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Preview

Playing The Turncoat In Assassin's Creed Rogue

Revenge of the Templars.

Assassin’s Creed Unity might be the game that’s grabbing all of the headlines, whether it’s with co-operative play or the shift back to a landlocked plot in Paris, but it’s coming out only for the latest generation of console hardware, leaving the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the lurch. Instead, the older consoles get their own specific game, Assassin’s Creed Rogue.

As I think back to the start of the year, it was easy to assume that having just perfected their sailing mechanics and created a more personable and popular character in Edward Conway, they would have continued down this path with a single unified release spanning both generations of console. However, while Unity did make this a break, it’s with Rogue that we see the sequel that I had expected.

If you played and enjoyed the boaty-licious overworld of Black Flag, then you will feel right at home in Rogue. You sail around the densely packed seas and oceans towards the upper reaches of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and even further north to parts of Canada and the freezing North Atlantic, replete with sheet ice and icebergs. It has that same kind of foreshortened world though, as you can very quickly get from one place to another and there are a large number of ships in any given area for you to prey upon.

Naval combat is just as easy to get the hang of in this game as it was in Black Flag, too. You simply swivel the camera towards the ship you want to fire at, pull one trigger to adjust the aim from the cannons on that side of your ship and let loose a flurry of cannon balls. However, there have been a couple of additions. There’s the machine gun-like Buckle Gun, with which you want to try and hit weak points on an enemy’s hull that you’ve created with your cannon fire. You can also create a line of fire in the water with burning oil, and the Morrigan features a charging ram, for those times when you just want to smash into other boats – though it also comes in handy for smashing through ice sheets.

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It really is just as effective as it was in Black Flag and looks great on the older hardware, to the extent that although I give them credit for constantly looking to try new things, it’s quite baffling that Ubisoft decided to move on from this particular branch of gameplay so quickly. It’s not like Rogue isn’t trying to do a few new things of its own, though, and a lot of these centre around the game’s plot.

This time around, you don’t play as one of the Assassins, but rather as a Templar. Shay Cormac may have started off and been trained as an Assassin, but his allegiances switch when he is betrayed during a mission that goes wrong, so he throws his lot in with the villains. This means is that he takes the side of the British during the Seven Years’ War, between Assassin’s Creed 3 and 4, which saw France’s influence disappear as their North American colonies were swallowed up by their rival colonial powers.

What this means for the game is that rather than Shay is busy claiming territory and attacking the fortresses of thieves and other minor factions that regularly assist the Assassins during other games in the series. Naturally, seeing as he knows the tricks of their trade, he can turn them back upon his former compatriots.

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Attacking a fortress on foot gave a handful of objectives for Shay as he skulked around. Most obviously, he’d have to cut down the flag that denoted the thieves’ ownership of the area, but that’s really just the icing on the cake. The fortress was also headed up by an Assassin, who, once they see that their goose is cooked, will try and make a break for it, dropping smoke bombs, calling guards and more to try and stop you catching them.

However, you’ll also want to destroy the Assassins’ stores of poisons, which are a newer addition in this game. Making use of them yourself, you’ll be able to see why, as you have access to darts and grenades that will put enemies to sleep or send them into a berserk frenzy as they attack one another. Using these strategically will certainly give you the advantage, especially as Shay is able to drop into these clouds of smoke and pull up a primitive gas mask so that he’s not affected by the poisons.

With Unity’s release date having recently been pushed back to the same as that of Rogue, there’s no doubt that this game is going to be overshadowed by the new generation of consoles, but that’s not to say that Rogue doesn’t have its own particular charms. It’s clear that it picks up exactly where Black Flag left off, but that was a particularly popular Assassin’s Creed game for good reason. Rogue’s biggest challenge is really in carving out a space for itself in the universe’s overall narrative and in making Shay a relatable and appealing character, despite being one of the bad guys.

7 Comments
  1. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    Nice preview, I’m tempted by this, but I just know that in 6 months time, Ubi will be announcing Assassin’s Creed Rogue HD for the new consoles.

    Comment posted on 12/09/2014 at 15:31.
    • tactical20
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      With any luck!

      Comment posted on 12/09/2014 at 15:33.
      • gazzagb
        Master of speling mitakse
        Since: Feb 2009

        It’s Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed, they’ve milked the franchise so much it’s basically a given that we’ll see this being re-released!

        Comment posted on 12/09/2014 at 16:14.
    • Tomhlord
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Apr 2009

      Oooh, good call!

      Comment posted on 13/09/2014 at 16:07.
  2. stealthstu
    Member
    Since: Oct 2012

    I just hope it’s a full game rather than a half length one with not much to do! Its easy for reviewers to say ‘theres lots to do’ but we’ll be the judge of that lol

    Comment posted on 12/09/2014 at 15:48.
  3. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Not coming to the PC. Gutted and might miss this one out. :-(

    Comment posted on 12/09/2014 at 16:47.
  4. Pitcher-T
    Member
    Since: Jan 2009

    I really want this game, but feel like it’s too much of a backward step once I get my hands on Unity. By the sounds of it, Unity is going to be evolving the mechanics of the core gameplay. Whereas this seems to be just another addition (albeit really cool looking addition).
    Like gazzagb said, I’m hoping for a ‘Next gen’ version somewhere down the line.

    Comment posted on 13/09/2014 at 12:12.