Even though I?ve played quite a few Assassin?s Creed games over the years, my most recent one was the remastered version of Assassin?s Creed III that came to the Switch last year. That experience didn?t go so well, which had me a little worried about playing Assassin?s Creed: The Rebel Collection. While I have fond — if incredibly vague — memories of playing both games included here (Assassin?s Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin?s Creed: Rogue), I?m also pretty sure I kind of liked Assassin?s Creed III when it first came out, too, and that didn?t turn out well at all.
Thankfully, Assassin?s Creed IV and, to a slightly lesser extent, Assassin?s Creed: Rogue have aged much better than ACIII. With the benefit of hindsight, you can see that Ubisoft learned the right lesson from ACIII: mainly, don?t start your game with what amounts to a six- to eight-hour tutorial. Rather than wasting time on a lengthy backstory that gives you little in the way of freedom, both Black Flag and Rogue essentially get you into the game right away, allowing you to wander through their respective environments — both of which involve pirate battles at sea — nearly from the get-go. As you can imagine, it?s a huge step up.
Also a step-up, though not quite as big: The Rebel Collection?s performance. While it?s not like ACIII?s performance on the Switch was terrible or anything, there were definitely points where you could see it struggling to keep up. You don?t get that as much here, either with Rogue (which you?d expect, since, after all, it was a PS3/360 game) or with Black Flag (which is a bit more of a surprise, seeing as it?s bigger in many ways than ACIII). Admittedly, this solid performance comes at the cost of looks, but a) both games still look better than, say, The Witcher 3, and b) we?re talking about a pair of full-fledged open-world games running smoothly on a handheld. It?s a pretty impressive feat, and I?ll take mediocre graphics if it means I get to play both of these games on the go.
While The Rebel Collection may have the odd problem, they?re issues with the Assassin?s Creed series as a whole, not ones specific to this particular outing on the Switch. For example, the parkour here is occasionally a little less than precise, which means you may find yourself scrambling up a tree when you?re trying to run around a corner, or walking daintily along a wall when you?re trying to escape a mob of enemies in hot pursuit. This, however, goes for pretty much every AC game, not just Black Flag or Rogue. Similarly, you?ll notice some overlap between the assets used in both games here — but if you look back at the criticisms that met the games when they first came out, you?d hear the same thing then, too.
What?s really striking about the two games in The Rebel Collection is that, like I said up top, unlike ACIII they?ve both aged fairly well. Both Black Flag and Rogue are excellent additions to your Switch library, and they?re well worth the dozens of hours you?ll get out of both.
Ubisoft provided us with an Assassin?s Creed: The Rebel Collection Switch code for review purposes.