Assassin’s Creed Rogue is proof gamers do not actually want their franchises to change much. This game is considerably shorter than previous games with significantly less to do when compared with the other and according to my review the more fun to play Assassin’s Creed Unity. The size of the map, although quite large, is just as barren as the arctic tundra it teases you with but doesn’t actually let you traverse. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating because there are tasks to do, however there is very little motivation for completing side quests. The protagonist is interesting but his motivations for his quest are weak when compared to the stakes at hand. Rogue attempts to blur the line between good and evil by making us question whether the Brotherhood of Assassins truly walk the higher path or if they are just as blinded by power as the Templars are assumed to be. By the time the final credits rolled I felt as if the Assassins still were more virtuous than the Templars because in the end one side wanted the deaths to stop and to rethink their tactics and the other side still felt murder was the viable option despite spending 15 hours of gameplay swearing to save life instead of taking it.
The protagonist, Shay, is a determined member of the Brotherhood of Assassins when he believes them to be more power hungry after a mission goes bad. This mission in question is some of the best demonstration of last generation hardware. I wont spoil the why but it involves a nail biting escape from a town that is collapsing around you. It was very cool to see Assassin’s Creed throw in random gameplay that was enjoyable and didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth unlike the horse and buggy segments from Assassin’s Creed Revelations.
Other than a few “new” weapons and a new enemy type, Assassin’s Creed Rogue is the least original offering of Assassins Creed EV-ER! Which leads me to believe this is exactly why people prefer it over Unity. It is very familiar territory. It is comfort food. Rogue is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag with Handsome Jack’s face stapled over it to make it look like a new game. It is so identical in fact that I will put this link to a bunch of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag reviews and you can read about the gameplay mechanics because they are identical. The only difference being some of the “new” weapons and the one new enemy, the Stalker.
Once more a protagonist with daddy issues is out for revenge. It is the same story told over and over again with inferior graphics and awkward consistency. The player controlled Shay, seems assertive and convinced his path is the righteous one. But, Shay in the cut scenes doesn’t care when Templars blatantly murder innocents or that by the end he’s become a blood thirsty assassin hunter causing social chaos responsible for the deaths of many many more innocent people. That was exact reason he left the Brotherhood only to be a bigger consciousless killing machine when he switched teams.
Here’s the good news. Though it recycles practically every thing you like about the Assassin’s Creed series, it distills it and rebrands it so that it feels slightly fresh or at the very least you do get a sense of playing as a Templar. For instance, you’re once again allowed to murder innocent people, something the series stopped letting you do. Regrettably, most of the “assassins” you will confront are hoodless novices in training and do not look like the hooded renegades we’ve all come to love. This begs the question of why the Brotherhood would send out inferior foes to take down one man who is picking off their best assassins single handedly. Then within a few years, everything you just did in Rogue is undone by Connor in Assassin’s Creed III. The plot of this story becomes silly and fruitless the more you think about what a waste of a journey it ultimately was.
Every task you do, though familiar, carries the weight of removing power from the Brotherhood of Assassins. Shay will invade their camps, kill their leaders and burn the Assassin flag much like Ezio did to the Templars in Rome. Also making a return from the Ezio era is the renovation mechanic. You’ll be able to buy property and renovate it to make more income. This mechanic isn’t simply limited to cities either. Once you start sailing the Atlantic coast, you’ll come across settlements along the coast of US and Canada with structures that can be renovated.
In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the player would receive assassination missions from pigeons. In Rogue, you have the opportunity to intercept these pigeons and thwart assassin efforts. While this is a neat idea, it is the same paper chasing mini game that will net you a sea shanty in Black Flag. Also, you still chase down lyric sheets for sea shanties in Rogue, as well. The bad news is that these are the same shanties you’ve already heard in Black Flag. I literally mean the same exact songs. They didn’t re-record anything. Every asset has been recycled. The missions you probably didn’t like such as eavesdropping while tailing your target is gone. I can’t remember very many missions that required you to tail your target either. In general Rogue actually puts the “assassin” in the title because most things you do end with somebody dying.
The new enemy type is called the Stalker and they are just as cool as they are annoying. There are way too many of them. You’ll be able to identify a Stalker by hearing strange whispers. The whispers become louder and louder until it sounds as if your mind is infested with ghosts when suddenly, the stalker appears and stabs you, tosses a smoke bomb and runs away. You can guard against the Stalkers by using Eagle Vision to hunt them down before they see you. Though, in the end, most of the time they feel the need to announce themselves to you before they attack so if you’re quick, you can counter them.
There are some new-ish type weapons. There are exploding gas tanks you can blow up to poison or put your enemies to sleep as well as a grenade launcher that tosses shrapnel, poison or berzerk grenades. This sounds nice, but you also have a rifle that shoots sleep, poison and bezerk darts as well as poison and smoke bombs. Taking a fully stocked Shay through the end game was a cake walk especially if you loot enemies as you go.
Everything that Unity does to make the game more challenging Rogue does not have the scope to do because it is based on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Therefore, if you really really really liked Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, then scoop up this title because it is much more of the exact same thing. Usually every title adds something to the series. Rogue takes things away, yet, somehow, in the bigger picture, is considered a better game than Assassin’s Creed Unity. I can’t put my finger on why either. I enjoyed Unity WAY WAY more than this brief sparkle of a game that is extinguished before it even gets going.
The game has a whole bunch of cameos from the Assassin’s Creed universe but there is very little that is actually new here aside from being a twin-blade wielding Templar. Which in itself is traditionally un-templar like. Even Haythem Kenway stole his blade off an Assassin.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue: It’s Ok/Try it.
“Meh, It’s alright.”
4 Star protagonist
3 Star plot….
7.5 — Feels right.
The Jaded Gamer (IamFN2K@gmail.com)