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Assassin’s Creed Rogue

By Bobfish29-04-2015

The Defence

Ubisoft Sofia / Ubisoft Kiev
Action, Adventure
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz
AMD FX-6100 3.3 GHz
Nvidia GeForce GTX 560Ti
AMD Radeon HD 6870
4 GB
12 GB

The Case

We’re all familiar with the Assassin’s Creed series by now. And let’s be honest, we all like them too. Some of us have a very love/hate kind of relationship with them, but Ubisoft are on to a winner. They have the system refined to a fine art and, at least thus far, have produced a quality product each year. Even Unity, after they cleaned up all the bugs of course. In fact, this year, they’re putting out not one, or even two, but five AC games. Albeit three of them being 2D spin-offs. More on them another time, however, because today we’re here for Assassin’s Creed Rogue.

The Trial

There’s no point beating around the bush. It’s an Assassin’s Creed game. If you really, genuinely need to ask if it’s any good, you are a very silly person. Actually, it’s possibly one of the best in the series. Technically speaking at least. Despite, or perhaps because, of being made, initially, for the older generation of home consoles, the PC release is amazingly well optimised. So much so, in fact, that it only serves to further frustrate one with Ubisoft’s typical MO when it comes to their PC releases. They did a genuinely superb job this time around, with a side game in the series, so why can’t they do that all the time?

He looks fine to me.

He looks fine to me.

Whilst the actual fidelity of the visuals is, at least technically, still lagging behind even Assassin’s Creed III, it’s a beautiful game. Textures are sharp, crisp and gloriously detailed. The water looks so beautiful I wanted to dive straight in and frolic every time I saw it. Meanwhile, the pointed application of mist serves to heighten the atmosphere as well as obscuring the reduced draw distance and still noticeable (if minor) pop-in. Add on top a rock solid 60fps and you have yourself one of the most stable Ubi games in a very long time.

Functionally, however, Rogue lags behind somewhat. Oddly, even some features which were present in Liberation (weapon variety mostly) are absent this time around. Likely as a side effect of being a ‘last gen’ title. Which is a ridiculous excuse, because so were all the other games before Unity, and they didn’t limit you to a series of reskinned, but functionally identical, swords and pistols as your only weapons. The clothing system is also somewhat trimmed down, with a wide variety of costumes yes, but no customisability within them. No dying your robes bright pink, more’s the shame.

Having said all that, those really are nothing more than minor nit-picks. Overall, the game world is enormous. Whilst the plot is barely eight hours at the very most, the world it takes place in is ludicrously huge. Filled with a dizzying array of animals to hunt, both on land and by sea. Oodles of side quests, most of which are lifted straight from Black Flag, and the naval aspect which adds a practically endless amount of playability. Any complaints that may have persisted thus far, are well and truly quashed now. Making the simple act of playing the game, on the ocean, so compelling that the missions, both narrative and optional, become an irritation that you want to get out of the way so you can get back to sailing and boarding other ships.

I guess yo momma's waist size really is equator.

I guess yo momma's waist size really is equator.

The story itself, meanwhile, is pretty standard fair for a Creed game. It adds some context to events seen in other entries, such as the specifics of how Achilles came to walk with a limp and some real world text/audio logs that give some insight to developments in the real world since the death (yes, it’s ‘confirmed’) of Desmond. And, for the most part, it does its job well. Including a brief cameo, right at the very end, from Arno. However, the moment of Shay’s rejection of the Brotherhood was utter bollocks. Making about as much sense as shooting yourself in the left butt cheek with a potato gun.

Basically, he throws a bitch fit about Lisbon shaking itself down to its foundations when he attempts to remove a precursor artefact from an underground temple. The whole place erupts into an immense earthquake and you have to make a mad dash out of the city. One of the more ‘cinematic’, but also more enjoyable segments. It’s nothing more than a steeple chase, but it’s handled well and it just looks cool. Running through the streets with giant fissures opening up at your feet, buildings collapsing ahead of you and teetering to the side as you run through them.

Anyway. Knowing that he caused it, the same as an event mentioned when the same happened to Haiti. Shay flies into a rage and insists on destroying a manuscript which will allow the brotherhood to find more of them. Picking a fight with, like, everyone and just grabbing it and doing a runner. Instead of, y’know, trying to explain what all the fuss is about. Nevermind that he sides with the Templars who, as far as we could tell, wanted to do the exact same ruddy thing. It just...yeah. However, when viewed in context with certain events in the brief real world sections, the whole game comes across as skewed and biased. Serving more as a piece of Templar propaganda than anything else. It’s actually quite a nice little piece of meta-commentary.

Shay's defection is still bloody stupid though.

Tinker, sailor, assassin, spy.

Tinker, sailor, assassin, spy.

All in all, Rogue is actually one of the very best entries in the series. It really is. The relative brevity of the campaign is disappointing, reminding me, somewhat, of Gat out of Hell. With both being obvious sub-games packed mostly with filler (there is an absolute shitload of that) in the shape of side quests. With the ultimate gaoling being something to tide you over until the next main game. The difference, here, being that there’s already a major entry in the series that’s still almost brand new, and Gat was a third the price of a full game, not the same price.

The Verdict

Having said all that, it’s well worth picking up. It runs like a dream (still leaving me sore Ubi can’t do that more often) and has plenty of content that, for the most part, is at least easy to play. It’s a fun game, it looks great and, for once, the main character isn’t a giant, walking ballsack of pure, unfiltered machismo. Shay is actually quite a likeable, relatable character. And spending more time with Haytham was very welcome.

Case Review

  • Optimisation: It can be done! Ubisoft can make a game that runs smoothly.
  • Scale: Though the plot is a little lacking, the world is most certainly not.
  • Visuals: A gorgeously detailed playground for any self-respecting pirate. Arr!
  • Length: A good 6-8 hours, which is actually pretty decent for most games, it is nonetheless distinctly lacking for an open-world title.
  • Trimmed Down: Weapon variety and clothing customisation are the most limited in the series, even including Liberation. Which is nit-picky, but still annoying.
Score: 4.5/5
Technically solid and one of the best optimised games Ubisoft have produced in a long time.
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