Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection includes the two entries of Ubisoft’s franchise that focused on ship combat. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you can live out your fantasies of swashbuckling and piracy, and in Assassin’s Creed Rogue, you play as a Templar during the Seven Years’ War. Along with all of the released DLC and expansions, these open-world games are feature-complete on the Nintendo Switch and run surprisingly well in both portable and docked modes. Yet, some technical glitches in Rogue and outdated gameplay hold the collection back.
Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection includes a surprisingly great Black Flag port
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is considered by many to be one of the best entries in the franchise and with good reason. As Edward Kenway, an ancestor to series character Desmond Miles, players sail and swordfight across the Caribbean, Cuba, and Jamaica. Kenway’s adventures find him facing off against the Templar Order as they try to uncover the secrets regarding the Observatory. There are also legendary figures in pirate history that you encounter in the story, with Blackbeard and Anne Bonny being highlights of the cast.
During Kenway’s quest, you’ll find yourself tailing and assassinating targets, solving puzzles in ruins, and plundering ships on the high seas. The parkour and combat systems have aged considerably, but Black Flag‘s ship combat is still a joy to consume. There are different tools such as a chain-shot to tear apart enemies’ sails or fire barrels that slow down sailors tailing after you. There is also a variety of different tactics you can employ, with boarding a damaged ship to fight its crew a standout. The naval combat carries the game well into its 25-35 hour campaign, whereas the reaction-based combat falters a little.
There’s a lot of side-content in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, including assassination missions, naval contracts, and legendary ship encounters. Also, there’s a host of buried treasure, forts to overtake, and dozens of high points to synchronize in order to fill out your map and fast-travel capabilities. Since there isn’t any achievement functionality on the Switch, a great deal of the side-activities and collectibles seem meaningless to fulfill. Once you have enough money or feel as if you have an appropriate amount of equipment upgrades, there’s little incentive to track down everything on the map, making the large majority of the tasks seem like busywork.
Overall though, this is an excellent port of one of the best open-world games that released earlier this decade. It runs smoothly on Switch, with very few frame rate issues in even its most difficult-to-render sections. It doesn’t have the impressive water effects or draw distance of its other home console counterparts, but that’s easy to forgive on the Switch’s smaller screen. The ship combat is still a highlight of the experience and holds up well during shorter play sessions, with the only major drawback being the present-day sections.
Don’t sleep on Freedom Cry or Rogue
The DLC expansion to Black Flag called Freedom Cry is also included in Assassin’s Creed the Rebel Collection. In it, you play as Adéwalé (Edward Kenway’s quartermaster) and take on a beefy 5-6-hour campaign that has you liberating slaves and building a group of freedom fighters. You get a variety of new weapons such as a machete and a blunderbuss, both of which allow distinction from the main game. It’s well-paced and tells one of the better stories that the franchise was able to pull off.
Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection also includes Assassin’s Creed Rogue, which advances the naval combat and lore of the franchise while also serving as a capstone to the arc presented in Assassin’s Creed III and IV. You play as Shay Cormac, an assassin who turns to the Templar Order after realizing that the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins has become dangerous in its search for the Pieces of Eden.
Instead of doing the typical assassination side-missions, you instead intercept contracts and hunt the assassins down. It’s refreshing to go up against assassins, and it adds to the much-needed variety. However, the game is still mired by a significant amount of the technical issues it faced on its original home console release. With stuttering, texture pop-in, and a blurrier draw distance than what is seen in Black Flag, it’s jarring to go from one game to the other. If you’re invested in the alternative history of the Assassin’s Creed series though, it’s worth it to see how the game expands the greater lore with a darker and more mature storyline.
Overall, the best Assassin’s Creed games on the Nintendo Switch
It’s unfortunate that the multiplayer aspects of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag are absent in Assassin’s Creed: Rebel Collection. It’s also disappointing that the team couldn’t get Assassin’s Creed Rogue running as well as they were able to get Black Flag to perform, but it’s still much better than how the game was on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with the added benefit of portability.
Overall, you’re getting a massive amount of content in Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection, with the port of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag being one of the more impressive examples of an open-world game on Nintendo’s handheld and Assassin’s Creed Rogue being worthy of a playthrough if you haven’t yet played it. The collection features two complete open-world experiences that are still a joy to play.
A review code was provided by the publisher.