After the naval battle and a cutscene to give some background on the protagonist, the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag walkthrough continues with the intro beach sequence.
You find yourself in the sea among the wreckage of the battle. Your first objective is to “reach the shore”.
How to Swim in Assassin’s Creed IV
You do this by swimming. It’s pretty simple: you just move the left stick (LS) in the direction you want to swim. If you want to swim faster, hold the right trigger (RT). Keep swimming towards the green dot that marks your objective, avoiding any debris you come across.
When you reach the shore, you trigger a cutscene where you discover that an Assassin (Duncan Walpole) has also survived the battle and was also washed ashore. The assassin desperately needs to make it to Havana and offers to pay you to take him. Being a pirate, Kenway startles the assassin who pulls a gun when Kenway approaches him.
When the assassin flees, the cutscene is over and your new objective is to “find the Assassin”.
How to Freerun in Assassin’s Creed IV
Freerunning in Assassin’s Creed IV is similar to previous titles in the franchise. Freerunning allows you to move faster, climb up and over obstacles, and perform other remarkable feats of movement.
To freerun, simply hold RT while moving forward.
Find the Assassin
Note: This part of the game is not time-sensitive. If you are into collectibles, you can leisurely explore the area for chests and Animus fragments.
Freerun up the path that the assassin took. When you cross the footbridge, veer to the right to follow the path up and around.
Run through a little cave-like area, past a campfire, and over another bridge. Keep running straight and you reach some beams that allow you to traverse a marshy area.
On the other side of marsh, keep freerunning to climb up some logs onto a platform. Run straight along the platform until you reach some other logs. Climb up those to reach yet another platform. Then run straight across another beam. At the end of the beam, keep freerunning to jump across to a Y-shaped pillar and from there onto a cliff.
On this cliff is the first viewpoint in the game. Climb up the tower to the eagle’s perch. When you reach it, press B to “synchronize” the viewpoint.
Leap of Faith: Descending from Viewpoints
Just like the other Assassin’s Creed games, to descend from a viewpoint, hold RT and A while moving forward to perform a leap of faith. An important aspect of the leap of faith is that you need to move in the direction of a pile of hay or palm leaves or a body of water… anything that will break your fall. There will be something close to any viewpoint that will qualify, but be sure to look before you leap. Just because you jump off a viewpoint doesn’t mean you will necessarily land on something that will break your fall. It’s possible to jump in the wrong direction and die. (I’ve learned that the hard way.)
After performing the leap of faith, the camera pans to show the assassin flee some more. Make your way to the path he was on and follow it up the hill. After a slight turn to the left and another one back to the right, you go up some log stairs and reach a cliff with a log structure you can easily freerun up.
From here the camera shows the assassin at the base of the next viewpoint. There are several ways to reach this platform. As seen in the video, one easy way to get there is to freerun up the leaning tree in front of you. You can then jump from there onto the viewpoint platform.
After synchronizing the second viewpoint, you can perform a leap of faith into the stream below. Continue downstream for a short distance and the camera pans again to show the assassin. Be careful because he pulls a pistol and fires at you before continuing to flee.
Your new objective is to “kill the Assassin”. Follow him across the bridge in front of you, across a beam, and into the Y of a tree. Jump from there onto a log and follow it down to the ground.
Cross the creek on your left. Run across the rocks towards the waterfall and another stream. There is a beam you can run across.
On the other side is a log staircase that will take you further down. You can jump off the staircase whenever you like, just keep following the red dot that marks the Assassin’s location.
How to Swordfight in Assassin’s Creed IV
After some distance, the Assassin stops to face you. Here you learn how to wield a sword.
The first thing you learn is to counter an attack. An icon will appear indicating an imminent attack, at which point you can counter it by pressing B. (If you press B when no one is attacking you, you will just sheathe your swords). After successfully countering, press X to attack.
The Assassin isn’t very tough. He goes down after one attack.
After the cutscene, your next objective is to “find a way to Havana”. Past the cliff where you fought the Assassin, you hear gunfire and shouting. Run up a leaning tree to the next viewpoint. Synchronize and you can perform a leap of faith into a pool of water below.
Climb out of the water and you get a new objective: “free the merchant”. Continue forward onto a beam extending from the edge of another cliff. Jump down from there into the foliage on the beach below.
How to Stalk in Assassin’s Creed IV
When you jump off the beam, an info screen pops up advising you of “stalking zones.”
Dense vegetation can be used as STALKING ZONES. They allow you to HIDE and MOVE UNDETECTED. Use them to APPROACH targets STEALTHILY.
Stalk through the bushes for as long as you like. If you press X when a guard is close to where you are hiding and he is highlighted, you will subdue him without drawing the attention of the other guards.
Or, if you don’t care about a subtle approach, just run out and start hacking at people.
Once all the guards are dead, there is another cutscene where you and the merchant discover that you are both headed towards Havana. The merchant has a ship, but he can’t pilot it. Lucky for him, you’re a pro at piloting ships.
After the cutscene, you have a new objective: “reach the ship’s wheel”. Swim out to the ship in the bay. When you reach it, hold RT to climb up the side. Once topside, go to the wheel and press B to take it.
11:45 — Sail out of the bay
It’s time to practice your ship skills some more. Press A to start moving forward. Steer with LS. Navigate around the rocks to the green point on your map.
Next up is the first full mission in Assassin’s Creed IV. Be sure to check back; I’ll post the video walkthrough soon.