’t functional.

Assassin’s Creed 4 was a lot better than I had expected. The demo started off on Edward’s ship, with the objective to destroy a fort along the coast. Naturally I turned 180 degrees and sailed towards the horizon. I should note here that the ship seemed a lot easier to steer and manoeuvre, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that. It could well have been an “end game” ship but it definitely seemed to turn on a dime. Anyway as I sailed from the fort a few ships spawned behind me; I presume to deter me from sailing too far. Cannons now surround the perimeter of the deck of your ship, allowing widespread cannon-fire at almost 360 degrees. The single shot cannons (damn it, what are they called?) work the same as they did in AC3.

Once I had disposed two of the ships I decided to ram into the third. Upon doing this a prompt popped up that read “press and hold O(circle) to board the ship”. I freaked out a little bit here. Once Circle had been held your crew runs to the side of the ship that you’re boarding and throws hooked lines onto it. At this point Edward was released from the helm and I had full control. I ran straight onto the bannister of my ship and jumped onto the opposing, landing on some poor bastard in the process. Combat is basically identical to AC3, however I was wielding two cutlasses. The four pistols basically acted as one. Once one was empty Edward fired the next available when commanded.

Finally: the graphics. The Caribbean sea has never looked better, with water physics that split and splash in reaction to your ship’s movement, it looks like silk. I didn’t get too close to any actual environments so I can’t comment on that, but the ships certainly looked pretty good. Edward looks incredible. A lot of effort has been put into him. The animations in particular were really great; I guess Ubisoft went all out on that mo-cap.

This experience overall has actually tipped me over the edge on ACIV. I was planning on waiting for a sale but I definitely want to pick it up day one, now. On the PS4 though, mind you.

Apologies for the writing; it’s been a long weekend.

–dlk

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