Taking an established franchise portable is never going to be easy. Gamers already have a wealth of expectations as to what they should expect – and thankfully, Liberation attempts to address many of these.
Our demo began in the swamps of Bayou. Ordered to clear out a fort, we started to naviagate through the murky surroundings with surpsingly as much grace as Connor in Assassin’s Creed III. The controls work exceptionally well with the translation from a console to a portable device certainly one of the highlights of the development. It can be a little awkward at times to move Aveline around the world cohesively, but generally the experience is a positive one.
Once into combat, one thing becomes very clear – the Vita conversion enjoys a new addition to the structure of engagement. It’s not simply a port of controls and actions, but instead a daring attempt to mix the portable forumla up. Previous Assassin’s Creed outings allowed the player to counter an attack, which of course, simply led to the death of an enemy, and while Assassin’s Creed III introduces a window of decision for the player, more of which can be read through here, Liberation borrows a trick or two from Splinter Cell: Conviction if truth be told. Players can now mark a string of opponents for death with Aveline then executing the decision in one swift motion. This will no doubt feed the gamers, both young and old, who generally feel a little intimidated by the feeling of being outnumbered in combat.
Graphically, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation ticks many of the boxes and while there’s no doubt the Vita is a powerhouse, it does struggle slightly to confidently articulate what you’d expect from the world. As a matter of fact, some areas of the game felt a little rugged, a little stiff and a little hard on the eyes than others. The Bayou swamp, while an accomplished region in the game, just didn’t feel convincing or expansive enough.
The touchscreen, while an integral part of the Vita experience, isn’t implemented in a graceful fashion – at least not from what we experienced. In fact, it was mainly used for rather mundane tasks like tearing open envelopes, basic navigation (swiping the screen to move a canoe) and other basic tasks. Deciding how to include said controls wouldn’t have been an easy decision on Ubisoft’s behalf, that much you can be sure of, but it’s not hard to feel frustrated by the lack of innovation here. That said, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation carries enough of the positives from previous Assassin’s Creed releases to merit your attention.
With the game closer to release than ever, expect TGL’s review to draw a final verdict on the experience.
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation releases October the 20th in NA, and October the 31st here in Ireland.