Last year, amid all the hype, bugs and attention paid to Assassin’s Creed Unity, the little brother game, Rogue, released with hardly any fanfare. Those that played it will tell you that Rogue was the winning horse in the line-up, despite not having a current-gen version to excite fans of graphics, where the number of peas are all too important. You can read Dawid’s review of the game here.
Rogue puts you in the shoes of Shay Cormac, an upstart newly recruited assassin with a mixture of luck and skill that makes him arrogant in the same way Altair was, so many years ago. The story arc overlaps with the tale of Connor and Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3, using the same location of the Davenport Homestead, where we meet a younger, Achilles. To slightly confuse things though, the real world happenings are occurring at Abstergo Entertainment a year after the events in Black Flag. Once again you are a nameless, voiceless character, meant to be you, working at Abstergo Entertainment.
The setting allows for a lot of loose ends and connections to be completed for the player. Learning more about Achilles the Mentor, with a whole cell of assassins training under him, is helps fill the gaps in what we know of the character and how he was crippled. Haytham Kenway’s appearance is meant to arouse old feelings of hatred, while mingling and confusing them with new information as we learn more of his work and goals. If you can’t remember the characters and what happened, you might want crash course before playing.
Abandoning the Creed
For a long time in the series, there has been an undertone of disquiet as characters battle to live within the broad tenets of the Creed, and as characters battle against mentors with secret goals. Finally, a character breaks free from the creed as you turn rogue after what can only really be called the tutorial and introduction to the game. As Shay learns more and more about the Templars and how the Creed fails him with its deceit and hidden truths, your real-world movements, which includes fixing lots of broken computers, will slowly expose you to the fanatical methods and thoughts of Otso Berg.
Its a refreshing change to the formula of the story, but it doesn’t change much in the gameplay, where you will spend lots of time hunting down people, assassinating guards and like old Edward Kenway, pillaging merchant ships on the sea. Shay is armed with a bit more firepower though, so expect a whole new level of carnage once you access the grenade launcher for your air rifle. I’m not going to try explain that sentence.
Everything is permitted, except 60+ fps
Rogue is a lot kinder to GPUs than Black Flag is, which leaves me puzzled as to why the game is still capped at 60 frames per second. It looks great, but not quite the same shine as Black Flag. The anti-aliasing options are a bit poorer, with no SMAA (you can use the Nvidia control panel to try force it) and a lot of the textures seem too uniform, giving the buildings these ultra-sharp edges and pristine plaster work that I battle to believe is the case of colonial buildings in the 1700s.
Still the work on the water effects and the improvements to foliage still create several moments of awe and wonder, especially in the frozen climes of the north, where the eddies of wind make the snow dance as you traverse blue-white ice.
If you missed Rogue and you ditched your last-gen machines, you really should make a point of trying to get your hands on the PC version.
Here is a video that compares the console versions with the PC version, for those who want to see the changes for themselves.