Amazing story though the game shows its dated technology.
Ubisoft’s big launch for the franchise was, undoubtedly, Assassins Creed Unity boasting some of the finest animation and graphics on next-gen consoles and vastly improving on the gameplay aspects of the series. Assassins Creed Rogue is a step in a different direction, it is more or less, a direct sequel to Black Flag but does the familiar gameplay and mechanics become stale? Mechanically it’s almost identical to its predecessor, you have almost the same equipment and move sets, as well as possessing a ship you can customise and upgrade.
However, there are some notable new additions. The character you play, Shay Patrick Cormac, uses a rifle that shoots silent darts and explosive grenades, and the ship now contains a puckle gun, the precursor to the Gatling gun. The ship can also blaze a trail of flaming oil in its wake to damage pursuing ships. These are all welcome additions but the gameplay, especially combat, is frustratingly easy.
Standard enemies rarely pose any type of challenge. However, most do not play Assassins Creed games for a challenge. The other mechanics such as free-running, hunting and naval combat are all as good as they were in Black Flag. There is a huge amount of content in Rogue; there are main missions, thwarting assassinations, hunting challenges, treasure to find and Viking relics to uncover and much more. While most of it is well-trodden in the Assassins Creed universe it is still enjoyable to have a variety and large amount of objectives. Overall the gameplay is solid and the draw backs are forgivable as Unity has already improved on most of these flaws.
The main draw to Assassins Creed Rogue is the story. The game is set during the Seven Years War; a global conflict mainly involving France and Britain and parts of the origins of the American and French revolution can be found in this conflict. The character it revolves around is an Irish Assassin, Shay, who becomes disillusioned with the Assassins in the American Colonies and he eventually joins the Templars and purges his former comrades. It easy to compare it to a Star Wars episode III-like tale but with more emphasis put on humanising the enemies of the series. The Templars in this game are portrayed as good men, trying to stop the Assassins killing innocent people. It does a good job in making you question your actions in past Assassins Creed games ‘’did I really have to brutally murder a sick old man near his death?’’.
The cast of the game is a love letter to fans of Assassins Creed 3 and Black Flag. You’ll interact with notable character like Achilles Davenport, Adéwalé, Haytham Kenway, Charles Lee, George Washington, William Johnson, and Benjamin Franklin among many others. It’s refreshing to play an Assassins Creed game where you are familiar with almost all the characters. In the modern day side of the game you are, once again, working for Abstergo Entertainment and playing through Shay’s memories to find out his past. If you are a fan of the Assassins lore this game is definitely for you, just for the story. The most problematic aspect of the narrative is that killing your former Assassins Brothers does not pack an emotional punch that you would come to expect and often these assassination are an anti-climax. Overall the story is refreshing for an Assassins Creed game and ties up a lot of loose ends.
On the visual side the game looks great for consoles that are pushing eight years old. This is also in part to the games new locations. The Arctic regions are covered in huge ice bergs and snow storms which flow down on to the deck of your ship and the lush forest of the Canadian river valley look great. The downside of the graphics is that facial animation is not up to standard. When you look at games like L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption, from 2011 and 2010, there animations are significantly better and recent games like Grand Theft Auto V make Rogue’s facial animation look cartoonish in comparison. Again this is fixed with Unity’s great leap in facial animation.
Overall Assassins Creed Rogue is a must for any fan of the series. While some may find it stale, the gameplay is as good as ever, the story is a new, interesting foray into the other side of the Assassin conflict and the game does a great job of squeezing out graphic power from eight year old consoles. If you do not yet own a PS4 of Xbox One, Rogue is a great PS3/360 game and if you a fan of the series with a current and a last generation console it is still worth the investment.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue is available to buy and play now on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.