Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Review
- Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 00:19 EDT by Timothy Nunes
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The PS Vita receives a wonderful, but slightly flawed, exclusive Assassin's Creed title in Liberation.
- Favorable, simplistic gameplay
- Beautiful sounds and visuals
- Entire experience is engrossing
- Multiplayer mode is a phone app
- Re-occuring combat issues native to series
- Random glitches throughout
(continued from previous page) ...actual economy, but it does give players some familiar content from other titles.
Ubisoft has visually created a proper Assassin's Creed title with Liberation. Streets are bustling, but not brimming, with both soldiers and citizens that live their lives and react to aggressive and murderous behavior. When the streets are calm, the French inhabitants converse in their native tongue collectively. Citizens will also panic as expected when fights break out and dead bodies are left in the street.
The sights and sounds truly grasp the variety of each of the three areas. Footfalls make the most impression, especially outside of New Orleans. The different sounds of different objects underfoot are so meticulously placed that Liberation should require headphones to play it. The icing on this audible cake is the soundtrack that's almost perfectly underlaid throughout the entire game. New Orleans sports a traditional score echoing the success of the soundtrack from popular movie series Pirates of the Carribean with a beautiful cello lead, and the Bayou recedes to a more calm background track that truly accentuates the natural sounds of the swamp. It's only nearly perfect, because many would-be tense scenes are overlaid with songs that are much livelier than what's relatively appropriate.
As the Assassin's Creed series has progressed, more and more characters from different nationalities have been given dialects that sound much more American than expected. Liberation pushes to break itself from that pattern, with every character possessing a voice appropriate to their nationality and geographical influences. Rich in the variety of nationalities, Liberation is so filled with well-delivered dialogue from Spanish, French, and Cajun speakers that it makes deceptive characters a little more predictable to attentive ears; that is they're more predictable if you're not as engrossed in the performance as I was, but hindsight's 20-20.
With this character diversity comes different levels of culture, and each can be manipulated in their own way. Aveline has three persons throughout, which are Lady, Assassin, and Slave, and she uses them to make her way through missions in different ways. The Lady Persona allows her to charm noblemen but hinders her parkour abilities entirely and the Slave Persona only limits her ability to wield her full arsenal of weapons but grants her the ability to blend in and rally slaves to her cause. Both of these personas can use her hidden blade, but the Lady Persona has a very unique projectile umbrella at its disposal.
What's unfortunate about Liberation is that, even through its more simple execution, combat is still plagued with issues native to the Assassin's Creed series. Many times, I had enemies that wouldn't follow a kill animation because of geographical interferences, so kill chains would be interrupted and enemies would often converge on me and deal major damage. The whip is a new weapon to the series, and it's as much of a bane to combat as it is an easy button. It can be used to rope enemies from anywhere, allowing you to pull enemies off ledges, pull them towards you, or even hang them from a roost. If everything goes perfectly, enemies can be unrealistically dispatched with minimal effort, because they don't attack when the whip is being used or chained for kills. However, the whip mechanic is incredibly sensitive. If any environmental influence makes the enemy stumble or slow down, the attack no longer works and it leaves you open to attacks. More often than not, I avoided combat altogether, instead using the new blow pipe that can shoot multiple types of deadly darts--one of which makes enemies go crazy and retaliate at other enemies nearby before falling dead to the poison.
Touchscreen plays a very useful role in gameplay, taking on more minimal functions. Excluding the one dancing scene in the game, the touchscreen is limited to puzzles, navigating the mini-map, picking pockets, and equipping weapons. Puzzles are only present in certain cases, but letters found throughout the game can be interacted with. Much like in Uncharted: Golden Abyss, you hold up the letters to physical light in order to find maps in invisible ink, and then turn the on-screen lens with the front touchscreen to make the discovered images more clear. The back touchscreen is used to pickpocket by slowly sliding down the back as Aveline does the rest. Pickpocketing is a finicky process which doesn't always ... (continued on next page)