All posts by Jerome Weiswasser

Jerome has been writing for UGR Gaming for 2 years now. He is the head writer and is also co-host on the Gamer Chat Weekly Podcast. When not working for UGR, or playing videos games, Jerome most of his down time being a wrestling fanatic.
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Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Wii U) Review

Nintendo has done a great job turning around their fortunes in the year 2014. In what was an abysmal 2013 for the Wii U, 2014 has been the exact opposite. Nintendo has been releasing quality titles for the Wii U all year long. Now, Nintendo has decided to end 2014 on an experimental note with Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. How well does Nintendo’s final game of 2014 stand out among its other offerings? Keep reading to find out.

Story

For a change of pace, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker takes place in the Mario Universe, but does not include Mario, Luigi or even Princess Peach. Instead, the game follows Captain Toad and Toadette. On a mission for treasure and power stars, the pair come across a giant bird called Wingo. Captain Toad and Toadette must defeat Wingo and continue their quest. The story is really simple, but that is the norm for games in the Mario Universe.

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Gameplay

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a puzzle game that places Captain Toad(or Toadette) on a small 3D diorama. While the goal of each level is to obtain the power star, there are three diamonds to find on each level.

Players will rotate the level, move platforms and avoid enemies while going through the levels. Captain Toad cannot jump, so the only way to beat enemies is to throw turnips at them or falling off a ledge onto them.

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I strongly recommend trying to acquire all of the diamonds as many of the levels are incredibly easy to simply finish. Breezing through the game without trying to fully complete it will lead to a shallow and very short game.

Captain toad Treaure Tracker utilizes the Wii U Gamepad better than any game before it. I found myself actually preferring the Gamepad to the TV, which is a first for me. The game plays very smooth with the sole exception being the gyroscope, which I would have loved an option to turn it off.

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Presentation

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker looks exactly like you’d expect a Mario game to look like. It is vibrant and colorful. The sound design also adorable and well done.

However, my biggest issue with Captain Toad was that the game constantly and blatantly reuses the same two or three cutscenes throughout the game. This wasn’t a huge deal but it just came off as pretty lazy and was a bit of a let down.

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Overall

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a fun game. It certainly isn’t a full blown triple A title, nor is it a reason to buy a Wii U, but it is priced at $40 (at launch), which makes it a nice to pick up for someone who is buying the Wii U. Completionists will love this game and it is a nice addition to Nintendo’s growing Wii U library.

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Far Cry 4 Review (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC)

Throughout my time spent with Far Cry 4, I found myself thrown into a chaotic war zone filled dangerous animals, two warring factions and drug trips. The Far Cry series is all about the insanity of the world that the player is thrown into. How is the insanity compared to previous installments? Keep reading to find out.

Story

Far Cry 4 follows the story of Ahjay Ghale, a young man living in America. As her dying wish, Ahjay’s mother requests that he travels to their native country of Kyrat to scatter her ashes on the mountain. Once there Ahjay meets Pagan Min, a insane dictator who ruthlessly rules over Kyrat. Ahjay joins the resistance fighting Min, known as the Golden Path. Ahjay sets out to remove Min from his throne and scatter his mother’s ashes. The plot felt a bit weak at times compared to the excellent plot of Far Cry 3 and I found that the two main endings both left me with feeling a little less closure than I would have liked.

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Gameplay

Far Cry is a first person shooter that combines both stealth and an assault style of gameplay. Players can also hunt animals for storage upgrades and gather herbs for syringes that can give special abilities and heal you. The game plays done very well and I was quite impressed with it as a next gen entry title.

There are plenty of side missions to do across Kyrat. From aiding villagers with wild animals, to capturing an enemy convoy to strength the Golden Path cause, there is a lot to do. Players can also capture fortresses, free outposts from enemy control and capture radio towers to widen Kyrat’s map visability.

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Players will gain XP to level up and unlock skills. This is also a great gameplay mechanic that has been used in the Far Cry and was welcomed back with open arms. These skills can follow the path of the tiger which is more combat based, or the elephant which improves Ahjay’s health and durability.

There is also a karma system that is affected by hunting, completing random events and killing civilians. It’s nothing special, but it intergrates into the other ways to unlock things quite nicely.

Far Cry 4 has a map editor and it is awesome, players can create a scenario with plenty of options. In this map editor, players can then upload their creations and download others creations to take into their our world and let loose. It is an awesome feature that add countless hours of replayability to Far Cry 4.

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Multiplayer

Far Cry 4 offers a fairly unique multiplayer for players to enjoy. Players will play with the Rakshasa and the Golden Path factions. The Rakshasa are more spiritual and use bows and can ride elephants. The golden path use guns and can drive cars. This is a really cool addition to return with multiplayer that gives players something else to dive into when they are playing or complete the single player experience.

Far Cry 4 offers three different competitive multiplayer modes, all of which are 5 V 5 matches. The three game modes are Outpost, Demon Mask and Propaganda.

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Outpost has players defending and attacking a flag to capture it. Demon Mask is a capture the flag type mode. Propaganda resembles demolition from Call of Duty, players will try to set bombs or defuse them across three propaganda stands.

I did have some issues with respawning and matchmaking though. Sometimes, I was unable to respawn after dying and would get kicked for being idle, which was incredibly frustrating.

Demon mask and Propaganda felt extremely slow paced and were kinda boring. Outpost however, is the definitive way to play the multiplayer, it was fun and pretty fast paced.

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Presentation

Far Cry 4 looks amazing and looks awesome especially on next gen. The land of Kyrat has great variety for exploration and discovery and was a lot of fun to traverse. The sound design was also spot on, everything was a truly great experience in this game. But in the control department, though the controls were very tight and fluent, a problem I encountered with the PS4 version was the touchpad was too sensitive. There were times when my finger would slightly touch the bottom corner of the pad and my weapon would swap.

Overall

Far Cry 4 was a awesome game. It was chaotic, but the good kind of chaotic. The amount of content in such a vast area was a joy to go through. Far Cry 4 has a great blend of “WTF” moments as well as “F*** Yeah!” moments and I deeply enjoyed it. Shooter fans should definitely pick this game up, however don’t expect too much out of the multiplayer.

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Super Smash Bros. Review (Wii U)

Nintendo is in the middle of an important point in their history. Generally speaking, the Wii U has not done very well since its launch back in November 2012. However, Nintendo is making an effort to turn it’s luck around. The first (and perhaps, one of its biggest) steps in this change is the long anticipated release of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. Usually the question I pose in my reviews is whether a game is good or not. This time that is simply not the case. My new question for this review is just how great is Smash Bros.? Keep reading to find out.

Gameplay

Super Smash Bros. returns with the same fast paced combat seen in previous Smash Bros. games. For those unaware, Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game, but it plays differently than other fighting game, in the sense where there are multiple fighters on one stage. Smash Bros. also has more movement than fighters in traditional fighting games. Normally, Super Smash Bros. features 4 players in a game of smash. But now, Smash Bros. now features up to an 8 player smash mode in addition to the previous mode.

There are plenty of options in the regular smash mode. Players can play timed battles, stock battles, coin battles, HP battles and even special battles with some custom options.

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When I originally played the 3DS version pf Super Smash Bros. I was extremely displeased with the Smash Run game mode. In the Wii U version, Smash Run has been replaced with Smash Tour, a board game like mode where players will travel around a board game board and collect stats and fighters. This mode is much better than Smash Run and I really had a good time with it.

Classic mode returns but with a twist, in Smash Bros. Wii U, players will face off against large groups of enemies in a 5-8 man smash. This mode is more exciting than it has ever been before.

Players can now participate in the Special Orders game mode also. Special Orders, known as Master Orders and Crazy Orders, are special scenarios or challenges where players can play a specific game of smash in attempts to get rewards. Master Orders are cost coins to take on. Crazy Orders also use coins, but also takes Crazy passes. Once you start a Crazy Order, you can keep playing until you either lose or defeat Crazy Hand in a battle. These modes were a good challenge that gave me more to do with my time in Smash Bros.

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Event mode returns, and it was my favorite mode in Smash Bros.  Even mode will place characters in special scenarios and gives them challenges to complete. You may have to do an HP battle or stop enemies from landing on the ground. The scenarios in Event Mode are fun and challenging, even epic at times. There is also a wide variety of the types of things to do Event Mode.

Like in the 3DS version of Smash, All-Star mode returns in the Wii U version of Smash Bros. All-Star mode tasks players with facing every character in the game in waves. However, instead of fighting characters in chronological order, from oldest to newest, players will fight them in reverse (newest to oldest).

There is even the stadium which allows players to play Home Run challenge, Target blast and the Multi-Man Smash, which has a plethora of choices itself. Home Run contest will have players attempting to send a sandbag flying for as far as they can get it to go. Target Blast is an angry birds-esque mode that has players launching a bomb at a group of targets. Multi-man smash has players taking on a set of enemies or an infinite amount of enemies for certain amounts of time.

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Players can use the Wii U Gamepad to create their own stages for fighters to battle on. Players can also customize their Mii fighters, or regular fighters. Players can even transfer their content from the 3DS version of Smash Bros.

Possibly, the best part about all these features is that ALL of them can be played with two players. This is an awesome addition to an awesome game.

Players can also collect trophies, music, and customization parts for your characters. There are even over 100 challenges to complete. There is plenty to do in Super Smash Bros.

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The roster and map selection of Super Smash Bros. is huge. Both have a wide variety and were so much fun to play around and experiment with.

Controllers and Amiibo

There are a lot of ways to play Smash Bros. on the Wii U. Players can use a Gamepad, Pro controller,  Wii Remote, Wii Remote with a nunchuck,  Wii classic controller and a 3DS. Players wanting to use a 3DS will have to own the 3DS version of Smash Bros. to use the 3DS as a controller. The best addition is the ability to use a Gamecube controller.  However an adapter is required to play with a Gamecube controller.

Super Smash Bros features Amiibo support. Amiibos are the new Skylander like figure system that Nintendo has released. Amiibos can be purchased in stores separately and there are a variety of characters that can change the game up! The Amiibos are used like a CPU player in Smash. You can fight with, or against them. As you play, they will learn and level up.

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Multiplayer

Super Smash Bros. features online multiplayer that can be played casually or competitively. The casual (For Fun) lets you play with custom rules. Competitive (For Glory) follows a more set of rules. Both are a lot of fun to play, and I was very happy to say that there was not too much lag. A lack of voice chat is a bit odd but it barely bothered me at all.

Presentation

Nintendo continues to show that it is the best at the style that they craft. Despite the Wii U not being as powerful as the Xbox One or PS4, Super Smash Bros is one of the best, if not the best looking games that the Wii U has to offer currently. Everything runs at 60fps and it looks amazing.

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The sound design is also incredible, from the massive amount of awesome music, to other sound design, it is all just perfect.

Overall

I went into Super Smash Bros. with an incredible amount of hype, which is a bad thing to do, as video games very often fail to live up to the hype. No matter how good they may be, you may come out disappointed. But Super Smash Bros. is most definitely the exception. The game is just simply perfect. There is just so much content, that listing it here would make me seem obnoxious but excited for the game’s overall achievement. The game is just so much fun to play, both alone and with others. Cover it with beautiful presentation and you have a reason to buy a Wii U, as Nintendo begins a journey to regain their throne.
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WWE 2K15 Review (Xbox One, PS4)

When THQ went bankrupted last year, I was concerned for the future of the WWE video game franchise. As video game and wrestling enthusiast, the WWE games have always had a special place in my heart. When 2K acquired the rights to the WWE franchise, I began to highly anticipate the first WWE 2K game. WWE 2K14, doesen’t really count as it was just THQ’s nearly finished product that 2K released.

WWE 2K15 marks a new era in the WWE franchise. Does 2K15 do WWE wrestling games justice as it has done with the NBA 2K series? Keep reading to find out.

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Story

WWE 2K15 introduces the 2K showcase, a new story mode that spotlights legendary rivalries. 2K15 showcases the CM Punk-John Cena Rivalry that spanned from 2011-2013 and the infamous Triple H- Shawn Michaels fued. The showcase particularly focuses on 2002-2004 portion of the relationship between The Game and The Heartbreak Kid. Showcase mode does a great job at bringing fans back to these epic rivalries. I only wish that 2K had gotten Jim Ross to come back to do voice work for the Triple H- Michaels feud. Having Michael Cole’s annoying commentary took me out of the immersion at times.

Gameplay

The gameplay mechanics have been drastically altered. Matches now play at a more slow paced, which comes off as incredibly realistic. Single matches start out with a chain wrestling mini-game. Towards the end of a match, wrestlers slow down, use the ropes to pull themselves up off of the mat and even crawl towards an opponent to perform a pin. The game is just very realistic. This wasn’t always a great thing though. At times, the pacing was a bit too slow, and matches would sometimes just go on way too long.

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WWE 2K15 utilizes the Mycareer mode that is similar to the career mode in NBA 2K15. Players will create a wrestler and start in the NXT training facility, while they work hard to rise through the ranks of the WWE. Your created wrestler starts with very weak stats, and because of that, your first few matches can be pretty rough, especially when you get called up to the main roster. But once you increase your stats, you will adjust and will have an easier time.

Along with stat points, players also earn Virtual Currency and Social Media Followers. The virtual currency is used to hire managers and buy new skills. Social Media Followers affect how much of a push (a better spot) you get.

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Sadly, Mycareer mode lacks substance. Storylines feel generally few and far in between for most of your climb up the WWE ladder. It also doesn’t really do much to make you feel like a part of the WWE.

Fans of the past few WWE games will be happy to know that the Universe Mode makes it’s return in WWE 2K15. The universe mode is generally the same, except it has greatly improved on the storyline/Rivalry feature of the universe mode, which is ironic considering that is where Mycareer falls flat.

WWE 2K15′s roster is the smallest roster that the series has had in years. It just lacks a lot of legendary wrestlers, and even left a few superstars off of the current roster, which was a real shame.

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Multiplayer

The multiplayer of WWE 2K15 runs more smooth then it ever has, I encountered very little lag in my time spent playing. However, the matchmaking could use some work. Searching for a game takes a little while, and what matches you play and what wrestler you use are based on preferences that you have to setup. This was a bit of a let down but wasn’t too big of a deal.

Presentation

WWE 2K15 looks amazing. Most of the wrestlers look realistic. Even the crowds look a little bit better. The sound design is also pretty well done. The commentary has dramtically improved and I actually enjoyed the banter between the King and Michael Cole. In what is an improvement to last year, more superstars speak during their entrances. They aren’t perfect but what is there is admirable.

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I did have a problem with the slam sound effects. I would often hit a grapple or get hit that would cause me to crash onto the mat. For some reason the sound effect of hitting the mat often gets delayed and happens after the actual move happens.

Overall

2K did a great job bringing the WWE franchise into the 2K fold. It offers a new, more realistic era of wrestling games. It looks really good, sounds really good, and plays pretty well. 2K offers a great foundation for what will hopefully be an even better game in the future. Wrestling fans will appreciate the realism in 2K15, but that can sometimes feel like its moving a little too slow. An improved Universe mode and an awesome showcase mode make up for a some-what forgettable Mycareer mode.
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Assassin’s Creed Unity Review (Xbox One, PS4)

When Ubisoft first revealed that there would be two Assassin’s Creed games coming out on the same day, I was worried that focus of the developers was going to be split and hurt both games. While Assassin’s Creed Rouge was somewhat of a let down, Ubisoft is getting a second chance to please fans that did not enjoy Rogue. Assassin’s Creed Unity is Ubisoft’s current generation offering in the Assassin’s Creed series. Unlike last years Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Unity is developed exclusively for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. How does the next generation of Assassin’s Creed fare? Keep reading to find out.

Story

Assassin’s Creed Unity tells the story of Arno Dorian, an Assassin during the French Revolution in the heart of Paris. As a young boy, Arno’s father is murdered. Arno is taken in by a Templar and years later, the Templar who took Arno in, is murdered. Arno must navigate the French Revolution in a tale of revenge.

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While the Revenge story is fairly basic, I found the story and it’s plot twists to be very enjoyable. The story of Unity feels like a return to older games in the franchise, like Assassin’s Creed II, while it still feels fresh.

Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed Unity’s gameplay comes down to three major mechanics. Players will use Combat, Stealth and parkour to experience the world that Unity puts in front of the player.

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In terms of Combat, Ubisoft has stripped the combat down. Arno cannot disarm, or more importantly break through an enemies defensive stance. Arno can parry and dodge. The combat in Assassin’s Creed Unity can be incredibly difficult at times. Sometimes, enemies can kill you in one hit, so perfection is vital. At times, the combat was quite frustrating and was my least favorite part of Unity.

The stealth mechanic is new to the Assassin’s Creed series, which is odd considering how integral stealth has always been to the series. The stealth mechanic utilizes a new snap-to-cover mechanic which is a nice addition. however, the lack of the whistle ability from previous games makes stealth more slow paced than it should be, as you will have to wait for enemies to pass your hiding spot.

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Ubisoft has attempted to improve the parkour aspect of the game by giving Arno the ability to climb downwards quickly. When it works, it is smooth and looks great. But there lies the problem, sometimes I just couldn’t get Arno to go where I wanted him to go, as things that should be simple like climbing through windows just didn’t work sometimes.

Players will be able to upgrade Arno’s abilities and even customize Arno’s appearance, using both in game and real currency (yes, sadly there are microtransactions in Unity.) Players can also use Creed Points which are gained by getting kills and more.

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The mission design of Unity is phenomenal. The types of missions are more diverse and what is there, is much more exciting and epic than any previous Assassin’s Creed games. Even Assassination missions offer more of a “choose your path” style which makes you feel like an Assassin who is planning and hunting his target.

Multiplayer

Assassin’s Creed Unity has done away with competitive multiplayer. However, they now offer a co-op mode. The mode has 2-4 assassin’s team up to complete very well designed missions that were incredibly fun to play through. The co-op mode was a lot of fun, and I deeply enjoyed the co-op. It was a great move to get rid of multiplayer in favor of this epic co-op mode.

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I also really enjoyed how your Arno is the same across single layer and co-op, as no matter what I’m doing, I am making my Arno better.

Presentation

Assassin’s Creed Unity is undoubtedly the best looking game in the series. In fact the game looks amazing by any standard. There were a few times where the frame rate dropped a bit, but Ubisoft has assured us a patch is on the way. Despite that, it very rarely for me happened, and when it did, it was probably due to how much is going on around Arno.

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Speaking of which, Paris is an amazing city to go through. Unity does a fantastic job bringing Paris to life. The amount of people simply in the streets was impressive, which can be useful, but can also get in your way. Paris is a massive city and I had a blast navigating through it, especially with the fact that most houses can be traveled through and makes the game even more impressive.

Sound design was also really well done. I constantly heard the bustling city around me, with near conversations and distant rumbling making feel immersed in the world of Unity.

Overall

For the new generation of Assassin’s Creed, it feels like Ubisoft hit the reset button on the franchise. While I do miss some past gameplay mechanics, I was able to adapt and enjoy the game anyway. The game looks amazing and was a lot of fun to play, except for the combat which at times felt way too difficult and frustrating. That being said, a great story, awesome city to experience and a phenomenal co-op mode, makes this a great first attempt at a real next-gen Assassin’s Creed game.
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Assassin’s Creed Rogue Review (Xbox 360, PS3)

With the passing of what is now the previous generation of consoles, Xbox 360 and PS3 users are left with a problem. 360 and PS3 users are facing the fact that most of the new games being released exclusively on the Xbox One and PS4. With very few games coming exclusively coming to the previous generation, Assassin’s Creed Rogue is basically the swan song of the previous generation. Does it end the generation strongly, or does it disappoint? Let’s find out.

Story

Assassin’s Creed Rogue follows an Abstergo Entertainment employee living through the memories of Shay Patrick Cormac. Shay, an assassin in the colonies in the 1750s, is in the middle of the ongoing war between the Assassins and the Templars. While on a mission for the Assassins, Shay witness the deaths of many innocent lives and blames the Templars. Shay abandons the Brotherhood and vows to destroy the order that he once fought for.

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As the game goes on, Shay will run into quite a few familiar faces, both friend and foe alike. The story was very well done, as it feels fresh, but still gives returning fans that warm fuzzy feeling when you see a returning character, or the setup to an event that you know has happened or will happen in the future.

Although, I want to avoid spoilers, I will say that Assassin’s Creed fans that are going to play Unity should go through the story of Rogue.

Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed Rogue borrows gameplay mechanics from previous installments in the Assassin’s Creed series. Despite leaving the order Shay plays like all of the previous Assassin’s in past games. The gameplay works generally well, and still features the fun action that the series is known for.

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Sailing makes it’s return in Assassin’s Creed Rogue. Sadly, sailing feels like a tired mechanic that just wasn’t fun for me. It is especially frustrating in Rogue, when instead of sailing through the open seas of Black Flag, players will navigate areas that are tight corridors of water and a cluster of land. One wrong turn can send you way off course and had me pausing the game and pulling up my map more times that I would have liked.

A problem that I encountered was that at times Shay just wouldn’t quite do what I wanted him to do. Things like climbing and jumping would sometimes go awry, and I found myself failing missions at times because of this. This has always been an understandable problem in the series, but it has never quite been this bad.

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Assassin’s Creed Rogue is actually fairly short, compared to other Assassin’s Creed games. But much like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag there are plenty of collectibles to keep gamers playing.

It is worth noting that Assassin’s Creed Rogue is probably the most difficult Assassin’s Creed game to date (not counting Unity, as I have not played as of this writing). Enemies can hide in stalking zone and on buildings in an attempt to ambush and defeat you, Assassin-style. While Shay is supposed to be a predator, I would have liked to have seen a chase mission where Shay has to run from a pursuing Assassin. This would have strongly went with his predator like character. Sadly, this was not utilized in Rogue. However, there are a few really cool missions where Assassin’s will ambush you. You can hear the signature eagle squawk, and catch a glimpse of a spying Assassin. These were really cool moments.

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Presentation

Assassin’s Creed Rogue is a pretty ugly game. It isn’t the worst looking game out there, but it does look worse than Assassin’s Creed III, which was released two years ago. This is a huge turnoff for Rogue as an interesting story kept struggling with the unimpressive graphics.
Rogue is also a pretty buggy game. NPCs would sometime walkthrough each other, even during cutscenes. They would even phase through my ship and be stuck in the water. I even ran into a bug that had an enemy ship get partially on top of my ship.

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On the bright side, the sound design was pretty well done. The soundtrack was pretty awesome to listen to throughout my time spent playing Rogue.

Overall

Assassin’s Creed Rogue was a disappointment. The game just felt like a bunch of reused assets from the the past two Assassin’s Creed games, except they weren’t as good. Rogue offers some cool moments and an awesome story that Assassin’s Creed diehard fans really need to experience. However, poor presentation, and some poor gameplay features really hurt this game. Fans of the series should be able to get enjoyment out of Assassin’s Creed Rogue, but new players should just give this a pass.
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