Assassin's Creed Rogue
|Assassin's Creed Rogue|
Assassin's Creed Rogue is an action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Sofia and published by Ubisoft. It is the seventh major installment in the Assassin's Creed series, and is set between 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and 2012's Assassin's Creed III with its final mission being the prologue to 2014's Assassin's Creed Unity. It is the last of the Assassin's Creed games to be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Ubisoft announcing that the company will no longer release games for them, except for its casual rhythm series Just Dance. The game was first released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November and December 2014 in North America, Oceania, Europe and Japan, and released for Microsoft Windows on March 10, 2015. A remastered version was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 20, 2018. It was released on the Nintendo Switch as part of Assassin's Creed: The Rebel Collection alongside Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on December 6, 2019.
The plot is set in a fictional history of real-world events and follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The story is set in the mid-18th century during the Seven Years' War, and follows Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin-turned-Templar who hunts down former members of his Brotherhood after being betrayed by them. Gameplay in Rogue is very similar to that of Black Flag with a mixture of ship-based naval exploration and third-person land-based exploration with some new features.
Upon release, Rogue received a mixed reception; most critics praised the game's twist on the traditional formula by playing as a Templar, the mature story-line, the complex protagonist, the sophisticated depiction of the fight between Templars and Assassins, as well as the additions to the franchise's lore and the naval warfare gameplay. Other reviewers criticized it for failing to innovate the series' formula and its similarities to Black Flag.
Assassin's Creed Rogue is an action-adventure, stealth game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. Naval aspects from previous games return with the player controlling Shay's ship, the Morrigan. The Morrigan has a shallower draft compared to Edward Kenway's Jackdaw from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing for river travel. New features include new ship-based weapons such as releasing an oil slick which can then be ignited, Puckle guns, and the ability for enemies to board the Morrigan during ship-to-ship combat. The arctic environment also adds features to naval gameplay and exploration, as certain icebergs can be rammed with an icebreaker. However, the underwater diving missions featured in Black Flag do not exist as swimming in the North Atlantic causes the player's health to rapidly deplete due to the frigid water, though Shay is able to swim in the waters of the 'river valley' area.
For combat, the game introduces an air rifle, similar to the blowpipe from Black Flag, which allows the player to silently take out enemies at a distance. The air rifle can be outfitted with a variety of different projectiles, such as firecrackers. The player can also use it as a grenade launcher, which fires off shrapnel grenades and other loads. Hand-to-hand combat has been slightly altered, and now enemy attacks can be countered with timing, similar to the Batman: Arkham series of games. Enemy Assassins feature archetypes similar to previous games, using skills that players have been using throughout the series; they can hide in bushes, blend in with crowds, and perform air assassinations against the player. Poison gas can now be used as an environmental weapon, and Shay has a mask that can mitigate its effects.
Side missions and activities return, with a number of them based on those of the previous games. Reflecting Shay's role as a Templar, the game introduces a new side mission: Assassin Interception. These mirror the Assassination side missions in previous games, in that Shay, after intercepting a messenger pigeon carrying an assassination contract, must prevent an innocent being assassinated by finding and killing Assassins hidden nearby.
Legendary ship battles make a return as well. In order to overcome these challenges, the player may acquire possible upgrades for the Morrigan as the game progresses.
Shay Patrick Cormac (Steven Piovesan) is a new recruit to the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins whose potential is offset by his insubordination. While training with the North Atlantic chapter under the Assassin Mentor Achilles Davenport (Roger Aaron Brown), he encounters the Assassin Adéwalé (Tristan D. Lalla), who brings news that the Haitian city of Port-au-Prince has been devastated by an earthquake during the search for a Precursor temple containing a Piece of Eden. With his experience captaining ships—including the recently acquired Morrigan—Cormac is enlisted in an investigation into Templar interests in a Precursor artifact and manuscript that are linked to the temple.
Posing as a Templar courier, he delivers the artifact and manuscript to Benjamin Franklin (Rick Jones) whose experiments with electricity on the artifact generate a map showing the location of Precursor temples around the world. He identifies one in Lisbon, and Cormac is dispatched by Davenport to retrieve the Piece of Eden it contains. However, Cormac has begun questioning the Assassins' motives after seeing their refusal to engage in dialogue with the Templars, and being asked to kill an already-dying Templar commander, Lawrence Washington. His convictions are destroyed in Lisbon when his efforts to retrieve the Piece of Eden trigger an earthquake, destroying the city. Correctly deducing that a similar sequence of events destroyed Port-au-Prince, Cormac is horrified to learn that Davenport intends to continue the search for Pieces of Eden despite the danger. Shay then steals the manuscript and attempts to escape the Homestead, but is cornered by members of the Brotherhood. Intending to commit suicide by jumping off the Homestead's cliff, Shay is shot and left for dead before he can destroy the Manuscript.
Now that he is cast adrift, he finds himself in New York City, acting as a vigilante to clean out gangs that are extorting the citizenry. His efforts attract the attention of Colonel George Monro (Graham J. Cuthbertson), who convinces Cormac that he can improve the lives of others. Meeting with Christopher Gist, Shay retakes his ship the Morrigan from the Assassins, and agrees to assist his new allies, despite learning that they are Templars. He is disturbed to learn that the Assassins have not given up their search for the Pieces of Eden, and believing them to be a threat, commits himself to the Templar Order to hunt them down. After killing Colonial Brotherhood Assassins Le Chasseur (Chimwemwe Miller) and Kesegowaase (Danny Blanco-Hall), Shay becomes a fully fledged member of the Order when he is inducted by Grand Master Haytham Kenway (Adrian Hough). Shay then eliminates Adéwalé, Hope Jensen (Patricia Summersett) and Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye (Marcel Jeannin). Finally, only two senior members of the Assassins in America remain alive: Achilles himself, and his second-in-command Liam O'Brien (Julian Casey), once Shay's best friend. Shay pursues the two to the Arctic with Haytham, where the Assassins have located another Temple. Having dispatched most of the Assassin expedition, Shay and Haytham enter the Temple to find Liam and Achilles, who have realized that the artifact is as Shay said—a means to stabilize the world, not a weapon to control it. However, Achilles' attempt to stop Liam taking vengeance causes the artifact to be destroyed, and a third earthquake is triggered. As the four try to escape, Shay and Liam duel on the ice and Liam is fatally injured when the two fall. Shay then makes his way back to his ship and arrives as Haytham overpowers Achilles. Shay persuades Haytham to spare Achilles, out of mercy and to ensure knowledge of the Temples will not be lost, so the Assassins will not try to pursue them again. Haytham then cripples the last American Assassin with his pistol.
As the Templars set sail for home, Haytham tasks Shay with retrieving the Precursor artifact. Shay spends much of his later life hunting it down, even as Templar influence in the colonies was eventually destroyed by Connor during the American Revolution. The final memories gradually reveal a mission to escort Benjamin Franklin through Paris, in search of the Precursor box that is in the possession of Charles Dorian, a French Assassin and the father of Arno Dorian, the protagonist of Assassin's Creed Unity. Cormac murders Dorian and takes possession of the box as he becomes a senior member of the Templar Order.
In the present day, the player is researching Cormac's memories for Abstergo Entertainment when they inadvertently trip a hidden memory file that infects the Animus servers. Abstergo is placed in lockdown, and the player must clean the Animus servers out by living Cormac's later memories. Juhani Otso Berg, a senior member of the Templars, later orders the player to upload Shay's memories to the Assassin servers in order to weaken their resolve by showing how close Achilles Davenport came to destroying the world and the Assassins betraying Shay. The Brotherhood responds by cutting off their communications. In a mid-credits scene, Berg thanks the player for their help, and gives them a choice: join the Templar order, or die. The scene fades to black before the player's decision is shown.
By March 2014, an Assassin's Creed game code-named "Comet" was revealed to be in development, set for release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. By the end of the month, additional reports indicated that "Comet" would be set around 1758 in New York, as well as feature sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. The game would be a direct sequel to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and would feature a Templar named Shay as the main protagonist. Haytham Kenway from Assassin's Creed III and Adéwalé from Black Flag would also make appearances.
The game was officially announced on August 5, 2014, following a leak of the title. Game director Martin Capel described the game as finishing the series' "North American saga" and that the game was designed to accommodate specific fan requests, such as taking on the role of a Templar. The game is intended to "fill the gaps" of the story between Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and has "a crucial link" to the events of the previous games. In addition to Ubisoft Sofia's work on the game, contributions are also being made by Ubisoft studios in Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, Chengdu, Milan and Bucharest. Ubisoft also stated that the game was being envisioned without multiplayer components "at this stage", but did not rule out any modes being added after the game launched. On 20 March 2018, a remaster of the game was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Ray Carsillo from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an 8.5/10, praising its interesting lead character, enjoyable story, new weapons introduced, new mission design, which requires players to prevent assassinations instead of carrying out assassinations like in other Assassin's Creed titles, as well as advanced and improved combat mechanics. However, he criticized poor pacing of the story, frequent bugs, lack of replayability and the lack of inclusion of a multiplayer mode. He concluded the review by saying that "Rogue is a far more pleasurable experience than I anticipated. It does just enough to put its own stamp on the franchise while also giving us critical story details in order to tie up loose ends between Assassin's Creed III and IV. It serves as a perfect conclusion to the series' time spent exploring Europe's North American colonies in the 18th century."
Eurogamer drew comparisons between Rogue and Assassin's Creed Revelations—a game which served to resolve storylines from Ezio Auditore's saga as a lead-in to Assassin's Creed III, due to its focus on expanding on characters and storylines introduced in III and Black Flag. Although noting that some settings, weapons, and mechanics had been reused from previous games in the series (such as an expansion of the New York City setting from III, naval combat, renovating buildings to build income, and locating enemies with a radar similar to the former multiplayer mode), the use of Assassins as an enemy was considered to be a "much-needed new [idea] to the series' fighting mechanics" due to their use of tactics that were used by the player themselves in previous games (such as smoke bombs and hiding), and that Rogue felt the most "fresh" whilst exploring its new North Atlantic overworld. However, the story missions themselves and single player campaign overall were criticized for being noticeably shorter than in previous games.
Matt Miller from Game Informer gave the game an 8.25/10. He praised the huge variety of activities, varied environments, and mission types, new additions and well-performed gameplay, despite being too similar to its predecessors. He criticized the repetitive melee combat and the absence of multiplayer mode. He described the game by saying that "Rogue is vast with lots to explore, and while it lacks novelty, it offers a wealth of gameplay and lore to faithful fans." Daniel Bloodworth from GameTrailers gave the game a 7.2/10, praising the return of some old characters in the Assassin's Creed series, stunning scenery and environment, interesting interceptions missions, but criticizing the predictable and dull lead character, poorly-constructed missions in the beginning of the game, disappointing boss battles, as well as numerous bugs. He described the game by saying that "Rogue in many ways feels like an extension of last year's Black Flag, even down to the menus, but there are some tweaks to the formula thanks to your new role as a former assassin, hunting down his old comrades."
Daniel Krupa from IGN gave the game a 6.8/10. He praised the engaging story, the nuanced lead character, atmospheric scenery, but criticized the lack of Templar abilities included, bland encounters with other main characters, uninspired side quests, empty world, as well as the frustrating combat and traversal system, which he stated has shown no improvements. He also criticized the game for not encouraging the player to explore the world. Mark Walton from GameSpot gave the game a 6/10, criticizing the predictable story, unlikeable lead character, lack of interesting missions, as well as being thin on core content. He stated that the game feels like a glorified Black Flag DLC pack and has done nothing to put the franchise forward. Xav de Matos from Joystiq gave the game a 6/10, criticizing the game for not adding anything new to the franchise. He stated that "Assassin's Creed Rogue is essentially a clone of Black Flag's setting and systems. If you can accept rampant copy-and-paste in another full priced entry, you'll more than likely enjoy what Assassin's Creed Rogue has to offer."
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