Review by invertedlegdrop
Reviewed: 02/09/16 | Updated: 03/02/16
The best AC game since Brotherhood?
The Assassins Creed series has had a series of ups and downs. From the highpoints of the series (AC1, AC2, Brotherhood, and AC4), to the mixed entries (AC3, Liberation), to the lows of the franchise (Revelations, Unity), the series has certainly not had the best record.
In 2014, the series was (and still is) suffering from a long case of franchise fatigue. Ubisoft had a bold strategy to combat the fatigue issues; they would release two AC games over two generations of consoles. The big release for modern consoles would be Unity, and the older consoles would get Rogue. The idea was that Unity would the next big entry in the franchise, while Rogue would be for fans who wanted more of AC4s gameplay.
While Unity did become the more remembered entry, it was not for the reasons Ubisoft hoped. To be brief, Unitys launch was a technical disaster, many fans were angry with the lack of naval combat, and the game was rife with micro transactions. While Ubisoft did eventually fix the game, the damage was done. Rogue, on the other hand, got good reviews and was declared the better game mostly for the fact that the game ran properly. So today we will see just how good Rogue really is.
The story of Rogue takes place during the French and Indian War and bridges the animus story of AC4 to AC3 and follows up the modern story of AC4. You play as Shay Cormac, an assassin serving under respected Assassins Achilles (from AC3) and Adewale (from AC4) in the New York area. Through a series of events Shay becomes disillusioned with the Assassins, and becomes a Templar agent. The modern story of Rogue takes place after AC4, where Abstergo Entertainment is under a hacker attack thanks to the Assassins. Abstergo agents are tasked with fixing the damage, as the building (the same from AC4) is under lockdown. The only returning character in this section is the perky Melanie Lemay, the lady who showed you around the building in AC4.
If you played AC4, then you know how to play Rogue as nearly every aspect of gameplay shows up in Rogue. There have been some added weapons like an air rifle, which replaces the blowpipe, for example. The naval aspects of Black Flag are back in force, you will have plenty of fun sailing, looting, and fighting ship battles. Forts, treasure hunts, and legendary battles all return from AC4 as well. There have been some added upgrades for the ship combat; the swivel gun has been replaced with a chain gun type of contraption which makes boarding ships childs play. Rogue is an improved version of Black Flag for the most part to quickly sum up the gameplay.
The setting of the upper Atlantic is not as big as the Caribbean setting in 4, but makes up for that by having three different large areas instead of one giant area like 4 did. You have the River Valley and the North Atlantic, which are similar to the setting of 4, and then you have New York which is the giant city found in more traditional AC games (though it is different than its previous appearance in AC3).
As Shay you have to prevent assassinations this time around and do this via Assassin Interception missions. You have to a system similar to the AC multiplayer where you use a compass to discover hidden assassins. Beware because Assassins can be lurking everywhere though.
The game fixes some of Black Flags missteps as well. There are much less of those annoying eavesdropping missions which plagued AC4. There are still some trailing missions but still nowhere near AC4 levels. The fleet missions have returned, but have been improved. You can skip the combat now, and you can use your in-game money to buy holds for your ships and repair them instead of those diamond things from 4. Also there no more of those tedious dive missions as well.
The hacking from AC4 also returns, but this you are repairing computers instead of hacking them. Though there is only one variation of the repair mini-game, you can easily solve all the puzzles. Once you repair the computer youll unlock more of those Abstergo tidbits that were amusing in AC4. The tidbits range from conversations between Abstrego employees to backstory on historical Templars like Haytham Kenway.
There are a ton of collectables in the game and, unlike AC4, collecting everyone of an item gives you something. Remember collecting all the Animus fragments in AC4 and getting nothing? Well now collecting fragments will unlock voice logs from Juno for example. Most of the rewards for collecting all the items are cosmetic but it will keep you occupied for a long time. Rogue does not lock off collectables behind chapters unlike earlier AC games. By Chapter 3, you can collect every item, and finish every side quest. Money is also abundant, as you can rebuild structures and collect large sums of money very easily. You can have every special item and upgrade bought by the end of the game no problem.
There are some flaws when it comes to Rogue though. The story is pretty short for a mainline AC game. Unlike most AC games which are about 10-12 chapters, Rogue is only about 6.You can just go through the story in about 8-10 hours. Since the story is so short, you are better off going after the collectables to pad the length of the game. With collectables, you can finish the game in around 18-20 hours. The platforming is also hit and miss sometimes, as sometimes the controls can just stop working. This can be a problem with platforms as sometimes you find yourself on the ground despite not wanting to jump or attacking enemies you had no intention of targeting. The last flaw is the DLC missions; they are very short and add nothing to the story. There are just a series of treasure chests to collect, and thats all for the missions.
Overall: if you are a fan of the AC games you should check out Rogue. It improves on Black Flags few flaws and delivers an interesting take on the AC formula. You can pick it for cheap today for under 20 dollars, and for that cheap price it is a pretty decent time sink.
Pros: Rogue has the most interesting story in an AC game since Brotherhood.
Ship combat is back and better than ever.
Collectables are abundant
The new gameplay of preventing Assassinations is pretty fun.
The fleet missions are improved vastly.
Collecting everything actually has rewards now.
+/-There is no multiplayer at all. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, it depends of your point of view.
Cons: The story is on the short side.
Platforming can be unreliable.
Controls will sometimes be unresponsive.
The DLC missions are too expensive and useless.
There are a decent amount of glitches though nothing game breaking.
Overall: Rogue is a great game in the AC series and fans will have a good time. It is probably best to play it before Unity, since the last level sets up the story for Unity. If you want more of Black Flag, then you will definitely have a good time with AC: Rogue.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Assassin's Creed Rogue (US, 11/11/14)
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