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Assassin's Creed liberated on the Vita
Dec 24, 2012
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
When I read the news that the PlayStation Vita was getting its own Assassin's Creed game I was intrigued. It's no shock that the series hasn't enjoyed much success on handhelds in the past. I was hoping that this time Ubisoft would finally nail it, and for the most part they have.
Taking place in 18th Century New Orleans, Assassins Creed III: Liberation features Aveline de Grandpr, the first ever female lead to be featured in the series.
Aveline's story is a good one; at least it starts off that way. The problem with the game's narrative is it doesn't explain enough, it doesn't give enough detail. I often found myself wondering how things came to be, and how Aveline can live the life of a master assassin without her parents even suspecting a thing. This is odd for Ubisoft which as a developer has always prided itself on telling a good story such as in the Splinter Cell and Far Cry series of games.
The story only supplies detail when something major happens, failing to engage you in between main quests. This is a shame, because Aveline's story takes place at such a gripping time; tension between classes is prevalent and the promise of freedom for slaves looms ever-so intensely on the horizon. It would have been nice to have seen Ubisoft do more with the story. Liberations narrative should keep you interested until the end, but don't expect a story of the same caliber as its console counterpart.
Though Aveline's tale lacks cohesion, Ubisoft has done an exceptional job of bringing Assassins Creed's “run and stab” game play to Sony's handheld.
Liberation plays how you would expect an Assassin's Creed game to. Traversing rooftops, synchronizing viewpoints and most important of all pulling off assassinations are all intact and feel good.
If you are familiar with the series on consoles, you will feel right at home as the controls are identical. While fighting enemies is fun, I found combat to be incredibly easy. The only time I would die is when I made an error, rather than enemies out maneuvering me. This makes it hard to feel any tension during combat, as my overpowered assassin would normally pounce groups of foes with ease.
While retaining what makes Assassins Creed great, Liberation offers something new in the form of its “Persona system”. Aveline can change into three personas which affect how she plays. The assassin persona is the best at combat and getting around, though guards will naturally be suspicious in your presence. The slave persona can blend into crowds of other slaves and incite riots, but is not as effective in combat and the lady persona can “charm” individuals but cannot climb and much like the slave persona is weak, when it comes to battle.
This system is a great addition. It varies game play but at times, comes off feeling a bit forced. When you dress yourself in one of these “personas” it's because the game has told you to. More choice would have added to the experience.
Ubisoft's release also features a multiplayer component. Unfortunately, the tacked on mode might not be what most expected. The multiplayer plays like a strategic capture and hold game. Players can choose to side with either the Assassins or Templars. Once a side has been selected, the game boils down to taking over control points on a globe. This mode might offer a distraction for some but can easily be skipped as it lacks depth.
When it comes to visuals, Aveline's adventure looks satisfactory. The sights and sounds of New Orleans and the other areas are top notch. Well detailed and easy on the eyes, it is clear that Ubisoft has focused a great amount of time and effort in crafting the game's locations. Characters also look good and the voice acting in general is serviceable, minus a few laughable fake accents. There is also minor slowdown during crowded battles. Thankfully, these frame rate dips only appear few and far between to really put a dapper on the game play.
Assassins Creed III: Liberation is a solid title and the best of the series on handhelds thus far. It has most of the essential components that make it an Assassins Creed game. It would be hard to recommend it to people who weren't fond of the series in the past as the Vita version doesn't do enough to win over any new fans, but is sure to please series veterans.
Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
Rating: 7 / 10
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