Assassin's Creed Rogue (PlayStation 3) Review

By Drew Hurley 24.04.2016

Review for Assassin

While Assassin's Creed Unity was breaking new ground on the next generation of consoles and introducing audiences to a new time period, new locales in France and a new protagonist in Arno, Assassin's Creed Rogue was released on the previous generation with little fanfare or promotion. Was the lack of hype justified or is this a hidden gem?

The Assassin's Creed franchise is a strange beast, with its method of setting up major protagonists that are then done away with in order to introduce a brand new one every few titles or so. Between these major protagonists like Altair, Ezio and Edward Kenway there are also characters in standalone, shorter tales. Characters like Aveline from Assassin's Creed Liberation and now Shay Patrick Cormac.

Shay's story is one of the best in the Assassin's Creed mythos, setting up a protagonist that was originally a lifelong Assassin but turned his back on his people to join the Templars. This tale is told completely over the course of the game. It's a solid story with plenty of facets yet, sadly, there's just not enough time here to fully explore the storyline or its large cast of new and returning characters. The main story is only around ten hours or so - start to end - so to cover all of Shay's time as an Assassin, his turn away from their beliefs, and his story arc on the opposite side… not to mention the "present day" scenes, as well? It feels rushed. Soon enough, Shay is hunting the assassins introduced in the first part of the game, but these characters aren't given enough time for the audience to care about them.

The story may be rushed but the core mechanics go back to some of the finest in the series. The usual combat is front and centre, as is the same parkour and exploration that established the series, but what's most exciting is the return of the seafaring mechanics from Black Flag. There are forts to take over, ships to battle against, boarding and hijacking, whales and sharks to hunt, sea shanties to be found and more, making this feel very much like Black Flag 1.5.

Screenshot for Assassin's Creed Rogue on PlayStation 3

These features from Black Flag aren't just lifted and dropped in, though. There are some extra additions and changes to keep things interesting. Shay's ship, The Morrigan, is a much more advanced warship, outfitted with Carronade guns that can stun enemy ships with explosive shots and an Ice Ram to cut through the sheets of frozen sea around the coasts. Shay packs some heavy weaponry, too. On top of the usual hidden blades, swords, and pistols, he is also equipped with an air rifle with some of the signature darts from previous titles - able to cause sleep or berserk - and even a "grenade launcher" style attachment that can cover groups of enemies in gas that affects them all. Shay needs this arsenal to take on the new Assassin enemies, and these can use the same abilities as most Assassins - able to vanish in a smoke bomb, jump out from hiding, and do massive damage in a single hit with the hidden blades.

One of the key features of the franchise is the open world, with the parkour exploration and the acquisition of numerous collectables scattered across huge areas. Instead of a single open world, here there are three quite distinct areas to explore: the North Atlantic, New York, and River Valley. The North Atlantic is the most similar to Black Flag, with a wide and expansive sea to explore and plenty of naval battles. The River Valley is tricky to traverse with the massive Morrigan, filled with inlets and smaller camps to explore. Finally, New York is a huge city to explore, filled with hideouts and collectibles to complete.

One of the biggest letdowns of the title is that the short story does not encourage exploration. Black Flag made sure that by directing the path of progression that plenty of side-quests and locations were close enough to entice a journey away from the next checkpoint, to see what was on the beach nearby or to take on the pod of whales swimming by. Rogue has so many areas that are far flung from the places explored in the story and there's little incentive to actually go and explore them.

Screenshot for Assassin's Creed Rogue on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Rogue reminds its audience why Black Flag is the best AC to date, with the superb naval mechanics and scenic locations. The rushed story and lack of character development is a huge letdown for what could have been the best in the franchise. This, and the fact that Rogue is something of an unknown, even to fans of the Assassin's Creed series, is terrible considering it is easily superior to Unity in every way.

Developer

Ubisoft Sofia

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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