Thursday, November 20, 2014

Assassin's Creed: Rogue (Non-Spoiler) review

    Assassin's Creed: Rogue has the misfortune of being born the Tyrion Lannister of the franchise in that it was released as a last-generation console game on the same day as its current-generation console brother, Assassin's Creed: Unity. Many people, myself included, thought Rogue would end up being nothing more than a shameless cash-grab before everyone started trading in their Xbox 360s.

    We were wrong.

    Or, if we were right, that doesn't prevent Rogue from being a damn fine game.

It's good to see Adewale live to a ripe old age.
    I'm stunned by so many competing reviews giving the game scores of sevens or eights due to re-used assets, which is like like complaining about speeding at the Indy 500. Assassin's Creed is a franchise built on re-used assets. That's why the games come out like clockwork every year and we keep buying them because they're awesome re-used assets.

    I haven't played Unity yet, so I can't compare the games but I can say it was a mistake not to release this as both a current generation and last generation game. Assassin's Creed: Rogue is good, extremely good, and I hope it'll be ported soon.

    The game continues the Modern Age story of Abstergo Entertainment's beta-tester from Black Flag, allows you to play a Templar for the first (technically second) time, introduces numerous interesting characters, resolves the fates of returning ones from previous games, has an amazing lead, is excellently plotted, and has a staggering amount of stuff to do. Indeed, the latter part is one of the game's few flaws.

Lots of side-quests to retake towns, supply crates, forts, and gang headquarters. These are great.
    The premise is Shay Cormac is an Assassin who becomes disillusioned with the Assassin way of doing things after a series of events. Eventually, he becomes a Templar agent charged with hunting down and destroying his former associates. This isn't a spoiler as it's all revealed in the video game's trailer. Shay is an immensely likable lead and reminds me of, if you'll forgive the constant Game of Thrones references, the Starks.

    Shay isn't motivated by personal revenge but the greater good, which isn't always that easy to identify. Many fans will disagree with his reasoning for leaving the Assassins and joining the Templars but I understood his logic. Shay doesn't believe Nothing is true, Everything is permitted. He believes there are lines people shouldn't cross and there are simple truths to the world. He wants to fight for the Little GuyTM and, ironically, ends up serving the ultimate representatives of the Man.

    Is he right?


    The fact you can make an argument either way is a sign of good writing.

The Morrigan is a beautiful ship. My favorite in the series.
    The game starts out playing identically to Black Flag. You're a privateer with the French Navy, secretly working for the Assassins. You can use your piratical skills to build up your ship, The Morrigan, and build a fleet to make yourself rich . The game doesn't stop at cribbing from Black Flag, though, as you eventually become a landlord like in Brotherhood.

    Shay can use his immense wealth to build almshouses, soup-kitchens, grain mills, and so on in order to make life easier for the poor. The fact a Templar is doing this rather than an Assassin goes to show something is seriously wrong with the situation in the Americas. This is in addition to a return of hunting and treetop parkour from Assassin's Creed 3. In a very real way, this game comes across a "greatest hits" of the series.

    The best new feature in the game is the addition of 'Stalkers.' These are, of course, the Assassins Shay is forced to hunt. Once he breaks ties with the Brotherhood, his former associates work tirelessly to try and kill him. They hide in haystacks, crowds, and on rooftops in hopes of ambushing Shay the same way you do your enemies. The Stalkers are far, far, tougher than guards and killed me many times. There's also a fun reversal of Assassination Contracts where you have missions to rescue your fellow Templars from Assassin ambushes.

    I approve.
Hope is a character who needed a bigger role in the game.
    So does the game have flaws? Yes, but they're small ones. One thing is the game is way-way too packed with sidequests. In order to get the Templar armor, for example, you have to find 24 relics using maps to traverse the entire map. What the hell happened to eight relics? There's also a staggering number of other relics you can pick up which, again, involve scouring the massive maps. It felt overwhelming rather than fun.

    The main quest is also truncated in a way it shouldn't be. There's only Six Sequences and the game speeds you along to the conclusion. There could easily have been two more Sequences and a host of other Assassination targets before the game reaches its climax. Like Assassin's Creed 2, the game could use a Bonfire of the Vanities or Siege on Battle of Forli-style set of DLC set during the main campaign.

    In conclusion, Rogue is a great game. If it's got any flaws, it's that there's both too much and too little of it. I love Shay and wouldn't mind seeing a sequel starring him. I'm torn between giving this game a nine and a ten given how annoying side-questing could be but if the other reviews can be unfair, so can I.

    For the spoiler review of the game's storyline, go here.


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  1. Great review with many good points that I agree with.

    Shay is very likeable and very interesting as a character. He's in some ways a foil to Connor and Edward Kenway. For Connor in how he sees the world and how he sees the Assassin and Templar Conflict and yet suffered from that by both sides with the difference in how Achielles deals with it as shown in both Rgoue and AC3.

    Edward in how both are working class, seen as louts and idiots while showing more intelligence than many assume they have, both hold to their own creed in a way, and yet while Edward had patience and compassion from Mary Reed and her leader for his actions and views, Shay has neither given to him and this affects the way both act.

    I would Shay while Shay worked with the Templars he never fully became one, he as he put it has his own creed and works for what he sees is for the right cause.

    Yes I felt the side content in this game felt very exhausting at times and the mains tory a little short in places, a shame as I felt the characters and setting were done very well, Hope being my favourite women assassin of the series.

    George Moro being a decent character as well helped to show Templars can have decent people in its rank..

    I liked the modern day stuff in this game. Juhio was quite interesting and feels a more in depth character than Vidic did and seeing the ending with ML having taken Oliver's place (watch dog explain what happened to him since it takes place in AC universe).

    Oh Shay's story is far form over from what I saw in the ending, I love how it ties into Unity. Shays arc in my view has only just begun and I hope to see them explore him more in future games.

    Yes I think Rogue needs some dlc to lengthen the main story, Rogue overall is the game I felt deserved to be next gen not unity.

    1. An excellent review on your own. Shay's story is one of the best Assassin's Creed stories I can remember playing and rivals Edward's for enjoyability. I do think things could have been a little tighter in terms of the side-content and giving us more of Shay's character development but I think this is definitely a great-great game. I think Juhani is also an excellent villain for the modern day Assassins and hope he shows up in future games but they seem to be de-emphasizing that portion of the story--which irritates me as I've always liked Desmond and company's adventures.