Return to the High Seas
Let me preface this review by saying I’ve only had a limited amount of time with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue . I only gained access to the game a short while ago and am partially through my first play through, so take these impressions for what they are: a look at a game that I have played quite a bit, but haven’t yet played to completion.
We are right at the edge of a console generation turnover, that odd point where the new consoles have come out but their software libraries are small and unimpressive. It’s that time when people buy new consoles on the promise they bring for next-generation games, yet still mostly play their last generation systems. As such, every new game has to come out twice, once on next-gen, and once on previous gen systems. However, some companies, like Ubisoft, decide to make two different games in order to try and entice people into buying the next gen release.
That being said, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is one of these games. Up until a few months ago, everyone was going crazy about Assassin’s Creed: Unity , the next-generation Assassin’s Creed which would take place during the French Revolution. But, oddly enough that’s not the “sequel” to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag . Rogue is. It takes place a short time afterward and features characters and locations we have seen before, as well as a whole host of new ones.
This is Assassin’s Creed: Rogue ’s biggest strength. It’s pretty much a second Black Flag . It has a lot of similar mechanics, right down to building your ship and crew. A lot of the scenarios that you will be placed in will feel familiar, and if you liked Black Flag you’ll hop into this game easily with very little learning time. You still feel like a pirate on the high seas along with being a ruthless Assassin, and you still have a bunch of shipmates to keep you company as you travel an expansive world. Simply put, if you liked Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag , you’ll like Assassin’s Creed: Rogue .
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue throws a curveball your way in terms of its story. The main character is Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin who goes rogue… see what they did there? He betrays the Assassins and becomes a Templar, allowing you to see the game from the antagonist’s point of view. This is actually pretty cool, and serves as a first for the Assassin’s Creed series, though I heard that everything ends up being wrapped up nicely in an Assassin package at the end, so it’s possible that the gutsy story goes back on itself after a while. As I said before, my time with the game has been limited.
The same “see things from the other side” philosophy translates to sections outside the animus. Once again you are working for Abstergo industries, and through the course of your duties you gain access to secret documents that talk about other main antagonists of the Assassin’s Creed series. These documents portray these previously one dimensional characters in new light. I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed: Unity , so I don’t know if it’s plot is following the same lines, but Rogue ’s plot seems to want to turn the whole Assassin’s Creed backstory on its head. Once again I find it odd that this was the less advertised release, and I’m not entirely sure why Ubisoft would keep such a profound entry in the Assassin’s Creed plotline to last gen systems only.
The environments of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue are a little disappointing actually. A lot of them can’t really be distinguished from environments of Black Flag . You’ll visit winter locales this time, covered in ice and snow, but that just strikes me as an environmental re-skin of things we have already seen before.
Environment design is also a little bit disappointing. It’s really hard to tell what you can jump on and what you can’t, although this really isn’t anything new for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. The paths that the designers want you to take are kind of hard to figure out, and there is a lot of trial and error in every mission you undertake. You’ll find yourself failing a lot because you missed a particular ledge or tree or something. It’s a bit frustrating, but as I said before, it’s nothing we haven’t grappled with in other Assassin’s Creed titles.
There is also a problem with the way progression works in the game. A lot of content is locked off to you, until you progress through certain story missions. This keeps you on an incredibly linear path for most of the game, which kind of goes against the game’s “open seas exploration” theme. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most linear Assassin’s Creed titles out there. But once again I’ve had limited time with the game and it’s possible that the game opens up near the end, but for now I kind of feel like I’m mostly being railroaded from place to place.
A new Assassin’s Creed means a few new toys, and the new tricks that Cormac has under his belt are pretty cool. This time around the big new thing is grenades and explosives. Some do damage, some just confuse the enemy, and all are kinda neat, but so far they haven’t become a serious staple in my Assassin’s repertoire. The trusty sword and a good bit of stealth and parkour are all I really need.
So far I have to say that Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is a lot of fun. It’s not really hugely new or innovative. Frankly it feels like Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag all over again. However, Black Flag was an OK game so that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We will have to see how it eventually stacks up against Unity , but as the “booby prize” so to speak, the consolation effort for people who are still stuck in the last generation, Rogue is still a solid and interesting game. It may feel a bit dated, but for some of us it almost feels nostalgic. I’m frankly happy to be sailing on the high seas one more time, before docking on the shores of the next console generation.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.9 Graphics
The graphics look good, but dated when compared to next-gen systems. 3.5 Control
You are basically playing Black Flag again, although you do have some problems with jumping at times. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is really hit or miss. 4.5 Play Value
Frankly, it’s a fun game, even if it isn’t the headlining title. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best