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Rogue caters to Black Flag fans

Jan 7, 2015

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Assassin's Creed: RogueIf you're a fan of Ubisoft's flagship Assassin's Creed series, then 2014 must've seemed splendid. Not only was Assassin's Creed: Unity, the first true next-gen title in the series but it was announced that a second Assassin's game would be hitting store shelves the same day. Enter Assassin's Creed: Rogue. Ubisoft hasn't forgotten about its last-gen following. It would be foolish to do so, considering the massive install base on the nearly decade old consoles but one would question the quality of Rogue. Was it rushed to cash-in on an existing consumer base that has yet to make the next-gen jump or is Rogue a legitimate entry in the famous annual series?

Assassin's Creed: RogueRogue serves to fill the gaps in between Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed Black Flag. You take control of series first-timer Shay Patrick Cormack. Shay is a budding assassin prospect with a sour attitude; disregard for authority and is of course, a natural in the art of killing. Cormack isn't a total dud as a character but doesn't do much that is truly memorable. Having the bar exponentially heightened by last year's lead, Edward Kenway, doesn't help. Though Shay's personality pails in comparison to the rousing antics of Black Flag's protagonist, it's his story that distinguishes him from other assassins in the series.

Shay questions the motives of his fellow assassins. So much so that he decides to jump ship and join the dubious Templars. Instead, exclusively picking your brain for the best way to plunge your hidden blade into a would be target, you'll also be playing bodyguard and making sure your former hooded allies don't kill a person of interest that you're tasked with protecting. You will also have to keep a constant eye out for assassins trying to get the drop on you at random times during the campaign.

Assassin's Creed: RogueIt is a unique approach that's criminally undercooked. I know I was serving the Templar order, but didn't feel like it when it came to gameplay. I was doing all the same stuff I normally would've just with minimal variations. Ubisoft should consider exploring this approach more in depth when it comes to future instalments as the idea holds great potential. Performance wise, Rogue handles impressively on the PS3. Environments are vast and technical hiccups are infrequent. Up close some textures appear dated and the foliage in the environment still looks like paper, but for the most part Rogue holds its own. It's an impressive technical feat considering the age of the consoles it was released on.

The overall gameplay remains largely untouched from Black Flag. You'll be scouring rooftops, collecting items, sailing the high seas and of course, stabbing people. With every new Assassin's Creed release, Ubisoft usually brings something new to the table. Whether it be multiplayer, naval combat or a hunting mechanic, it has become commonplace at this point for each instalment to add or improve upon existing mechanics. Rogue instead opts to borrow heavily from its predecessor and in turn, forfeits any unique sense of identity.

Assassin's Creed: RogueSome new weapons and activities have been added but overall, nothing substantial. This is where Rogue starts to feel contrived. I felt deja vu more times than I should've. I was doing the exact same activities with the exact same coat of paint a year ago. There's no doubt some gamers will find fatigue in any annualized series. To maintain interest in such a frequent product, companies must innovate and experiment. The Assassin's games aren't doing themselves any favours in this regard with entries like Rogue relying solely on the merits of its predecessor. 

Assassin's Creed: Rogue is essentially a dolled up Black Flag expansion without the swashbuckling charm. If you really enjoyed your time on the high seas last year and want more, Rogue might be worth a shot. Others who casually dip their toe in the series need not apply, as Rogue is one of the most forgettable entries to date.

Assassin's Creed: Rogue Assassin's Creed: Rogue
Format: PS3
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: United Front Games
ESRB Rating: M for Mature (17+)
Official Site: https://www.ubisoft.com/en-CA/game/assassins-creed-rogue/

Rating: 6 / 10

 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.