What's acceptable on a handheld such as PlayStation's Vita isn't so much okay on the consoles and PC. During the first hour of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation HD this fact is glaringly obvious. Everything that could be overlooked on the Vita now shines in your face on the bigger screen with graphical glitches, muddied textures, lackluster mission design, and stale voice acting. Even the biggest fans that played the Vita title will have to admit that the transition has been less than smooth despite our interview with Ubisoft that said otherwise.
Fans of the franchise that don't own a Vita have no doubt been excited to finally play Liberation. The only installment in the series featuring a female protagonist, and an African-American/French one at that, the title is unique in that sense. Spanning 12 years, the main quest line highlights Aveline de Grandpre from the time of her childhood till her blossoming as a woman and Assassin. And while that sounds interesting at first glance, the mission structure leaves much to be desired. Rather than expanding on her character and the events in New Orleans and the bayou around it, missions typically feel like chores between cut-scenes. Tailing and escort missions are always right around the corner while fetch quests make up roughly half of the experience. Liberation holds your hand more than any other Assassin's Creed title to date and that is in drastic contrast to the series standard.
While some features such as the multiple personas of Aveline (Slave, Assassin, Lady) are an interesting concept, the title brings back some of the most despised and labored features from previous titles. Simply running around town or climbing anything at all is enough to raise each personas notoriety. Taking care of that issue is different for each persona and ranges from assassinating witnesses (Lady) to tearing down wanted posters (Slave).
One of the biggest issues with Assassin's Creed is finding voice actors that don't come across as cheap when it comes to their accents. Most of the characters in Liberation outside of Aveline and Agete (the latter of which voices Adéwalé in Black Flag) suffer from this mentality.
The Templars under the guise of the Spanish are taking over New Orleans from their French and Aveline is one of the few Assassins left in the area. Seeking to return them to their glory and keep the city from the oppression of her opposition, she utilizes nearly every tool available to her, her sexuality included. Charming, bribing, and killing, Aveline is truly the most versatile Assassin to date. It's a shame that this wasn't exemplified better in the title though. It all sounds so good, but everything feels all to stagnant.
An interesting addition (at least to those who didn't play the original Liberation) is the ability to mark targets for execution during combat. With enough charge and a simple push of a bumper, time stops and allows you to mark targets to take down. It's obvious that this was put in place to ease the Vita experience, but it's certainly a welcome and interesting addition.
The cut-scenes are gorgeous compared to the Vita version and that's disappointing because everything in between them simply feels like filler. Aveline is a character worth investing the time in, but you're going to have to trod through boring missions and a less than perfect supporting cast to do so.
- Most interesting assassin since Ezio.
- Queuing assassinations
- Stale missions.
- Most characters are uninteresting.
A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review purposes.