This article may contain spoilers for Assassin’s Creed IV.
You spent years waiting for developers to hurry up and release a big game. You buy it, take it home, and play through it in a couple of days. It’s awesome.
But now what?
Read+Watch+Listen is about other material you might want to check out if you’re just not ready to move on. We’ll suggest media that share something in common with a particular game and tell you why it might be of interest. In this installment, we’re going to build on your experience with the latest entry in developer Ubisoft’s open-world, neck-stabbing-through-time franchise, out now on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
If you couldn’t get enough of: Underdog ship battles.
Director Peter Weir’s 2003 film, based on author Patrick O’Brian’s 20-book “Aubrey–Maturin” series, stars Russell Crowe as the captain of the HMS Surprise, a British warship pursuing a French privateer vessel called the Acheron. The Acheron is larger, stronger, and more heavily armed than the Surprise. You find this out during their first encounter, which happens almost as soon as the movie starts.
Master and Commander takes place almost a century after Assassin’s Creed IV, but the basic idea remains: Ships hurl lumps of metal at each other until one or both of them can’t sail anymore. Gamers who enjoyed taking Captain Kenway’s plucky Jackdaw up against a man o’ war or one of the game’s legendary ships will sympathize with the crew of the Surprise, and Master and Commander’s depiction of the harsh realities of seaborne combat (namely, what happens when lots of wooden shards explode everywhere) provides a bit more context for the game’s more romp-ish version.
If you couldn’t get enough of: Whaling.
Above: The word “sperm” appears 246 times. That’s for the 12-year-old part of your brain.
The inclusion of whaling in Assassin’s Creed IV drew PETA’s wrath and Ubisoft’s funny response. Gamers interested in learning all about the practice should pick up Herman Melville’s classic novel, which walks readers through the entire process in exacting detail. For example:
Consider that the whale has nothing that can properly be called a neck; on the contrary, where his head and body seem to join, there, in that very place, is the thickest part of him.
Remember, also, that the surgeon must operate from above, some eight or 10 feet intervening between him and his subject, and that subject almost hidden in a discolored, rolling, and oftentimes tumultuous and bursting sea. Bear in mind, too, that under these untoward circumstances he has to cut many feet deep in the flesh; and in that subterraneous manner, without so much as getting one single peep into the ever-contracting gash thus made, he must skillfully steer clear of all adjacent, interdicted parts, and exactly divide the spine at a critical point hard by its insertion into the skull.
And so on. It’s fascinating, albeit gross, and it tells you exactly what happens after the scene of the Jackdaw crew hoisting its prey out of the water fades to black.
This YouTube playlist of sea shanties
If you couldn’t get enough of: You know, sea shanties.
No open-world title would be complete without some tunes to listen to while you’re cruising around looking for trouble, and Black Flag is the first game in the series to include this genre staple. Granted, it’s live music that the crew of the Jackdaw sings while you go, so you don’t really have the option to skip to the next track when they sing “Leave Her, Johnny” for the 30th time, but it’s still a welcome addition to the seafaring. And if you want to hear some more produced versions of some of the songs from the game, as well as other ones you might also like, here’s a YouTube playlist that is exactly that.
Oh, hey. It’s “Leave Her, Johnny.” Again.
I haven’t read, watched, and listened to everything, obviously. Do you have another piece of media that goes with Assassin’s Creed IV? Feel free to share in the comments. And be sure to check out the other entries in this series here.
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