AC Rogue rifle

The last generation console’s Assassin’s Creed game hasn’t been getting as much attention as the shiny new one. This a crying shame. With Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Ubisoft has reached the pinnacle of the Assassin’s Creed experience, and even made me feel better about previous iterations.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue ties up the America Saga, rounding out what happened between Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed III. The story follows Shay Patrick Cormack as he begins his stabbing journey as an Assassin, working together with the likes of Adewale and Achilles. Shay is a much more cynical character than previous assassins, questioning the value of the brotherhood’s actions and even having personality clashes with some high ranking members.

After an event that leads to the death of innocents, Shay renounces the assassins, going rogue and eventually joining up with Templars, including Haytham Kenway. There are references to Haytham’s father, as well as his son, Connor, and it helps to show the characters in a new light. Just as many of us have questioned the motives behind and implications for actions taken in Assassin’s Creed games, these characters are the most insightful and interesting – offering deeper questions while still retaining enough personality to avoid it becoming a morality quest like Assassin’s Creed III.

AC rogue

Without giving any spoilers, it is this story and the characters within it that make the game so worthwhile; these aspects elevate the experience to new heights, giving the franchise something that it so desperately needed – believable characters who are more than mindless killers. The ending of the game is superbly executed, perfectly setting the scene for Assassin’s Creed Unity and offering an ending that has stuck with me long after the credits finished rolling.

But it’s not just the story or characters that show Ubisoft’s learning curve in this iteration of Assassin’s Creed. The gameplay is also excellent, with tons to do in a much more varied way. By combining the sailing and exploration of tiny ports with a sprawling rendition of New York, players get the best of both an urban and rural experience. There are a variety of areas to capture, from forts and gang hideouts to settlements and warehouses. Resources can be used to upgrade your ship, and there is even an entire optional strategy game in the form of a naval campaign with ships under your control. There are tons of collectibles ranging from hidden treasures and parkour high points to new shanties and secret puzzles.

ACR fight

These innovations are best exemplified by the hunting of assassins. Once you go rogue, you will notice that assassin’s are amazing at hiding and stabbing you from out of nowhere. Shay needs to use eagle vision to find these stealthy killers; assassination missions now include defending the target from assassins hidden throughout the map. These battles aren’t easy, but they are incredibly rewarding when you feel like the best sneaky stabber of the bunch.

Combat is still the same, unfortunately. I still find this one of the greatest let downs of the Assassin’s Creed franchise – combat becomes a boring combination of waiting for attacks, countering, and occasionally kicking a heavy guy first so I can break his guard before killing him. It’s all very uninspired and feels particularly clunky after playing similar games that execute this gameplay aspect so well.

ACR combat

Another element that seems to fall short is the parkour. While much of it is excellent and there is nothing like running across New York rooftops or synchronizing an area from the top of a shipwreck, the contextual movements can often feel sluggish or lead to unintended actions. I had numerous encounters where I wished to jump across to a tree branch in order to assassinate a target only to jump right in front of the target instead. Not ideal.

A final point of criticism would be the loading times. It is very clear that this game is being played on old generation consoles – loading times when moving from one area to the next, or between sequences, could feel long. While this was to be expected, it got rather frustrating after desynchronizing from a mission only to have to wait in order to try again.

ACR air rifle

It’s understandable why loading times are so long, though – the environments are truly massive. Each area feels huge, with tons to do, explore and discover. Exploration is further rewarded by offering unique upgrades through blueprints that can only be found in obscure areas. Want the best possible cannon or mortar for your ship, you will need to unearth the plans in a remote area. Beyond simple exploration, there are forts to take over and settlements to claim, each with unique victory parameters. Add to that convoys to rob and man o’ wars to conquer and the game’s scale seems to just keep growing.

Each area is also incredibly well rendered. Sure, it’s still clearly old generation – foliage doesn’t look right up close and shadows on faces look like blurry messes, but the actual set pieces and textures are excellent, making the most of the older console’s power. There are some stunning visuals, particularly when sailing towards the Northern Lights or even into a blizzard. The audio is similarly lovingly created, from a dynamic sound track to some excellent voice talent. From Shay’s Irish accent to James Cook’s Scottish brogue, each character offers emotional and compelling performances.

ACR sailing

The controls are fairly familiar now, having played Assassin’s Creed games in this form for a while. New weaponry is fun to experiment with, although I still found myself using the usual tactics that I’ve used in previous titles. That said, when I did mix it up with some of the new toys, I found that I had a lot more fun and a much more varied experience.

The out-of-Animus experience is also fun, although less light-hearted than Black Flag’s. Again, you play as an employee of Abstergo Entertainment, but from the start you are more aware of some conspiracies at play. While wandering the halls collecting abandoned tablets and hacking other people’s computer terminals, Ubisoft has filled the present day experience with tons of Easter Eggs, nods to gaming industry controversies and clues to future projects. It’s never heavy handed, though, and if you want to completely ignore it, time spent out of the Animus will be limited so that you can jump straight back into the parts of the game that you enjoy.

ACR women

For those who haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed game in years, this one is well worth picking up. It brings together the best innovations the franchise has seen, combining the naval and urban experiences with excellent characters and a compelling storyline. A must-play for fans of the franchise, and arguably the best Assassin’s Creed game to date.

 

Last Updated: November 13, 2014

Assassin's Creed: Rogue
Combining fantastic story telling, intriguing characters and tons to do, Rogue takes Assassin's Creed to the pinnacle of old generation capabilities. Niggling issues are still present, but the story and characters make the experience seriously worthwhile.
8.5
Assassin's Creed: Rogue was reviewed on PlayStation 3
72 / 100

41 Comments

  1. Captain JJ the valiant

    November 13, 2014 at 12:11

    I need to put some time aside and just work through the Assassins Creed games that I have.
    Also (and off subject)
    Why are we not talking about The Witcher Adventure Game? I know it’s practically a pc version of the board game, but it definitely has me intrigued.

    Reply

    • Viking Of Divinity

      November 13, 2014 at 12:14

      I’ve played the Beta Version of that…b Totally gonna buy the actual Boardgame!

      Reply

      • Captain JJ the valiant

        November 13, 2014 at 12:21

        Me too. Might buy the pc version too though, just for that MP when you can’t get people to come over.

        Reply

    • Skyblue

      November 13, 2014 at 12:23

      Don’t waste your time, they all just blur into one huge mess. (AC that is)

      Reply

      • Captain JJ the valiant

        November 13, 2014 at 12:27

        I have 2 on PS3 (which looks a bit funny) and 3 on pc (which I got for free when I bought my previous gfx card).

        Reply

      • Pduddy

        November 14, 2014 at 15:49

        Yes.

        Reply

  2. Viking Of Divinity

    November 13, 2014 at 12:14

    I want this to outsell Unity, because Ubi done F’d up on that.

    Reply

    • house_hero

      November 13, 2014 at 12:34

      I think Ubisoft really need this to outsell Unity tbh…. Investors are not happy with AC Unity’s performance atm.

      Reply

  3. RinceThis

    November 13, 2014 at 12:18

    Oh crap. Now I may have to spend money. Still loving my 360!

    Reply

  4. Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

    November 13, 2014 at 12:22

    I’ll wait for the inevitable “HD port” to the QUAD.

    Reply

  5. Aries

    November 13, 2014 at 12:25

    Should have been made for PS4 and Xbone and PC, what a waste. Probably just going to read up on the story, not buying another game for my ps3

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      November 13, 2014 at 12:26

      As Martin said below, there’ll definitely be an HD remaster on the new gen consoles.

      Reply

      • Aries

        November 13, 2014 at 12:28

        Which is just another money raping scheme, I also knew it would come to that but still rather make it for all generations and everyone will be happy. How do you limit the ending of a series to one generation

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          November 13, 2014 at 12:38

          I agree. It’s not right. Ubisoft are making a lot of mistakes at the moment.

          Reply

  6. house_hero

    November 13, 2014 at 12:26

    old gen > new gen. Assassin’s Creed Rogue: Recoup Edition

    Reply

  7. Sir Rants A Lot is a DADDY

    November 13, 2014 at 12:27

    It really is the rogue title. AC:Unity is crap and this one has gone rogue to be good. Heh. Go figure

    Reply

  8. OVG

    November 13, 2014 at 12:28

    So confused. Ubisoft Production Conveyer belt be like

    http://media.giphy.com/media/FdZi0D8Bs5glO/giphy.gif

    Reply

  9. OVG

    November 13, 2014 at 12:30

    I BET the Frame Rate on the 360 and PS3 runs faster than the shit Unity on the Update Box and Wait Station 4

    Reply

    • Jeremy Freeman

      November 13, 2014 at 20:01

      Yes it does, for 9 year old hardware its a gorgeous game. And fun as hell too. Many different landscape, side missions, etc. A blast. Got mine for 360, NO regrets. As usual.

      Reply

  10. MakeItLegal

    November 13, 2014 at 12:36

    awe sick , but what is the price ?

    Reply

    • Kensei Seraph Never Forget Ouk

      November 13, 2014 at 12:37

      My rough and uninformed guess is about R600 on the PS3 and R500 on the 360.

      Reply

      • MakeItLegal

        November 13, 2014 at 12:38

        so 500 for pc ?

        Reply

        • Kensei Seraph Never Forget Ouk

          November 13, 2014 at 12:40

          BT Games has them listed as R699 for PS3 and 360 and no PC version is listed.
          AWX has them listed as R745 for PS3 and 360 for members and also no PC version is listed.

          Reply

          • Aries

            November 13, 2014 at 12:45

            Its not for PC at all at the moment

          • MakeItLegal

            November 13, 2014 at 19:13

            Steam !

          • Aries

            November 13, 2014 at 20:05

            Nope not at all

          • MakeItLegal

            November 13, 2014 at 12:50

            thats alot hey wow AMW

            no pc version , mm

          • Captain JJ the valiant

            November 13, 2014 at 13:03

            If you buy on Uplay for pc, expect to pay around R700 R800, since it’s in EURO

  11. Uberutang

    November 13, 2014 at 13:00

    Really looking forward to this on PC later next year.

    Reply

  12. MakeItLegal

    November 13, 2014 at 14:51

    just bought unity through steam , cause my mate did the same , cant wait to bomb it with a mate , just out of curiosty is there competitive MP or only co op ?

    Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      November 13, 2014 at 15:00

      only coop, no competitive MP

      Reply

      • MakeItLegal

        November 13, 2014 at 19:11

        What for real ?

        U think maybe through a doc they will add it ?

        Wow what a surprise I knew there was Gana be 4 player co op , but not death match at all ? Really ? Wow

        Reply

    • OVG

      November 13, 2014 at 15:25

      Enjoy kissing this thing ๐Ÿ˜›

      Reply

      • OVG

        November 13, 2014 at 15:28

        Imagine if The Last of Us had bugs like that? Fcuk… what is wrong with the QA department at U-noplay?

        Reply

      • MakeItLegal

        November 13, 2014 at 19:12

        Ha ha I can’t wait

        Epic glitches here I come

        Can’t wait to stress the pc with this ! Bring those 5000 people

        Reply

      • WitWolfy

        November 17, 2014 at 08:59

        Thats BS, I havent encountered any glitches like that or anything game breaking while playing AC Unity on PS4.

        Reply

        • OVG

          November 17, 2014 at 09:02

          Good, I was hoping it was just the Master Race making a storm in a tea cup. Glad you are enjoying it ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply

  13. Jeremy Freeman

    November 13, 2014 at 19:58

    Rogue is much better in every way. May not have the graphical prowess of Unity. But that seems to be the problem for Unity now doesn’t it. To much focus on graphics, and not enough on the game itself. Even without the glitches, low fps, it’s still just an average game with a crappy story, and nothing new to offer (gameplay wise). Rogue on the other hand has some brilliant ideas, beautiful new landscapes, tons of free roam environment, and many other great things. My advice, dust off your 360 if you haven’t been using it (or PS3), and get Rogue. You won’t regret it, I’ve been playing it nonstop. GREAT game. Last gen or NOT. I’m only really waiting for Uncharted 4 anyways.

    Reply

  14. Mark C Baxter

    April 29, 2015 at 18:26

    Good review. Personally i would rate it 7-7.5/10. Pros: Huge play area, tons of side quests, great voice acting, great atmospheric soundtrack, lush environments, no irritating tailing, underwater and evesdropping sections and an interesting story. Cons: Recycled gameplay and dull combat, Shay feels really clumsy for an assassin, even an ex-one (seems to be no ideal foot travel speed, walking, even ‘fast walk’ takes to long and running is too haphazard). Lack of memorable (new) NPC’s compared to BF, despite the good voice work.

    Reply

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