Don’t look at Assassin’s Creed Rogue as the “lesser” AC game for 2014 just because it’s only heading to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. It’s very different from Unity, much more akin to evolution of what AC4: Black Flag delivered, but it’s got a whole bunch of new tricks for players to make use of, as you can see in this part of newly released gameplay clips from Gamescom 2014.
The first clip focuses entirely on the game’s naval play, with protagonist Shay Patrick Cormac, a Templar, piloting his ship, the Morrigan, through the rough sees of the North Atlantic Ocean. This region was the site of some of the heaviest fighting between the British and French during the Seven Years’ War that spanned 1752 through 1761.
Related: Assassin’s Creed Rogue review
Some of the new features showcased in the naval footage include the Morrigan’s Icebreaker Ram upgrade, which is used to cut through some of the dense ice floes that bar progress in Rogue‘s open seas. You also get to see some of the ship’s new weapons in action, including an early machine gun turret, a front-firing cannon equipped with explosive shells, and a rear-firing spill of burning oil.
Many features of Black Flag return, such as sea shanties (“around” 20 new ones mixed in with old ones), harpoon hunting challenges, dynamic ship-to-ship battle events, fleet building, and Morrigan upgrades fueled by scrap gathered throughout the world. The North Atlantic region also introduces some new elements, such as destructible icebergs that hide collectibles and serve as cover from incoming fire, and gang ships, assassin-controlled craft that attempt to ram and board the Morrigan if you get the locals angry enough.
The land-focused clip actually starts with a repeat rundown of some of the features covered in the naval gameplay clip. The Morrigan docks at around the three-minute mark, with Shay heading out to take down a gang hideout. The gang is an assassin-allied faction in AC Rogue, so in addition to destroying some barrels of poison gas and taking down the camp’s flag, Shay also has to hunt down the assassin that leads this bunch of ruffians.
As with the naval gameplay clip, the focus in this chunk of footage is on showing off some of AC Rogue‘s new features. Shay carries an air rifle that fills a role similar to the long-range blowgun of previous games. He’s also got a grenade launcher, useful for taking out groups of enemies at range with both lethal and non-lethal attacks. Gas and smoke are both factors in AC Rogue from both an offensive and defensive perspective, and Shay carries along a gas mask that he can equip to ward off any ill effects.
Overall, the play seems similar to what we’ve seen in past AC games. There’s a new compass feature in Eagle Vision that helps point the way to objectives via a colored circle that appears at Shay’s feet, but the basic traversal and combat systems are immediately familiar, even with the new toys. The key takeaway from this land-focused demo is that Shay’s opposition presents a stiffer challenge in combat. You’re frequently facing bona fide assassins, and they make use of the various tricks we’ve grown accustomed to using ourselves over the course of multiple Assassin’s Creed games.