Assassin's Creed Rogue is an action-adventure, stealth game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. Naval aspects from previous games return with the player controlling Shay's ship, the Morrígan. The Morrígan has a shallower draft compared to Edward Kenway's Jackdaw from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing for river travel.
 New features include new ship-based weapons such as releasing an oil slick which can then be ignited, Puckle guns, and the ability for enemies to board the Morrígan during ship-to-ship combat. The arctic environment also features into naval gameplay and exploration, as certain icebergs can be rammed with an icebreaker.
 The underwater diving missions featured in Black Flag do not exist as swimming in the North Atlantic causes the player's health to rapidly deplete due to the frigid water.
 For combat, the game introduces an air rifle, similar to the blowpipe from the Black Flag which allows the player to silently take out enemies at a distance. The air rifle can be outfitted with a variety of different projectiles, such as firecrackers. The player can also use it as a grenade launcher, which fires off shrapnel grenades and other loads.
 Hand-to-hand combat has been slightly altered, and now enemy attacks can be countered with timing, similar to the Batman: Arkham series of games. Enemy Assassins feature archetypes similar to previous games, using skills that players have been using throughout the series; they can hide in bushes, blend in with crowds, and perform air assassinations against the player.
 Poison gas can now be used as an environmental weapon, and Shay has a mask that can mitigate its effects. Side missions and activities return, with a number of them based on those of the previous games.