Released a little over a year ago, “Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation” for the PS Vita came out in conjunction with “Assassin’s Creed III” on consoles. Liberation was overlooked by some because it was released at the same time as its console counterpart, but for those who missed it, they can now play “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD” on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
“Liberation HD” isn’t just a graphics upscale from the handheld Vita version; it better in almost every way, including new music, missions, and an interesting new weapon. For the first time in an “Assassin’s Creed” game, you can use a whip. It can be used at a tool and also for navigation adding some interesting new dynamics to the gameplay.
Set during the time of the American revolution, “Liberation” takes place far from the famous events of Boston and New York portrayed in the home console version of “Assassin’s Creed III.” Set in Louisiana, “Liberation” tells the story of Aveline de Grandpré the first ever female to star in the series. In this place and time in our country’s history, New Orleans was a popular hub for slave trade, and Aveline, being of African heritage, is ready to defend her people as she unravels the sinister schemes of the Templars controlling the region.
The story of “Liberation” is an interesting diversion from the main “AC” story. Similar to the other “AC” games, you travel around bustling cities slaying slavers and rivals while collecting treasures and artifacts of the First Civilization. The thing that is most noticeable is it doesn’t feel as epic as its console brethren; “Liberation” was made for a mobile platform, and it definitely shows. The environments aren’t as pretty, and there aren’t as many activities to do or collectibles to find. Even though this game is now on consoles, it feels like a mobile game. It is much shorter, making it feel like a budget imitation of the real thing.
I did find Aveline’s story to be pretty interesting, though. Most of the missions take place in New Orleans and the surrounding bayou. Another interesting side mission in the game is taking command of Aveline’s father’s fleet of ships. You load your ships up with cargo to trade with different ports on the coast. This system is similar to the way you make money in the other “AC” games, but it requires more participation than usual, which is refreshing. Some of the other side missions include curing poisoned villagers, buying up shops in town, and finding all of the collectibles.
Another interesting twist this game provides is in the combat system, which drastically reduces the complexity of the console version. Now Aveline can chain together kills, allowing you to take out large groups of enemies in one big flurry of attacks. The way in which Aveline is very different than our other heroes is she has three separate personas that she uses to complete her objectives: the assassin, the lady, and the slave. You can switch between them frequently in order to overcome different scenarios you might encounter. For instance, the lady can charm guards, a slave doesn’t have to sneak around plantations, and assassin is the most familiar to the series but isn’t great at staying undercover.
If you missed “Liberation” on the PS Vita and you are a fan of the “Assassin’s Creed” series, this game is definitely worth a look. I decided to play this game because it was mentioned of the story of “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” and I wanted to see what happened for myself; I am glad that I did. It isn’t a perfect game, but it is a pretty good addition to the series, even though it isn’t as big as the other games. Aveline is an interesting character, and it is well worth your time to learn about the first female assassin.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.