Many of the story missions in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag give you the option of playing as a hacking, slashing swashbuckler. It may be more difficult in some cases, and in others it may be easier, but you generally get the option of going all out or playing the game like previous incarnations of the series and sneaking around. There are even a few missions that require you to sneak around that result in failure if you're spotted or engage in combat.

While you can look at the stealth aspects of Black Flag in a very straightforward manner, there are a few tips that you may not have realized that will help you improve your stealth abilities. Some of the later missions in the game that require stealth make it very difficult to pass through certain areas without being seen or starting a fight. That's why we're here to help with these stealth tips.

Sleep Darts

Sleep darts are your best friend when it comes to getting through areas unseen. Do everything you can to always have them on-hand and available to use. With a sleep dart, you can put an enemy to sleep long enough to allow you to either get close and incapacitate them, or complete an objective and leave the area before they wake up.

The only concern with sleep darts is that if another enemy spots a sleeping comrade, he will issue an alert. To avoid this, you need to use a sleeping dart on any enemy in the immediate area that could spot your main sleeping target. This includes enemies high up in watchtowers, so be sure to look around before you start using sleep darts. You don't want to waste darts having to sleep an entire platoon of enemies.

Berserk Darts

While sleep darts allow Edward to slip past an enemy or get close enough to incapacitate them, berserk darts make an enemy go insane for a short period of time. The advantage to a berserk dart is that it serves the same purpose as a sleep dart, but can also take out a few extra enemies for you. The key is to target a more formidable enemy such as the axe-wielding Brutes.

If you hit a Brute with a berserk dart, they'll take down several enemies close by and alert adversaries that would normally be out of the way as they make a grand effort to bring him down. This is good, because while the enemies are distracted, you can complete your objective. Even if you walk right next to a group of enemies distracted by a berserker Brute, they won't be alerted to your presence.

Yellow Alert vs. Red Alert

There are two types of enemy alerts in the game: yellow and red. A yellow alert just means that an enemy thinks he saw or heard something, and may look around for a bit, but he'll soon give up and go back to his routine. A red alert confirms that an enemy has spotted you and will begin attacking, as well as attempt to alert other enemies nearby.

If you get a yellow alert, you generally have about 10 seconds to correct the issue. This means hiding for 10 seconds, using a dart or simply running out of the enemy's immediate range. You can even move behind a tree or pole to remove the yellow alert status. As long as the enemy can't see or find Edward, the yellow alert will go away.

Use this to your advantage by quickly running through an area, ignoring yellow alerts. As long as you clear the enemy's sight within the alert window, you won't attract any additional attention, and the game will not count the encounter as Edward being spotted.

Whistling

It may seem as though whistling is pretty straightforward, but there are some interesting details about whistling that may help as you sneak past enemies. Whistling has a very specific range. Inch closer to enemies, whistling once with every small step forward until you learn the maximum range.

Once you have this down, if there are two enemies side-by-side, you can position yourself so that one is at the max whistle range, while the other is just outside of Edward's whistle range. A whistle at this range will alert the closer guard, but not the other one, even if they're standing right next to each other. This skill is a huge advantage when you're in a situation that requires you to incapacitate two guards standing in close proximity.