The Assassin’s Creed storyline is brilliant and well researched. The addition of Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation to the series gives you insight into the past of the Assassins/Templar conflict, in the form of a portable game. It’s a missing puzzle piece that I loved experiencing on my Vita.
Note: The following review was written after four hours of gameplay. I’ve attempted to keep the review free of spoilers, although some details from the storyline will be presented.
The player takes control of Aveline de Grandpré, a young child separated from her mother while exploring the streets of New Orleans in 1757. As she grows up, you find she has found a place in a wealthy family, yet still craves the adventure of the night.
The controls are easy to master, as they feel natural. The left analog stick moves the character while the right stick adjusts the camera. Almost every option and selection can be chosen or toggled by the physical buttons on the Vita. The touchscreen can be used to select specific targets or toggle outfits but it’s not necessary.
There are a few objects that can be interacted only with the touch interface (both front and rear). For example, you can draw downward on the rear touchpad to pickpocket a nearby NPC.
You may walk or speed up to a run, although some characters will not run as fast as I would like (maybe it’s the dress). While running, you can tackle down anyone from the crowd by pressing the interaction button.
To progress through the storyline, and to accomplish certain objectives, you will need the help of specific personas, or character outfits. For example, the Slave Persona will allow you infiltrate slave camps while the Lady Persona will allow you to charm and bribe your way through influential citizens or guards.
You can swap out personas in designated changing chambers. It’s a unique twist from the familiar camouflage techniques I’ve come to expect in earlier AC titles. Rest assured, you can still blend in with your surroundings, hide in haystacks and use objects (as props) to your advantage.
Each persona has certain limits; some cannot climb, others will hinder your ability to fight or run. They also have their respective notoriety levels, which can be reduced by tearing down wanted posters or killing off witnesses.
Previous AC titles had you purchase various types of properties such as banks, blacksmiths and bookshops. Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation will allow you to purchase different shops in the city as well. The first property available for purchase will be a dressing chamber near the governor’s mansion, allowing you switch between personas.
Money to buy properties can be obtained by looting chests, trading and completing quests.
There’s a lot going on; the game is populated well enough with NPCs going about their daily activities of working, fishing, and cleaning the city. Viewpoints are scattered around the different locations allowing you to expand your map visibility. Once a viewpoint has been synchronized, you can perform a leap of faith into a haystack.
Later, the game brings you to the coastal wooded areas, also full of activity.
I’ve heard some complaints about frame rate issues but I didn’t notice it too much during my playthrough. I wonder if this has anything to do with the game being installed on my Vita rather than played through directly from a physical game.
The game will begin with certain defaults such as subtitles and blood; these can be turned off in the options panel in the general menu.
This is not your typical console multiplayer. Launching multiplayer from the main menu will present you with a world map connected by nodes based on geographic locations. I didn’t find it all that entertaining but the storyline makes up for it, at least.
You can conquer these locations, by first choosing a team: Assassins or Templars. Attempt to conquer a city by launching attacks or lighting beacons in strategic places. After successful missions, your characters’ talents and abilities will increase as well.
The multiplayer aspect of Liberation resembles mostly a card strategy game. It’s similar to sending recently recruited assassins to side missions in previous AC titles.
Liberation is compatible with Vita’s near feature as well. Connecting to near will allow you trade and obtain various collectibles.
Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation supports trophies. If you’re a stickler for 100% completion, you can replay these memories until you have unlocked each trophy and have fulfilled all mission objectives.
The multiplayer aspect of the game will also keep you busy if you find strategy games with point systems entertaining.
Whether you wait for the price to come down or purchase Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation right away, it deserves a place in your Vita game collection. At $35 USD for the digital download, it is almost half the price of most Assassin’s Creed console titles on launch day.
Although the game doesn’t follow the Desmond Miles bloodline, it’s an interesting story with the AC game mechanics you have come to expect. On the same token, it’s okay to skip it also. It won’t hinder your enjoyment of future AC titles.
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I like the story but it takes a long time to get started. Anyone know how to reduce the notoriety of the asassin persona?