Assassin’s Creed is jumping into the new generation with Assassin’s Creed Unity, but not all people have made the leap into the new generation and Ubisoft is catering for them with Assassin’s Creed Rogue. Rogue also takes place in the Americas and will help to round off the Kenway saga. While the story sounds truly interesting and innovative, my hands-on time with the game was a bit less so.
As a popular part of the previous iteration in the franchise, Black Flag’s pirate ship, naval battles have returned. Your ship is even more agile, making naval battles far less cumbersome. There are also a variety of new weapons that players can use to destroy their targets – getting chased by a ship, feel free to throw some fire oil overboard behind you. Ramming is also much faster and more fun, letting you attack your enemies from all angles when you combine everything in your arsenal.
Ships aren’t the only things with new entries in the arsenal. Players gain access to a gas mask, useful when using poison gas against your enemies, as well as a firecracker dart to draw attention. My favorite new inventory item is the Berserk grenade. While not great for stealth, it damages enemies while releasing a cloud of gas that causes the enemies to turn on each other. It’s nice to see even greater variety to add to strategies other than just smoke bombing and killing everyone.
Side activities return, of course, and you can take out enemy forts that are speckled around the map. These fort missions are much more multi-layered – you must not only infiltrate, but also destroy a few key objects before taking out the fort captain. Seeing as you’re going against the assassins, your enemies are generally members of their brotherhood. This is much more fun as they also use stealth, special attacks and can even find you when you’re hiding. It’s a much more dynamic experience than previous entries in the franchise. Another side-mission you could do was rescuing POWs, but I was much more interested in destroying ships and then rushing off to see the Northern Lights.
As I sailed off to the north, I encountered some gang ships. These gangs are allied with the assassins, causing them to attack the player on sight. In fact, the one ship rammed me, putting me into a boarding fight. It was quite cool as I was then forced to take out a bunch of the plebs as well as the captain to kick them off my ship. Once I defeated them, I was then given three options of what to do with the enemy ship, much like in Black Flag. I could use the ship to repair my own vessel, add the ship to my fleet for side activities, or simply strip it for parts. This time there won’t be a companion app for the game – all the fleet management will take place through the captain’s quarters.
While the naval stuff is still a whole bunch of fun, the land based activities are still much of the same. Parkour functions as you would expect it to, complete with missed jumps and frustrating controls. While I love the open areas and ability to run around and climb, it’s just irritating when you can’t get the character to go where you want him to. It ends up making the gameplay feel dated and limited by what the old consoles can manage. In the end, while I loved the new additions and enjoyed my time with the game, it simply didn’t feel new or innovative – it felt like Black Flag with a new spin rather than a completely new game. Fans of the last installment will certainly enjoy the game, but it’s more of the same instead of anything fresh or exciting.
Last Updated: August 15, 2014