Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Assassin's Creed Rogue Review - It's Good to Be Bad

Score: 8.25 / 10
Assassin's Creed: Rogue
PC - Xbox 360 - PS3
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 11th, 2014

  • One of the more captivating stories of the franchise
  • For being a last-gen title, visuals still as sharp as ever
  • Mission structure and enjoyability is a step above the rest
  • Slew of collectibles and side content
  • Enemy AI is still a pushover
  • No feel of a templar
  • Many of the same game mechanics of Black Flag

Assassin's Creed: Rogue is not the best title in the franchise, it is not the most game changing entry, and it is not without its fair share of faults; it is however one of the better titles they have released since Brotherhood. Surprising, considering AC: Unity took the spotlight when the games were released at the same time.

I know what you are thinking, there is already so much in terms of Assassin Creed games, why is this one so special?

"I am just not dressed for this weather"

The story, unlike the previous tales, is much more straight forward than the others in the series. You are not subjected to much outside the Animus, and the little you encounter never outstays its welcome. You still play the role of an Abstergo employee diving into the animus, stumbling upon a corrupt memory file that bugs the servers and you are tasked with clearing the system; but you never dwell too far into it and are instead more involved with Shay's adventure. You work your way from newly appointed Assassin recruit to well versed Templar leader, encountering familiar faces throughout. In particular, you see a younger, more brash Haymitch (Connor's mention from AC3) whose orders for Shay lead to continual clash for Precursor artifacts between Shay and his former Assassin allies. The events that play out have you questioning both sides and the lengths they will go to gain a leg up on the other, as you see Shay struggling with the same concept.

Ubisoft knows that this is not your first AC game, and the overall pacing of the game is considerably better than previous titles. There is no long drawn out tutorial, no entire sequence devoted to learning how to use smoke bombs; you are thrown into the Homestead and into the open world fairly quickly. Main missions feel much more diverse and memorable. The game overall is the shortest of the AC games, but that is actually a good thing, as I never felt like they were bashing my head against certain aspects of the game.

The Unity parkour is lost, but that does not mean the game skimps on overall quality. Where you lose the parkour descent that was so great from Unity, you regain the little things, like the ability to once again whistle in cover. Shay's aresenal also presents a widened array of stealth/combat options with a grenade launcher that can put multiple enemies to sleep or berserk a group of enemies to fight amongst themselves. A new enemy type even plays the role of Assassin and must be sought out hidden amongst the high brush or population, and will strike first (taking more than half of your health) if you are not careful to dispose of them before movingto your target.

 No stranger to four on one

The die-hard completionists will find even more little things to do in this game than ever before, and act as welcome side content to improve your arsenal. All the familiars make their return; hunting for items to craft armor and upgrades, resources to collect to improve your ship, and a multitude of fragments and pieces to collect at each location. In lieu of using pigeons to accept missions you catch pigeons to intercept their orders, and protect the target before they are killed. If you have played Black Flag, chances are you will know what to expect in terms of offered content as they are vastly similar in both size and scope.

No multiplayer or co-op make an appearance in this title...and that is perfectly okay. Those modes can offer plenty to enjoy, but the focus on the single player is what made the franchise stand out in the first place.

The biggest complaint I have with the game is that for being a templar...I sure felt like an assassin. When I was an assassin I snuck into big groups of enemies to kill a single target, and as a templar you still find yourself alone and sneaking into groups. Sure they threw in assassins and missions to protect templars from assassins, but as a templar I wanted to feel a lot more powerful; commanding troops or walking into a room with an army at my disposal. Sure the red dots on my radar were now my friends, but if I bumped into them they still went on the offensive. You wear the colors of the templar and befriend their order, but you sure do not feel like one.

Assassin's Creed: Rogue feels very much like a Black Flag clone, but the personality of the game and the better pacing of the main missions made for an overall solid experience. It is not drawn out, and the shorter 10 hour campaign made for a much more enjoyable game overall, as some of the creed game can drag the point across for twice the time. If you are a fan of Assassin's Creed, I actually enjoyed this title more than Unity, and the surprise ending made me appreciate it even more. It is an all around solid game that was sadly overlooked for its prettier older brother.

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