Platform Played On: PlayStation 3
Release Date: November 11, 2014
My review of Assassin’s Creed Rogue was the very first post on my old website. And here it is again on my new website! I’ve tweaked a few things but this is mostly what I said way back in Sept 2015. My style has changed A LOT since then (read: I’m way more wordy these days) but it’s always nice to see your writing style evolve over time, right?
I picked up my copy of this game on launch day, but it almost took a year for me to get around to finishing all my goals for the game. I was once a huge Assassin’s Creed fan but fell out of the series after I beat Unity (hopefully I’ll catch up someday). In Rogue, being on the Templar side of the fight gave me a new perspective on their organization, which was neat. Before playing through this game I always felt that the Templars were unquestionably the “bad” guys. After getting to know Shay and his new friends, both sides seem to be operating in a grey area on the morality scale. Now I’ll let past me do her review rambling. Enjoy!
How Far I Got
I have 100% synced the game and have earned all the trophies. Call me crazy, but I actually found it relaxing sailing from area to area collecting everything and taking in the scenery. There are a few Abstergo Challenges I haven’t done that are related to the Naval Campaign mini game. Not a fan of the whole “send things to do stuff and then wait” mechanic that is cropping up a lot in games recently.
Gameplay: As a huge Assassin’s Creed fan I had no issues with the overall gameplay essentially being a hybrid of Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and III. Most of the game was behind the wheel of Shay’s ship, the Morrigan, sailing from point A to point B while blowing up other ships up for resources. New York felt like a “classic” Assassin’s Creed game area. I would have liked to see Shay have more Templar related abilities though. Off-ship Shay still sneaks around with hidden blades and I need to press circle to dodge when I see the red thing over the bad guy’s head. I feel that the developers wasted an opportunity to change the combat and ability system up a bit. Oh and of course add a bit of modern day sequences with puzzles to hack computers and another mobile freemium style mini game. I’ll admit I am getting a little tired of those…
Graphics: Beautiful water effects, environments, and character designs. Add some stunning Northern light effects and snow tornadoes for good measure. I did run into some occasional environment clipping and freezing during sea battles with lots of enemy ships. The latter can probably be blamed on my poor aging “fat” PS3.
Sound: The theme song on the title screen was very moving to me. Nothing else about the soundtrack really jumped out at me. The crew still sings most of the same classic sea shanties they did in Black Flag, but they have added a few new ones. My crew did seem to hate me though since they often sang the same one. At least I am fairly confident that I now know what to do with a drunken sailor. I would have also liked to have heard more variety in the songs sang by the entertainers found in the game’s many pubs.
My Overall Biased Opinion: I love the story of Assassin’s Creed and watching Shay join the dark side added some interesting plot elements. I also enjoyed getting a little more information about the back story of Assassin’s Creed III. I wasn’t expecting any radical gameplay changes so I wasn’t disappointed when there weren’t any. For now I’m happy with the AC formula but I will grow tired of it. Ubisoft will need to spice the formula up a bit to prevent Assassin’s Creed from becoming just another boring yearly rehash to me (and looking back, they did).
SPOILERS AHEAD!!! You have been warned.
This section of my video game reviews is a way for me to remember my journey through a game. Major spoilers will be present here so please avoid this unless you’ve already played the game, or don’t have any plans to. Feel free to share any experiences you’ve had with this game in the comments area thingy below.
Present me back again! So it seems I didn’t do summaries for my old reviews. This is a great example of why I write these things – I don’t remember a damn thing about this game so the great Wikipedia was nice enough jump start my memory. Ahem.
Like previous installments of the series, the game is divided into two sections – Abstergo Entertainment employee in the present day (I won’t mention these parts. TL;DR – lots of first person exploring and computer hacking mini games… Abstergo is run by modern Templars and you choose to join them or not at the end), and Shay Cormac in the Animus simulation the employee is running (typical Assassin-style ship-sailing gameplay). Shay starts off as an Assassin working for his mentor Achilles Davenport (who becomes Connor’s defeated and reluctant mentor in Assassin’s Creed III) and carrying on with his fellow assassin BFF, Liam O’Brien. The first memory ends with Shay stealing a ship from a British camp, which he names the Morrigan (not to be confused with the cranky witch from Dragon Age: Origins). He uses the Morrigan to sink some enemy ships and rescue his ally Chevalier’s ship. Oh and he had to rescue a group of smugglers from the British camp, but I can’t remember why.
After that, Shay undergoes some training from cool Assassin folks named Hope Jensen and Kesegowaase. Shay overhears a meeting between Achilles and new arrival Adewale about an ancient Precursor temple site that was found in Port-au-Prince. A big earthquake was also triggered there. The evil Templars have stolen two important artifacts that will help the Assassins uncover more temple sites, so Shay is sent on a mission to murder them and take back the manuscript and a magical box that translates the manuscript stuff. He takes these artifacts to THE Benjamin Franklin (gotta respect a dude who loves harnessing the power of lightning) under the ruse of being a Templar. Brilliant Benjamin Franklin figures it all out and a map showing Precursor temples around the world is shown. Shay notices one is in Lisbon, and then he is sent there to retrieve the Piece of Eden from the site.
Shay finds the temple in Lisbon with no problems, but when he takes the Piece of Eden from its pedestal, it disintegrates and a massive earthquake is triggered (similar to what went down in Port-au-Prince). Lots of people die in the city as a result, but Shay manages to escape without being crushed by collapsing buildings. Shay is very upset about what happened (feeling responsible for all those deaths), and he goes off to confront his mentor, but his Assassin brothers and sisters turn him away. Shay fears his former friends will destroy more cities in their mad quest to find Pieces of Eden, so he breaks into his mentor’s office with the intention of stealing the manuscript. Achilles confronts him, a struggle ensues, and Shay flees with this former family in pursuit. Shay is soon cornered on the edge of a cliff, with his once-BFF Liam waving a gun in his face. Shay edges closer to the cliff and is shot in the back, sending him plunging into the water below. Ouch…
Shay somehow survives, and over several weeks, is nursed back to health by a sweet older New York couple (Barry and Cassidy Finnegan). The couple’s late son belonged to the not-so-evil-now Templar organization, by the way… The couple tells Shay about the sad state of street crime in their city, and Shay does something about it by taking out a gang headquarters. In the process he meets up with Colonel George Monro. Impressed with Shay’s brutal justice initiative, Monro gives Shay a task to rescue a dude named Christopher Gist from being hanged. By doing that Shay reacquires his ship, the Morrigan, along with a crew recruited by his new First Mate, Gist. Together, Shay, Gist, and Monro set off on a quest to destroy Assassin Brotherhood influence across the land. Since Monro trusts Shay now, he hands him the manuscript, which he recovered from Shay. Monro was the one who rescued Shay after the cliff dive.
In the next mission, Monro is in trouble and Shay rushes to his aid. A guys named Jack Weeks tells Shay that Monro and his men are about to be ambushed by Assassins. Shay saves the day but a former friend is there: Kesegowaase. Shay gives the manuscript to Monro for safe keeping, and hunts down and kills poor Kesegowaase to prevent another attack. While Shay was out killing a former bro, Liam killed Monro and now the manuscript is back in Assassin hands. Oops! But Shay is now officially welcomed into the Templar Order by Grand Master Haytham Kenway. Shay tells his new boss all about the Brotherhood’s plans. Now it’s time to go murder everyone else Shay once loved! Haytham and Liam’s first victim is Adewale. I found that part very sad since Adewale is a great guy (loved him as Edward Kenway’s BFF in Black Flag) and Haytham is Edward’s son so just… wow. 😦
The next target for Shay is New York gang leader, Hope Jensen, which is also sad because it’s sort of implied that Shay like-likes her. Shay overhears Liam and Hope talking in a warehouse. Apparently, Hope can replicate Benjamin Franklin’s science magic and find more temple sites, and there is an expedition planned to one of them. Hope discovers Shay’s presence and poisons him, setting off a hard-to-control chase across New York (nice poisoned mechanics, Ubisoft). Eventually, Shay strikes Hope, takes the antidote before he dies, and then kills her. The Assassin gangs in New York are now without a leader. 2 Points for the Templars… sigh.
Shay now has to find out where this Assassin expedition is heading so he can stop their madness. After finding some maps, Shay is lured to the North Atlantic and kills Chevalier after a big navel battle. Shay discovers that was just a distraction, however, and Achilles and Liam are well on their way to the real location of a Precursor temple. Haytham and Shay get to that location ASAP, finding that Liam and Achilles have uncovered the Piece of Eden. Liam calls Shay a traitor, Achilles admits he was wrong about the artifacts, and a struggle occurs. Liam is knocked against the Piece of Eden, triggering another bad earthquake. In the chaos, Shay chases down Liam, and Hytham chases down Achilles through the collapsing tunnels.
Shay catches up to Liam and the two crash to the ground below when the ice platform they are on collapses. Liam’s wounds are fatal, and with his dying breath, he hands Shay the manuscript (I guess admitting the Assassins were wrong). Shay puts his dead friend’s hood up as a sign of respect. Shay rushes to find Haytham, who is about to kill Achilles. Shay stops that from happening by mentioning Achilles needs to be alive in order to warn the Assassins to stop uncovering these sites. Haytham can’t argue with that logic, but shoots Achilles in the leg before leaving. No wonder Achilles is so depressed in Assassin’s Creed III. So now the Temlars have the manuscript, but that translation box is still out there. Haytham tasks Shay with finding that.
Some years later, Shay is in Paris rescuing Benjamin Franklin from thugs. He has discovered the box is in the possession of an Assassin named Charles Dorian. Shay sneaks into a fancy palace party and murders Charles, saying the revolution has just begun as he takes the box. Oh and that man Shay killed is the father of Arno Dorian, the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Unity. A very cool connection between these two games that were released at the same time!
Favourite Story Moment
It was fun teaming up with Haytham Kenway (Poor Adewale though…) and a part of me felt sad picking off each one of Shay’s former colleagues. It was an interesting twist that Shay didn’t actually have to kill Liam himself. I also learned why Achilles had a cane in Assassin’s Creed III. My favourite story moment would have to be the ending, which really paved the way for Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Berserk Grenades! I found it quite entertaining to fire one of these bad boys into a crowd of guards and watch the ensuing chaos from the safety of a nearby bush. Even better there was actually a trophy for that.
Favorite “Oh S@#%” Moment
You are exploring a shipwreck on a desolate part of the Arctic ocean. You crawl under an opening into a cave and… POLAR BEAR!
I never thought I would ever see my city featured in a video game. Imagine how happy I was when I found Halifax, Nova Scotia. The game portrays it as a little village area, and I’ve never seen any huge mountain ranges around on my way to work. They did add a bar though. They definitely got that part right!
Shay Cormac himself. At the beginning of the game you get a sense that he never really believed in the overall mission of the Brotherhood. That set the stage nicely for his transition over to the Templars. After seeing what the artifacts were capable of doing Shay didn’t hesitate to do whatever was necessary to protect innocent lives.
Most Tedious Gameplay Moment
Gathering all the materials to fully upgrade the Morrigan. So many ships boarded… YARR!!
Worst Glitch Encountered
I was happily exploring a northern area and jumping across a river. While jumping over to the other side Shay got himself stuck in a rock and froze to death in the water. Not exactly game breaking but it annoyed me.
PlayStation Trophies unlocked: 47/47
⚡Thanks for reading!⚡