Many would argue the Assassin’s Creed franchise is a tired and almost strung out series. Whilst it might be a bit of a leap to suggest that, my first hands on experience with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag failed to impress me.

The demo, running on a PlayStation 4 spawned players in a random location in the map. I had the misfortune of being placed in the middle of the ocean on the Jack Daw, protagonist Edward Kenway’s personal pirate ship. I was given no direction so I chose to pick one of my own and head towards it. It became apparent that Ubisoft probably should have given the user a destination marker as the island I headed to was blocked off by a high sand bank and was impassable for my ship so using the game’s seamless transitions from ship to sea I decided to swim to this island. However, when I reached the island I simply swam through it as if it wasn’t there.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only hiccup in my 10 minute demo. By this point I had finally managed to find a small island inhabited by inebriated locals. As I have a look around I find myself on a secluded beach but I was still able to hear the singing and ramblings of the drunks on the other side of the island as if I was drinking with them myself. A third instance saw me boarding the Jack Daw once more and have the crew cheer for me upon my arrival though no faces were animated when this was happening. Blank faces all around but they were still cheering.

On top of this the world seemed rather empty as there are islands everywhere in Assassin’s Creed IV but hardly any of the ones I saw in my demo were accessible from a point of my choosing. They were either simply scenery or I had to enter from a specific point.

It should be stressed that this was merely a vertical slice of what the final product will be but with a release date looming in just over a month, I’m concerned. As a fan of the franchise it doesn’t please me to have to write this but my first thought after the demo was finished was just how rough the game was in this instance.

Could it change by launch? I hope so but Assassin’s Creed III was a disappointment to some so lets hope the sequel doesn’t follow suit.