Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is about Avaline De Grandpre, daughter to a French merchant and his African wife searching for her lost mother. Exploring 18th century New Orleans, she uncovers a slavery trade conspiracy spread throughout the America’s.
Without a fluent backstory, Avaline, has one of the lightest stories in the Assassin’s Creed universe. This lack of explanation works well on the go, but might lack the coherence some of the dedicated fans might miss. Assassins Creed: Liberation is an ‘Animus gaming program’ canonically presented by Abstergo(the fictional conglomerate behind the Assassin’s nemesis, the Templar Order), although Abstergo is completely irrelevant in a story that never leaves 1765 America. The game is still presented from the prospective of someone reliving ancestral memories, but its never explains who is reliving these memories. It’s a big mystery thats never hinted, and in fact, completely ignored. Compared to its console brethren, it lacks the logic that invented a cohesive world and defined the action beyond ‘killing bad guys because they’re bad’. It’s clear the game has been put on a diet to fit a lifestyle on the run, eliminating exposition and backstory to fill your time with assassinations.
Assassin’s Creed Liberation is PS3 quality game on the go, albeit stripped of its fat, meat and muscle. There are plenty to do when Aveline isn’t tracking broken contracts of indentured servitude, such as eliminating business rivals, freeing slaves, or managing shipping trades, but at the end of these side objectives, I wasn’t given a sense of accomplishment, like they were making some effect to the world, they felt more like filler. Most of the area that’s Aveline is sent to for mission on the maps are thriving with busy citizens along with animals like pets and livestock while the other sprawls completing the map are left barren of life. It’s understandable that it wouldn’t be as populated as its console counterpart, but its odd that some sections in Liberation are competent with its brethren while other moments you’re uselessly climbing viewpoints in a well build ghost town.
Avaline can use three personas to finish her objectives, but they boils down to various degrees of limitations. The ‘Lady’, can’t do anything acrobatic, but she is influencing, allowing her to charm and bribe the less loyal guards. The ‘Slave’ persona can blend in easily with work forces, incite riots, but isn’t the best in a fight due to less health and a limited arsenal. As the ‘Assassin’, Aveline is at full force, she can use all her weapons, climb anything, and has the best chance in a fight. The personas have pros and cons, but they’re uneven, the Assassin is more or less the classic experience, with only constant low notoriety limiting her. The Slave isn’t too much different, only having limited inventory compared to the Assassin. As the Lady, Aveline has most of her equipment and abilities removed, she can defend herself, and has a few items to stealthy remove guards, but she loses the sense of being an effective assassin. Missions force you into each persona to assimilate with certain mission providers, preventing you from returning to the more fulfilling personas until the mission’s end, slowing the pacing down and dampers the enjoyment. A thing that did raised my brow about the personas was the update to the notoriety system around the world. Instead of the posters, heralds and witnesses that criminalizes you regardless of cosmetic changes that would otherwise aloof your adversaries, they now point to each persona alone, allowing you the ability to avoid detection while you clear your name.
Since a Playstation Vita review has to bear some mention of touch controls, Liberation’s implementations are range from pleasant to frustrating, Touching the mini map sends you to the map screen, then simply touching anywhere will make a waypoint, which is nice and easy, compared to the classic buttons. Selecting weapons is done in a similar fashion, activated by touch to pause the game as you select devices from two radials. Then there’s the Touch and motion gimmicks that riddle the latter experience with such acts as swiping your fingers along both touch surfaces to simulate tearing a letter, or using the cameras to searching for a light source to reveal details under a map and later uses of infuriating marble mazes. They’re stretched thin enough but every one ground the momentum to a halt. Mostly useless and superficial when boiled down, they’re forced small mini game to circumvent the standards of simple button interaction, and it doesn’t help when you look stupid as you wonder around pointing you Vita up at the sun or twisting like you’re a buttoning up a sweater inside out.
Moment to moment, I like Assassin’s Creed Liberation, but when I look back after setting the Vita down I’m unsatisfied. For every thing Liberation does well, there’s something bad to counter balance it, it’s hard to recommend a game that has just as much bad as it does good. Liberation had a lot it to live up to in the series pedigree as well as a potential system seller for the Vita, and it’d didn’t need much change to succeed, but with a lackluster story, inconsistent motion controls, and lack of vision in the personas, I’d say its best to save yourself the frustration, and leave this one alone.