Four Reasons I'm Suddenly Interested in Assassin's Creed Rogue

Kiss me I'm a pirate.

Listen; I'll be honest with you. I wasn't all that interested in Assassin's Creed Rogue when Ubisoft announced it last week. Yes, Assassin's Creed is one of my favorite series of the past 10 years, and yes, last year's nautical-themed installment was a wonderful breath of fresh air. But as a game exclusive to previous-generation hardware, Rogue just didn't call out to me. At least not in the way that this year's other, much prettier, much more next-gen installment has.

But you know what? Maybe I was too quick to write off Rogue. I'm still not entirely sold on it, but after getting some hands-on time with the Gamescom 2014 demo, I'm ready to give Assassin's Creed Rogue another look. Here are a few reasons why.

You play by a different set of rules

The protagonist of Assassin's Creed Rogue is an Assassin-turned-Templar by the name of Shay Patrick Cormac. The Templars are, of course, the bad guys of the Assassin's Creed universe. But while Cormac isn't exactly a villain himself--more of a sympathetic anti-hero--he does follow a much different code of conduct now that he's jumped ship toward Team World Order.

More specifically, Cormac is free to bend the rules of morality in his favor. As one example, civilians are no longer off-limits. Whereas previous games would flash a big "YOUR ANCESTOR DID NOT KILL CIVILIANS" message to keep you from straying from the intended fiction, Cormac can do things like fire a berserk dart at a civilian to create a distraction, then slip by unnoticed once that poor guy begins attacking everyone in sight. Of course, such tactics are what military historians refer to as a "total dick move," but it's an interesting change for the series.

Will this amount to any sort of meaningful change, though? In terms of gameplay, I'm going to guess not. But I am interested to see how this ability to act like a complete jerk meshes with the story. Does the narrative play off the idea that Cormac can be a ruthless killer before developing him to the point where you begin to feel guilty about causing this sort of collateral damage? I'm curious.

You get to see combat from the other side

Cormac is a self-described Assassin hunter, so many of the game's missions involve you seeking those hooded parkour experts and putting an end to their interminable clambering once and for all. It's these missions that allow you to see how combat works from the other side. Your enemies will shimmy up buildings and disappear, then pounce on you from some unsuspecting perch when you least expect it. At other times, they'll try to add some distance between you and them by firing at an explosive barrel if you happen to be standing too close to a stock of gunpowder. In either scenario, these missions appear to function like a game of cat and mouse, where the mice are highly trained in the art of vertical takedowns and sudden disappearances, and the cats are, well, Irish Templars with three first names.

The frozen sea seems pretty neat

Assassin's Creed Rogue takes place across a variety of settings within the American and Canadian Northeast during the Seven Years War, and while some of those look like the sort of outdoor terrain featured in Assassin's Creed III, one area feels starkly different.

That area is the frozen sea of the North Atlantic during the dead of winter. This area looks and feels positively Arctic, with huge glaciers, the frozen remains of ravaged ships, and a nighttime sky dominated by the eerie colors of the aurora borealis. It hit me how different this place was when I made a lazy attempt to dock Cormac's ship by jumping into the sea and swimming ashore, a habit I picked up while playing Black Flag. After a few short seconds, the screen began filling up with a visual effect like heavy frost, and Cormac's health started to tumble. Turns out swimming in freezing conditions is a pretty dumb idea!

Again, I'm not sure if this setting will add much of a meaningful impact to the game, but it's been a long time since an Assassin's Creed game offered up a setting that felt so wildly different from those that came before it.

Sea shanties are back

I'm not sure what I really need to say here. The sea shanties in Black Flag were delightful. There are new sea shanties in Rogue. Hooray!

So that's a quick update on Assassin's Creed Rogue. Like I said before, I'm still not entirely sold on it, but I'm prepared to admit that writing it off so quickly may have been a mistake. I'm interested. I just need to see more.

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89 comments
OHGFawx
OHGFawx

I shouldn't have played the ps4 version of ACIV before jumping to this one. By comparison, Rogue looks like crap visually.

Freedomination
Freedomination

"I am Cormac of the templar order!" Diablo crossover?

JohnTheLyrical
JohnTheLyrical

The story is the only thing it has going for it to me...I'm skeptical.

wolf503
wolf503

"...civilians are no longer off-limits." Is enough reason to look into it lol

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@wolf503 I can already imagine all the things I can do with those poor innocent people. >:D

deathstream
deathstream

Another AC game where you aren't really an Assassin.  You were right to write it off.

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

I just don't need yearly instalments of games. Once every three years, maybe.  I really liked assassins creed 4 but that'll do me for now. I buy a lot of games but I want a wide range of games covering a range of genres. Not new iterations of the same game every year even if they do add some fresh ideas. The boring story arch doesn't hook me enough to even buy for the sake of it when the price is low.

I realise there's enough people who don't think like me to make this game a huge success, so the swarm if assassins creed games does make some sense. 

Jew1
Jew1

I'm just happy we can finally kill peasant civvies. Always annoyed me since AC1 when we got penalized for killing those darn beggars

aaron25m
aaron25m

@Jew1 Or those damm bards from AC2. I remember not long after i got the twin hidden blades upgrade i had two of them either side while i was standing at a shop. In a case of ''woops my finger slipped'' double tapped them. Hella funny but costly penalty none the less.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Shaun, what if it turns out this game is crappy, then will you say that you were now too quick to re-judge it?  :)  If that happens I totally want to see that article from you, it should be fun!

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

I'm sure it'll be a good experience... but it honestly looks like they've put no effort into differentiating this one from Black Flag. As much as I loved Black Flag, I don't see any improvements at all--just additions.


 I'm pretty sure this will be the Revelations of the AC3 trilogy.

alexk5123
alexk5123

feels exactly like assassin's creed 4

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

4 reasons I'm not interested in Assassin's Creed Whatever This Year's Name Is:


1. The games have stopped being about assassinations and more about hunting random animals and building houses.  100% sync "optional" objectives tell you how to play the game and only by playing it exactly how the developers want are you allowed to show completion.


2. DLC, Preordering, and Uplay DRM scum business practices


3. Ubisoft has thrown the main story in the trash can and are making it up as they go along.


4. I've played enough of this kind of game, I don't need two "new" ones every year.

StHapns247
StHapns247

To be honest this seems like the better AC game coming out this year. I haven't seen much that interests me about Unity and if this has more in common with Black Flag than Unity it will appeal to me more.

AC4 was the biggest step forward the franchise has taken since AC2; the freedom and way the game played out was awesome and it seems like they are taking most of what made AC4 great out of Unity, but keeping it in Rogue.

Snyper22
Snyper22

@StHapns247 That's a good point, I really enjoyed the open seas and ship combat in Black Flag and it doesn't seem like that exists in Unity.


However if their pattern stays steady than they might release another AC game that has both! That in my mind could be the best bloody pirate simulator ever! Just think about sailing the open seas with your buddies in co-op or in a massive multi player ship battle. 


They're probably saving that one for next year though = / .  

yhailey52
yhailey52

the change of setting is what makes it interesting.

Pelican170
Pelican170

Looks like ill be skipping this one if its like Black Flag... No Thanks. Bring back AC2 and Brotherhood!!

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

Why can't they just take the ship combat from Black flag and create an actual pirate IP that's not tied down by all the AC baggage. every single one of my complaints regarding the way black flag played were caused by the AC mechanics. Just give us a ship that we can upgrade or trade in for a better ship and then let us sail the seas finding adventure however we see fit.

homelessgamer
homelessgamer

That character in the photo is spearing a narwhal, this breaks my hippie heart.

northArrow
northArrow

@gibemoniplox I was just going to say this but you beat me to it.


I'm really getting sick of MP/co-op dumbing down and streamlining the single player experience

cakebomb54
cakebomb54

I'm pretty sure Shaun wrote an article saying this game is not completely lame probably because Ubisoft sent an email reminding them how much Ubisoft is paying Gamespot.

bdiddytampa
bdiddytampa

@93ChevyNut  Soooooo close man, you got the Monty Python part right, but it was The Meaning of Life :-)

lostn
lostn

Never played an AC before.. is it too late to start now? Is there a continuity between AC1 to AC5?

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

@lostn No, it's not too late to start now.  Yes, there is a continuity...  although ACV isn't out yet.


What are you playing on?  If PS3...


All of the games are pretty cheap atm, but make certain to look for the special AC:REVELATIONS disc with the original AC game on-disc.

TehUndeadHorror
TehUndeadHorror

@lostn AC4 pretty much threw the storyline of the previous games out, so that's a good one to start at if you can't be bothered with the first few.

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

I'm on the fence regarding the ASSASSIN'S CREED games.  First, I'm a sucker for historical fiction, but at the same time I hate the AC meta-story.  Second, I love the in-game parkour, but I hate how imprecise the controls are in AC games.  Third, although I moved to games like AC in order to get away from the death dealing of military FPS, after playing all of the AC games in the series, I've grown to hate assassinations -- they've started feeling like disgusting, morally bankrupt acts that they would be in real life; historical serial killer sim anyone?  Lastly, I'm frustrated by the extreme amount of AC games creating game fatigue; I loved BLACK FLAG and thought it was a masterpiece (why not just start a new pirate IP?), but now two new releases within a year?  Ubisoft, time makes the heart grow fonder...  give it a few years...  let fans miss the world instead of releasing so much AC content that fans feel inundated but underwhelmed; fan burnout is a real thing.


I should absolutely love ASSASSIN'S CREED, but between the games' lack and Ubisoft's money-grab, the entire experience is diminished...  too bad really.

I'll no doubt play ROGUE and UNITY sometime in the future, but any real excitement or enthusiasm for the series has waned long ago.    

bdiddytampa
bdiddytampa

@battlefront1943 yeah there is a lot to like in the AC games, but Ubi is definitely whipping a critically ill horse with all these releases.  Even if most of them have been of pretty high quality.

foodrules
foodrules

Shaun truly is a master of the "[Insert number] reasons ________" articles and features.

csthomas888
csthomas888

@havesumnuts I'm cool with that. At least this is n't content that was taken out of Black Flag and sold to us later.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

Never liked the series really. I tried and the story can be fun (if convoluted) but it's another game I'll pass up. I am not saying it's good or even great. Just not my thing. But it LOOKS good. I did like that one with the French black chick that was fun. Think because it was simpler mechanics.

unreal849
unreal849

More interested in this than I am in Unity, but I'll hold off for a PC release. Shouldn't be more than a few months from the 360 release.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Nice to see you had a change of heart sir.

vadagar1
vadagar1

played Acreed 1 


and thats all the creeding I need forever

bdiddytampa
bdiddytampa

@themc_7 totally agree, AC2, Brotherhood, and Black Flag have been my favorites so far :-)

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@themc_7 @vadagar1 1 is the best game in the series.  It's actually about planning and executing assassinations, not sitting on the bench the developers tell you to and killing someone exactly in one way or no 100% for you.

themc_7
themc_7

@vadagar1 imho, 1 and 3 are worst in the series, so you may want to rethink that decision. 2 and Brotherhood are pretty amazing and Black Flag is fun too.