Liberation has long been hyped as one of the ‘saviours’ of Playstation Vita (the others being Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified and Persona 4: The Golden). Offering a scaled down Assassin’s Creed experience to better suit the handheld style of play, does it do enough to shine?
The good news is that Liberation is a very solid game. Telling the story of Aveline de Grandpré, an assassin in New Orleans in 1765, it sees the series take on a female main character for the first time. Aveline is modelled really well and has some really great animation – especially her fluid movement through trees, which mirrors Connor’s animation in the full PS3 Assassin’s Creed III.
I found the story of Liberation to be pretty engrossing for the most part and Aveline as a character was fun to control. The game uses a new idea in terms of disguise – you have three different ‘personas’ available as you play, each with individual abilities.
The ‘Lady’ will not attract much attention from guards and can also charm characters into talking to her/following her. However she can’t climb. The ‘Assassin’ has the normal abilities of an assassin and will raise attention in guards very quickly. And the ‘Slave’ persona allows Aveline to blend into crowds of the poor and also pass for a servant/slave to gain access to restricted areas.
This gives you a fair bit of freedom to approach missions in different ways (although certain missions require you to use a specific outfit) and another thing I really enjoyed about Liberation was that it brought back a more stealthy element of play.
Unfortunately you still have your usual open world glitches, such as people spawning into the game in front of you, characters stuck on geometry and just random odd things. This isn’t limited to Liberation of course, lots of open world titles suffer similar issues and actually the game does have a small get out clause in that Liberation is a game created by Asbergo (the fictional bad guy company from the Assassin’s Creed series). Yes, you’re playing a game within a game Very Inception isn’t it?
The touch controls are fairly intuitive, you open letters that Aveline finds by running your finger and thumb across the front/back of the Vita touch screen/pad together. Once you kill a few enemies you can activate ‘Chain Kill’ which pauses the action and lets you highlight enemies by touching them – Aveline will then despatch them in turn. Sadly my Vita bugbear returns… ‘Hold the Vita to a bright light source to see the note/letter.’ This should always be optional in my opinion, not very convenient when on the train or in the office
There is also a little bit of cross-over with the PS3 version if you link your Vita to Assassin’s Creed III on PS3. You get a playable mission as Connor and unlock his Tomahawk, along with a few other bits.
Overall Liberation is a good, fun experience. It’s certainly one of the better Vita games out there at the moment and if you like Assassin’s Creed it’s well worth checking out. I won’t know for sure until I finish Assassin’s Creed III (I’m halfway through) but at this stage I prefer Liberation to Assassin’s Creed III, which is pretty surprising and speaks to the quality of the Vita game.