Released on the same date as Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue looks to be a greedy attempt to grab a lion’s share of the profits generated over the Christmas season simultaneously. You never know what goes on in the gray matter of CEOs, even if they’re French. In a narrative sense, both are the denouement of Ubisoft’s American trilogy.
Unfortunately, only a week after the release date of Monday November 10, 2014, Unity seems to have both a lot of glitches, which Ubisoft claims are easily fixed by patch (as of Tuesday November 11, they’re on their third patch!), and a storyline about the revolution which seems to have pissed off France’s political left wing. For the time being Rogue can run riot all by itself.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is a game that makes a mash out of the best of its predecessors. The plot goes off in a number of interesting directions and throws out quite a few surprises that are both kinky and cute. Along the way it takes the plot in an interesting direction and manages to throw in the odd surprise. Without giving away anything, I have to say that if you liked Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, this is its logical, and better, successor.
The protagonist of this tale, sent on his mission somewhere in between Assassin’s Creed 3 and 4, is a blarney-spewing, handsome Irish charmer, Shay Cormac. Set somewhere on the Paddy-Boy stereotype scale, Seamus Cormac comes off as a charming cross between Colin Farrell and Pierce Brosnan. Recruited as an assassin, he enters the brotherhood with an old childhood friend. After various adventures, however, a disastrous assignment makes him reassess his place in the universe.
It won’t be a spoiler if I say that Shay may or may not have turned rogue. It’s no spoiler to say that Shay switches sides and we learn to see a whole new POV of the world through the eyes of a Templar. In a classic story sense utilizing Ireland’s terrible history of informers and turncoats is an exercise in abstract truth and random accuracy. Yet, all that aside, as a Templar he returns to the fray and goes into combat with old allies, trying to squelch the ambitions of his old brothers-in-arms throughout the British colonies.
Templar? Assassin? Does it matter? Most of the time you spend having adventures means running, jumping and sword fighting. Combat and killing: Lots of it! Sailing as a ship’s captain is fun, too.
What makes Assassin’s Creed: Rogue really interesting is its new weaponry. Some very deadly new toys. A silent air rifle allows you to repeatedly get the drop on the opposition. A newfangled sort of grenade launcher which fires measured shards of shrapnel and grenades are both weapons the enemy has never before encountered. There are even primitive mortars and a kind of bolt-firing crossbow-machine gun prototype. Battle-hardened warrior that you are, there’s enough new in place to keep the fun factor going for quite a long time.
My main beef would be with Ubisoft’s cost cutting. My memory in this case serves me well in that, when Assasssin’s Creed I and 2 hit the shelves, the architectural accuracy that gave us Milan, Rome and Damascus as if each had been recreated off a blueprint was breathtaking and brilliant. Now there’s no denying that Rogue has been made to a much lower budget. In many cases locations are simply recycled from Assassin’s Creed 3. No doubt about it, Ubisoft are just plain gluttonous mercenary and greedy.
On the other hand, visually, its graphics are a generation improved upon Black Flag. There are a few glitches, which seems inexcusable. Raggedy frame movements sabotage a few scenes. Why is it that now and again, with no explanation, young Shay becomes Old Shay in a few frames? Quality control, Ubisoft! Get it right, please! That aside, I’d definitely say that Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is a superior successor to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag.