Ship battles highlight Assassin's Creed IV gameplay footage

Less than five months shy of the release of Assasin's Creed III, American Revolution Edition, Ubisoft is already hyping the next chapter in the franchise. The publisher revealed last month that Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will have a pirate theme. Now, it's posted two minutes of in-game footage.

Black Flag is set is 1715, which means Henry Rollins probably won't be making a cameo. Keith Richards might, because the setting looks straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean.

According to the narrator, the action will go down both on land and at sea. It looks like you'll be able to fire cannonballs at your foes in addition to leaping aboard their ships for a little melee fun. Ship battles should inject some variety into the combat, which looks pretty tight otherwise. The finishing combo at the 0:48 mark is beautifully brutal.

Due October 29 in North America, Assassin's Creed IV is coming to the PC and both current- and next-gen consoles. I'm curious to see how the different releases compare. The PC version of Assassin's Creed III has DirectX 11 flourishes and higher-resolution textures that didn't make the cut in console variants of the game. With substantially more horsepower at their disposal, the PS4 and next-gen Xbox versions of ACIV will likely have visuals more comparable to those of the PC release.

Four paragraphs without a piracy reference. Imagine that. While it's tempting to point out that Ubisoft's history of DRM issues might encourage some folks to plunder the game, the publisher pledged last year to unlock PC titles with a single online activation. You'll probably need to install Ubisoft's Uplay software to launch Black Flag, as is the case with Assassin's Creed III, but an always-on Internet connection shouldn't be required.

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