Primer On-Foot Movement

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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Official Digital Strategy Guide
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Primer On-Foot Movement

Walking & Running

  • Movement & Camera: Use to move Kenway, and to control the camera. Note how Kenway’s movements are made in relation to the direction that the camera is facing. Tilting forward will always cause him to move “into” the screen. You can also click at any time to swiftly align the camera in accordance with the direction that Kenway is facing.
  • Fast Walk: While walking with , hold to activate the Fast Walk function. Kenway will move at a slightly faster pace, and automatically reach out to gently push civilians aside, making it extremely useful for navigating crowds. It’s also a great way to keep pace with a target without attracting attention by breaking into a jog or run.
  • Run: Use + High Profile Button to make Kenway run. The degree to which you tilt and the extent to which you hold down the High Profile Button governs his movement speed. A slight extension results in a jog; full extension leads to a sprint.

Free Running

Though scaling buildings or leaping from rooftop to rooftop may seem like demanding feats, you will find that these activities don’t require great finesse or advanced gaming prowess. It’s actually your ability to identify distinctive free run “courses” that really matters.

As long as you point the astonishingly agile Kenway in the right direction, he will do the hard work for you. Once you acquire the ability to plan in advance, the physical inputs that enable you to move along your chosen route become an entirely instinctive activity.

  • Free Running: Boiled down to its very essence, free running is performed by holding + High Profile Button, and directing Kenway on a course that he might reasonably hope to follow (). An essential lesson to learn is that Kenway will only perform jumps when a suitable surface or hand-hold is within his range. Run him to the edge of a tall building where a fall might lead to injury or death, and he will come to an abrupt halt ().
  • Manual Jump: When you need to override Kenway’s caution to make a leap that lies just outside his default range () or may result in physical harm, press in the required direction, hold High Profile Button, then tap . To reduce the damage sustained in large falls – and, in chase situations, preserve forward momentum – hold in the direction of motion to make him roll on contact with a solid surface.
  • Free Run Courses: You will regularly encounter free run “courses” that begin at ground level (). These can be used to ascend or descend quickly and safely to different elevations.
  • Swinging: Kenway will automatically swing from poles, branches and the like while you hold + High Profile Button.
  • Leap of Faith: Whenever you can see water or a hiding place comprising leaves, hay, branches or a similar “soft” landing position, the quickest and most convenient way to reach a lower level is to perform a Leap of Faith (). Tilt in the direction of the required landing position, hold the High Profile Button, then tap to perform a spectacular swan dive. The availability of a suitable landing point below is often signposted by the presence of birds or bird droppings on ledges.
  • Vault: As the + High Profile Button combination either initiates a climb or partially “locks” Kenway to a free run course on contact with solid objects, the act of climbing over a fence or equivalent low obstruction can lead him to pause briefly as he hops onto the surface. To vault such objects in a more fluid (and slightly faster) fashion, press and hold as you approach them. You can also hold this additional button to make Kenway automatically drop from ledges and prevent unnecessary jumps.
  • Free Running in Trees: Just as barrels, crates and upturned carts might mark the beginning of an urban free run route, many tree-based courses begin with a recognizable start point – such as a stump where a trunk once stood, with a thick bough extending outwards (). You might also begin by running up a trunk to reach a low branch, or by leaping from another platform, such as a rock outcrop or rooftop.
  • V-shaped Sections: Many trees feature V-shaped sections that Kenway can leap through en route from one branch to another. Some larger trees may contain more than one V-shaped position (). To ascend from one V-shaped section to another at a higher elevation, tap . This is much more convenient than realigning the camera with to climb manually.
  • Route Recognition: With free running and climbing, the real challenge isn’t the use of to move: it’s judicious use of to command the camera, enabling you to identify, plan and adapt your route throughout any given pursuit, escape or journey. In short, the essence of mastering climbing and free running is being able to read your environment clearly. You shouldn’t just see the world in terms of doorways and windows, or trees and branches, but in a more pure sense as waypoints that combine to form routes ().


  • Climbing Basics: To begin a climb, simply run Kenway into a solid surface with obvious handholds within his reach. Use to ascend, traverse to the left or right, or descend. Employing to adjust the camera and see the route ahead is a vital skill. Buildings in urban areas invariably offer several potential climbing routes to a destination (); identifying the quickest and most direct of these is a talent you acquire with practice.
  • Descent: To begin a descent from a standing position on a high vantage point, hold as you approach a suitable edge area and Kenway will peer down (). Press to make him drop to a hanging position on the ledge, initiating a climb.
  • Drop: To make Kenway release his grip on a surface while climbing, tap . He will begin to fall to the ground. To perform a “catch back” on another ledge as he falls past, press towards the surface ().
  • Back Eject & Side Eject: While climbing, hold the High Profile Button and tap to perform a Back Eject (). This will cause Kenway to spring away from a surface, automatically grabbing a ledge behind him or dropping to the ground. If you tilt sideways at the same time, you will perform a Side Eject instead.


  • Swim: Use to move in water, and hold the High Profile Button to increase Kenway’s stroke rate.
  • Stealth Swim: Press and hold to perform a Stealth Swim, where Kenway will dive beneath the surface, disappearing from view. You can still move with , though at reduced speed. This is perfect for evading the gaze of sentries while infiltrating guarded areas via water, or for avoiding gunshots during an escape. The white onscreen meter indicates how long you have before Kenway must surface for at least one lungful of air.
  • Exit Water: Kenway will automatically switch to wading in shallow water. To climb onto a surface above his position but within his grasp, hold the High Profile Button and steer Kenway in the appropriate direction.