Developing games for a recently released next-gen console is not easy. On the one hand, players expect a completely new quality, not only graphics, but also a revolution in the game. On the other hand, it’s hard not to understand the manufacturer who wants to cut coupons from a well-known brand at a low cost. Ubisoft made a reasonable compromise in 2014. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 users, who have been able to enjoy new equipment for a year, got a completely new, fifth full-fledged installment of Assassin’s Creeda, but players remaining faithful to the previous generation consoles were not omitted and so equally with Unity, the Rouge dedicated to exclusively for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and a few months later also for PC-tom. We can find out if the owners of the eighth generation consoles had anything to regret thanks to the released remaster of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue less than four years after the game’s premiere.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue bridges the gap between the fourth installment of the series, i.e. the first half of the 18th century, where pirates led by Blackbeard in the Caribbean, and the third one, taking place in the years 1760-1783, i.e. during the formation of the independence of the United States. The action of the game takes us to the times of the Seven Years’ War, which took place in the colonies between Great Britain and France. The main character is Shay Patrick Cormac, a faithful creed member of the Assassin brotherhood, following the orders of the leader Achilles Davenport. Its main task is to find ancient artifacts that will allow you to reach the temple of the Precursors, which has been lost centuries ago. Unbeknownst to Shay, however, unusual items have enormous power to destroy entire cities. When, after stealing one of these artifacts, the Assassin inadvertently destroys an entire city, he begins to doubt whether the brotherhood is so ideologically different from the Templars, or whether they differ only in the methods of achieving their goals. He decides to leave the brotherhood, stealing the information needed to find the remaining artifacts. While hiding from the brotherhood, Shay meets several Templars who urge him to join them. The renegade becomes an assassin hunter, who wants to get Achilles and the rest of the high-ranking assassins at all costs, to prevent them from continuing their search for the temple.
Snow will go up our collar not only on the mainland
The last released installment of Assassin’s Creed for the seventh generation consoles does not differ much from the fourth installment. Black Flag focused most of the game on sea navigation with its own ship and Rouge followed the same route. The core of the gameplay has remained the same, it’s the same good old Assassin’s Creed with all its advantages and disadvantages. The bulk of the game is therefore climbing buildings, following important storyline people, assassinating, naval battles and finding numerous collectibles. Therefore, people who already have the last three installments of the series behind them, and in particular last year’s Origins, may feel confused by the return to almost prehistoric times. So, has Ubisoft not missed the perfect moment to remastered this part? It seems so, although it is still a game that can catch you for at least a dozen or so hours.
The most important novelty in terms of the story was the possibility of playing the Templar and getting to know the order from the other, previously little-known side. A very good idea, but completely unused. Before Shay switches sides, it will take a few hours to complete the main quests, and when the transition finally does happen, the gameplay style does not change for a moment. As the main character, we perform exactly the same tasks and in the same way as if he were still an assassin. There is also no point in getting to know the order and its members in depth. Everything, right up to the finale, follows the patterns that have been perfectly tested from the previous parts, and does not differ even for a moment from the well-known narrative or gameplay solutions. The only thing that may surprise is the epilogue itself, which also becomes a prologue to Unity. I should also mention the contemporary thread, which also does not differ from the one presented in Black Flag. By controlling a random employee of Abstergo Industries, we can visit several levels of the company’s headquarters and find a dozen or so tablets with e-mails containing various information from the game world, and get to 20 computers after taking part in a simple mini-game, where we will unlock, among others, movies about famous assassins.
The gameplay takes on true colors on the high seas
There is also no point in looking for any significant novelties in the game itself. In the waters of the North Atlantic, we must be careful that the main character does not stay in the icy water for too long, otherwise our character will freeze and be absorbed by the dangerous and treacherous ocean forever. It does not hurt to be cautious also on the mainland, which is full of enemy assassins scattered in the hideouts. From the moment Shay joins the Templar Order, assassins armed with their blades will lurk for his life. They hide both in high densities as well as in haystacks or on the roofs of buildings. So when traveling through New York or larger colonies on the islands, you have to be on your guard all the time, otherwise during an open confrontation it is easy to be weakened by an assassin and to finish off any other enemy. Fortunately, our hero has new types of weapons, such as exploding darts that can scare the enemy in hiding, as well as a primitive grenade launcher, with which we not only destroy the door from the proverbial barn, but also use special ammunition to stun, enrage or put the enemy to sleep. The game also has a new type of side quests called “Capture the Assassins”. In the initial phase, we have to sneak up on the bird and catch it, thanks to which we will learn about the planned murder by the brotherhood, and our task is to protect the target by finding and killing enemies before the specified time elapses. We perform one of such missions in the main plot.
The fun at sea has also been slightly changed. This time the game world has been divided into three areas: North Atlantic, River Valley and New York. The latter is nothing more than a well-known, though slightly less developed city from the third installment of the series. The next two areas differ not only in the density of the mainland, but also in the presence of icebergs, which can pose an additional threat in sea combat, and cause high waves, which turn out to be a destructive force against the smallest ships. In the Atlantic, you also have to watch out for snowstorms, which effectively limit the field of view and it is very easy to crash the ship against the nearby land or enemy ship. Once the battle takes place, the Morigan – Shay’s ship, can use not only cannonballs against the enemy, but also Puckle’s cannon, which is a kind of a gatling gun, i.e. a weapon with a high rate of fire, but not dealing much damage. This problem can be solved, for example, by pouring oil stains behind our ship to set fire to the enemy ship.
But also in the settlements, it can catch the eye with its dangerous beauty
An interesting novelty is the Naval Campaign. After successfully boarding the ship, we have a choice whether we want to sell it, repair the damage to our own ship or incorporate it into our own fleet. When we make the last choice, we can use the new boat to complete various missions, thanks to which we will get gold or valuable items. With time, the missions are more and more and they become more and more demanding for our ships, so our role is to get better and better ships. We have already had similar activities consisting in strategy, planning and using our own resources in Brotherhood.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is one of the installments of the series with the largest number of collectibles located in the game world. So not only are the towers hated by some players returning, unlocking visibility on the map of subsequent areas, but also chasing shanties, finding chests with gold or such side activities as taking over enemy forts, robbing warehouses and renovating buildings. Ubisoft, however, made sure that after going through the shortest story, which takes less than ten hours, players still had something to do in the game. Using the eagle’s eye, we will decipher the paintings in the caves, find Viking swords scattered around in various corners and arrange the individual levels of Indian poles in the right order. Thanks to all this, Rouge allows you to spend an additional dozen hours in front of the screen, only completing side missions and finding treasures and collectibles hidden even on the smallest islands.
Once again, we can recall the famous towers in practice
However, enough about the game itself and it’s time to focus on the remaster level itself. Unfortunately, I don’t have good news. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Remastered is just a properly refreshed version of the game from the previous generation of consoles. So the game can be run in 4K on Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, and on regular XBO and PS4 in 1080p, but regardless of the console and the selected resolution, the game works only in 30 FPS. It’s hard to defend this decision, especially with this level of graphics. The remaster sharpens textures, the resolution of shadows and the range of drawing objects are also greater, and you can observe some additional environmental effects, but the game looks worse even than the fourth installment of the series released in the version for the current console generation. It is not surprising that Ubisoft’s decision to skip the Rouge remaster for computers. PC fans do not need such a remaster, because the game currently does not differ much from the PC port released in 2015.
It is a pity that the producer did not try to bury the game code and fix a few bugs when the remaster was released. These are still present in the Rouge in surprisingly large numbers. Problems with gripping different surfaces is already a cult status, but after many improvements from the previous three games in the series, it may be irritating, but that’s the charm of older Assassin’s Creed games. It’s also hard to pass by more serious errors, such as the disappearance of the main character’s model during a cut-scene, after which the protagonist will suddenly die, or even crash the entire game. As a consolation, the remaster contains all add-ons released for Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, and the creators even tried to add bonus content, which is Bayek’s Origins outfit.
The creators made sure that the player would not be bored even for a second
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Remastered is a great proposition for anyone who at the turn of 2013 and 2014 immediately switched to the new generation of consoles and had no opportunity to play this unjustly overlooked part of the series, and always wanted to read it. Now he has the best opportunity to do so, but this journey into the near past may prove painful, especially due to the completely different controls, character and improvements of the entire gameplay compared to the latest installment of the series. Despite the fact that the game has a lot of drawbacks, and the graphics have been adjusted only to the level of “not stinging in the eye”, it is still worth taking an interest in this part of Assassin’s Creeda. Especially that the game can be completed without any upgrades to both the main character and his ship, so people allergic to laborious gathering can still avoid hunting or searching for raw materials for better Morigan cannons. However, if you’ve never wanted to guide Shay and fill the fictional gap between the third and fourth installments of the series, you can easily deduct one point from the final score. Apparently this is not a remaster for you.