Assassin's Creed

My Love Letter to Assassin’s Creed Rogue

Assassin's Creed Rogue has always been the black sheep of the franchise, in my opinion: Too short to be good, to good to be labeled bad, and too many side quests for its own sake. But after having played through Black Flag, Brotherhood, and Revelations again (in that order), I now remember why this game was always one of my absolute favorites as I sail the treacherous seas of North America.

Firstly, the naval gameplay. Rogue takes elements of Black Flag and enhances them greatly. The element of ship combat is made much more interesting by the settings in the North Atlantic and the River Valley. The addition of icebergs and the Seven Years' War makes the game feel like a chess board in which you are the Queen. And that's fitting, seeing as your ship is named the Morrigan.

I felt more connection to the Morrigan than I did the olde Jackdaw. My proud ship crashed through the ice, mortars blazing and Puckle Guns firing, her red hull clad in Iron and the Wolf Figurehead striking fear in the heart of every Frenchman. And on that note, I must say that the cosmetic items for the Morrigan are far and away some of the best customization the entire franchise has ever seen. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a fresh set of sails and a new wheel on my beloved ship.

The Naval Campaign is a welcome addition. It makes capturing a Man Of War from the French feel like a real victory. Helping secure British Dominance across the world feels like an actual struggle, but one that can be done. Participating in large Naval conflicts with British and French ships is as rewarding as it is fun and beating the Naval Campaign is one of the most satisfying experiences I've ever had in a game.

The gameplay on land isn't too much to ride home about, but it had some great innovations. The introduction of the Air Rifle with Berserk and Sleep darts, the ability to find said darts on bodies, and the Firecracker darts helped me infiltrate and assassinate many times. The grenade launcher is a tool I rarely use, and I'm still sore that it robs me of 2 pistols, but it's a fun addition nonetheless.

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The outfits in the game are fantastic. The crafted outfits feel unique and each of the Templar uniforms look amazing in their own right, especially the Templar Hunter with a signature red cape that reminds me of a certain Italian. The Viking Armor is a welcome historical addition, as is the 11th Century Templar armor, something I hunted for religiously in my first playthrough. Shouts of DEUS VULT rang across the fjords as I sailed my ship through the ice.

The weapon choices are very good, with the best sword set locked behind an arduous task, and most of the top tier sword sets outclass each other in different ways, encouraging you to play with the ones you liked. The flashy or simply brutal sword combat was a fun mixup from Black Flag, though the melee combat still resorted to buttonmashing most of the time, and the enemy types were more irritating than challenging.

I never thought I would enjoy exploring my homelands, and yet, here I am, scouring every part of the River Valley for artifacts and Assassins. I've lived in Western Pennsylvania for over 10 years and am proud to call it home. Mountains, rivers, dense forests… all are second nature to me. And yet I felt a strange sense of wonder as I wandered the Old Forest Road and other paths in the River Valley, hunting wolves, bear, hares and deer. I climbed trees and cliffs and swam down rivers with joy. I loved seeing the indigenous villages and speaking with the Elder to obtain their special armor, an artifact I wore on special occasions only.

And now, the part that sold this game to me as one of my top 3 in the franchise and one of my top 10 games of all time: The Story.

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The tragic tale of Shay Patrick Cormac, a man who followed a path that he believed to be right to prevent the deaths of millions of people at the hands of misguided and delusional cultists. This game and AC3 turned my entire view of the Templars on its head. It made me realize that while the Assassin's were once noble and good, they had become a grave threat to the world that must be destroyed. It made me realize that the Templars are the only way to live and survive in the modern day. It is why I wear a steel Templar Cross even as I write this, something I wear openly and with pride.

Shay's dark and mournful story stays with me years after it's been told. Killing Adewale, Hope, and Liam haunts me to this day. People he and I had loved, friends he had known all his life, and a family he had turned his back on. The regret and sorrow Shay felt was real to me as he burned everything he knew to the ground so that the world might be safe. I even took Hope back to Fort Arsenal and laid her in the gazebo where she could rest forever. Shay made his own luck, and now, so do I as the Assassins fall to my blades.

Rogue is the last of the original Assassin's Creed games and where my journey with the series stops. I loved Unity for the Multiplayer aspect and story, and I hated Syndicate, Origins, and Odyssey. I tried to play Syndicate three separate times only to be reminded why I hated it and stop. It took me less than an hour of Origins to see how bad it was and gameplay footage from Odyssey only convinced me that I couldn't go on. Rogue is where the buck stops, and for that, I love it all the more.

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Rogue is the ultimate ending to the story, historically and in the real world. Shay saves the world and brings in a new order. Your character is recruited into the Templar Order to hunt the Assassins. And we just… forget that Assassin's Creed 3 ever happened because Assassin's Creed 3 is the worst game if we don't count anything after Rogue.

I will never forget this amazing game and all it did for me. The shanties my men sung, the people I was forced to kill, the world I built, and the luck I made. All of it was because of Rogue.


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