Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
Developer: Ubisoft Sofia
Platform: Playstation Vita
Release Date: 31/10/2012
Price: $39.96 (Available Here)
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation is the first for the series for a few reasons. It is the first title on the Playstation Vita. It is the first to offer a female playable assassin who is not Desmond’s ancestor. It introduces new mechanics that provide a love/hate relationship. With a console counterpart looming over it, is Assassin’s Creed III Liberation good enough to bring those players to the Playstation Vita? In short, yes it will.
The story of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation follows Aveline de Grandpré during the years of 1765 to 1780, spanning from the end of the French and Indian Wars and ending in the middle of the American Revolution. The story is meant to be a product of Abstengo, the masterminds behind the Animus and Templar allies. From the get go, the player will notice that there is no Desmond involved in this, meaning Aveline is not an ancestor. Instead this is a separate plot to Conner’s story in Assassin’s Creed III. Without spoiling it for any potential players, the story is engaging and interesting with Aveline’s character helping deliver a great story.
Aveline de Grandpré is the first female assassin in the series and she is a great character. As a daughter to a French aristocrat and a slave woman, Aveline is shown to be in two different worlds: that of her father’s and that of her missing mother. She is a very confident, courageous woman, a femme fatale as she would be called. The only real problem of her story is right at the beginning. Unlike other Assassin’s Creed games, Aveline’s induction into the Assassins is overlooked. One moment the game focuses on Aveline and her mother’s separation and the next is her putting her gear on, already an assassin. It does parallel another iconic character in the modern world, doesn’t it.
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation offers similar gameplay content that is on offer in the console counterparts. Players can free roam an open area, whether it is on the ground with the people or it is using the rooftops of New Orleans. Liberation takes it a step further with running amongst the trees in the bayou, further expanding this open world. Combat does not differ from the console series. Aveline has access to various weapons, but what she can use will be restricted to what persona she is in. Aveline can use both melee and ranged weapons, as well as parry and counter attack. She is also given the ability to conduct multiple kills with groups of enemies.
Missions flow quite well and do help the pace of the story. No mission repeats twice in a row and they all have a secondary, optional objective that helps achieve 100% synchronisation. Multiplayer is also present in Liberation, but there is not much to say about it. It is quite tacked on and really shouldn’t be part of the game. It is similar to Risk, a board game where you control areas of the world.
In a new addition to the Assassin’s Creed series, Aveline is able to change clothing known as personas. There are three available: Assassin, Slave and Lady. The assassin persona is self-explanatory but the slave and lady persona opens up different strategies for the player to utilise. The Lady persona, based on the aristocratic world of her father, uses the ability to charm men to do her bidding, as well as enter any unfriendly areas without being detected. This is at the expense of any free movement and combat, which is the core to the series, although you can still assassinate with the Lady persona.
The slave persona is weak at combat, but does have the ability to blend in with other slaves and is able to freely move around the environments. The idea is interesting, but it could have been executed better. The amount of times one must change into another persona is too much; it should have been kept for story purposes. With that said, giving each persona a notoriety level instead of an overall level is a good idea.
With controls that are close to the console counterpart, one would expect them to be excellent. Assassin’s Creed III Liberation does fit the bill of having excellent controls. The analogue sticks are the core to this experience and it is nice to have the left for movement and the right for camera control. The controls don’t feel stiff at all. Liberation also features a plethora of touch control capabilities throughout the game. Some of them are quite useful. An example of this is the weapon wheel, which is activated by touching the weapon icon on the bottom right corner of the screen. It is easy and smooth to choose which weapon would be suitable for the situation.
With that said, if no weapons are chosen, the player will have to go into the weapon selection screen twice to choose both a melee and range weapon. There are times where touch controls could have been left out, but there are a low number of touch only segments in the game. Most segments that offer touch controls do offer a physical control scheme as an alternative.
Visuals & Audio
The Playstation Vita does have the ability to display excellent visuals for a handheld and Assassin’s Creed III Liberation presents astonishing visuals in the world of the colonised America. The environments, whether it is the city of New Orleans or the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, are breathtaking. The character models are well detailed. Colours in the game are also quite vibrant. Menus are clean and simple and can be used with the touch screen. It does have a few issues with draw distance, but it isn’t noticeable enough to have a major impact on the game. As for the sound design and music, it is quite enjoyable. Aveline has a French accent, which would be from her father’s side. It is executed well, as are other character voice. The soundtrack is nice to listen to. The environments have their own character thanks to the sound design of the game.
While it would unnatural not to draw comparisons with the console counterparts, Assassin’s Creed III Liberation is still the best serving of assassin action on any handheld system out there. The story is great as it will engage with the player. The character of Aveline helps the story immensely. The gameplay is fun and exciting, with excellent transition of core gameplay mechanics as well as new mechanics that do add to the experience. The visuals are one of the best on the Playstation Vita, rivaling those from other equally impressing titles and the sound design brings the game to life. All in all, this is an excellent game and will quench your assassin thirst wherever you are.