Monday, November 2, 2015

Backlog Gaming Review: Assassin's Creed Rogue, Not Perfect At All

*Note: There's going to be some spoilers in this review, so if you haven't played it yet and don't like spoilers you may want to wait.*

Next in my gaming backlog was Assassin's Creed Rogue. I was curious about the story because it is told from the Templar perspective via the assassin turned templar character Shay Cormac. It started out promising enough and then it was a long frustrating adventure in disappointment. There were just so many issues that I had with this game among the story and mechanics. 

Shay Cormac, the protagonist of Assassin's Creed Rogue

Shay starts out as an assassin who seems full of promise, but is brash and quick with his temper. We see Achilles from AC 3 as a much younger man and he seems a little more aggressive here because of all the anger he has inside him from losing his family. He has high hopes for Shay however and things seem to be going fairly well until a trip Shay takes to Lisbon to get an artifact, yet when he took it he discovered it wasn't a normal Piece of Eden but an artifact that kept the world together. When Shay removed it, it caused a huge earthquake that killed a lot of people. 

Of course Shay was angry and there is a huge fight between him and Achilles about it because he was convinced that Achilles set him up. In fact, Achilles had no idea that would happen and it makes things worse when he doesn't believe what Shay has told him. This is when Shay leaves the Assassins and joins with the Templars. The game is all about Shay's story in this moment and what he does to try and stop the assassins from getting more artifacts that will essentially destroy the world. 

This is when the frustration, issues, and annoyance with the game come into play. Let's start with the ship controls. Yes, we're in the Americas again a la AC 3 which drove me up the wall with all its issues. I didn't mind until I tried sailing The Morrigan. This was clearly a copy and paste of Black Flag (which I loved) and I could forgive that if only the ship controls hadn't been so damn clunky. I couldn't understand why they were this clunky and awkward when in Black Flag they were practically flawless. There was no excuse for these controls and it made me miss Black Flag and the Jackdaw which was a much better ship.

The Morrigan, woohoo clunky sailing

Then there are the battles that involve running. It got pretty old fast when Shay would constantly be trying to climb buildings or trees when I didn't want him to. The controls for combat were clunky as well, plus there were moments where the game would freeze or Shay would be hanging in mid air for no reason at all. A few times I would get a black screen and the game wouldn't load at all. With all those issues, I truly don't understand how AC Rogue got all these great reviews from others and makes me wonder if we had played the same game, because it is not perfect at all. 

Shay never doing what I want him to do during battles

The story started off interestingly enough, but then it just flops around and makes me despise Shay. I understand the story shows you that there really is no good or bad on either side and that both are flawed although they both claim to want the same goal of peace. I thought Connor was bad in AC3, but Shay is a whole new level of emo asshat. For someone who claims he doesn't want to kill innocents, kill others, and wishes the assassins and Templars would talk to each other he does a lot of killing of his former comrades and practically no talking at all. It's a lot of yelling bravado about how he wants to protect the world which is all well and good except for the part where he hunted down his fellow assassins and murdered them. I will never forgive the writers for him killing Adewale who was one of my favorite characters in Black Flag. 

At the end it's not even satisfying when you realize this is all over a misunderstanding on behalf of Achilles who didn't believe Shay until the end when he sees for himself and realizes that he was right about the artifacts and telling the truth about what happened in Lisbon. There's the usual final battle and of course Shay kills his best friend who still believes in the assassins to the very end. Achilles is the only one left and of course Haytham Kenway (poor Edward Kenway would have hated to see that his son joined the Templars and became a total jerk) shoots Achilles in the shin making sure he'll never be able to get in his way again, but we know how that turns out later. 

Here's the thing, Shay does question some of the things the Templars do as well and yet he still stays with them. Yes, the assassins aren't perfect but so many of the Templars are evil sadists and he thinks he's going to protect the world with them. Really? Rogue just ignores so much of the already established lore and gave me a character that wasn't likable at all and in fact made me want to shove him off a cliff at so many intervals. Even the side quests with taking over gangs wasn't enjoyable because of the frustrating game play mechanics. This was as disappointing as AC 3 and that says quite a lot. So this isn't worth it at all. You can just skip it and get the back story with Unity which I will be playing next. 

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