November 11, 2014

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

Lasting First Impressions

After more than 80 hours in the world of last year’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, all I wanted was more content for the game.  Freedom Cry, the stand alone story of Edward Kenway’s first mate, Adewale, was good but it just didn’t fill that void left when I completed everything there was to do in Black Flag.  While I am always excited for a new game in the Assassin’s Creed series, I knew that Assassin’s Creed Unity was going to be set in Paris, so there wouldn’t be any naval settings in it.  That is where this year’s Assassin’s Creed Rogue comes in.  Ubisoft has crafted another story set within the confines of the world begun in Assassin’s Creed III, set in a time that is a direct sequel to the events in Black Flag.  With this latest edition of Assassin’s Creed, available only on Xbox 360 and PS3, it feels like the Americas story has come full circle.

AC Unity Screen (1)

Assassin’s Creed Rogue tells a new story from a different point of view.  This time our assassin hero is Shay Cormac who, after obediently following his master’s will, witnesses something that he just can’t forgive and blames the Assassin Order.  As a result, he turns from the order and becomes a Templar determined to stop the Assassins.  It is certainly a twist to the series to make the player hero a Templar, but it also gives the player a new view of the world we’ve only before seen through the eyes of the Assassin Order.  The events in this game take place after the events of Black Flag and even those of Freedom Cry, but before the events of ACIII.  Characters we’ve seen from both Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed III return, furthering the feeling of completing the stories set in the Americas.

Gameplay in Assassin’s Creed Rogue feels exactly like that of Black Flag.  Even the UI elements are the same we saw last year so it is very easy to jump into the game and get going.  It’s as if I never actually stopped playing Black Flag.  And that’s not a bad thing.  Sure there’s some new abilities added to spice things up a bit, like new naval weapons including burning oil and a gatling gun.  New environments are introduced as well, including River Valley and the North Atlantic, which actually includes Halifax, Nova Scotia.  It was a delight to finally see the Assassin’s Creed series land in Canada.  We even get to visit the Davenport Homestead years before Connor ever made it his home.  Visually, the game looks great too, even if it was designed solely for the previous generation of consoles.  Ubisoft knows how to push the boundaries of the hardware and, at this late stage of the game, they have certainly done it again with Assassin’s Creed Rogue.  Sure, it’s not going to look as beautiful as Assassin’s Creed Unity will on the new consoles, but this is a great looking Xbox360/PS3 game, just as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was before it.

AC Unity Screen (6)

Like all of the games before it, there are plenty of activities to keep the player busy in Assassin’s Creed Rogue.  When not directly engaged in the main story missions, all of the side activities introduced in Black Flag return, including some new collectibles that look like diamonds.  These introduce new ‘cheats’ into the game for the first time.  While this may sound strange for an Assassin’s Creed game, it actually fits well into the modern day story presented here.  Once again, you are a researcher at Abstergo Entertainment and, in the course of reliving Shay Cormac’s life, a virus was introduced into the Abstergo mainframe and all the connected computers.  The modern day sequences revolve around restarting the ‘cores’ inside the computers scattered around the offices, and picking up stray tablets that were left behind when the building was evacuated.  These stray tablets give more inside information into the workings of Abstergo and keen eyed players will notice some connections between past games and even Assassin’s Creed Unity.

As with the previous several Assassin’s Creed games, it takes much more than a single hour to really get into the thick of the story.  It wasn’t until about the 6 hour mark that Shay leaves the Assassins in a very dramatic and tense gameplay sequence.  Regardless, even after the first hour of playing, it was evident that Assassin’s Creed Rogue is everything I loved about last year’s Black Flag plus some more.  It seems we’ve got another 80+ hour adventure on our hands here, but from the other side of the coin.  Shay Cormac is an Assassin turned Templar and this time we get to see what the world is like on the other side of the fence.  Are you and Assassin or a Templar?

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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