by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Besides changes in combat, Rogue also allows Shay to explore the vast environments. Whilst adventuring, players have a whole host of collectables to find. Apart from the all-important manuscript and decoder, you search for a multitude of treasure chests, Shanties and Animus fragments, each with a varying degree of value. But given the freedom to wander in Rogue, it is definitely worthwhile to do so with all the collectibles.
Upgrades and crafting are also features in Rogue. Crafting items mainly involves hunting animals and then using the pelts in the crafting process to produce the required item. It's a simple process that works well, although the value of the crafted items is minimal. Upgrades to your ship are the exception - these are definitely performance enhancing. They can be installed at shipwrights at steep prices, but still well worth it considering much of the game takes place on the water. Upgrades include a stronger hull, improved weapons and more cannons.
The voice work is great. Shay and his childhood friend Liam with their strong Irish accents, Frenchman De La Verendrye , Native American Kesegowaase and the beautiful but deadly Hope Jensen are all superbly voiced, as are the other characters in the game. Each has a distinctive voice which helps to quickly distinguish between the characters and thus push the narrative along. The mood of the game is further set with the wonderful background music, carried by dramatic tones boosting the tension at appropriate times.
The settings are beautiful too, especially whilst on land when you traverse the wilderness. Rogue does have a certain Assassin's Creed III quality about it, traveling through trees, over mountains and across the rooftops in small villages. Having said that, the graphics do have a cut-and-paste feel about them, seemingly coming from earlier installments. The map of New York, for instance, has a remarkable resemblance to the one used in Assassin's Creed III. There are animations that have that déjà vu feel as well, but despite that the visuals are still quite good. Whilst on the sea, the swell of the ocean is superb. As mentioned previously, the waves toss the Morrigan from the crest of the wave to the trough, often making it difficult to fire off a shot at passing ships.
Although Assassin's Creed Rogue has many similarities to both Assassin's Creed III and Blag Flag, it does combine the main gameplay features of sailing, exploration and combat rather well. Veterans of the series can jump right in and for those that are new they are simple enough to learn. The story, the visual setting and the audio are all superb and continue the quality of the series. The addition of playing the role as a Templar and having to look out for those sneaky assassins is a great feature, as is the improved naval combat. The exploration and the fact that the game allows you to stray from the main storyline works extremely well, and doesn't really detract from the pacing of the story. The only issue with Rogue could be that it does largely feel like it should be an add on to Black Flag rather than being a standalone title. But if you can see past that, Assassin's Creed Rogue is well worth playing.
Plenty to see and do, lots of exploration.
Often feels like simply an add-on to Black Flag, rather than its own game