I'm going to admit, I was actually prepared to hate this game. After being incredibly excited about Assassin's Creed 3, I was bitterly disappointed to discover the sequel would not star Conner Kenway but his grandfather. Worse, I was resistant to the idea of a sequel based around the Golden Age of Piracy. I felt this was a blatant cash grab using a time period which was far less interesting than numerous others which had been forwarded by fans from the French Revolution to Tokugawa Japan. As a result, I only put it on my Christmas list to fill it out and got it early due to my illness.
What's my opinion? I have never been more pleased to be so wrong about my misgivings. I think Black Flag may be my favorite of the series. Not only does it successfully continue the story after the original metaplot of the games was resolved but it does so in style. The character of Edward Kenway is perhaps my favorite one in the entire Assassin's Creed franchise, surpassing Connor and even Ezio.
So what is so enjoyable about Black Flag? At heart, I believe it's the fact the game isn't afraid to take a fresh look at some long-standing assumptions about the franchise and turn them on their head. The Assassins, Templars, conspiracies, and importance of the Pieces of Eden all get put under a microscope with a protagonist who can barely bring himself to care about any. The protagonist, Edward Kenway manages to bring a roguish charm to the series without forgetting piracy is an activity built on murder and robbery. The darker side of the character comes out in discussions regarding everything from slavery (he's against it but it's not his problem until it impacts him personally) to motivation (profit, plain and simple). The sailing missions are fun, the supporting cast is incredible, and the vistas are beautiful.
In conclusion, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is an absolutely fabulous game. One I heartily recommend to not only long-time fans of the series but newcomers as well. Shiver me timbers and swash me buckles, it's a good buy.