We did some Assassin hunting and lived to tell the tale.

PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Assassin's Creed Rogue

By Robert Workman, Aug 31, 2014 8:00pm PDT

Assassin’s Creed: Unity isn’t the only game that will be making waves later this year, as Ubisoft is also preparing a little something special for fans of the series that own an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue will arrive at the same time as Unity, but provides a different take on the series, as this time you portray Shay Patrick Cormac, a former Assassin who turns the tables on his clan and joins up with the Templars. It’s just about time to hunt.

In the game, you’ll be fighting your way through 1750’s America, stopping by such locations as River Valley and New York City as you sail the Morrigan, your fine vessel, while upgrading it to make sure you can traverse through dangerous waters. It’s Arctic weather out there, and, as such, you need to make sure your ship is upgraded with the Ice Ram so you can break through glaciers without taking much damage to your ship. You can also upgrade other factors, just as you could with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, to make your ship even better in battle.

The naval combat featured in Rogue is exceptional, as this time around a couple of new abilities really make a difference. Along with firing cannons from the side at any targets that get in your way (including hunting down Assassin ships), you can fire cannons from the front, as well as leak oil in the back, which automatically sets fire and damages any ships that may be in pursuit.

Perhaps the best new ability, though, is ramming. By holding down the trigger and pressing A, your ship goes into a charging attack that most small vessels won’t be able to withstand. It’s good against big ships as well, although you need to prepare for a post-ram attack if they’re still standing on the sea.

The game has plenty of great ground combat as well, as Shay can easily get around like the best Assassins, and has a few abilities to his credit. The weapons he carries are rather cool, including a variety of darts with different effects. Our personal favorite is the firecracker dart, which can actually spark and set off explosive items, including poison gas canisters surrounding Assassin camps. He also carries a significant air rifle that can do damage to enemies from a distance, perfect for sniping enemies from afar (if the situation calls for it).

However, there’s a sweet catch with Rogue. When you’re hunting Assassins, all the abilities that you mastered with those characters are actually turned against you here. That means Assassins will be hiding in haystacks, diving from above, and performing the same kind of maneuvers you’ve gotten used to in the series. This will require you to think twice with your targets, as Shay has his work cut out for him. Fortunately, players will be able to adapt to his style rather quickly, and successfully bring down Assassins by utilizing shortcuts and tactics of their own.

Although it is a “last generation” title, Rogue looks outstanding thus far, with beautiful details in the Arctic surroundings, such as hunting down a shipwreck and climbing to the very top to perform synchronization. The glacier break-through effects in particular are kind of sweet, as you bust through ice and bigger ice blocks and watch them melt into the ocean. Even against the likes of Unity, it looks good.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue will bring the hunt to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, so be sure to, ahem, hunt down a copy for yourself.

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