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‘Assassin’s Creed Pirates’ for iOS and Android game review

It’s not uncommon for developers to release a companion game on mobile whenever they release a major title on the consoles. These mobile versions often share the same name but offer nowhere near the same experience, with a different, watered-down version of the story and gameplay found on the console version.

Following the release of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Ubisoft has released a companion game called Assassin’s Creed Pirates on iOS and Android, with a Windows Phone 8 version coming later. Other than the pirate theme, the mobile game doesn’t have a lot in common with its console counterpart. But is it still fun to play? Let’s find out.

Title
Assassin’s Creed Pirates
Developer
Ubisoft
Platform
iOS
Android
Release Date

December 5, 2013
December 5, 2013
Content rating

9+
Medium Maturity
Size
537MB
660MB
Price
$4.99

Gameplay

While Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a third person action adventure game, Assassin’s Creed Pirates can best be described as a pirate ship simulator. You don’t really control any humans directly in the game and you never really leave your ship.

You start life as a prisoner on a pirate ship but your fortunes change and you quickly move up to become the captain of your own pirate ship. The story is told through comic book style static characters with text appearing below them and you have to tap on the screen to go through the conversation.

The game starts off with you battling other pirate ships in order to loot them. When you initiate a battle with another ship, you switch between alternate attack and defense mode. During attack mode, you have to aim your cannon at the other ship and fire when it is in firing range. After one strike, your cannons take a while to get ready for another attack. During that time, the other ship attacks. Before it attacks, you are shown its firing range where it’s attack would be focussed and you can press the dodge buttons on either side of the screen to quickly steer your ship out of the attack zone.

Once you attack the other ship a few times and manage to successfully dodge all its attacks, the enemy ship goes down and you can then plunder its treasure. As you progress through the game, you face bigger and multiple ships, that longer to take down and have much stronger attacks.

Most of the game involves battling pirate ships to loot them but often you have missions where you have to fetch an item for someone or race your ship through checkpoints before the timer runs out. Often these objectives have special objectives where you have to finish them before a certain amount of time or without taking any damage for additional cash.

The money you get can then be used to purchase new ships or crew members. Getting crew members gives you perks, such as a boost mode for your ship or a loot zone perk that loots every crate around the ship.

The gameplay in Pirates is a bit like the recent NFS games. You have a map of the ocean and you see missions strewn about it. You can either sail there yourself (it’s an open world) or you can draw a line on the map between your ship and the mission and your ship would reach there automatically. As you play more missions, more area of the map gets unlocked.

A major part of the game involves steering your ship. You tap a button to hoist the sails that let you adjust the speed of the ship. You can swipe at the bottom of the screen to steer it around. You can either steer the ship around in first person mode from behind the wheel or zoom out and see the ship from outside (but can still control it).

Overall, the gameplay is quite fun. Steering the ship around is definitely fun and not something you get to do in a lot of games. It is executed fairly well and the bobbing of the ship up and down with the waves in first person mode especially looks remarkably realistic and makes you want to sail around aimlessly, taking in the stunning visuals of the game. Speaking of visuals…

Graphics and Sound

Assassin’s Creed Pirates looks absolutely stunning. Considering a huge portion of the visuals is the water, you’d expect the water to look good and Ubisoft has absolutely nailed it in this game. This is by far the best looking water I’ve seen in a mobile game so far and it looks incredible. Little things from the shimmer of the sun or the moonlight as it bounces off the ripples on the surface of the ocean to the realistic bobbing of the water surface and the ships on it look superb. Add to that gorgeous lighting effects and detailed ship models and you have a game that takes your breath away the first time you play it.

The sound in the game is equally good. The main theme music, first of all, is really good. The background sounds such as the creaking of the ship, the sound of the cannons and the waves are all done very well. There are also some pirate songs between missions that are also pretty good.

Verdict

Assassin’s Creed Pirates provides a novel gameplay experience that helps it stand out from the sea of me-too titles coming out these days, especially from big developers. The gameplay is fun, the visuals are stunning and it’s just an all-round enjoyable experience. Well worth the price of admission.

Rating: 8/10
Pros: Unique and interesting gameplay, gorgeous visuals
Cons: Gameplay can get a bit repetitive later

Download: iOS | Android

Assassin’s Creed Pirates was reviewed on an iPhone 5s.

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