Assassin’s Creed Unity isn’t the only stab-worthy adventure set to debut this holiday season. Ubisoft will also cater to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 crowd with Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, which could easily become one of the most dynamic titles in the franchise.
Most of the action remains the same – high-dive assassinations, hand-blades, sword fighting and even the naval battles from Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag – but this time around, the perspective is completely different. Rather than playing an Assassin who is part of the order, you’re a renegade Templar named Shay Cormac who seeks to bring it down. Sailing your ship, the Morrigan, you set out to hunt down Assassins using every tool you have in your arsenal.
A majority of the game takes place in the North Atlantic, and that limits a few things when it comes to your character. For instance, swimming and deep-sea diving is something you should avoid, as you could easily freeze to death in the Arctic waters if you’re not careful. Aside from that, however, Shay is just as agile and cunning as the Assassins he hunts, making him a nearly unstoppable force.
Ubisoft provided some hands-on time with the game’s different modes, including naval combat and invading a base.
If you’re familiar with how naval combat works in Black Flag, you’ll find a lot to like in Rogue, as the Morrigan has the same maneuverability and most of the weapons. You’ll have no trouble sailing around targets and lining them up for attack. However, considering Shay works differently than most hunters, he has a few new tools he can use.
The first is a fire spread that he can shoot from the rear of the ship. By having his fellow men pour oil over the side and set it aflame, he can damage pursuing ships following closely behind him.
In addition, the Morrigan is a lethal force from the front, thanks to the addition of a new Ram ability. By purchasing an Ice Ram from a nearby shop, you can charge into enemy ships and take minimal damage in the process. Meanwhile, hit them just right and they’ll sink like a stone. The Ice Ram is also exceptional when it comes to breaking through glaciers to reach new levels – something your base model ship can’t necessarily do.
Finally, you can fire cannons from the front of the ship, setting up the first attack with ease by lining up your shots and then moving in for the kill. The camera perspective for this part of the game is terrific, as you can line up your targets with very little issues. For good measure, you can also blast apart ice glaciers if you’re bored, and watch them melt into the sea.
On Foot, and Taking Bases
For the other portion of the demo, we controlled Shay on foot in two different areas. The first involved investigating a shipwreck with a vessel trapped alongside a glacier. Shay’s maneuverability works on the same level as other Assassins, so he can hop along masts, shimmy across ledges (even icy ones) and make leaps of faith like a pro. This allows him to reach higher objectives with ease, including synchronization points, which help provide a better lay of the land.
As far as overtaking bases, Shay has to work carefully when it comes to hunting down Assassins, mainly because they will return the favor. Every tactic that players have learned from previous Assassin’s Creed games come into play, including enemies diving from rooftops, hiding in haystacks/grass or other tactics. Shay will have to use Eagle Vision to properly hunt them down, then give chase before they manage to give him the slip.
On top of that, bases come with objectives that need to be completed, such as removing an enemy’s flag and replacing it with your own, or taking out specific targets on a map, like canisters that contain poison gas. Shay has several items that help him meet these objectives, including special darts that perform a number of duties (like exploding and even turning allies against each other in combat) and weapons, like the hand-blade, swords and pistols.
Taking all of this into account, Rogue easily follows a similar formula as previous Assassin’s Creed games, but provides a great new perspective that lets you see things from the Templar’s point of view. We’ll see how it shapes up when the game releases for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 11th.