Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered review: Big, beautiful, empty world

Credit: Ubisoft
Credit: Ubisoft /

After five years, Assassin’s Creed Rogue has made its debut on next-gen consoles. But with the innovations of later titles, is it still worth playing?

Title: Assassin’s Creed: Rogue – Remastered
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PS4 (Version reviewed), Xbox One
Release Date: March 20, 2018

With the media storm surrounding Assassin’s Creed Unity ’s performance issues, its last-gen counterpart was overlooked. By 2014, many had migrated to Xbox One and PS4, and that’s where all the shiny new features were.

However, there’s something to be said for rehashing an existing formula. Assassin’s Creed Rogue tells one of the strongest stories since Ezio while pulling in winning elements from across the franchise. Its next-gen remaster is a chance for those players to experience it for the first time, but how much has really changed?

Not quite enough. The new version has a higher resolution, improved environment rendering, better shadows, better textures, and denser crowds. It all sounds good on paper, but it’s not always noticeable once you’re in-game. Outfits look sharper and cities are more populated, but it’s still very clearly a last-gen game.

In some places, Assassins Creed Rogue Remastered looks truly terrible. Credit: Ubisoft
In some places, Assassins Creed Rogue Remastered looks truly terrible. Credit: Ubisoft /

Its age is most distinct in its poor anti-aliasing. Jagged edges are commonplace while exploring its vast world, and it’s unclear why Ubisoft couldn’t use post-processing effects to reduce them. This may be mitigated somewhat if you’re playing at 4K, but for regular users, it’s quite noticeable.

Thankfully, Rogue Remastered makes up for these oversights in other areas. The game still has one of the biggest worlds in the franchise, letting players travel between the North Atlantic, the frontier, and New York. These areas benefit from the improved environmental rendering, though it’s hard to tell without a direct comparison.

The resolution also makes a difference even if you’re not running in 4K, as the Xbox 360 version runs at sub-HD and PS3 720p. In all, it’s a better remaster than The Ezio Collection, but it’s not completely game-changing.

Still, it’s worth noting that there’s a little more on offer besides graphics. As well as visual enhancements, you’ll notice quite a few new cosmetics. Players will be able to wear the outfits of Bayek, Arno, and Jacob, as well as two bonus missions, The Armor of Sir Gunn and The Siege of Fort de Sable.

Rogue starts to look much nicer when you’re blinded by the sun. Credit: Ubisoft
Rogue starts to look much nicer when you’re blinded by the sun. Credit: Ubisoft /

Other than that, it’s the same game, and that means a story focus. Players get a look into the universe from the Templar side, inhabiting Irishman Shay Patrick Cormac and bridging the gaps between Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed III.

There’s so much stuff to do that it begins to lose meaning.

There’s some questionable voice acting and dreary non-animus sequences, but on the whole, you’ll be well-served. The plot is littered with emotion and major twists, delving into the lore more than any title save Origins. Crucially, it helps the player see the fight between assassins and templars in shades of gray, spurring a new appreciation for other characters in the franchise.

At 10 hours, that story content won’t last you too long, but Rogue also has plenty of side-activities. It pulls in the fantastic naval aspects of Black Flag while adding new weapons like burning oil, the puckle gun, and an ice ram.

The game also lets you upgrade Shay himself. Islands are populated with bears, foxes, whales, wolves, and more, and all can be killed for materials. You can use these to increase health, the amount of ammo you can carry, or to craft new outfits. On top of that, there’s a renovation system, fleet management, fort conquests, collectibles, and assassinations. You could easily drag the game out to 50 hours if you wanted to.

Credit: Ubisoft
Credit: Ubisoft /

Unfortunately, you might not have much to show for it. There’s so much stuff to do that it begins to lose meaning. Ubisoft couldn’t make all these elements a main story requirement without making it a slog. It’s easy enough to complete the game without upgrades, making these systems optional and forgettable.

As a result, Rogue feels a bit empty despite its size. The side-activities aren’t particularly compelling, and its graphics don’t offer much awe when exploring. It’s also missing Unity’s revamped combat, parkour or stealth, so you’ll feel kind of clunky the whole time.

Next: Assassin’s Creed: Origins review – Blood in the sand

Thankfully, Ubisoft isn’t crazy enough to charge full price, but it’ll still set you back $30. That’s not completely outrageous considering the DLC, but you can get Syndicate for the same amount. Because of this, I suspect Rogue will remain the niche title it’s always been. If you’re a new, lore-focused player it could be worth it, but there probably aren’t enough improvements to sway last-gen owners.

Assassin's Creed Rogue Remastered. 6.5. <em>Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered</em> has some noticeable graphical improvements, but not enough to overshadow the gameplay flaws of the original. At $30, the game is only really worth it for hardcore fans.. Ubisoft.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.