Assassin's Creed Rogue: A pleasant surprise
Sary, December 12, 2014
Translated by: Stefania

On November 19, we posted on our Facebook page this post:

One week has passed since the U.S. release of ACUnity and Assassin's Creed Rogue. What did you play up until now? Without spoiling the games for who hasn't played yet, did you like the game/games you experienced?

We received a lot of answers with your impressions on the games but, to be honest, what really hit us were the ones about Assassin's Creed Rogue. And among all of them, one especially explained my personal opinion about the title:

Honestly, I had every expectation to hate Rogue. Killing Assassins? No thank you! Plus, I thought it was going to be an easy cash grab for Ubisoft, a cheap continuation of Black Flag, that I was just going to play for story purposes.

Boy, I was completely wrong. Rogue is fantastic. The scenery is stunning, there are so many locations to visit, it's incredibly involved, and the story is good. I'm enjoying seeing this perspective of the story. Great game.

Thanks to our fan Matt for this comment that perfectly describes the community's reaction to the game.

With Assassin's Creed Rogue, Ubisoft decided to take a leap into the unknown using an already known playground to build a completely new story. They surely risked because the game had a lot of features that could bother the fans and I read these concerns in the community for all the pre-lauch period.

"I don't want to kill Assassins"
It's true that the Assassin's Creed story has always tried to show Templars and Assassins like two sides of the same coin but, at the same time, it's also true that, probably subconsciously, we always considered the Templars like the bad guys, like the dark side who tried to stop our righteous plans.
When Assassin's Creed Rogue was announced, I remember a lot of fans being doubtful about the possibility of creating a good game with a Templar perspective but, at present, it seems to me that the game was able to change the fans' opinion.

I think that with Assassin's Creed Rogue Ubisoft was able to give the fans a wonderful example of how thin is the line that separates the two factions. In this game I saw and felt that there is not only black and white in the Assassin's Creed story but countless shades of grey.
Shay is a character with whom the gamer can empathize almost immediately and his betrayal to the Brotherhood slowly drives the player to look at the purposes of the Assassins as something not so pure as he/she was used to.
And, if that is not enough, in some moments of the game, I happened to curse them because of their ability to sneakely hide and almost kill me in an instant. The multiplayer whispers were just the right touch to depict the Assassins as enemies because they rose that familiar paranoia of being watched and chased that accompanied us during the several online matches of the previous games.

So, from this point of view, did this game change your opinion about the two ideologies? Did you decide to join the Templar cause or are you still loyal to the Assassins?
My opinion does not count because I've always been a Templar deep inside but what about you?

"It will just be a copy-and-paste game from AC4 and AC3"
In a way, this is true. There are a lot of things that come from these previous games: sailing and upgrading the Morrigan, harpooning, the homestead location, hunting, characters like Achilles and Haytham, the present day setting, and so on. On the other hand, however, Assassin's Creed Rogue has a completely different feel. The three locations are very beautiful and they seem more realistic than the open world we experienced in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag the reactions of the character to the various situations (like freezing in cold water, or running slowly in the snow) add that pinch of realism that makes you appreciate the game a bit more. The North Atlantic is, without any doubt, my favourite location but also the River Valley offered me wonderful pictures of waterfalls and woods with soft lights and colors too. And New York, as the developers stated before the launch, is bigger than the one we saw with Connor because in Assassin's Creed Rogue we can explore the area that in Assassin's Creed 3 had been destroyed by the Great Fire of New York.

Another thing that surprised me was the fact the even the small villages around the world are a bit different from Assassin's Creed 4. In fact, the area connected to the village and in which you have to find the collectibles and the side content is way bigger and it is not confined to the village itself only. Sometimes just behind the houses, you can find yourself in the open and the setting resembles the Assassin's Creed 3 frontier.

"Only six sequences... it will be too short!"
From this point of view, I cannot say that it's not true. The main story is not long enough for how much we are eager to see and play but there is an important thing that we should take into account.
Assassin's Creed Rogue has been built for hardcore fans, for those of us that didn't miss a single memory on ACInitiates or for those who read every single Assassin's Creed novel. The main story is short but the game, as a whole, satisfies the player also with the side content. And to be honest, what really caught me into the game were especially some of the collectibles.

The War Letters, written by James Nadiger (previously writer for ACInitates), have been in my opinion the most compelling ones. For those who don't know what the War Letters are, they are collectibles hidden around the world (some of them can be retrieved with the Fleet mini-game too) in which Shay can read the private correspondence of relevant characters both from the Assassins Brotherhood and the Templar Order. The cool thing is that these letters help to give a wider idea of the situation of that time and they create a network of connections between Assassin's Creed Rogue, the games of the American Saga (Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed 4 and Liberation) and the expanded universe. They provide new plot elements that clarify some of the previous storylines and sometimes they just made some of us go "Oh my God!" It happened to you too, huh?

The Cave Paintings... oh, the Cave Paintings. They are Paintings, as you can imagine, that Shay finds in Caves around the world - pretty obvious, isn't it? They tell an ancient story, a traditional legend popular among many nations of northeastern North America (quote by Susan Patrick, writer for Assassin's Creed Rogue and previously on ACInitiates). I won't tell anything more about them to avoid spoilers but, in my opinion, they are worth the searching.

Richard Farrese, ACRogue lead writer
As usual, then, there are the Animus Fragments but this time, unlike in Assassin's Creed 4, they unlock something very interesting and plot related. Every 10 Animus Fragments collected, you will receive a voice message from someone... that we all know.

So, at least, in my personal experience, in this game I felt like I really wanted to find the collectibles and not just because I was trying to reach the 100%. And being them such an interesting part of the plot, it was not boring to travel and search for them in the numerous locations around the world.

What can I say more? A "short" game but with a lot of hidden plot elements... but we couldn't expect anything different from a game whose Lead Scriptwriter was Richard Farrese (or, as our Markuz and Hephaestus call him, "His Highness"), already writer/narrative designer for Project Legacy, Liberation, Assassin's Creed 3, Revelations, etc and Editor/Writer for the Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia.

If I have to tell you something that I didn't completely appreciate about the side content is that it is not proportionate to the lenght of the storyline. I mean that I really spent quite some hours searching for the collectibles and, if it wasn't for that, I would have never explored certain parts of the maps. For example, the main story never drove me to visit every single district of New York but only few of them: I explored the others because I wanted to find the side content but for someone less interested, half of the world would have remained unknown. However this is actually a consequence of the story being a bit shorter than usual.

So this drives me to ask you a question: what did you like the most about the side content? Would you have done something different?

"You won't make it in time to grow fond of the characters in such a short game!"
This is partly related to the previous point. And I totally disagree. I am a compulsive book reader and I happened to follow endless stories in which I actually didn't emphatize with any character. Other times, I bought short books that involved me in their world completely. In Assassin's Creed Rogue, you follow a beautiful story, you witness the change of the path in Shay's life and you grow fond for the characters around him. The supporting cast is numerous and nevertheless the story is built in a way that, at least with the most important characters, you feel a bond that leads you, together with Shay, to feel the weight of taking certain choices.
Shay is a credible protagonist whose evolution is palpable throughout the entire game but, if possible, you can feel it even before the plot drives you to see it (if you read some database files and in-game dialogues).

"The present day is in Montreal again in the same Abstergo Entertainment!!!??"
Yes. And no. Mostly no.
The modern Assassins from ACInitiates
When the player opens his eyes into the present day setting, the walls he sees all around are the same he got used to see in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. But he is not the same employee of the previous game and the characters he meets in the offices are all different but one.
I have to say that I strongly felt the work of the ACInitiates team on this section of the game. There was a lot of fan service (with a positive meaning) and explanations of things that had just been hinted but never fully explained.
In the documents that the player finds around Abstergo Entertainment, there are references to content from Project Legacy, the previous games, the expanded universe (comics and books) and even Assassin's Creed Unity itself. It really is a nice feeling when you're able to put all pieces back together.
And the storyline of the present day ... is something that a fan that followed the franchise in all his releases wants to see. I won't spoil anything but that is exactly what you're expecting from an Assassin's Creed game.

So, in conclusion, I would strongly suggest to play this game, especially to the hardcore fans. ACRogue has been underestimated before the launch but it actually is a beautiful game, with a story that will give you the chills and with side content that will be able to entertain you. A pleasant surprise, indeed, that you really should experience.

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