Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation Review
The promise of the PlayStation Vita is to provide a great, console-like quality video game that you can play on the go. Up till this point, there really has only been one game that has been able to achieve that, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which is from a Sony first-party studio. Yet, with the release of Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, Ubisoft has released what is the flagship game for the system for the foreseeable future. If you are looking for a PS Vita game to really show off what the system is capable of, look no further than Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation.
As one of gaming premier franchises this generation, Ubisoft had a big task of making a true Assassin’s Creed game on a handheld; something that wasn’t just a re-hash of what we had already played, but also not be too far from what we are to expect from a game set in the same universe has some of the best games this generation. Though there are things that miss their mark in execution, the overall experience feels even more Assassin’s Creed than…well the console games; you actually care and try to be stealthy in Liberation.
Liberation gives you control of the series’ first woman assassin, Aveline, who in her own respect is just as skillful and dangerous as the previous assassins we have played. Instead of playing as just a woman skin over the abilities and style of Conner from AC3, Aveline is her own. She plays very differently from the other assassins played before and brings with her all the stealth that a true assassin uses in their skills. It is a great change from the current trend in the series towards more action than stealth. Aveline calls New Orleans and the surrounding Bayou her home where she runs around climbing buildings, scaling trees in the wilderness and fighting men and beasts. Aveline’s mission is to search and find out who is behind the slave trade going on and take them out.
Though the story within Liberation touches on the darkest part of American history, slavery. Even Aveline was, as a child a slave, opening up huge possibilities for how amazing this story could be. Yet, for all its potential, the story never becomes anything worth…well anything. I am not saying what is there is bad, it isn’t, but Ubisoft had such a great chance of wow-ing us with this story and they decided not to. There are a few moments that will really have your jaw drop, like realizing the whole story is being told by Abstergo; but those moments are few and far between.
New Orleans and the surrounding Bayou is where you spend most of your time playing as Aveline. Each one is a beautiful playground where you can spend hours being lost – yet still having fun. The city streets of New Orleans are full of the city life; kids running through the streets, beggars annoying you and those pesky armed guards that you should deal with. Matching the size of Boston from AC3, New Orleans is recreated to perfection and really makes you feel like you are there. Without being out-done, the Bayou is just as beautiful and enjoyable to run around. From canoeing through the swamps to running through the trees, there are countless things to do in the wilderness.
Though visually Liberation comes close to its console counterparts, it is not without a few issues. The game does suffer from the occasional hiccup in frame rate. You will be fully engrossed within the world, running and killing as you please then BOOM, the frame rate will drop, ripping you straight out of the experience. When fights become larger than five or six enemies, you will start to notice the issue.
Combat is also semi-redone for Liberation as it forgets all about the auto lock-on while in combat. Instead, Aveline will basically be free-flowing through a fight, never truly locking on to an enemy. This has its positives and negatives, but overall is a welcome change to the series. Yet, even though the combat is still just the same as ever – block, counter, repeat.
Throughout the game Aveline will be able to done a new appearance which will aid her in completing her goal. She can switch between three different looks; standard Assassin, Slave and Formal Wear. Each one offering bonuses and negatives with each one having its own separate notoriety level. Even though these additions of new, strategic offerings that the multiple outfits bring with them; the best by far is the Assassin outfit. Playing as the well dressed lady, you are limited to only walking around the city; all your platforming and scaling abilities cannot be used. Switching over to the slave outfit is actually not that helpful at all outside of missions where you will need it. Though this interesting idea doesn’t truly have as much freedom as hoped, I was pleased with its potential and hope it comes back in future games.
Taking the place of having your own minions of assassins to manage throughout the game, Aveline will eventually become a key player in her father’s business. You can invest your money in various aspects of the business; from coffee to fruit to leather. Loading the goods up on ships and sending them on trade routs all over the Atlantic ocean will net you a profit. The lack of managing a guild of assassins is a little depressing, but this new mini-game is still just as enjoyable…surprisingly.
Liberation’s multiplayer is a map-based battle game that tasks Assassins against Templars. The game is played out as you send your team to attack a position held by the opposing team. As a global battle for total control, your missions have a drastic change in the outcome of the battle. As you win matches you gain more resources for your team in the way of men to battle for your side. If this last paragraph has made you think it sounds boring, well it is.
Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation is a fun and entertaining game for the PlayStation Vita, providing a glimpse at what Sony has been touting about the Vita since its launch.