The version of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue that I had purchased was the “Limited Edition” version, or at least it was listed this way on the box. When it first booted up, there was an update waiting for me. This took about five minutes or so to complete, and I quickly learned that what this version included was an extra mission called “The Siege of Fort De Sable”, and the “Hunter Pack” which added some extra items to use as a Templar.
Following the acclaimed “Black Flag” game, the folks at Ubisoft were smart enough to leave well enough alone in many ways. The naval combat, weapons, and some other activities remain largely unaltered. You begin the story as Shay, a young member of the assassins, and of course, you’re pilotig a ship. The comparisons to Black Flag are immediately noticeable and hardly end here.
Of course, we find our “subject” in the hands of Abstergo, his memories being pulled once more by the company we’ve come to know as the corporate embodiment of all things Templar. Those memories begin in an unusually hectic environment (the “bad guys” are nothing if not organized) and with our friend being verbally abused by his “handler.” Before much is explained, we’re quickly off to a memory.
The first canon shots you fire from your ship seem very familiar. You point with L1 and fire them with R1. Though this is similar, I found that aiming was a bit more difficult than AC IV. The Arc which acts as your shot tracker moves a bit too quickly for me, and it becomes a bit less accurate because it moves in a larger, quicker swath. Due to this, I found it harder to aim, to be honest. I got used to it as I played, but it never felt as accurate to me as the previous target speed.
Anyway, we’re up the coast from the setting of Black Flag. Way up the coast, in what is now mostly part of Canada. The story revolves around the French and Indian War, and you’ll immediately notice the snow everywhere. It’s quite beautiful in 1080p, though it does make one pine for the Caribbean setting of 4 a bit. I suppose that means they got it right, because it actually “feels” cold as you sail through the waters of various bays and rivers. The icebergs make that point even better.
Sailing is smooth as far as the controls are concerned, but you’ll encounter waves and choppy waters on a more consistent basis than in the previous game. I found that I had to remember to aim over the rising waters often to strike a target with the initial set of basic cannons equipped on the Morrigan early in the game. It was a bit more tedious in the early going to simply sail somewhere and get there quickly.
The characters seem well developed as usual, something that Ubisoft doesn’t get enough credit for in my opinion. Since significant time has passed since the release of Rogue, I suppose it’s not too much of a spoiler to mention that we encounter an older, wiser Adewale (one of my facorite characters in the series) early on in this game. He’s likable as ever.
As far as the controls of your character are concerned, not much has changed. Moving Shay about is standard, and controlling him feels intuitive, although you’ll still run past a tree you meant to climb up once in awhile. Like all of the other AC games, I got use to it quickly enough. You probably will, too.
Weapon usage is slightly altered, though employing them is very similar to shooting, stabbing and fighting as Edward in IV. Where previously you had a sword, you’ll now use a pairing of sword and knife simultaneously, though you choose the pair as an individual item. Your blow darts are still available, thankfully, but will now be fired from an air rifle. Handy smoke bombs are also still in your cache, and are perfect for causing confusion and allowing you to escape a tough spot or quickly take out multiple enemies as they feel the effects of the fumes.