Everything is lawful

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Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
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While Ubisoft Montreal was grappling with the development of Assassin's Creed Unity, another division of the French house, Ubisoft Sofia, was in charge of creating what on paper was the last episode of the series for the previous generation platforms, ergo PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Released last November, Assassin's Creed: Rogue starts from the same assumptions as Black Flag, binding to the history of the Kenways and going to explore a narrative concept that the franchise had already touched in Assassin's Creed III, that is, to put the player in the shoes of a Templar.



Worse, of an Assassin who at some point decides to betray his faction to go to the side of the enemy of all time. The story is that of Shay Patrick Cormac, a member of the brotherhood that operates in the eighteenth century, during the course of the French-Indian war, under the aegis of Achille Davenport, future mentor of Connor. Completing his training, Shay is sent to search for mysterious Precursor artifacts, but when he comes into contact with one of them in Lisbon, the event triggers a devastating earthquake that destroys the city. In this situation we witness one of the most spectacular phases of Assassin's Creed: Rogue, with our character who has to flee towards the coast while the buildings collapse and the roads split, and at the same time Shay is born the doubt that the actions of the brotherhood can be fallacious, all the more so if they cause so many deaths. Determined to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again, the young Assassin decides to steal the manuscript in which the positions of the artifacts are reported, thus colliding with Achilles and his former companions, who chase him until he falls off a cliff and falls in sea ​​together with the book. Saved by a group of Templars, the boy wakes up in New York and begins to collaborate with the governor George Monro, following a path that will lead him to join the Order. As interesting as it is, the plot of Assassin's Creed: Rogue shows its side to a whole series of critical issues, following a trend that has now plagued the Ubisoft series since the episode set during the American war of independence. The starting idea in fact has great potential, but Shay's conversion is not told with the necessary consistency, in fact the character does nothing but have doubts about his work throughout the story, only to then attack without much compliments those who were the his former companions. The involvement of Haytham Kenway and Adéwalé basically completes the narrative framework that connects Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin's Creed III, but even in this case it is not explained why Edward's son passed through the ranks of the Templars. which suggests that Ubisoft wants to leave a door open in order to return to the subject. Of course, the epilogue of the campaign will surprise those who have already had the opportunity to play Assassin's Creed Unity, but we expected a little more than a simple "save for a corner" for an episode based, as mentioned, on these assumptions.



Between land and water

From a structural point of view, as also illustrated in the review of the console version, Assassin's Creed: Rogue is practically an expansion of Black Flag, of which it takes up the mechanics, the dull gameplay phases set in the present (which follow closely events of Black Flag) and even the interface. Between New York City, River Valley and the North Atlantic, the in-game action alternates between water and land, albeit with a predominance of the former, which will see us command the Morrigan ship and face a large number of sea battles with other vessels. .

In this sense, there are two differences compared to what was seen in the episode dedicated to Edward Kenway: firstly, the greater autonomy of the side cannon during boarding allows you to conquer enemy ships without even having to physically invade them, substantially speeding up the conquest operations. and the consequent collection of materials needed to upgrade the Morrigan (which includes flammable oil in lieu of explosive barrels); secondly, it will sometimes happen to be rammed and invaded by enemies, thus having to respond to a boarding attempt for the first time. Where the second element increases the variety of naval battles by a minimum, the first makes offshore sections much faster, avoiding the delays that characterized the Black Flag experience after the first few hours. The complete map appears smaller, in this case, but equally full of places to discover, forts to conquer and warehouses to empty during your travels. As for the action on land, the stalking have been completely eliminated (which in Black Flag were instead present in massive doses) and missions to conquer the outposts similar to those of Assassin's Creed Unity have been included, even if the design of some challenges leaves a lot to be desired and almost borders on glitch territory (see chase with Hope), thanks to the old running and climbing system and its tendency to get stuck in anything. Speaking of old, unfortunately Assassin's Creed: Rogue adopts pre-Unity combat mechanics and therefore appears completely unbalanced in terms of challenge, putting us in the shoes of a real Rambo, able to eliminate dozens and dozens of enemies in combo without even spilling a drop of sweat. It goes without saying that the numerous weapons available therefore become useless for the purposes of the experience, and that in the same way the enhancement of the character takes a back seat. Indeed, to be honest we realized that it was possible to improve Shay's resistance (using hides and bones obtained from hunting) only after completing the game, incurring the game over only on a couple of occasions during the ten hours that are are used to complete the campaign "straight to straight", without wasting too much time in side quests. Considering the aforementioned wealth of places to explore and collectibles, we can safely deduce that the game requires at least twenty hours to be able to do everything. A value by no means despicable (all the more so since you do not feel the lack of multiplayer in any way), but which turns out to be equally "heavy" if you have spent a lot of time in the Caribbean sea in Black Flag. In short, you really need to be a fan of Assassin's Creed naval battles to enthusiastically accept this new challenge.



Assassin's Creed: Rogue is an interesting variation on the Black Flag theme, but on PC it looks dated

Old-gen

The announcement of a PC version for Assassin's Creed: Rogue was in the air since the reveal of the game and considering the assumptions of the production it would have been reasonable to expect a graphics up to that of Black Flag, excellent but clearly not at Unity levels , which set new standards for the franchise. Dealing with the story of Shay Cormac after completing that of Arno Dorian is actually a disappointing experience, because the qualitative difference between the two games is very evident.

The problem is that those who expected for the PC version of Rogue the use of the assets seen in Edward Kenway's adventure will be very disappointed, finding themselves faced with something that instead resembles a mere remaster, much closer to the visual quality of Assassin's. Creed III than that of Black Flag, at least in the PC field. Compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 edition, some aspects are certainly better, first of all the water yield, which boasts the splendid transparencies and volume that we were able to appreciate in the pirate chapter. But everything else, from the polygonal models to the shaders, from the textures (some of which are unwatchable, see the doors of the warehouses to be forced) to the lights, appear frankly dated. It is therefore no surprise that on the test configuration Assassin's Creed: Rogue runs at sixty frames per second (blocked, however) at 1080p and with all effects at maximum, using only FXAA as an anti-aliasing system (instead of the more advanced TXAA) and offering quite desolate landscapes in terms of non-player characters. It is enough to climb on any building to notice the edges of a polygonal modeling that obviously had to deal with the hardware of the old-gen consoles and that was brought from there, without precisely the superior quality of the assets and effects. seen in Black Flag, on the next generation platforms. These problems further highlight some defects of the game, such as the lack of connecting animations: Shay's running is mechanical like that of Adeline in Liberation, it has no "starting" phase or lateral discards, and it appears little consistent with the speed of movement, giving the feeling that the character is on a treadmill. In short, if in terms of content Rogue can safely have its say, beyond a plot that moves between highs and lows, on the technical front PC users can only be disappointed.



PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Processor: AMD FX 8320
  • Scheda video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Jetstream
  • Memory: 8 GB of RAM
  • Operating system: Windows 8.1

Minimum requirements

  • Processore: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, AMD Athlon II X4 620
  • Scheda video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 450, AMD Radeon HD 5670, Intel HD 4600
  • Memory: 2 GB of RAM
  • Sistema operativo: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8 a 64 bit

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Assassin's Creed: Rogue takes up the mechanics of Black Flag, between ground missions and spectacular naval battles, offering an experience that will be enthusiastically received by those who have appreciated Edward Kenway's adventure. Some aspects of the game have been optimized, trying to introduce small but significant innovations in view of a gameplay that, however, suffers from the same enormous problems in terms of balance seen in the pirate episode. Beyond a plot that does not fully convince in its most interesting aspects, Rogue is not lacking in quantity and you will certainly spend a few dozen hours exploring the map and completing all the secondary missions. The problem of the PC version is all in the technical realization, closer to what is seen in Assassin's Creed III than in the aforementioned Black Flag: playing it after admiring the magnificence of Unity could make you sad.

PRO

  • A large number of missions, on land and on the water
  • Some little news for naval battles
  • The plot starts from an interesting concept ...
AGAINST
  • ... but does not develop it properly
  • Technically dated
  • Bad balance of difficulty
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