Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation Review
I really adore the world of the Assassin’s Creed series. Mostly because of the story, both the slightly futuristic present day bits and what is generally the meat of the games based around the times of Desmond’s ancestors. The series has slightly lacklustre outings on portables. The only one I played was Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines which was a spinoff to the original Assassin’s Creed. It was alright but it was clear the PSP couldn’t handle a game on the scale of Assassin’s Creed.
So can the Vita succeed where its predecessor couldn’t? Well yes actually, when you first are able to jump on top of a building in Liberation you will notice that the game has the size of an Assassin’s Creed game. While of course it doesn’t look as good as it’s bigger brother Assassin’s Creed 3. It is still a marvel that a game of this scope is running on a handheld. Frame rate can be a little choppy at times when there is a lot of action on the screen.
Since I have mentioned that story is a main reason I keep coming back to these games, let’s find out how this stacks up. Firstly there is no present day story, no Desmond. Instead your Vita is a portable Animus which supposedly is sold within the in-game universe for anyone to play. You play as Aveline de Grandpré a female assassin of African and French descent. While I enjoyed the character herself I found little interest in any of the other characters within the game.
The setting for the game takes place in New Orleans in the mid-late 18th century. While in Boston and New York everything feels a lot more British/American, New Orleans is very much French and Spanish which you get that from all the people milling about in the city. The only other area for exploring in the game is the Bayou, a swamp area which has very few buildings and a lot of trees to climb.
The core gameplay plays just as you would expect from an Assassin’s Creed game. Most of the weapons you expect to have such as the hidden blade, your fists, swords, knives and axes. Rather than having the slightly clumsy system of selecting weapons from AC3, players just tap the weapons icon and select what they want. Aveline opts for the blowpipe to kill or enrage her enemies in place of Connor’s crossbow. It honestly feels no different than any other Assassin’s Creed game, wall climbing and jumping across buildings feels just like it should.
A new gameplay element introduced into Liberation is the three personas that you can switch between when the game lets you. First being classic assassin that you are used to from the previous games. Second being slave persona which has fewer weapons available to use and has less health but is mainly used to blend in with other slaves when the assassin persona might stick out lick a sore thumb. And finally the lady persona, manoeuvrability is restricted. You can’t climb buildings and running is changed to a light skip. One advantage you do have in the persona is the ability to charm guards to lure them away. The problem I found was this is far too restrictive and I much preferred to switch back to the assassin persona when the game lets me to gain that freedom of movement that makes the games so enjoyable.
Some of the Vita’s functionality is thrown into the games some works well while the other parts I feel are broken. One I do find neat is when you get a letter to open you must run your fingers across the top of the touchscreen and the touchpad at the same. Now to what I feel is broken, firstly pickpocketing is down by running your finger down the back touchpad which I have rarely gotten to work. Next for maps that you acquire you have to hold the Vita back camera up to a light which sometimes I’ve found worked by even the smallest amount of light and other times I’ve shown a light directly at the camera and nothing has happened. While these can be annoying the certainly aren’t game breaking.
Multiplayer for Liberation is nothing like what was introduced to the series from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and onwards. It is a card game, kind of. It feels much more like a Facebook game personally while you launch attacks against other players characters and you fight so that global supremacy for the Assassins or Abstergo. I personally wouldn’t recommend even touching it, it is not enjoyable in the slightest.
I personally feel that Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation is a real wonder of a game and is a technical achievement getting this running on the Vita. With a main character that I found a far more enjoyable to play as then Connor from AC3, an interesting story, and pure fun gameplay I feel Liberation is worth picking up regardless of if you are a fan of the series or not.
Avaliable for the PlayStation Vita, Release Date: 31st October 2012
Cost: $39.99 – £39.99, Rating, 18+