When Assassin’s Creed: Rogue came out on Xbox 360 and PS3 back in November 2014, I thought it was an interesting installment in the series from a story perspective but found it frustratingly dated in other aspects, and ultimately awarded it a 6.8. Here’s what I said back then:
“Rogue has the most interesting story of any recent Assassin’s Creed game. It’s fascinated by its own history, and introduces a level of ambiguity which changes how we look at the formerly simple conflict between Assassins and Templars. So it’s all the more disappointing there’s so little to do while the story is being told; the upgrade economy’s pointless and most of the tasks are quite trivial. Story aside, so much of Rogue feels redundant, repetitive, and ultimately in need of reinvention.”
Read the full Assassin’s Creed Rogue review.
If you’re a fan of the series, and for whatever reason missed it the first time round, the story of Shay Patrick Cormac – as Assassin turned Templar – is still worth knowing. While the remaster boasts a host graphical improvements, including 4K textures on Xbox One X and PlayStation Pro, it does little to fix the same problems that were present in the original. Going back isn’t easy, especially after the series-reviving improvements recently made by Origins.
Rogue’s story remains the biggest draw. Cormac’s tale is consistently intriguing, packed with ambiguity and betrayal, but there’s no hiding the fact it’s set in a pretty dull period of history. I realise I may incite the anger of fans of the Seven Years’ War (sorry), but pottering around the frigid Atlantic ocean and its coastal towns and forts make for a pretty dreary ten or so hours. New York and some of the more extreme Arctic locations add a little bit of flavour, but let’s be honest it’s not as exciting as sliding down a pyramid.
That said, the setting definitely benefits the most in this new version. Rogue running in 4K on an Xbox one X looks impressive. While most locations still feel underwhelming once you step on land, there’s no shortage of beauty to be found at sea. If I hadn’t already played Rogue four years ago, I’d be surprised to learn it originally came out on last-gen consoles. In terms of visuals alone, this could easily be a new release.
While the visuals have improved, little else has. Rogue’s mechanical and structural shortcomings are only intensified if you played Origins, which did so much to advance the series in terms of combat and movement, mission pacing and variety. Free running here feels haphazard – you’ll accidentally jump at right-angles to your intended destination or plunge into water when land is within reach. And every time I got back on my ship I accidentally kneed one of my loyal crew members in the face. It doesn’t happen all of the time but frequently enough to break the fantasy of being a skilled and stealthy killer. Similarly, fights are liable to descend into a flurry of button-tapping counters which see Shay dragged wildly across the screen.