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Assassins Creed

Review: Assassin's Creed Rogue

Nov 13 // Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Rogue (PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft SofiaPublisher: UbisoftRelease: November 11, 2014 (PC in 2015)MSRP: $59.99 While it's loathsome to reference other games for detail in a review, it's near impossible not to in the case of Assassin's Creed Rogue. This is nothing more than a patchwork quilt of Black Flag's systems (right down to the interface and fonts) with other Assassin's Creed ideas sprinkled in liberally. It plays like a greatest hits album of the franchise, and while some might welcome that, it's difficult to heartily applaud the effort. An argument could be made that outlining Rogue's gameplay would be best served be republishing an original Black Flag review. It's nearly identical, after all. Heavy emphasis on sailing, counter-based combat, a lot of open sea naval combat, many small island or coastal locations to explore -- it's all there. Even most of the places feel eerily similar to those in Black Flag, just re-skinned with a bit of snow to suit the Northeastern setting. When it isn't copping Black Flag's style, Rogue's borrowing concepts from other Assassin's Creed games before it. Remember the reparation project introduced in Assassin's Creed II? Renovating various buildings around the three major locales is the means of earning passive income in Rogue. How about the task of liberating small Borgia-controlled areas in Brotherhood? That's here too, as "gangs" occupy various sections of the world. They're all present, like a family reunion made up of only the relatives that you don't mind. [embed]283665:56274:0[/embed] This isn't inherently a bad thing, just uninspiring. Black Flag was an enjoyable title, one that reversed course from the often dull Assassin's Creed III. But, would we heap praise upon Leonardo da Vinci if he painted a second Mona Lisa a year later but added a bush behind her? Rogue is derivative of the series' past works to a discouraging extent, and that's saying something given the culture of annual releases in the videogame industry. The little that Rogue does to innovate mostly falls flat and is inconsequential. A bit more than a third of the way through, the player's given access to a grenade launcher -- a device that needs to be used exactly once, and that's in the mission immediately following its introduction. The grenade launcher can be used to brute through some doors, but that's probably ill-advised when compared to the more subtle approach of lockpicking -- a feat that's accomplished by simply holding down a button. It's really too bad because the juxtaposition between the thought put into the narrative and the effort put into the gameplay is glaringly obvious. The presentation of protagonist Shay Patrick Cormac is one of the best in Assassin's Creed history, telling the tale of a man keenly aware and critical of his own actions, not just simply fighting for his side because it's "his side." Rogue's hook is that it's the first game in the franchise to put the player in Templar robes (apart from a short stint in Assassin's Creed III), and it can, at times, wonderfully drive home that there are two sides to any story. Shay leaves the Assassin brotherhood after embarking on a mission that went horribly awry and did untold destruction upon a city's populace. Believing that his superiors knew this would happen, Shay turns his back and fights for a more noble cause -- humanity. Finding that his interests align with those of the Templars, he joins their corner to prevent the Assassins from accomplishing their will and causing even more unnecessary death (an intention that's starkly dissonant from his actions when he sticks his blade in hundreds of soldiers that had the audacity to live in a different country, but I digress). What lends Shay such a sympathetic demeanor is that his story is properly established. It's not until several hours into Rogue that the major event takes place that gives way to his betrayal. In the time leading up to that, the audience is given a glimpse at who Shay is. He's more than just a killing machine. He's playful at times, but professional when he needs to be. Always though, Shay's a good-natured fellow, even if this means being too trusting of others. When Shay eventually turns his back on the Assassins, it doesn't at all feel like an unnatural transition from the shoes that Ubisoft's had us walking in for the six previous installments. Rather, it gives pause; it lets us reflect. Maybe the Templars aren't an entirely evil organization, and maybe the Assassins aren't so altruistic with their ways. Maybe things aren't as black and white as they've always seemed. There are certainly shades of grey, and Rogue expertly reminds us that that every story has another point of view. Surprisingly, this is nowhere more apparent than in the modern setting. As in Black Flag, the out-of-Animus actions take place inside Abstergo Entertainment -- a division of Templar-run Abstergo Industries and a cheeky meta nod at Ubisoft. The higher-ups are hellbent on extracting Shay's memories because they want to shove his side-switch in the Assassin's faces. Along the way, there's plenty of lore to rediscover. As menial tasks are prescribed, a wealth of information is made available to those willing to find it. By hacking -- erm, "repairing" -- computers through a never-changing mini-game, files are unlocked that profile notable Templars from past installments, painting them in a light that's far more redeeming than what was learned through the eyes of the Assassins. The "Inspiration" videos are especially rewarding, but there are other interesting files that cover the past, present, and future of Abstergo and Templar involvement. Hiding in one of these tablet entries is an aggressive wink at the root of the problem with Assassin's Creed Rogue. "...While I want to recycle assets to save money, the experience has to be totally fresh," reads an Abstergo note. Ubisoft's push to release two Assassin's Creed titles on the same day significantly hampered the potential of the last-gen release -- a borderline travesty given all that the protagonist and narrative do to shake-up the tried and true approach. Those who yearn for a return to Black Flag's sandbox will take comfort knowing this is "more of the same," as the clichéd review expression goes. But, Rogue's systems do nothing to move Assassin's Creed forward, leaving it fittingly stuck in the past like the last-generation consoles it graces. Anyone who expects more will be disappointed. Anyone who just wants another open-world adventure replete with sailing, exploration, and killing might find comfort in its familiar ways. The reception to Assassin's Creed Rogue's gameplay systems and mechanics will likely vary and mirror the sentiment that the game's narrative and tonal direction pride itself upon. It's all just a matter of perspective.
AC Rogue review photo
A matter of perspective
Ever since its 2007 debut, the Assassin's Creed franchise has been presented as a one-sided affair. Chronicling the persistent struggle between the Assassins and the Templars, Ubisoft has always framed the story casting ...

Ubisoft photo
Ubisoft

Ubisoft is well aware of Assassin's Creed Unity issues


Fixes are on the way
Nov 13
// Kyle MacGregor
Assassin's Creed Unity is a bit of a train wreck at the moment. The Parisian playground is plagued with a myriad of glitches, most of which aren't as fun or hilarious as the nightmare fuel pictured above. Understandably, many...
Fun with glitches photo
Fun with glitches

Let's watch Assassin's Creed Unity glitch out to the tune of 'Barbie Girl'


That's our Assassin's Creed
Nov 12
// Jordan Devore
Kyle sent me this compilation of Assassin's Creed Unity glitches and, six minutes later, I'm calling it: I've spent more time watching these games mess up than I have playing them. When they screw up, they tend to do so spectacularly. Best glitch happens at 4:26.
Assassin's Creed Unity photo
Assassin's Creed Unity

Assassin's Creed Unity really nails those next-gen glitches


I mean 'current-gen'
Nov 11
// Brett Makedonski
Or, maybe this guy's not a glitch. Maybe he's an assassin sent with a darker purpose. Maybe he's supposed to infiltrate your nightmares and make sure you never sleep soundly again. Kudos to you, Assassin Brotherhood; you've found a way to inflict a punishment more terrifying than death.

Review: Assassin's Creed Unity

Nov 11 // Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Unity (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease:  November 11, 2014MSRP: $59.99 Unity once again adapts entirely to an iconic period in world history: the French Revolution of the 18th century. Without delay you're reintroduced to the timeless battle of the Templars and Assassins, but this time, the former are on the defensive after a witch hunt from the ruling class. It's at this tenuous time that you'll meet Arno Dorian, the hero of the tale. Much like Ezio, Arno's father is killed right at the start, which leads him to the discovery of a conspiracy involving the two major groups, as well as the awakening of his true power as an assassin. Although his story and subsequent actions are mostly predictable, I was on board with Arno from the get-go. He's not quite as memorable as Ezio or as dashing as Edward, but he's likable, and believable in terms of how the team ties him into the narrative. Ubisoft is clearly getting better at drawing emotional performances out of its subjects, and the current-gen visuals help a lot of the characters come to life like never before -- even if what they're actually doing isn't all that exciting. About an hour into the game, you'll get to the actual revolution, and things kick off nicely. Although Ubisoft once again nails the time period, mirroring events with its own signature faction spin, it doesn't have as much charm as Black Flag did. Gone are the vast open-sea sections, the memorable sea shanties, and the sense that at every turn, some new bit of buried treasure or fortress may be there for the taking. Paris is a huge playground, though -- perhaps one of the biggest single-setting areas so far in the series. As long as you don't mind that many areas look similar to one another (there's not enough district variation as in other Assassin's Creed games), there's quite a bit of ground to cover here. The modern half of the story -- or should I say, the modern fraction -- is a lot less prevalent this time around. At the start you're billed as yet another employee of Abstergo Entertainment, the modern-day incarnation of the Templar order, and every three to four hours you'll be contacted by Desmond's crew for a quick briefing on what's going on in the current age as you're recruited into the Assassin order. It's basically more "Templars are bad, mmkay" dialog, and you'll quickly be ported back into Arno's tale after the short expositions. [embed]283448:56272:0[/embed] In fact, everything outside of the 18th-century Arno core is streamlined. There are only three bits of gameplay where you aren't exploring the revolution, which deal with three specific periods in time throughout France's history: the 1800s, Nazi-occupied Paris, and the Middle Ages. These sections are, for a lack of a better word, unified (and roughly 15 minutes long each), and for those of you who aren't fans of the overarching modern-day story, you'll be pleased to know that it's almost non-existent. If you dig it, you may want to look elsewhere to get your fix. I'm not a huge fan of the modern stuff, but I could have stood for a little more of it, much in the vein of Black Flag. Gameplay is relatively the same, with the completely new addition to free run "up or down" by holding the run trigger and a specific button. It's mostly the same as before with a couple of extra button taps to get used to, but the movement system thankfully prevents more accidents than in previous games; you'll rarely jump off cliffs to your doom now because you accidentally jimmied a direction in a way your character didn't like. The animations are also smoother, and I specifically noticed a lot more variation with Arno's parkouring like extra spin moves and tumbles, which were a neat surprise. Unity also adds a more RPG-like element to the game -- the ability to "level up" by doing more missions, gaining new powers in the process. These are things like more health, better lockpicking skills, abilities like restoring your ammo at will, and gaining new close-combat moves. I like this addition since it allows you to build your character the way you want from the start without getting into the minutiae of skill points or anything in-depth. You earn points by doing random actions out in the wild, which encourages you to start tussles and actively level-up. In terms of gear, everything is more streamlined this time around, and you won't be fumbling around gigantic menus to access different variations of smoke bombs. Instead, Ubisoft kept things simple with a few flashy pieces of gear, a sidearm, and the new Phantom Blade -- which is a fancy way of saying "powerful projectile" -- that can be used for long-range assassinations. Like the story, it's not elaborate or new, but it gets the job done and there's enough tools to have fun in multiple situations. Even better, you can fully customize Arno by purchasing new clothes, uniforms, and weapons all from a simple menu. It's a welcome addition, especially since you can switch up Arno's threads right from the start, changing his new blue look to the iconic white setup. There's over 100 different outfit combinations, including classic costumes with a few unlock requirements. The biggest upgrade in Unity has to be the bigger crowds as a result of the current-gen push, and it's noticeable from the start. It's unreal to see a couple hundred citizens rage in what feels like a real revolution, and it feels like a real struggle at points, which is unique to Unity. The draw distance is also greatly improved. You can see the Parisian countryside in the background at nearly all times. Indoor settings are also a sight to behold, as my jaw actually dropped after seeing the interior of the Notre-Dame Cathedral for the first time. Unfortunately, Ubisoft seems to have had some issues adapting the series to current-gen systems; I encountered a number of nasty glitches on the Xbox One. For starters, the most common ones were constantly repeating dialog during key story parts, issues with the close-combat animations, some freezing while climbing tall structures, and falling through the floor during the start of certain missions. Since Unity offers checkpoints constantly it wasn't really a game-breaking affair, but I encountered at least one small glitch every two missions or so. Enough for the technical issues to get annoying. The actual mission types don't stray too far from the classic formula, but there are occasionally more open-ended events that are less structured. I wouldn't say they're necessarily "organic" as described by the developer, since they just add a few optional objectives that make the mission slightly easier, but they're a nice way to jazz up assassination missions, as they make you think of ways to solve a problem other than "get to the target and kill him." If you're a completionist, you'll enjoy the murder mystery optional missions, which allow you to gather evidence and accuse citizens of a crime, netting a "first try" bonus if you get it right. The crowds are also more dynamic this time around; there are thieves to tackle and criminals to stop randomly throughout the town, signified by miniature missions that can just pop up on your map. It's not a new idea, but it's nice to see something happen out in the world that helps those mesmerizing crowds seem more life-like. There's also "Paris Stories" to complete (involving iconic figures in French history), the aforementioned three extra time periods to explore in the form of additional obstacle courses, and of course, funny database entries by Shaun the Assassin. Multiplayer this time around is stripped down in favor of a streamlined co-op experience. There's no competitive element in Unity, no second disc to insert or menu option to select -- it's all built into the campaign in one giant mode. It's the same world as the core story, but with certain missions you can use matchmaking or partner up with three friends to tackle them as a team. It's inoffensive at its worst, as there are some exclusive co-op missions you can play that can't be done solo, and it all fits nicely into Unity without feeling forced. I'm fine with the removal of the competitive gametype, because almost every single game since Brotherhood has included it. It's time to try something different, and although co-op didn't set my world on fire, it does have potential that can be better realized down the line. My lack of enthusiasm for the multiplayer is mirrored by my experience with the rest of the game. Unity does take a few extra strides towards advancing the series, but in many ways it feels like a step back from Black Flag. It was fun to roam around Paris looking for trouble and ogle at the power of current-gen consoles, but the game lacks that grand sense of roaming the uncharted seas in Assassin's Creed IV, or even the open-ended feel of the wilderness in Assassin's Creed III. In other words, it struggles to make its own mark on the franchise outside of the new French Revolution setting. If Ubisoft fixes the glitches, Assassin's Creed: Unity will be a much stronger game, even if the ceiling is a bit lower in general. Unity's potential is not as strong as some of the better entries in the series, but it's good enough for existing fans to continue the journey.
Assassin's Creed review photo
Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death
Assassin's Creed IV was a turning point for the series. While a lot of fans were disappointed by the pointless Revelations and the polarizing Assassin's Creed III, Black Flag delivered everything you could possibly ...

Conan photo
Conan

Conan O'Brien wants to send AC Unity's assassin right to the orphanage


Another Clueless Gamer segment
Nov 11
// Brett Makedonski
It sure seems like Conan O'Brien's pumping out a fair number of Clueless Gamer segments lately. I suppose that's what happens in the midst of the madness of the holiday release season and publishers trip over themselves to h...
Far Cry 4 et al photo
Far Cry 4 et al

Ubisoft's upcoming releases back on Steam (except in the UK)


F4r Cry, Assassin's Creed Unity, and The Crew
Nov 10
// Steven Hansen
Last week, Ubisoft pulled its upcoming games--F4r Cry, Assassin's Creed Unity, and The Crew--from Steam. This allowed me to roll with a headline, "Going hard in the Uplaynt," a play on "going hard in the paint" and ...
Assassin's Creed Rogue photo
Assassin's Creed Rogue

Where's our Assassin's Creed Rogue review?


We found a new Rogue trailer, though
Nov 10
// Brett Makedonski
[Update: It's right here!] At Destructoid, we believe that transparency in consumer advocacy is of the utmost importance. When a review isn't going to be timely, we like to keep everyone apprised of the situation. We ma...
Deals photo
Deals

Assassin's Creed Unity pre-order deals from PC to console


Uplay keys and eight-gen deals
Nov 07
// Dealzon
Deals brought to you by the crew at Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers go toward supporting Destructoid. Those in the UK are probably keenly aware of the fact, but Assassin's Creed Unity is no longer available fo...
Hard in the Uplay-nt photo
Hard in the Uplay-nt

Hard in the Uplay-nt: Ubisoft pulls upcoming PC games from Steam


Going hard in the Uplay-nt
Nov 06
// Steven Hansen
Ubisoft's biggest three upcoming releases, F4r Cry, Assassin's Creed Unity, and The Crew have been pulled from Steam, the place where a lot of people buy and play their PC games.  PCGamesN got this statement from Ub...
Assassin's Creed: Unity photo
Assassin's Creed: Unity

Assassin's Creed: Unity gets a shaving cream promotion


Haha I felt so ridiculous typing that
Nov 05
// Chris Carter
Limited edition shaving gels. That's where we've progressed as a society. For a "limited time" you can get a can of Edge shaving gel at your local retailer and unlock special items for Assassin's Creed: Unity. All in all, you...
Assassin's Creed Unity photo
Assassin's Creed Unity

What the hell, Assassin's Creed? Time-travel isn't part of the deal


This throws a monkey wrench into things
Oct 30
// Brett Makedonski
Well, this changes things up. Assassin's Creed Unity is going where no ancestral assassin has gone before -- the future. This trailer shows the Animus simulation collapsing, forcing the protagonist -- still acting and d...
Phantom Blade photo
Phantom Blade

You'll probably end up putting an eye out with this Assassin's Creed blade


This isn't going to end well, is it?
Oct 28
// Brett Makedonski
Do you have delusions of grandeur, the likes of which lead you to fancy yourself a great assassin among the likes of Ezio Auditore da Firenze or Arno Dorian? A mere $60 will put you significantly closer to assassin authentic...
Assassin's Creed Unity photo
Assassin's Creed Unity

There are just too many assassins in the new AC Unity TV ad


The brochure said there'd only be a few
Oct 24
// Brett Makedonski
The new Assassin's Creed Unity television spot sheds a few tears, but it sheds way more blood. That's what happens when it figuratively rains assassins in the streets, from the roofs, and through the windows. Sometimes it takes a flood to spark a revolution.
Assassin's Creed bundle photo
Assassin's Creed bundle

Microsoft takes a stab at moving more Xbox Ones with Assassin's Creed bundle


Comes with two games instead of just one
Oct 15
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft's current strategy for selling as many Xbox Ones as it possibly can is largely to offer a bundle for almost every major release. Sunset Overdrive, Madden, Call of Duty -- the list goes on and on. Now, Assassin'...
AC Rogue photo
AC Rogue

This Assassin's Creed Rogue story trailer is actually important


Not just because he kicks a guy off a ledge
Oct 13
// Brett Makedonski
Every major videogame these days is accompanied by a seemingly endless barrage of trailers prior to release. That's just how things work now. A lot of it is little more than filler to keep the audience constantly reminded th...

Four things I loved about playing Assassin's Creed: Rogue

Oct 13 // Alessandro Fillari
Assassin's Creed: Rogue (PS3, Xbox 360[Previewed], PC)Developer: Ubisoft SofiaPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: November 11, 2014 (PC Early 2015) Set after the events of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and taking place before Ratonhnhaké:ton's story in Assassin's Creed III, players take on the role of Shay Cormac, a newly trained assassin in North America. While slowly becoming disillusioned by their ways, he is eventually betrayed and left for dead after a mission goes south. He manages to escape and retreats back to New York, but vows vengeance against the Order of Assassins. He later meets Haytham Kenway of the Templar order, and joins their fight against the Assassins -- using their own skills and training against them. "We wanted to tell the story that was left unfinished with the Kenway saga, and what happened in North America," said producer Karl Luhe. "There's a big piece of the story, a corner piece of that trilogy that hasn't been told yet." While the timeline of events can get a bit confusing here, Rogue serves to bridge the gap between Black Flag and ACIII, showing why the Brotherhood of Assassins was in such disarray during Ratonhnhaké:ton's journey, but also has ties to the events of AC: Unity. So fans who have the opportunity to play through both Rogue and Unity will no doubt get more enjoyment out of the story. 1. Steppin' to the bad side While the Order of Assassins is often seen as a force for good, or rather a lesser shade of gray, the events of Rogue aims to show a different side to the conflict. If Black Flag fulfilled the pirate fantasy, then Rogue seeks to put players in the shoes of a cunning operative working for a shadowy organization. As the first full Templar experience in the AC series, it's your duty to undermine and weaken the Assassins' influence on civilization. This might be a shock to the system for many, as you'll no doubt come into conflict with those you've helped from other games. But this change of perspective also gives players a different way to play. "We really wanted to tell a story of what it's like to be a Templar, and we felt it was important to have it from a perspective of someone who really believed they're doing the right thing," said Luhe. "He honestly believes what he is doing is right for human kind, and he's horrified by what he sees some of the assassins are doing early on in the game, and hence he ends up hunting them down." While playing the early missions, it was certainly a bit jarring to see how things are different from the other side. But I quickly realized that the Assassins are nasty foes indeed. While exploring the open city of New York, I had to bust up some territory controlled by the Assassins. While exploring for ways break into their base, I found that several new types of enemies, one of which called Stalkers, would scout around and try to locate me. While Shay's eagle vision made finding them a bit easier, they still managed to get the jump on me in some cases by using the same stealth tactics, such as hiding by benches, using crowds, and haystacks. Sound familiar? Well get used to feeling a bit uneasy around such spots, as the Assassins are quite adapt at using them. But then again, so are you. 2. New York and the great pond In keeping with its predecessor, Assassin's Creed: Rogue aims to maintain the dual open-world design for the high seas and the urban environments. Set across the Eastern coast of North America and the North Atlantic, you'll quickly find that you have a much larger space to play in than previous games. Judging from what I saw, this is likely the largest AC game that Ubisoft has released yet. "With every new Assassin's Creed game, we want to be true to that fantasy, and this time you're a Templar," said the producer. "We wanted to try a new setting and we went up north around Canada, with icy terrain, and this gives us new experiences with gameplay and the ambiance. Also, this is set during the Seven Year War, so there's this big war raging between the French and the British, and we really play upon that." In New York, Shay must capture and amass the cities resources to benefit the Templar Order. This can be done by winning over the hearts of New Yorkers by renovating city institutions, and of course weakening the Assassins' hold over the environment, which in turn frees up economic resources. While New York is the only major city that players can expect to explore, the addition of two fully open-water areas, the North Atlantic and the River Valley, gives players a large variety of places to explore. Much like Black Flag, you can explore the oceans, capture territory, raid forts, hunt animals, engage in naval warfare, and use the spoils to strengthen Shay's resources and the Templar Order's hold in the Atlantic. 3. This wonderful bag of tricks One of the benefits of being the bad guy getting to play with all the cool toys. As a Templar, Shay has access to a vast number of resources that greatly dwarf what the Assassins of the 1700s possess. Because of this, you'll be utilizing weapons, ships, and other gear that will allow the Templar to explore and control areas of the world that the Assassins could not. Early in his Templar career, Shay meets Benjamin Franklin, who gives him access to experimental equipment and gear. One of which is a modified pellet gun that fires various sleeping, poison, and tracking darts, in addition to doubling as a grenade launcher. In one mission, I had to enter a gas factory and use both sleep grenades to knock out clusters of guards, while using the shrapnel grenades to destroy dangerous chemicals would be used against the populace. Using these tools in conjunction with his Assassin training makes Shay a serious predator, and also inspires you to try and experiment. Shay's handlers from the Templar Order have also bestowed him a powerful vessel to conquer the seas. Called the Morrigan, this beauty is outfitted with special cannons that fire rapid rounds at enemies, weaponized oil to burn the ships that try to follow, and a powerful Ice Ram that can punch through sheets of ice scattered around the ocean and punch holes into ships. 4. Dangerous Waters Avast! Ye Matey. Your adventures on the oceans along with a hearty crew did not end with Black Flag. Though the upcoming Unity has removed the naval exploration entirely, Rogue aims to fill the void by expanding upon the high-seas gameplay that began in ACIII. The Templar Order will have to sail through dangerous waters and battle countless ships to take control of the new world. Much like Black Flag, players must explore the waters to claim territory from the enemy, all the while expanding your own resources by capturing or salvaging ships, finding loot, and exploring the small areas of land. However, with the new locations around the Atlantic, players will have their work cut out for them as the environments are much more dangerous than before. In the River Valley, players will have to navigate their ship through tight canals in mountainous areas. In the North Atlantic zone, the low temperature has caused ice and blizzards to form. If your ship is unprepared, expect to face serious danger when traveling into waters that require special upgrades. Though the environment can be an equally strong foe, it can also become your greatest ally on the high seas. In some areas of the ocean, particularly the icy waters of the North Atlantic, you can use the iceberg and heavy ice to your advantage. If your ship is being pecked at by schooners or gunboats, you can destroy the icebergs nearby to create heavy waves to sink or damage enemy ships.Well, now that I've shared my thoughts on what I dug about it, now I gotta switch gears and discussed what rubbed me the wrong way. I know, this seems like an expected complaint, and you've likely already noticed in the pictures, but the game looks incredibly dated. Granted, I was playing on Xbox 360 and not a PC build, but I still got the impression that it was held back by the old consoles. I found it to run rather sluggishly. There were long load times, and the visuals and performance came to a crawl at some points. Failing a mission became a point of frustration, as I'd have to wait for an extended period to start playing again. Perhaps this is because I've already become used to playing on the new hardware, but the visuals in Rogue are aged. Which is a shame, as there are a number of beautiful environments and great art directions throughout. I really enjoyed going through the environments and taking at a look at the locales, but then I saw that there were points with graphical artifacts and texture pop-in would come in. It's a bit jarring how rough the game looks, and it took me out of the moment at some points. But in any event, I still found my time with the game to be quite enjoyable. Of course, this isn't a major step forward for the series. By all intents and purposes, it's Black Flag with much more content and a new storyline. And that sounds great to me. With over 30 hours worth of content in this title, which will no doubt be plentiful, I can definitely see myself returning to the high seas to hunt for more assassins once the game is released next month.
Assassin's Creed photo
And some things I didn't like
It's been four years since Assassin's Creed became an annual fixture. Every year, like clockwork, Ubisoft releases a brand new, fully developed title in the AC series. But things have changed slightly this year. In a surprisi...

AC Unity's Notre Dame photo
AC Unity's Notre Dame

One dev spent two years making the Notre Dame in Assassin's Creed Unity


Time well spent
Oct 06
// Brett Makedonski
The Paris depicted in Assassin's Creed Unity is shaping up to be a juggernaut among videogame cities. Larger than all other Assassin's Creed locales to date and significantly more detailed, the development team is t...

Paris will be the true star of Assassin's Creed Unity

Oct 06 // Brett Makedonski
The gut reaction is to assume that getting as close to photo-realistic as possible is the goal when creating a game of this magnitude. Despite current generation consoles allowing the resources to get closer than ever, the Assassin’s Creed art team actually wants to try to take a step back from this. By carefully toeing the line between photo-realism and stylization, the team is able to convey a sense of emotion that a cold, hard world lacks. Art director Mohammed Gambouz, who worked on Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, explains that his team tried to bottle the essence of artistic photography and transform that into all the assets for a large, open-world game. Studying paintings from the era and mimicking the style of movies such as Sherlock Holmes, they worked with internal historians to recreate some of the world’s greatest landmarks with their own added touch of personality. On a broader scale, the developers had a unified mindset for Assassin’s Creed Unity, in which they wanted to accomplish three things: to make a monumental Paris, to have diverse districts and themes across the city, and to have substantial and accessible indoor and underground areas. In order to create a memorable Paris, the developers needed to do more than to just cobble together a string of impressive edifices. They needed to visually channel central themes of the game. Working with the tenets of richness, hope, aging, and chaos, they chose to implement these ideas through the use of colors, light, decay, and smoke, respectively. The inspiration that rebellion brings might be aptly conveyed by the sun peeking out from behind a column of smoke. Or, the classist undertones of the time might be expressed by comparing two districts of town – one with its missing street signs, and the other with its well-lit streets and pristine shops. The sense of disparity between the districts should be easy to see because lighting is the number one thing that the team focused on when moving to this console generation’s hardware -- not polygon count, not resolution, but lighting effects. Even though the thematic differences between the eight areas of town should set them apart, the layout of the urban blueprint also defines them. Upscale parts will have an orderly configuration, while poorer districts will have a more disorganized feel about them. However, the game’s outer world only makes up a fraction of the space for the player to play in. World design director Nick Guérin estimates that the interiors of Unity are at least three times larger than the surface. Ubisoft believes that the Parisian people and their stories will assist tremendously in creating a believable city.  Because of this mindset, the player will have the chance to see more than just citizens wandering the streets; they'll get to experience many of them living inside their houses, too. Maybe it'll be the regular occurrence of the common non-playable characters that really ties Paris together, but Unity is intent on filling up plenty of those interior spaces with some of the most recognizable people and myths in French history. Like most Assassin's Creed titles, side missions will provide a sizable chunk of the game's content. One such example is a murder mystery string of quests which deal with the Red Man of the Tuileries -- a ghost who haunted the monarchy for centuries with death predictions. Possibly most appropriately, another side mission focuses on Madame Tussaud, who made death masks from executed citizens which ended up being a symbol of the French Revolution as they were held high in the streets. Ubisoft's take on Paris is an ambitious one, for sure. According to Guérin, the surface space of the city is 21.4 square kilometers. That's good enough to be the largest in Assassin's Creed history to date. The developers divided the city into three parts to determine how they could effectively model it. The inner city was given the most attention, as they strove for a 1:1 replication. Working outward, they attempted 1:3 for the mid-city, and 1:6 for the outer limits.  After seeing the exact approach that Unity's developers had in mind when creating Paris, it's enough to make you wish that the game would ship with some sort of tourism mode -- a way to experience the city stripped of the gameplay elements. Technically, exploring and not playing would accomplish the same thing, but it'd be more grand to just watch. Look at the famed landmarks as they were more than 200 years ago. Observe the citizens as they slip into frenzied dissent. Feel the pulse of the city as the French Revolution unfolds. Ubisoft's version of Paris is sure to be a lively one, and that's why it's poised to steal the show in Assassin's Creed Unity.
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