‘Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag’ delivers when played on Xbox One

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In our Xbox 360 review of “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag,” I called the experience the “most complete and enjoyable ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game to date,” scoring it a perfect five out of five stars.

So, how do you top that? Is it enough to just make the game prettier for Microsoft’s next-generation console? Truth be told, it is.

Graphics

If you’re expecting the Xbox One version of “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag” to improve drastically upon its already impressive character models, then you’ll probably be let down. This version is all about the subtle, but significant, improvements that exemplify just how fantastic of a game is.

The most glaring improvement is the added rendering to the game’s vistas. The most noticeable is the first time you roll into Havana, Cuba and get a look at the entire city. The textures pop colorfully and stretch further than the Xbox 360 version that used fog to cover up and make up for what they could not render.

Shadows are also an impressive touch. Towers will cast deep shadows in alleys on land, while raising and lowering your ship’s masts at sea will result in weighty visual change.

Perhaps the biggest graphical leap, though, is found in the tropical environments. The Xbox One version features an upgraded shrubbery system that creates life-like plants and trees. With so much time spent wandering around in the plant life or climbing abandon ruins with overgrown grass gleaming at the surface, this addition is welcomed and of noteworthy importance.

Game play

As much of a stretch as it sounds, there are no significant, even apparent, improvements to game play in the Xbox One version of “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.”

The game ran smoothly on Xbox 360 without too many load screens, despite having such a vast amount of land and ocean areas. The Xbox One version does further improve upon load screens, but you’d be hard pressed to notice a difference outside of a few seconds.

Final Verdict

If you have the means to pick up “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag” for Xbox One, there’s nothing I can come up with to steer you away otherwise. It’s simply a prettier version of an already stellar game and, in this case, that is more than enough to justify a purchase.

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