Assassin’s Creed Rogue has restored my faith in the franchise. Unity wasn’t just a poor Assassin's Creed entry from a narrative standpoint, it was a technical disaster, and one of the worst performing next-gen titles I’ve played so far. After walking away from Unity in utter disappointment, I thought the glory days of Assassin’s Creed were over. Fortunately, the newly released PC version of Rogue is the series’ long awaited recovery. It brings back everything that made its predecessor, Black Flag, such a superb experience, and Unlike Unity, it’s technically flawless.
I clocked in over twenty hours without a single crash or hiccup, but most importantly, Rogue’s story and excellent gameplay return AC to greatness. Admittedly, this is still an Assassin’s Creed game, and with it come trite design decisions and little annoyances. Nevertheless, as a devout Assassin’s Creed fan and someone who absolutely adores Black Flag, the PC version of Rogue exceeded my expectations.
"Assassin’s Creed Rogue has restored my faith in the franchise. It brings back everything that made its predecessor, Black Flag, such a superb experience, and Unlike Unity, it’s technically flawless."
Last year’s Rogue was a victim of poor marketing and bad timing. Advertised as a mere spin-off, many gamers dismissed it as just another Assassin’s Creed Liberation. That’s not to say that Liberation was bad by any means, but it was a compressed version of a typical AC release. It also didn’t help that Rogue was originally released on last-gen consoles. I was one of those gamers who decided to hold off on Rogue. Releasing two AC titles on the same day seemed like a desperate move by Ubisoft to squeeze more money out of its fans, so I decided to wait until the inevitable PC re release. Fortunately, the wait was worthwhile. Ubisoft has done everything in their power to ensure a smoother experience and to put the Unity shame to rest. In almost every regard, Rogue on the PC is a stark contrast to Unity, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.
"In almost every regard, Rogue on the PC is a stark contrast to Unity, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible."
As with most large franchises, you either like the series or you don’t. Rogue isn’t going to suddenly turn haters into devout fans, but it finally gives longtime AC supporters the deserved sequel. Rogue’s storyline takes place between Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed III, with several instances tying in with Unity. You play the Brotherhood Assassin, Shay Patrick Cormac, who undergoes a dramatic transformation after a tragic mission in Portugal. Enraged by the Brotherhood’s unorthodox methods, Shay sets out to hunt down those he once fought with, eventually becoming the most formidable Assassin hunter in Brotherhood history. Ubisoft has done a great job of portraying Shay’s conversion. His change is a gradual, dark and unsettling journey from ardent Assassin to pious Templar.
A new purpose presents several small gameplay changes. When on land, Shay is constantly hunted by Assassins lurking in the shadows. A light whisper implies nearby danger, but using Eagle Vision, Shay can pinpoint the hunters’ exact location and ready himself for battle. Assassins can attack from anywhere, forcing Shay to be on constant lookout for surprise attacks. Shay can also lure Assassins out of hiding by utilizing his new fireworks ammunition. When on sea, Assassins are constantly attempting to overthrow Shay’s crew. The improved naval gameplay introduces an assortment of new weapons, like burning oil that leaves a trail of fire, or the machine gun-like Puckle gun. Once the cold waters of the North Atlantic are reached, icebergs become both obstacles and covers during naval battles. Rogue even takes a few pages from Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 and 4 by adding outpost liberations across towns.
"Assassin's Creed Rogue on the PC puts the franchise back on track. Unity wasn’t just a slip up, it was a cliff dive into a dark abyss, but fortunately Ubisoft managed to redeem themselves."
Graphics settings are relatively diverse, offering the usual abundance of options: Environment Quality (Normal/High/Very High), Texture Quality (Normal/High), Antialiasing Quality (Off/FXAA), Shadow Quality (Off/Normal/High/Very High), Anisotropic Filtering Quality (Off/4x/8x/16x), Ocean Quality (Normal/High/Very High), Post Effects Quality (Normal/High), Motion Blur (Off/On), Ambient Occlusion (Off/SSAO/HBAO Low/HBAO High), God Rays (Off/On), Volumetric Fog (Off/On) and Vsync (Off/On). Rogue is even capable of Intel HD graphics support for gamers with lower end hardware.
I played Rogue on a 1440p monitor with Nvidia’s 780, a Haswell i7 and 32GB of Ram, and the game performed flawlessly with Ambient Occlusion set to SSAO and Motion Blur set to off. I didn't experience any crashes or FPS drops, although the odd texture streaming effect reared its ugly head every once in a while. Overall, Rogue is aesthetically similar to Black Flag, which is a good thing, and frankly, it’s environments are far more attractive than the derivative scenery of Unity.
Assassin's Creed Rogue on the PC puts the franchise back on track. Unity wasn’t just a slip up, it was a cliff dive into a dark abyss, but fortunately Ubisoft managed to redeem themselves. Rogue’s world is more varied, the gameplay more responsive and fun, and the narrative is genuinely intriguing. The campaign may be a little on the short side (around ten hours if you’re not doing any side activities, and over twenty if you’re a completionist), but Shay is without a doubt one of the most interesting protagonists in the entire series. Forget Unity ever existed and give AC another chance. Rogue wont’ disappoint!
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC