Ubisoft brings an almost forgotten entry in the Assassin’s Creed saga to current-gen consoles.
Back in 2014, the news that Assassin’s Creed Unity was not coming out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 had some fans feeling left out. The knowledge that the last-gen consoles were getting their own Assassin’s Creed game in Assassin’s Creed Rogue, smoothed things over a bit.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue has now been polished up and remastered for PS4 and Xbox One fans. Interestingly, like last week’s Burnout Paradise, Assassin’s Creed Rogue is available to Xbox One owners as part of the Xbox 360 backwards compatibility program. Unlike Burnout Paradise, however, Assassin’s Creed Rogue’s Xbox 360 visuals don’t really hold up very well upscaled on the Xbox One.
Of course, remastering Assassin’s Creed Rogue now means that apart from the original game, every one of the main Assassin’s Creed games is now available natively on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue is set in the mid-eighteenth century during the Seven Years’ War. Players take on the role of Shay Patrick Cormac, an Irish-American assassin. Whilst searching for one of the ancient pieces of Eden, Shay uncovers one of the assassins’ dirty little secrets and, rather than potentially be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, switches sides and joins the Templars.
The chance to see the world of Assassin’s Creed from the other side of the fence is a great idea. But I can’t say that Ubisoft really took full advantage of the opportunity that Rogue afforded them.
Even in this story, it’s clear that Ubisoft see the Assassins as the good guys and the Templars as the bad. I’d say that they are both different sides of the same coin. On one side you have a band of indiscriminate murderers and on the other a group of brutal dictators. Neither side really has clean hands.
It would have been nice for Rogue to play devils advocate a little more and show us the world truly from the Templar point of view. Painting a picture whereby the Templars are the benevolent party trying to shepherd the world to a glorious future despite the Assassins’ attempt to plunge the world into chaos.
Alas, we only get a lukewarm attempt at the above. The developers can never quite bring themselves to darken the intent of the titular heroes of the series. What we do get is a unique tale that does tell a different side to the Assassin’s Creed mythos.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue ties up a few loose ends from Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, with Shay returning to some familiar locations and meeting some familiar characters. As a result, of the above, the game shares many assets with the previous game. The game also segues quite nicely into Assassin’s Creed Unity, making Rogue a game-length prologue to the events of Unity.
Rogue draws heavily on the nautical theme of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, it almost feels like an expansion to what I still think is the best Assassin’s Creed game to date. The island-hopping, the naval combat all give the game a very similar vibe to that of Black flag.
Shay captains a ship called the Morrigan in a play-area from New York to the North Atlantic. The ship can also traverse rivers, it’s shallow hull seemingly making it much more manoeuvrable during ship-to-ship combat. Having a ship that can turn on a penny may push the boundaries of reality but it certainly makes for some exciting sea battles.
The visuals have been given a shot in the arm. It’s more than just an increase in texture resolution. The game likely uses the more high-fidelity models and textures from the original PC version, but there are other additions like foliage moving as Shay sneaks though it and smoke from the cannons that were missing from the Xbox 360 / PS3 version.
The game is packed with things to do. There’s side missions, forts and collectables scattered about the game world. You could spend hours and hour doing nothing but picking fights on the high seas.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue is an important and very entertaining chapter in the series that, up until now, has been denied to PS4 and XB1 owners. It is a must have game for fans of the series, particularly players still pining over the nautical adventures of Edward Haytham in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
Released: March 2018
Platforms: Xbox One