Title: Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered
Platform: PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Release Date: Out now
Xbox One: £25/$30
TL;DR: The very best and worst of the Assassin’s Creed series in one, moderately better looking game.
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By the time Assassin’s Creed Rogue originally rocked up, towards the very end of the Xbox 360’s glorious life, it seemed that it was Assassin’s Creed Unity that grabbed people’s attention. With the latter offering the first glimpse of what an Assassin’s game could do on the Xbox One, Rogue was left to perish quietly in the videogame wilderness. And whilst Unity was universally slated, ultimately condemning the Assassin’s Creed series to near extinction, Rogue quietly demonstrated that the series still had some kick in it. So, four years later and riding off the success of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Rogue has a much deserved remaster, one that might not be perfect, but at least gives the game the credit it’s due.
Being a remaster made probably more with the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro in mind, the revamped look of the game won’t blow anyone’s socks off. The game does look crisper and movement feels smoother as the sun bounces off some bloody marvellous looking water, but the environments you explore are nothing really to write home about. Sure, the dingy caves probably look a little less jagged, with the interiors of most buildings being smoothed over, but it’s by no means anything that’ll blow your mind. It does its job admirably, bringing the game’s graphics up enough to make you take what you see in your stride, so for what’s there, it’s a decent remaster that didn’t have any outstanding bugs or glitches (cough, Ezio Collection, cough cough.)
The decision to remaster Rogue is certainly a welcome one (if, like me, you missed it the first time around) simply for its story. Taking control of the Irishest Irishman ever, Shay Patrick Cormac – who dons a strange accent that’s from no discernible part of Ireland, the game takes you on a journey as Shay turns his back on the Creed, eventually joining the Templars. The story is massively refreshing if you’ve only endured the Desmond Miles saga of Assassin’s games, doing well to throw those pre-conceived notions of Assassins are good and Templars are bad into array. Add to this an uncommonly delicate treatment of the characters in the game, where Shay continues to empathise with both the Assassin’s and his new family of Templars, and you’ve got a game that’s able to tackle the difficult task of making a “traitor,” a likable character.
Weighing in at around ten or eleven hours if you’re going from mission to mission, the plot moves along nicely, doing enough work early on to make Shay’s switch of allegiance an understandable one, and making each of the missions that take place after the betrayal meaningful. Add to this the obligatory “Present,” sequences, where you bumble around as a silent “numbskull,” repairing servers and gathering information about previous assassin protagonists, there’s enough to explore so the story rarely dips or seems to drag on.
Whilst the story that sets Rogue off is an surprisingly original one for the series, the gameplay does make it hard work at times. It’s fine when you’re on foot, with Rogue demonstrating how Ubisoft had managed to nail down the climbing mechanics and the paint-by-numbers combat – don’t expect the combat from Origins. Rogue sticks to the monotonous system that we all loved four years ago. The real issue are the missions (note the plural) that demand you take control of your ship, the Morrigan. All the missions you hate return for the remaster, complete with: boat stealth missions, boat chase missions, boat boss fights, and just generally having to drive that fucking boat just to get to missions.
There must be a small community of people somewhere, probably in some remote forest, that really like the ship mechanics in the series, because that’s the only reason why I can think Ubisoft are so adamant about dragging the least fun segment of the series back in. What I would say is that, compared to earlier games, with Assassin’s Creed 3 being my first doomed jaunt into the sailing segments of the series, Rogue’s battles are noticeably smoother, with the shooting mechanics much easier to use, though it doesn’t make them much more fun if you never really got along with the sailing in the games before, serving only to needlessly extend the game by a couple of hours.
Rogue’s remaster is certainly a welcome addition and if you missed it the first time around, it’s well worth your money. Offering up a captivating story that’s let down in places by the not so much shoe-horned as beaten over the head with a crowbar sailing segments, Rogue offers the quintessential Assassin’s Creed experience. So, if you need a dose of reality after riding the sandy waves of Origins, Rogue offers up the very best and the jarringly annoying aspects of the series.
- Refreshing and well paced story
- The Present segments offer some nice little extras that bulk out the lore of the game
- For those who hate the sailing, the game does have fast travel
- The game is about 75% sailing
- As likeable as Shay is, his accent is horrible to listen to, like Liam Neeson doing an American accent level of horrible
- The characters you deal with in the present are a bloody headache (also I’m not a numbskull… you are)
Haha, no. Assassin’s Creed Rogue is rated Pegi 18 in the UK and “M,” for Mature in the US. What were you expecting?! You’re an assassin.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.