Assassin’s Creed: Rogue: First Impressions

rogue

Tonight/This morning Matthew is going to talk about his first impressions of Assassin’s Creed Rogue. Please note this is being played on the PS3, and so there may be some differences in terminology if you are playing on the 360.

So, I have a baby on the way, and Christmas is coming, so I’ve decided to hold off on purchasing an Xbox One for the moment. Fear not, I’m going to get one, I’d just rather spend someone else’s money, so Christmas will be my victory day as it were, and streaming will begin in earnest.

That being said, I’m still not without pride, and so I picked up Assassin’s Creed: Rogue this morning from my local EBGames.

Why didn’t I purchase digitally? Well, frankly, I prefer having a physical copy, and also I used to work for these guys, and my old boss is still there. He’s been there since I was a kid, and so I’d like to continue supporting him and my friends that work at the store.

If you’re just looking for a quick review as to if you should spend your hard earned coin in this game, especially considering the debacle that Unity’s launch seems to be turning into, then please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Now, as this is a first impressions, I won’t be going into much detail on the engine, and I won’t be going into any detail on the story, suffice it to say, it’s good. The story hits all the right spots, so far, and is introducing characters we would expect to see. (Adewale, Achilles etc.) so we’re on the right track.

Shay is an easy to relate to character. He is well spoken, and he has a personality. The same can’t be said of Connor, for example, but we’ve at least crossed that hurdle. He comes across as a pleasant mixture of Ezio and Edward, with the flaws of neither. This isn’t to say he is without flaws, but that’s part of the story, so I’ll move on.

The engine is largely Assassin’s Creed IV as far as I can tell, and this isn’t a bad thing. Black Flag played well and what I’m being presented with here is an excellent combination of the best of III and IV. Shay controls tightly, and requires more input than his predecessor. Imagine having a mixture of the control scheme of II and IV, and you’ve got your feel for Rogue.

I will say that a few of the buttons have been changed, especially at sea, and I am finding this jarring. To use the spyglass one needs to press up on the D-Pad rather than R2, and then you zoom in and out with the L1 and R1 buttons. This is not a terribly comfortable set up.

In addition, the puckle guns (the new swivels) are free-fired using R2 as opposed to Triangle. I like this set up as it allows for more use of the guns rather than just quick-time events in the heat of battle. These puckle guns, which are like rapid-fire swivels, can be used to blow apart certain parts of the environment, or used directly on smaller ships like gunboats and schooners. I like having this kind of freedom, it makes combat more varied and interesting. The Morrigan (Shay’s ship), however, handles like a really fat, slow cow. It’s larger than the Jackdaw by far, and as such isn’t as maneuverable, but she makes up for it in firepower and staying power.

Speaking of the combat, it is largely unchanged, though I will say the surprise at sea of being boarded gets the adrenaline pumping. It’s very strange to be on the other side of the equation, but I do like having that uncertainty.

Visually, the world is stunning. Nothing has been left un-polished. As I said, they took the best of III and IV and shoved them together. There is little in terms of innovation, but not re-inventing the wheel this time around has allowed them to polish what the do have to a mirror-shine. It looks simply stunning and that, alone, is worth the price of admission.

As I said, these are just quick hits this evening, as I’m only about 3 hours into the game. It’s intriguing though to see the world from the Templar perspective, and I can’t say I feel sorry for the Assassins. At least not yet.

I will, however, say that I’m not sure how the game is going to play itself out. Of course we know that Achilles will be the only Assassin left, but it’s more than that. I’ve already had a shocker thrown at me in the mission Kyrie Eleison. This is Greek for Lord have mercy.

If you really want to see a few spoilers, I’d look that mission up. It sold me on the whole idea, and I can’t wait to sit down and finish this game. And yes, you will get a detailed review once I’ve plowed through to story end.

Tl: Dr: If you were looking for more Black Flag, but set in a time closer to that of the American Revolution, than this is your game. It’s Black Flag on steroids, and it hasn’t yet stopped being fun. My only complaint so far is Shay’s pre-Templar appearance. He looked like a deformed vampire-bat creature. I was afraid for my life.

Anyways, this is just a brief look. As I said, I’ll get more in depth later on. I’d suggest a week from today if my past playing record on this series is to be believed.

As to Unity, since I know people will ask for my opinion:

Should Ubisoft have released Unity if they knew about the frame-rate issues, the dropping through the world etc? Of course not, it’s irresponsible and disrespectful to the consumer.

That said, as a veteran of MMO games (which I know Unity is not), I will attest that how a game works in Beta and in internal alpha testing…really isn’t how the game will perform in the wild. So, a patch will come out that fixes these issues, and perhaps on already has, I don’t know.

I think we all just need to cool our jets a little bit. Sure, day-one patching and consoles that are online allow for a sort of crutch, and that is wrong. But in the end, as long as the game is fixed in a reasonable amount of time, I’ll let it go. I just think an embargo was a poor idea. Doesn’t provide me with much confidence. But, we’ll see what happens. I’ll weigh in on the PR side of this Wednesday evening.

Until then, take care, and thanks very much for reading. Good night. I’m going to go to sleep now. I’m fighting off a hell of a cold, and would really just like to crawl into the fetal position for a few days. Any home cough remedies would be appreciated.

Someone should call me an old priest and a young priest….

-Matthew

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Assassin’s Creed: Rogue: First Impressions

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