Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation has a lot to prove. When the game releases alongside Assassin’s Creed 3 on Oct. 30, gamers will finally be able to see if the PS Vita can deliver the best portable Assassin’s Creed experience ever. Even though Liberation is nearly here, Ubisoft has been quite silent on many elements of the game. What has been seen so far, though, looks quite promising; so let’s take a look at what players can be excited about.
A True Assassin’s Creed Experience
Several Assassin’s Creed games have been released on different portable devices with varying degrees of success—none of which truly replicated the console experience. The technological limitations of the PSP and DS forced developers to cut corners and strip away core gameplay elements. With Liberation, however, Ubisoft is taking full advantage of the PS Vita and using the same engine that powers Assassin’s Creed 3, AnvilNext. Previews of the game in action look great and it seems like very little visual fidelity is lost in translation to the small screen. Not much has been shown of the touch screen functions aside from chain kills and boating; but surely not everything has been revealed. Additionally, Liberation could prove that the PS Vita is capable of truly delivering a faithful (and open world) console experience in your hands.
A Female Assassin
History and Location
Instead of focusing primarily on the backdrop of Boston and New York during the American Revolution, Liberation will feature a post French and Indian War New Orleans. This will provide Liberation with a unique viewpoint different from the harbors and frontier of Assassin’s Creed 3. At the time, New Orleans was a hotbed of French and Spanish activity and a home to smugglers. The game isn’t afraid to incorporate slavery and plaçage, a practice where wealthy French and Spanish men would have an arranged marriage with women of African, Indian, or even Creole descent, into its world. Not only does this give Liberation a shot of cultural diversity (as opposed to the somewhat static Italy of Ezio’s world), it gives the writers a chance to produce a mature script that touches on a part of history most gamers know nothing about. The New Orleans bayou will be full of alligators and other wildlife as a replacement for “The Frontier” section of Assassin’s Creed 3. Liberation will also take you into certain parts of Mexico—a location never touched on before in the games.
Costumes and Connectivity
One cool new feature from Liberation is the use of costumes. Aveline can change her appearance by entering clothing shops which will in turn change how one can approach gameplay. Aveline’s default appearance is her assassin outfit (the one seen in most footage) which allows players to act as they normally would in any Assassin’s Creed game. Running, climbing, and stabbing are easiest with this outfit and it also allows for the most armor and weapon use. The trade-off is that guards are much more suspicious of her and one mistake might cause them to attack. As the daughter of a wealthy Frenchman, Aveline can also don a dress representing her stature. Guards will allow her to pass into most areas but she is also more vulnerable and less agile. The weapon of choice with this outfit is a poison dart gun disguised as a parasol. The final costume is that of a poor woman. Wearing ragged clothes, Aveline can blend in by acting like a servant and most people will ignore her because of her appearance as someone with low social status. Though the costume has little armor and room for weapons, it makes up for it by giving her maximum agility. Not only will the costumes allow missions to be played in different ways but they are also going to provide a chance at some unique social commentary. Players who purchase both Assassin’s Creed 3 and Liberation will receive some nice content for the games. Bonuses include Connor’s tomahawk, upgraded ammunition pouches, character skins, and additional multiplayer characters.
The “futuristic” element of Liberation does not involve the present day assassin. Instead, that plot point focuses on Abstergo, the Templar-fronted company. Aveline’s story represents a “product” released by Abstergo that allows others to experience the genetic memories of another person. Nothing has been made completely clear on if this will affect the overall plot of Assassin’s Creed 3 or how it ties into Aveline’s story; surely, though, it will be an interesting trip.
Will Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation be able to stand up to the quality of its console brothers? Ubisoft is intent on reminding us that this experience is in no way dumbed down just because it appears on the PS Vita. Where Uncharted: Golden Abyss showed the early potential of the Vita in delivering a “console experience”, Liberation might break the mold and prove the portable can handle large open worlds. Whether or not it can pave the way for potential Elder Scrolls or Grand Theft Auto ports, though, remains to be seen. It can’t be denied that Liberation is ambitious and, hopefully for Sony, it will be a big system seller this holiday season.