Assassin’s Creed Rogue: ‘Black Flag II’ makes waves on PC - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Assassin’s Creed Rogue: ‘Black Flag II’ makes waves on PC

What was almost assured to be an overlooked title sitting somewhere between the series’ shining diamonds and polished lumps of coal (namely, Assassin’s Creed Unity) due in part to its simultaneous release alongside its overhyped next-gen brother (again, Unity), Assassin’s Creed Rogue is a surprisingly enjoyable instalment in the franchise provided your expectations are tempered, combining an intriguing and refreshing storyline with some solid if rehashed seafaring combat mechanics and on-land gameplay that’s begging for improvement.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue takes place between Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed III, and plays less like a sequel and more like a large expandalone. It runs shorter than a full release and focuses on providing more details on the lives of existing characters, while predominantly utilising modified versions of locations from both titles.

You play as the titular rogue, Shay Cormac, a member of the Assassin’s Order who begins to question the morality of the brotherhood’s ‘ends-justify-the-means’ approach, and over the course of the narrative comes to align with his former sworn enemies, the Templars. While admittedly underwritten and locked into the archetypical antihero role, Cormac and his tale are the two best reasons to play Rogue as he gradually sides with the Templars we see characters on both sides of the conflict who are good, evil, and somewhere in the middle. It was exciting to see such a nuanced depiction of the series’ typically clear cut protagonists and antagonists, and it had me wishing moral ambiguity was a more regular series thematic concern.
Missions made a lot easier by my targets stopping mid-chase and accepting their fates
Rogue might as well be considered Black Flag II, with the outstanding naval combat system cut and pasted. However your ship is a tad faster, more nimble, and has a few more weapon upgrades to unlock. You’ll also find your own ship rammed and boarded from time to time, during which you’ll have to dispatch the invading sailors while doing your best to keep your crewmen alive.

The old-school dry land gameplay is also pulled direct from the previous games, so be prepared for an easy-to-learn albeit depthless combat. The one exciting addition is the opposing Assassins who move quickly, will retreat after dealing damage, and do their best to hide and ambush you with their hidden blades. The stealth sections are a little easy, and the free-running also feels too simple inside cities you can run directly at walls and hope for the best, while in forests the routes to higher ground, fallen logs and forks in trees, are too easy to identify.

Rogue is a decent looking game considering its origin on last-gen systems, with the only major let down being the short draw distance. I encountered a couple of major bugs during early stages of the plot, with two consecutive missions made a lot easier by my targets stopping mid-chase and accepting their fates, but as I continued said bugs seemed to occur less and less frequently.

This is a great game if you’re a hardcore fan looking to bridge the gap between the existing titles, experience a decent story, or if you’re hankering for more of the ship-to-ship combat of the previous game. But if you’re feeling a bit Assassin’s Creed-fatigued or are holding out for some big improvements give it a miss.

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