Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD – PlayStation 3
Platform: Sony PlayStation 3
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Developer(s): Ubisoft Sofia & Ubisoft Montreal
Nerd Rating: 8/10
In Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation the player takes on the role of Aveline de Grandpré, a female Assassin living in New Orleans during the 18th century. Her main goal is to liberate the slaves in Louisiana and stop a mysterious Templar that goes by the name of “The Company Man”. But of course, this is an Assassin’s Creed game so there’s more to the adventure than just hunting down a Templar. As Aveline hunts “The Company Man” she faces drama with her family and mentor as well as a stammering accountant that has a bit of an obvious crush on her.
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD was adapted from the PlayStation Vita title under a similar name. Seeing game play from the Vita version beforehand, I didn’t expect much of a difference from the “HD” version besides a bit of touch up here and there.
Here I stand corrected.
One of the first things that I noticed about Liberation HD was that Ubisoft noticeably remastered the game. I’m not talking about “a bit of touch up” like I had originally thought. The colors were clearly more vivid and there was quite a bit more detail added to the cut-scenes and gameplay. Some gameplay elements were omitted from the console version, as it wouldn’t make sense to keep it. Actions like letter-opening and decoding of letters were touch based activities on the Vita version of Liberation and would probably seem tedious if it were put into the console version. Some extra activities were added to the console version to give the game a bit more length (As it was pretty short).
While Liberation HD was considerably easier on the eyes, there were still a few spots in the game that looked a bit rough around the edges. Liberation is probably the roughest looking Assassin’s Creed game that I’ve played.
Movement is a different story though. Character movements were certainly more fluid than previous games. Aveline moves with more grace than all the other Assassin’s combined, almost to the point where her grace is unrealistic.
Unlike with Assassin’s Creed 3, I found very few glitches in Liberation. The game was in control of itself and very functional. I was very satisfied with the quality of Liberation and its ability to basically not screw up and give me headaches.
Liberation is full of firsts for the Assassin’s Creed series so its a shame that it wasn’t originally released for all platforms. One of the more important firsts was that Liberation brought the first playable female Assassin, which ushered the series into new territory that Ubisoft hadn’t been able to venture into before. Aveline is a multiracial daughter of a wealthy business owner. We’ve seen a multiracial Assassin as well as a wealthy noble Assassin, but never combined and female. Aveline’s heritage allows her to take on the roles of a slave and a lady on top of being an Assassin. Which persona you choose deeply affects how you go about missions and is essential part of the game itself.
Aveline’s role as an Assassin isn’t much different from past characters. The main difference from the other Assassin’s Creed games is that Aveline’s Assassin persona is always notorious. While this is completely realistic, it does get annoying when trying to navigate New Orleans. Like other Assassin’s, Aveline has a full suit of weapons including the classic hidden blades and the introduction of the blowpipe which later appears in Black Flag.
Aveline’s lady persona was what had me most excited to play this game. The lady is able to easily blend with crowds and even command adoration (You can collect broaches from certain men’s adoration and eventually unlock a special outfit). The lady persona is also able to lure men to their deaths by beckoning them to a dark and isolated corner before attacking (How bad-ass is that?). The lady persona is able to bribe guards to sneak onto ships. In its essence, the lady persona is used for stealth. As great as all of these stealth abilities are, they do come with a price. The lady persona cannot climb, jump, swim, or hold a large amount of weapons. What weapons the lady persona can carry, are just enough to get the job done and nothing more. Aveline’s lady persona can use the hidden blades and a specially made parasol gun that shoots poison darts. I hope to see the parasol gun in future Assassin’s Creed games, but considering that the parasol is in itself a very lady-like item and I don’t think there will be a new female Assassin any time too soon, its not likely that the parasol gun will return in its current form. Maybe in future present-day missions the parasol gun will be adapted to a umbrella.
Arguably, Aveline’s most useful persona is the slave. Aveline’s slave persona is, in a nut-shell, a less intense version of her Assassin persona. The slave persona is able to blend and get rid of notoriety but still can carry a slew of weapons that the lady can’t including my new favorite, the Sugarcane Machete. The slave also has access to the Assassin’s hidden blades and blowpipe. Later in the game, the slave persona gains access to a whip which can be used disarm enemies, break defense, and swing across vines during free-running sequence which makes the game feel a little too Indiana Jones-y (not to mention that Aveline actually dodges rolling boulders in one mission). Unlike the Assassin, the slave persona has the ability to blend. The slave can pass by guards unnoticed by carrying boxes and working within a group of slaves. Although the slave is able to blend well enough, free-running is an issue. Any sort of “suspicious” behavior will raise the slave’s notoriety (including free-running). The slave’s persona’s notoriety accumulates far quicker than the lady, even if the task preformed is the same. Say if both personas were to enter open combat under the same circumstances, the slave’s notoriety might be full by the time all enemies are taken care of whereas the lady persona would have just a fraction of the notoriety bar filled. This could be a way for Ubisoft to be reflect the social injustice and inequality of the time period.
In my personal opinion, this particular Assassin’s Creed game should be labeled as Assassin’s Creed 3.5 (but I guess that doesn’t sound as good). Liberation is neither fully a part of Assassin’s Creed 3 nor Assassin’s Creed 4 but somewhere in the middle. Liberation fits within the plot line of Assassin’s Creed 3 by having the same sort of feel and even has a co-op mission with Connor Kenway, Assassin’s Creed 3’s main Assassin. Despite being so closely connected with Assassin’s Creed 3, Liberation has one foot out the door as it hints at aspects of Assassin’s Creed 4. In particular, Liberation hinted at explorable Mayan ruins, alligator hunting, modern Abstergo projects, and possible plot lines that have yet to even come out of the series yet. Liberation was innovative while still keeping to the series tradition, which I feel makes it such a good game.
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD seemed short, but certainly was not lacking in might. While Liberation HD did have a few flaws, it was not a horrible game. I would definitely recommend fans of the Assassin’s Creed series to download this title. It’s worth the price.
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