Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (PSVita) Review

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is the first Assassin’s Creed entry on the PlayStation Vita, developed by Ubisoft Sofia. The game’s main point is to transport the Assassin’s Creed console experience to a handheld, and at times it just seems like it tries too hard.

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In Assassin’s Creed: Liberation you play as Aveline de Grand Pre, a circa 1765~1780 assassin of French origin living in New Orleans. The game marks the very first time a female assassin is introduced (although in Assassin’s Creed: Embers there was a female Chinese assassin), Ubisoft have also been paying more attention to other races of people, since to be honest, Altair was a little too white to be middle eastern, I should know, I am middle eastern after all.

The game starts like Assassin’s Creed III’s multiplayer with Abstergo’s logo, followed by a “powered by Animus”, that is quickly explained when you start the campaign, Abstergo have commercialized the Animus as a gaming console, and you have purchased the memories of Aveline de Grand Pre to experience, so keep that in mind as long as you’re playing the main story line, this point is used pretty nicely throughout the game. You start as young Aveline, walking with her mother, and then you wander off and you can’t find your mother anymore, next thing you know, you’re being raised by your father and a step mother who are both oblivious to the fact that you are an assassin. The story then follows Aveline and Gerald, another “assassin” in the fold as they free more slaves and get a headquarters for the brotherhood, in which you can do trading missions, which are kind of confusing to be honest, and I didn’t care for them enough to understand thoroughly. You are then greeted with Aveline’s mentor, a man named Agate, through the entire game you will have absolutely no idea how Aveline got to know Agate, but that is clarified in like 3 minutes at the end, which is the first downfall for this game, characters don’t have enough depth to them. Don’t get me wrong though, Aveline as an assassin is great, I like her a lot, but I would’ve wanted to learn more about her. The story line itself is not well structured, I just finished the game and I can’t even remember why I did what I did.

Gameplay though is where the game shines, well, more or less. Unlike your regular Assassin’s Creed, Aveline has three personae  the lady persona, in which she is respected and well known by everyone, she can also charm people, giving her jewellery as collectables, and bribe guards. There’s the slave persona, where Aveline can blend in with slaves in the street doing any kind of work, and where she pickpockets the easiest (I’ll explain why in a moment), and then there’s the assassin persona, the strongest, and the one with the most weapons, also, the assassin persona has a minimum notoriety of 1, unlike in the other games where you can walk around in your assassin robes in the city as if you’re a normal citizen, which is actually something I found really reasonable, and good in Liberation. The assassin persona can beat up certain people to acquire collectable coins.

A very interesting point throughout the game though is when you finish certain missions, you experience glitches in the Animus, that when Erudito (yep, same Erudito) tries to tell you that Abstergo left out some information and that is not what really happened, to uncover the truth however, you have to hunt down a Citizen E, identified through eagle vision as glowing. Killing the Citizen E brings back the rest of the cutscene, the part Abstergo left out.

Some Vita functionalities do feel forced, like when you pickpocket, you have to mark your target first, either by touching the front screen, or using the L trigger, then you have to swipe across the back panel from top to bottom, another thing is, when you get letters, you have to point the Vita at a bright light, though this doesn’t always register, even when I opened my camera’s flash in front of the Vita’s camera, it still asked for a bright light, apparently you had to twist the Vita in all kinds of directions before the letter can be read, VERY annoying.

Glitches… Oh dear God I can’t even start on describing the amount of glitches in this game, some can be downright funny, others are stupendously annoying. One of the funny ones being Aveline swimming on land (a la Chuck Norris). One of the most annoying ones I’ve ever witnessed in a video game was in a certain mission where it kept desynchronizing and restarting at me trying to open a letter, afterwards, you can’t move, and you are being attacked, after I figured out how to get by this, the game just blacked out, with the HUD still appearing, I had to restart the entire memory again. Of course though the numerous graphical bugs and glitches throughout the game, as in any other Assassin’s Creed game, but I bet Ubisoft just put those in for good measure, so that players will feel right at home.

Soundtrack is not as good as the other Assassin’s Creed games, but it’s still enjoyable. Sound effects on the other hand, not so much, some sound effects can be missing at times, like when you kill enemies, you don’t hear the sound of the blades, or anything really, not all the time though, just at certain times.

Now to the most controversial part of the game, the multiplayer. Some people said it was a bold move and actually liked it, most people (me included) shunned it completely. The multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is a Facebook game, no, not a mini version of the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer we all love. There’s a globe, and you choose a home node from which you launch attacks, you get to choose whether you are a Templar or an Assassin, since most of the people playing choose assassins, they almost always win. Anyway, you get to choose a node to attack, you pick a character, and you start the battle, you see a small animation of two people attacking each other and then you get control points over the node you just attacked, and that’s it, you just get control points, and after a certain time, the faction with the most control points wins.

All in all, I really don’t think Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is worth the asking price, but it does have some nice twists in the story, and the story does get enjoyable near the end, I would certainly recommend you buy this game used, or at least wait until it gets cheaper. Let me know what you folks thought of the game.

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