PS Vita owners far and wide, I hope you are comfortable and ready for a good read and a full catch up to get you in the mood for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation.
Assassin’s Creed. A franchise that’s gone above and beyond expectations has now managed to go on step further and surprise us all by bringing the console experience to a handheld console.
Those who want a new Assassin’s Creed adventure to take with them on the go will have no problem getting stuck into Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation.
Newcomers may be a little put off and confused with the story and controls at first, but don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Give yourself a little bit of time to get into the game and familiarise yourself with the controls. You will be leaping from building to building and taking your targets out like a true Assassin.
In fact, it’s not just newcomers who will feel somewhat lost with the controls. Veterans of the series will also have a learning curve to follow. Thankfully it’s not a steep one and is just a case of getting to grips with how Assassin’s Creed’s controls translate to the Playstation Vita, with some actions being transferred to the touchscreen and rear touch pad.
Lets get onto the story…
WARNING MAY CONTAIN
With Assassin’s Creed you come for the story and the multi-player is a an addition that supplements the main game. (Not the other way around, as some yearly franchises have forgotten…)
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation lets you experience 18th century New Orleans through the eyes of Aveline De Grandpré, a brand new lead Assassin in the series.
Aveline is not only noteworthy for being the first female lead character in the series, but also that her back story is what paints the picture that becomes the setting for the rest of the game.
You see, Aveline is the daughter of a rich French merchant and an African slave. This may seem like a very unlikely union of people, but it was in fact a common practice known as plaçage. Rich French and Spanish men would actively seek to marry women of African, Indian and Creole descent, bringing them from the lower dregs of society and into the higher standard of living.
It’s through this arranged marriage that Aveline is a member of the high society, living a relatively easy life thanks to her fathers wealth.
Now I know what you’re thinking, how does this well spoken lady of leisure end up prowling the rooftops of New Orleans, dishing out justice with the edge of her blade?
Well, while Assassin’s Creed III follows the story of Conner and his part in the American Revolution, Aveline’s story takes place within a similar time period, but in a different city with a different enemy.
Whilst the North is occupied with the ongoing war with the British Redcoats, the Spanish have shown up down in the South. The French colonials are treated as less than equals by their Spanish oppressors who are taking slaves and treating them in a disgraceful manner.
This is what brings Aveline into the fray.
Aveline cannot tolerate the injustice and cruelty being inflicted on her fellow African descendants and refuses to sit on the sidelines and let it happen on her own doorstep. This is what brings Aveline out of a life of luxury and into the shady world of murder and deception.
With such a deep, engrossing and quite an edgy story for a video game, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is going to be more than capable of standing on its own two feet without feeling overshadowed by its console counterpart.
Since the original Assassin’s Creed back in 2007, all the way up to Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the story has always been told through recovered memories of Desmond Miles, our modern-day link to the past, as he re-lives his ancestors lives through the Animus. However, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is taking a slightly different route, well, drastically actually.
The game we will be playing will be a game developed by Abstergo, the modern-day front of the Templar’s. In this reality, Abstergo have modified their Animus software and used it to create a video game, presumably in an effort to discredit the Assassin Order.
How this plays out won’t be exactly clear until we play though the story, but it’s an interesting twist and is sure to deliver the same gameplay and intriguing story that we expect from an Assassin’s Creed title.
That’s as much of the story as we know at the moment, and knowing any more will just ruin the fun.
Next we’ll look into the gameplay and technology that makes Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation the most hotly anticipated Vita game this year.
Although Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is a completely different game with its own story separate to Assassin’s Creed III on the consoles, they have a lot in common.
For one, Liberation has been built on the same engine, the AnvilNext, that powers the impressive Assassin’s Creed 3. Using this next-gen game engine allows Liberation to feature smooth game play, a beautifully realised world to explore and animations to rival its console brethren.
The fact that Ubisoft managed to get the AnvilNext engine on the home consoles, let alone getting it on a handheld, is impressive enough to warrant some attention, and should be used as an example for all Vita developers to follow.
Obviously the gameplay on the Vita wont be quite the same as on the consoles, but it’s close enough that you could go from your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 straight to your PS Vita and not feel like you have taken a massive step down. We owe this to the raw power of the Vita, and with its impressive innards, beautiful large touchscreen and dual analog sticks, it is a handheld experience only possible on the Playstation Vita.
Aveline may display many of the same abilities as Conner, but make no mistake, Aveline is a woman.
Ubisoft Sofia could have easily just copy and pasted Conner, re-modelled the character as a woman and be done with it. Fortunately they didn’t rush it, the designers took their time and obviously put a lot of effort into making Aveline stand out as a woman, and it shows.
That’s not to say that she is sexualised in any way (Dead or Alive anyone?) Aveline moves like a woman, the subtle nuances in her animations differentiate her more than enough from Conner and the previous Assassin’s, letting Aveline stand out as her own character.
In Aveline’s world you can expect to spend much of your time traversing the city of New Orleans, either from the rooftops or down at street level, blending in with the population. That’s not all, much like “The Frontier” in Assassin’s Creed III, you will have “The Bayou”, a hub-type area of the world. Here you can expect to bump into smugglers, fend off alligators, interact with other NPC’s and more as you explore in your own time.
Also, don’t be surprised if you come across Assassin’s Creed III’s Conner Kenway, as it has been confirmed that he will make an appearance during at least one mission, although the details of what takes place are not being shared, you will have to play the game to find out more.
Navigating through the densely populated, brilliantly designed and visually stunning New Orleans will be just as easy as on the console, with the controls being made to work to the best of the PS Vita’s strengths. Actions such as changing weapons and using the map are done with the touchscreen without compromising the integrity of the game play.
As well as featuring weapons from previous installments in the series, you will get to serve justice with a few new ones including a sugar cane machete, pistols, blowpipe and grenades to name but a few. You will never be short on options to eliminate your target, with that weapons you should find yourself experimenting with what works best for different situations.
A new feature that supplements the spot on familiar combat, a feature that will be instantly recognisable to anybody who played Splinter Cell: Conviction, the ability to “pause” the action and tap the enemies you wish to take down. Chain Kill, as it’s called, is pretty much the same as Splinter Cell: Conviction’s “Mark & Execute”, but it really doesn’t seem out of place in an Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, making good use of the Vita’s touchscreen.
It may seem like an overpowered and easy way to get out of a fight, but you have to earn the right to use it and you may find yourself only using it when you really need to, such as making a quick escape or when you are in a situation where you are heavily outnumbered and need to thin the enemy ranks.
Speaking of different situations, not all occasions call for the same approach. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation adds another exclusive feature specific to Aveline, “Persona’s.”
Aveline can utilise her three “Persona’s” to get the task at hand done, and each one comes with its own pro’s and con’s and promoting different styles of play.
The Assassin persona is exactly what it says on the tin. This is your typical Assassin’s outfit that lets you do all manner of things, free running, climbing and fighting. It also come’s with the best protection, providing the standard Assassin armor. You’ll probably find yourself playing in the Assassin persona most of the time, but be warned, dressed like this you will be susceptible to being confronted by guards.
The second of the “Persona’s” is the Aristocrat. Aveline will don her Sunday best and look like any other rich lady walking the streets of New Orleans. As a lady of high society you will be able to walk around freely and be treated with respect from your fellow members of high society, just don’t expect the poor to share the same sentiment. As you can imagine, your mobility is limited, can you imagine trying to run in an 18th century dress?
Don’t worry though, you are compensated for this by being able to bribe guards to get past them, or even charm them into escorting you. It’s not all that easy though, you will only have limited weapons at your disposal, including your trusty hidden blade and the new blow-dart gun, which in a very Bond-esque fashion, is concealed within your parasol. If Mary Poppins was an Assassin, she would have had that.
You can still use your fists, but you might want to avoid getting into a fist fight with armed soldiers, you won’t have the same protection as when you are in your Assassin gear, so your health is a lot lower.
The last of the “Persona’s” is the slave.
As a slave you get a bit of both worlds. The ability to blend with the other workers, be it brushing up or just mingling within a group, and the use of weapons and full mobility.
The stealth aspects are simple enough, you can get past a guard by picking a crate up and walking over to the guard who will wave you on past the post. You will have to keep up the persona of being a slave if you want to succeed, so make sure you blend with the rest of the slaves by doing menial labor to keep the guards at bay, as again, you will be without your full armor and therefore will have lower health. Instead of fighting your way out of a situation, you can gain the trust of your fellow workers and ask them to start a riot to aid your escape. Play it smart and you’ll be rewarded.
The addition of the “Persona’s” system seems like a step in the right direction, and fans have been asking for abilities along the same lines for quite some time. Although, this is exclusive to Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation.
There you have it, a full round-up of what to expect from Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. With its large open world and game-play as deep as any of the console entries, you will not be disappointed.
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation will be coming to you on October 30th (NA) and October 31st (UK/EU)
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