The most interesting aspects of the Assassin’s Creed series has been the locations and the story of the assassin. The side objectives are often rote and bland as mentioned above and the mixed future/past relationship taking place in each game has always been a bit of a distraction from where the truly fascinating aspects of the game exist in these historical worlds and fiction. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is not much of an exception here.
For the second game in a row, you play as unnamed future protagonist working for Abstergo Industries (and Entertainment) continuing in the departure from the Desmond storyline began in the first game. The storyline of the future continues by following the Templar and Assassin orders as they attempt to combat each other. There is a hack in the Abstergo system and you must unlock the servers in order to access Shay’s memories and save the data from corruption. As you progress in hacking various areas of the game, you can figure out more and more about where the Assassin’s Creed series may be going. As promised Assassin’s Creed: Rogue does lead into the next game in the series which is Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Dispersed throughout the game and especially at the end are an exposure to events leading directly into those taking place in the city of Paris during that game.
Shay Cormac’s story is a bit more straightforward. Brought into the Assassin Brotherhood by his childhood friend, Liam, Shay Cormac is a testy assassin whom often questions the ways of the Brotherhood. Shay is sent on a mission to Lisbon, Portugal to find a piece of Eden only to discover the precursor site is in fact what hold the world together. After a thrilling escape out of the city, Shay is berated by Assassin leadership and kicked out of the brotherhood. Later attracting the attention of the Templar Order, Shay becomes a Templar fighting against the very principles he learned to question during his time as an assassin.
Here are some of the personal trappings you will have to get around with the story though. You will have to try to keep from laughing as you have yet another deep, scruffy voiced protagonist on the fight for revenge with a specific set of skills. What is this Taken 4: It’s Colonial This Time? The connections in the game do begin to feel a bit more real and the weight of Shay’s actions begin to become less a caricature and more of a principled character as time goes by. It’s still hard to take the scruffy narrator seriously from time to time. It would be a lot easier if the Shay had even the least bit of a sense of humor.
The tagline of the game describes you as slowly descending into darkness, but your character is not truly hesitant to kill any of his former assassin brothers and sisters once they have crossed him. Once you go Templar, you never go back. Red and white is the new black. Insert next joke here.
Interestingly, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue gives you a glimpse into the ways the Templars prop up the Assassins as the bad guys. Which makes it all the more difficult to understand how your protagonist as a principled character does not choose to run away from both lives. The Templars preach order and without the order brought into his life by the sea, then the assassins, and then the Templars, Shay Cormac was a lost man and he never really finds himself. Instead, he hides behind the colors, symbols, shadings, and causes of others. Realistically, he was never an assassin. He was just a man in search of what the Templars offered. His journey from hero to villain makes a lot of sense this way.
Maybe the biggest disservice done to Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is the fact it is on PS3 and Xbox 360 as opposed to PS4 and Xbox One. Taking place in the northern Arctic, New York, and the River Valley, there are tons of lush green areas, wild animals, and beautiful vistas to be taken in that could really take advantage of the greater graphical enhancements provided by those systems. I feel the game could have used the same sheen Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag received as it was ported over to the newer consoles. A shame it was not granted the same opportunity. This is not reflected in my score, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
There are occasional framerate hiccups, and some animations may occasionally hiccup or break based on how you attempt them, but the game runs well as it was played on my PS3. There are very few moments where you will feel frustrated by what you’re experiencing in terms of the game’s graphical performance.
The game itself felt shorter than most entries in the Assassin’s Creed series which is a positive. The ending of the game is the best I have experienced in the Assassin’s Creed series since Assassin’s Creed’s ending really made you want to go straight and play Assassin’s Creed II. There is closure and it builds anticipation. Shay Cormac, while not the most individual character, does represent how some think. Altogether, this may just be among my favorite entries in Assassin’s Creed lore.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.