Source and acouple of gameplay vids:
Despite taking place in the same timeline and featuring much of the same innovations as its console counterparts, the PlayStation Vita version of Assassin’s Creed III, which carries the subtitle ‘Liberation’, adds even more twists to the existing formula. It’s not enough to say this game is doing a fine job of replicating what gamers will find on the Xbox 360, Wii U or PlayStation 3. It’s attempting to tread new ground for the franchise at the same time.
The core of Liberation’s gameplay rests in the identity of its heroine, Aveline. Born to a wealthy, French father and an African mother who was a slave, this new assassin juggles the identities of an aristocrat and commoner, figuratively and literally.
In addition to carrying out missions in her traditional assassin’s outfit, Aveline is able to don the guise of a slave or a damsel. All three ‘roles’ have distinct advantages and drawbacks, and all are accessible through the Vita's touch screen with the click of a button. As an assassin, Aveline has access to all of her weapons, but is automatically notorious - easily spotted in the Spanish-controlled, French-inhabited New Orleans.
Masquerading as an elite citizen or a slave is far more discreet. By donning an elaborate dress, hat and parasol, Aveline loses a great deal of her mobility and access to weapons, but she is instantly favored by hostiles. In fact, she can flirt with enemies, luring them to dark alleys - the perfect spot for an assassination. A slave identity exists somewhere between the other two, allowing Aveline to use some of her tools of destruction, but at the expense of the armor she has as an assassin. More important, she’s able to gain the support of other slaves and poor citizens, and is able to incite riots - perfect for a necessary distraction.
The other major shift to the gameplay established in the console version of ACIII is Liberation’s “chain kill” mechanic. Essentially this is the “mark and execute” functionality we’ve seen in the Splinter Cell franchise. As Aveline accumulates stealth kills against her opponents, she’s allowed the ability to target specific enemies. A quick press on the D-Pad then gives the player the ability to use the touch screen to mark certain enemies, even allowing the camera to be rotated to get a better vantage point if necessary. The whole system works fairly effortlessly, though it does take a certain tactical feel out of the traditional AC system, which in turn robs players of that satisfaction.
Liberation’s ties to Assassin’s Creed III are mostly thematic (and historic), however players will directly interact with Connor, the hero of the console games, in one specific mission. Anyone playing also playing the PS3 version of ACIII, however, will be able to unlock several new elements in Liberation - including the ability to specifically play as Connor in that mission.
Beyond these additions, Liberation is very much what you’d expect - and that’s not at all a bad thing. You’re tasked with eliminating targets or otherwise influencing events in New Orleans, with the ultimate goal of furthering the Assassin cause against the Templars. Making matters more complicated, of course, is that Aveline’s own heritage, world view and discoveries during her adventure might not align with those of her Assassin mentor, Agaté.
Liberation is shaping up to be a worthy addition to the Assassin’s Creed lineage, one that is attempting to add its own thoughts as far as franchise gameplay. That it stars the series’ first playable female assassin, one that appears to have a layered, complex background, makes that package even more alluring. The real question is this - will the game be able to stand outside the shadow of its console counterpart, which is releasing on the same day? Stay tuned to IGN as we attempt to find out in the coming days and weeks.