Achievement Preview Spotlight: ACIV: Black Flag

By Jonathan Barnes, 3 years ago
Brace yourselves, gamers, we've officially hit annual release season. While next week also features Battlefield 4, Angry Birds Star Wars, and WWE 2K14 (keep your eyes peeled for our review!), I decided to make you all swab the deck with a thorough achievement examination of Every Ubisoft Studio's Ubisoft Montreal's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

Unless you've been living under a rock, or stranded on an island with one bullet and a cask of rum, you're aware that AC IV is letting you live the pirate's life in the Caribbean as Edward Kenway, the latest of Templar stabbers. Previous AC games have been known for some grindy achievements and collectibles as well as the story-based gimmes. Does AC IV maintain that tradition or attempt to break the mold? I'm not going to make you walk the plank or anything, but you'll need to read on to find out.


On the good ship of basic pops, AC IV features fifty achievements of which only five (worth fifty gamerscore) are "Secret". I'd wager a bottle of rum that those five are "spoilery" and would give away plot points if they weren't hidden. Furthermore, there are thirteen achievements tied to completing sequences and five achievements tied to the multiplayer. The rest, as I am fond of saying, are primed for examination.

AC games often have an open-world feel to them in that there is generally a good bit of "stuff" to do whilst gallivanting around the Middle East, the Renaissance, and the American Revolution. The following achievement seems to indicate that you'll have a good bit of stuff to do in the Caribbean as well.

Owned in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
Owned12 (10)
Complete every activity in a single location.

I have no doubt that we'll have a solution to this achievement that highlights the location with the least amount of things to do within hours of release, but the fact that this pop is here seems to indicate that Ubisoft World Montreal crammed a good bit of content into these islands.

If you're anything like me (and who's to say you're not) you have a distaste for several gaming mechanics like first-person platforming, "unkillable" enemies, and luck based achievements. One game mechanic that has always generated tons of stress is featured in the next achievement.

Seven Deadly Seas in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
Explore all underwater shipwrecks.

I get it, really I do. You're in the Caribbean. There's shipwrecks. You want the treasure in them, so you have to dive. That being said, I always hate swimming in games, mainly because I turn into a nervous wreck about my air supply; "Do I have enough to get where I'm going? Where is my next breath going to be?" Let's hope that The Entire Ubisoft Universe Ubisoft Montreal found a way to make underwater exploration fun instead of harrowing.

The AC franchise has always had a small narrative disconnect in the form of "modern day" sequences. While the core of the gameplay is set back in time, there is always the wrenching narrative stop of being hoisted back into modern day. While these sequences do well to serve as a sort of gaming palate cleanser, they do tend to destroy some sense of immersion. The next achievement basically shows that you'll still be playing in modern times as well as on the high seas.

Ghost In The Machine in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
Hack 15 computers in Abstergo Entertainment.


*Cue Star Trek flashbacks*

The use of "quotation marks" always makes for interesting achievement "descriptions" and news contributors. Thusly, the next achievement has piqued "my interest".

Siren Song in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
Siren Song43 (20)
Rescue pirate hostages by distracting enemies with "dancers."

"Dancers" you say? Hmmm... I wonder if they're just "dancing" to pay their way through "school". Regardless, I'm very curious as to those "quotation marks".

OK, gamers, here's the good news, AC IV doesn't have a lot of score variation in its achievements. Every pop is between ten and fifty gamerscore, so you'll probably be doing a nice job of steadily raising your gamerscore as you play. That being said, there are only four achievements worth more than a base score of thirty. One is for completing sequence 13 (the last one), another is for completing 100% of the main mission constraints. You also have one for fully upgrading the Jackdaw and defeating all 4 legendary ships. Because all of those pops sound relatively pedestrian, I'm going to go a little outside the box in crowning the big ratio winner.

Committed To The Cause in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Xbox 360)
Reach level 55 in Multiplayer.

I came into the AC multiplayer scene pretty late with both Brotherhood and Revelations. While each multiplayer was fun, I was so far behind the learning curve that it was nigh impossible to stay competitive, much less stick with it to max level. With that in mind, my advice to completionists is to jump into the MP early so that there's a good community of people to play against. We all know that the big multiplayer games are coming quickly and the communities of "lesser" titles will thin just as fast. While this achievement has a relatively low base score, the ratio is going to skyrocket unless AC IV somehow retains a big MP community.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is set for release next week.

If there's an upcoming game or DLC pack that you'd like to see featured in the Achievement Preview Spotlight, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.