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Brooks is a writer, gamer and overall creativity enthusiast. He's been gaming since the early 1980s when the Atari was cool and Bruce Springsteen was first called "The Boss".

When the original Nintendo was released, if he wasn't playing it at home he was at friend's house playing two-player games until dinner time - and sometimes even later. Throughout it all, he just loved to play great games.

Over the years he has enjoyed watching the evolution of the gaming industry. The NES, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, Steam - the games have gotten bigger and more diverse, but they've always and will always be fantastic, creative representations of those that develop them.

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Right now, he's enjoying the games that are concluding the current generation of gaming while the next generation comes into focus.
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It's Monday, Cyber Monday to be exact, and my focus is not on the deals that are available.  Why am I not buying up all of the tech and games that are discounted on every other website?  It's because I'm playing Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag on PlayStation 3.

No big deal, right?  Wrong.

Today also marks the launch of the Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Companion App for iOS and Google Play / Android devices.



Back when I first heard of this App, I was eager to see just how "real-time" it was.  I mean, it's one thing for an App to be connected to Next-Gen devices (PS4 and XB1), but it's something else to see just how well it works with the current generation of consoles.  So far, it's actually pretty fun to use.

When you first start up the App, you will need to log-in to your UPLAY account.  This will establish a connection with the progress that you've made to date within the campaign of the game (not multi-player...yet).  Then after the connection is made (and if you have the game on and your PlayStation 3 connected to the internet), it will offer you the chance to connect directly to your currently game session.

Now begins your AC4 Second Screen experience!!

First you will see the main menu which contains icons for the World Map, Treasure Maps, Progress Tracker, Kenway's Fleet, Animus Database and finally Initiates - which includes "Hot Topics" and "Progress Feed".



Although this App was just released today (and I'm still working on trying it out - especially in regards to the "Kenway's Fleet" management portion), the section that I enjoy the most so far is the World Map.

My previous game session (prior to downloading the App) put me in Kingston.  I had just sync'd the closest View Point, so only a small portion of the map (and subsequent icons) were visible.



So I chose to stay in town in order to test the "real-time-ness" of the App.  Besides tracking my exact location in the game with only a minor (and I mean minor) lag to Kenway's movement, it tracked where he was, who was around him (via red or blue markers) and even showed the way-point (see the dashed circle around the View Point in the graphic above) that I had specified within the game.

Needless to say after I sync'd the View Point, the map on the App opened up just as it did within the game.  Pretty impressive, actually.



On the other hand, when I got more into using the App to compliment my game session, it was a little disorienting to go back and forth between the App and my television.  I didn't like how I couldn't tap on icons to specify new way-points, but all-in-all, it was a handy companion to have as I continued to explore the city.

In regards to the other sections of the App, the usability is fairly intuitive.



You scroll through menu options by either tapping or swiping, you view which Treasure Maps you've acquired, as well as, which treasure you've found, and you can view your fleet and track it's progress whether you are playing the game or out and about.

So enough already!  Go check out the App on iOS or Google Play and see how it can compliment your game sessions within Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag!
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