ASS ASS IN’S CREED ROGUE REMASTERED
Revisit the series’ darkest tale of betrayal
It's strange, going back to other Assassin's Creed games when we've just plundered pyramids and rubbed shoulders with Cleopatra in Origins. Returning to the older games after the latest instalment – even one with boosted visuals and new 4K textures – only emphasises the lack of variety and frustrating mechanics that plagued the series... which makes this an odd time for a remaster, really.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue – Ubisoft’s final Assassin-y love letter to the Xbox 360 – looks considerably prettier, especially when you’re at sea and soaking up those stunning frozen vistas. But the nuts and bolts of it – the combat, the mechanics, and, of course, Rogue's intriguing premise – remain unchanged. So the question is: if you didn't pick this up when it was released, why would you bother now?
Released under the shadow of Unity – the first Assassin's game to grace the Xbox One, and one stuffed with a steaming pile of bugs and glitches to boot – Rogue didn't generate the column inches (or memes) of its nextgen sibling. While it draws heavily on the style, motifs and locations of both Assassin's Creed III and Black
Flag, it’s Rogue’s unique story that shines strongest, even when standing shoulder to shoulder against the notable entries of its predecessors.
The rogue concerned is Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin turned Templar forced to turn his back on the Brotherhood. And it’s fascinating, playing an Assassin’s game from the perspective of the Templars, particularly when Shay adopts the impulse to eradicate his ex-brethren, a journey that takes him to an array of beguiling locations dotted around the North Atlantic, including New York City.
Trouble is, as intriguing as the tale is, before long you'll remember what it is about AC games that sometimes makes them so frustrating to play. While Rogue never looks better than when you’re at sea and listening to the crew croon their favourite shanties, by the time you hit land again, each encounter is usually a tedious, clumsy affair, and the limitations of old-school Assassin’s combat come screaming back as soon as you stumble into your first fight. Everything you remember is here – eaglevision, confessions, nautical missions and Abstergo’s present-day conundrums, too – but all without the polish of Origins.
Shay's free-running frequently becomes free-falling, your stealthy takedowns interrupted by Cormac’s
“The limitations of Assassin’s combat come screaming back”
inexplicable decision to jump out of cover rather than silently creep forward, and plunging into the icy water – hitherto a cunning way to evade pursuit – is invariably a death sentence. Escape sequences are plagued by glitchy graphics that see Cormac plummet through the environment, only to be trapped in a house with no exit. Add in the confusing map system and a control scheme with all the finesse of a broken shopping trolley, and it’s soon painfully apparent that Rogue’s story and boosted graphics simply aren't strong enough to carry the burden of its otherwise finickity gameplay.
Rogue is a fascinating instalment that offers an entirely new perspective on the Assassins vs Templar debate, complete with a couple of new missions developed just for the Remaster. But to be honest, some things are best left in the past – and unfortunately, that includes
Below Much of your time will be spent here, looting ships, sinking enemy vessels and singing along with the sea shanties.