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Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Review

If you have a PS Vita then you've probably been waiting for the next big franchise to hit the handheld for some time. Not since Uncharted has Sony's device had a sprawling adventure to call its own. Well now that's about to change, thanks to Ubisoft and the arrival of Assassin's Creed: Liberation. 

Assassin's Creed: Liberation sees you take control of the memories of Aveline de Grandpre - this much is announced at the beginning of the game. Aveline is a mysterious character, able to disguise herself as an Assassin, a Lady of the highest order and also as a slave. Each of these guises will be utilised throughout the game as you make your way across the title's three huge areas of New Orleans, Chichen Itza and Bayou.

Given that Aveline is the first female character in the Assassin's Creed series it makes sense that she should have an interesting story, however this is something which the game never really touches on unfortunately. It's a shame really because other than a brief nightmare scene at the beginning of the game, we never get to find out why she went from child to a fully grown up Assassin. 

On the bright side, Assassin's Creed: Liberation is a lot of fun. The controls will be familiar to anyone who has played a game in the series before, with Aveline scaling buildings, sneaking, blending and syncing her way through the large open-world areas. Missons are quite varied, with Aveline tasked with infiltrating parties, tailing leads and killing set targets. Adding to the main missions are plenty of side-quests too, which will see you freeing slaves, buying new places to change persona and more. There's no need to worry about this game not providing you with value for money, because there's plenty to keep you busy, even once you have completed the main storyline.

As briefly mentioned, Aveline has three personas which she can use throughout the game. Each of these provides a different way to play the game. The Assassin obviously explains itself, giving her access to all her weapons but also a quicker way to be spotted by guards. The Slave meanwhile, allows Aveline to blend in better with crowds, while also giving her access to some of her weapons, however the disadvantage is that this persona is weaker in combat. Finally, the Lady persona allows her to charm guards, which is great for infiltrating certain areas, although being a lady means she can't climb up walls, well she wouldn't want to ruin her dress now would she?

While the personas are a great addition, you're often guided as to which you'll need to use, which is a bit of a shame. This does open up a little bit later, which each even offering differing missions, however it's still a bit of a shame that you cannot have more choice when the game is warming up.

On the combat side of things, Assassin's Creed: Liberation works well. Aveline has access to numerous weapons such as a hatchet; sword; assassin's blade and a musket, while further into the game she'll also be able to take down enemies using a blow pipe. Other non-combat areas will see Aveline pickpocketing and even canoeing, with Ubisoft utilising the back touch panel for these areas. 

Speaking of Vita's touch controls, Ubisoft seems to have done its best to cram in the use of as many of the handheld's features as it can. This will see you bizarrely using the front and back panel simultaneously to open a letter (which frustrated me after numerous attempts), while you'll also find yourself holding the camera up to light and using the gyroscope, although I'll leave it to you to find out what these functions achieve. 

Graphically I'm quite sad to say that Assassin's Creed: Liberation is not the best looking game on the Vita. That's not to say it looks bad, it's just that you'll constantly be greeted with jaggies and slow framerate issues, especially during any action scenes. It's a shame really because some moments are truly wonderful, but this just doesn't happen often enough to make it stand out from the crowd.

In addition to the lengthy single player campaign, Assassin's Creed: Liberation also includes a multiplayer option. Here you choose between the Brotherhood or Templars, with the objective being to capture nodes and hold on to them. To do this you have a number of agents at your disposal and you have to decide how to deploy them. In the meantime others are doing the same, with nodes changing places as you battle to take control. It's all a little confusing really and will probably end up very much unused, which is just as well really.

So there we have it. Assassin's Creed: Liberation is certainly an enjoyable game, but it could have been better. There are moments when Aveline is jumping from rooftops or jumping from trees, that you'll be lost in the moment and really enjoying the company of this game. At other times however you'll find yourself frustrated at the clunky use of Vita's touch controls and the occasional glitchy and jaggy graphics. Don't get me wrong, Liberations is not a bad game, it's just that it could have been better.

(Version tested: PS Vita)


- Occasional jaw dropping graphics
- Huge sprawling adventure
- Personas offer a different take on the series
- Assassin's Creed on a portable screen


- Occasional jaggies, glitches
- Multiplayer is difficult to understand and feels tacked on
- Touch controls are too fiddly 

Edited On 31 Oct, 2012

( 14 )
Anonymous user's avatar
Lisa 4 years ago
Would certainly be a refreshing change to play as a woman on an Assassin's Creed game. Looks like it would be a decent play for Vita, but as much as I love AC I think I shall stick to the PS3 versions.
HappyNoodleBoy's avatar
HappyNoodleBoy 4 years ago
I really want this, but I can't see how this justifies the £40 price tag everyone is currently asking for.
Datastatic's avatar
Agree totally, will pick this up if it falls below £20. Waiting for the NFS Vita review as it seems to have had mixed responses across the interweb from 'well mazin innit' to 'broken'.
Datastatic 4 years ago
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
have not got a vita but games like this make u want 1 because i have not seen a vita game that looks as good as this to date!
adwan's avatar
adwan 4 years ago
It sounds like an almost on the fence review. I suppose with graphics it's early days with the Vita, and i'm sure that no one has yet to develop a good Vita based graphics engine yet and are just porting console engines on to the Vita. Extra features are always going to be crammed in, if they weren't included there would probably be more uproar than them being included in a frustrating way. What I want to know is who is in the Animus controlling Aveline, and where does it fit in the current AC story line.
Bruticus's avatar
Bruticus 4 years ago
I really want to get it, but I can't justify £40 for a portable console title. If it was £30 then maybe....
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
Disappointing about the story, that was the main thing that interested me.
dotty_84's avatar
dotty_84 4 years ago
Touch screen controls to fiddly? Hell no they are basic and simple and Ubi used them in the right abundance. I installed the update when i got this game and the only issue i had graphically was when bird fly off in distance that looks slow framerate wise. This game is around the 7.5/8.0 mark
Bruticus's avatar
Nice to have some input from someone who owns it!
Bruticus 4 years ago
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 4 years ago
I did encounter a couple of technical issues with the game, but nothing gamebreaking. The touch controls and multiplayer seem fine to me though. Only real issue is that the multiplayer is a mini game rather than proper AC multi. Biggest surprise with this game so far though is that it's thus far proving more enjoyable than Assassin's Creed 3 itself to me. Seriously, AC3's early goings are proving utterly tedious.
ALIAS's avatar
ALIAS 4 years ago
shame about the story. I got the game but have not started. still playing AC3 on xbox and then ps3 and then I'll play this lol
moro's avatar
moro 4 years ago
I actually got this for about £30. I preordered it, and the price must have risen afterwards, so I got it at the lowest price. I have noticed some jaggies and the graphics do feel rough around the edges in places, though they are still great for a portable title. Although liberation doesn't compare to the scope of Ac3, which is hardly surprising considering it's on a handheld, it's still enjoyable and I recommend it to all AC fans.
moro's avatar
moro 4 years ago
I actually got this for about £30. I preordered it, and the price must have risen afterwards, so I got it at the lowest price. I have noticed some jaggies and the graphics do feel rough around the edges in places, though they are still great for a portable title. Although liberation doesn't compare to the scope of Ac3, which is hardly surprising considering it's on a handheld, it's still enjoyable and I recommend it to all AC fans.
Anonymous user's avatar
Holly 4 years ago
I can't quite justify buying myself a Vita yet, especially as the games are so expensive. I do wonder if there is enough gameplay to justify such a high retail price in the Vita games - hopefully the answer is yes. This is something I'm definitely interested in picking up when I can afford a Vita, it looks like it would be really fun to have an Assassin in my pocket.

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