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Assassin's Creed Rogue Review

By Bond OO7

This year Ubisoft decided to try and please everyone. Releasing an Assassin’s Creed game that is truly new-gen, while at the same time giving people on the old generation of consoles something to play. Thus Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Rogue were born. The latter of which being only on the old-gen. Is it even worth your time? Or is it a dying breath from the inferior consoles?

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: November 11th, 2014
Copy purchased
Just from looking at Rogue you can instantly see the similarities to its predecessor, Black Flag. Rogue takes the old formula and not only improves upon it, but mixes in other features, new and old. The sailing is inherently the same but there are some new additions added that flesh out the experience. Most notably, you are no longer the only ship in the sea with boarding capabilities. If you let an enemy ship get the better of you, you will find yourself defending your own ship from intruding parties. Aside from that the other major difference is the winter weather in the North Atlantic. You will come across countless icebergs that can both be a help in your naval battles or a hindrance. Crashing into them will obviously damage your ship, however if you shoot them you can cause a wave in the ocean that will damage surrounding ships (including yours if you are not careful!). Storms are now replaced by blizzards, which have a much bigger impact on the intensity than the storms did in Black Flag. Rogue waves are still a feature of these events as is the cracking sound of lightning, but the snow whipping across your screen and the very limited view caused by the fog make for some intense traversal of the North Atlantic. These features alone make the naval aspect of the game feel like a fresh experience.


One thing that makes this game a big improvement on Black Flag is the activities you can do on land. Whereas Black Flag spent the majority of your time at sea, Rogue manages to make a perfect balance between the two. You still have the naval activities such as the fort takeovers and legendary ship battles, but now on land there are things like hunting challenges and assassin interceptions on top of the warehouse raids that were present in Black Flag. Assassin interceptions are a great look into the other side of the ongoing fight between the Templar's and the assassin’s. Remember in previous games when you would send a pigeon out to tell your assassins to kill a certain target? Well the interceptions involve you intercepting the pigeons and defending the target from the assassins. While it just boils down to a defend mission, it's an awesome look at the other side of the coin. On that same subject of being on the flip side, walking around on land will see you spontaneously getting attacked by assassin’s hiding in various places. These are easy to counter or even prevent with the audible and visual cues, but they are again an awesome look into the Templar side of the conflict.
 

With each new entry into the series, they is always a new gadget to play with. Rogue is no different and with the help of your good friend Benjamin Franklin you are gifted a grenade launcher (yes, a grenade launcher). This piece of tech is incredibly fun to play with, albeit a little over powered. You have 3 choices of ammo: sleep, berserk, and shrapnel grenades. Sleep and berserk have the same effect as the darts of the same name in previous entries but with an area of effect so you can send a group of enemies insane (or to sleep) at the same time. Shrapnel is your typical lethal explosive that comes with the initial thought of the word “grenade”. All 3 variations have their own upgrades that, once crafted with your hunting spoils, make you a force to be reckoned with.

Collectibles are a staple in the Assassin’s Creed series and Rogue has embraced them to the fullest. Most offer you a reward upon collecting an entire set. From outfits to income boosts, the game gives you very good reasons to say “just one more”, especially when there is a new sea shanty to be had! These collectibles gives you encouragement to explore every nook the game has to offer.

The snow covered environments in the game are a joy to look at. Whether you are sailing through the cold waters of the North Atlantic or wandering around it’s various islands, the snow is a beautiful sight. The crunch under your feet is also a very nice sound on the ears. One of the final story missions within the animus has you navigating your way through an ice cave where everything is a shade of blue or white. This is one of the most beautiful environments of any Assassin’s Creed game. That being said the most epic story mission in the game involves you escaping a city as it crumbles to the ground around you. This mission has an extreme sense of grandeur about it and is an absolute joy to experience.


The story within the animus in Rogue is a really well thought out one. You play as Shay Patrick Cormac, a former assassin who has turned on his brothers to do what he thinks is right. Shay is one of the most interesting and engaging characters in recent memory and one that you will care for . Not since Ezio and Altair has an Assassin’s Creed game managed to do so. His Irish accent is a little spotty at times (he’s not the only one with a bad accent either, unfortunately) but other than that he is one of the greats. In his story, which spans much of his life, Shay meets and interacts with characters from three other games in the series, Adewale from Black Flag, Achilles from 3 and Arno and his father from Unity. The way in which Shay plays a part in all of these characters stories is very well written. The bulk of the story takes place between Black Flag and 3, before the downfall of the brotherhood that you help resurrect in Assassin’s Creed 3. Not only that but you heavily contribute to the downfall. Which is a fairly major plotline that is awesome to see from the other side. The final section of the game is set in 1776 (yes, the same time period as Unity) and does a fantastic job of leading straight into the next generation of games.

Outside of the animus the story is very much in line with Black Flag and its depth is, once again, very user dependent. If you choose to only listen to the mandatory dialogue then it will seem very basic. However, if you take the time to listen to the 20 tablets and 20 computers that are scattered around there is a whole wealth of depth to be had. The story seems quite short as well, with only 6 memory sequences and 4 modern day sequences compared to numbers in the teens that previous entries had. But don’t let that steer you away from the game. What it lacks in length it more than makes up for in pacing and mission variety.

There is only ONE tailing mission in the entire game and ZERO eavesdropping missions. These mission’s killed previous games and cutting them out makes for a much better experience. The variety is some of the best in recent memory. From naval battles to fort heists, the game is fresh and interesting from the outset to the end credits.


The achievements in the game are a lot longer single player wise. Tasking you to do just about everything the game has to offer. However with the omission of Multiplayer the 1000 should be one of the shorter (and more enjoyable) ones to complete. Nothing is truly missable either. You can go back anywhere at any time to mop up something you missed. You won’t get much until the very end of the game however since almost all the achievements are tied to finished sets of objectives. Overall it’s a very standard achievement list for an Assassin’s Creed game. If you have done a previous one you should know what to expect.

To answer the question I posed in my opening paragraph: No, this is far from a dying breath from the old generation of consoles and is definitely worth your time. In fact this is a must play for any fan of the series and is arguably the best one. Blending the best parts from the series to make one stunning experience. The big question that Rogue answers is “what is it like to be on the other side?” and it answers this incredibly well. While it reuses a lot from previous games it manages to combine it in such a way that it is a comprehensive Assassin’s Creed experience. With a story that leads right into the events of Unity it is worth playing this one before diving into the new generation.

Summary:
+In animus story
+No tailing or eavesdropping
+No multiplayer
+Shay Patrick Cormac
+Mission Variety

-While it reuses a lot of stuff in a great way, it’s still reusing stuff.
-Previous Assassin’s Creed knowledge required for full effect.
-Modern day story requires the player to find it themselves
-Only available on the old generation hardware
-Some of the voice acting is a laughable

Score: 8/10

What I played: Completed the mainline story, spending a lot of time distracted by collectibles and side missions while racking up almost 16 hours of playtime.
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