Game Review: Assassin’s Creed III Liberation for PS Vita

Game Review: Assassin’s Creed III Liberation for PS Vita

by -
1

UbiSoft released Assassin’s Creed III Liberation for the PS Vita on October 30th. Here is my review!

AC3LiberationBoxArt

UbiSoft released Assassin’s Creed III Liberation for the PS Vita on October 30th.  This was a fairly highly anticipated Vita release, and Andrew picked me up a copy.  Before we get into the review details, let’s set the stage about the game:

Game Overview

The year is 1765. As the events leading up to the American Revolution heat up in the North, Spanish forces plan to take control of Louisiana in the South – but they have yet to reckon with Aveline, a deadly Assassin who will use every weapon and ability in her arsenal to win freedom for her land and her people.

Whether silently eliminating her enemies with slow-motion chain kills or luring them into deadly traps, Aveline strikes mortal fear into the hearts of those who stand in her way.

As an Assassin, Aveline soon finds herself on an unforgettable journey that will take her from New Orleans’ crowded streets, to voodoo-haunted swamps and ancient Mayan ruins. She will play a pivotal role in the turbulent birth of a new nation as she fights for freedom, not only for herself, but for her fellow citizens.

Designed exclusively for the PlayStation Vita system, you’ll take full advantage of the Playstation Vita system’s dual touchpads, motion detection, and built-in camera to execute slow-motion chain kills, pickpocket unsuspecting victims, and pursue your enemies in a canoe. This is no mere port; it’s an immersive experience designed purely for the PlayStation Vita system.

And check out this trailer video:

Now onto the review!

Gameplay

The game lets you take on the persona of Aveline, an assassin in New Orleans in 1765.  Aveline is the child of a slave mother and a wealthy father, letting her live in both parts of 18th century Louisiana.  You traverse the world of Louisiana and Mexico, dispatching enemies and solving the mystery of what happened to her missing mother.

The Good

This game is a faithful reproduction of the console series; you play an assassin, wander the game world dispatching evil enemies of the Assassin’s Brotherhood, and get to experience the old world.  The story line is interesting, and the addition of pistols, muskets and poisoned blowguns is a nice change.

The combat mechanics are well-developed and easy to control on the PS Vita.  Using the blow gun and her fists are easy!  And targetting by tapping the screen is convenient.

The graphics are impressive and take good advantage of the PS Vita’s screen.

The Bad

The flip side to the fact that it is a faithful reproduction of the console game is this: the gameplay gets repetitive after a time.  There are only so many times that you can stab someone in the back in a crowd and then battle 5 guards!

In addition, the storyline does not hang together very well.  I was confused as to why Aveline is battling in the streets to free slaves, and at one point, she ends up leaving New Orleans for the bayou with a very poor transition.  The storyline development from Drake’s Uncharted was much better developed and was more effective in reeling me in.

UbiSoft added a new dimension to this game, allowing you to purchase ships and to run Aveline’s family trading business.  You can buy goods in New Orleans and transport them to cities in the Caribbean, sell them and book a profit that helps you to purchase items in the game to make you more effective.  The concept is nice, but the controls are not well-executed and are not documented in the game instruction manual.  I could not figure out how to send a ship to a given city, managing to accidentally order the ship to sail but being unable to figure out how to do it again.  I would like UbiSoft to add the ship sail command to one of the preexisting menu selections to make this a better game feature.

The PS Vita controls with the rear touchscreen would not work consistently for me.  In order to pick someone’s pocket, you need to use the rear touchscreen.  I was only able to get it work once, and I am not sure what I was doing wrong.  It might have been my fault, but if I can’t figure out the game element quickly and replicate it consistently, it points to an issue with the control design.

Bugs.  Everywhere.  This game was not ready for release, and this really mars the gameplay experience.  For example, I noted several instances where people in the town were walking into walls and not turning around.  Minor, I know, but annoying.  And then there was one scene that requires you to roll a ball through a maze by tilting the PS Vita to activate a game element.  The puzzle had a bug that caused the ball to roll off the maze through the maze walls.  Of course, the ball would not respond correctly to my input for a good 30 minutes before it crashed.  Reloading the game solved the issue, but this should not have happened.  Another example is a scene that requires you to pull yourself hand over hand on vines to scale across a cavern.  However, the control that allows you to jump off of the vine did not appear, meaning that I was stuck over a 300 foot deep hole, hanging from a vine.  Again, reloading the game solved the issue.  There are more examples, including a reputation scale that somehow went from anonymous to full-on enemy of the people with no real causation.  Once your reputation meter goes red like that, guards immediately attack you as you walk across the town, making it hard to accomplish your goals.  Reloading the game also solved this, but as you have probably surmised by now, reloading the game to fix bugs is a common activity with Assassin’s Creed III Liberation.

Overall Assessment

Assassin’s Creed III Liberation brings the AC experience to the PS Vita.  It is a fun game, but the implementation here has some serious gaps.  Bugs mar the gameplay experience, and even when it works well, the gameplay gets a bit repetitive.  If you are a fan of the AC series and you want to play it on the PS Vita, go ahead and pick it up.  Overall, I give Assassin’s Creed III LIberation a 3/5.

CDW-Rating-Banner-black-3