I’m going to keep this review kind of short, as a lot of my Hour One impressions of the game held through to the end.
Assassins Creed III: Liberation for the Playstation Vita is both a wonder, and a slog. Not many games let you wrestle an alligator to steal it’s eggs. But while that’s pretty awesome and the fact that parts of Liberation reminded me of the excellent Uncharted: Golden Abyss, while others weren’t memorable at all.
Funny, since the Assassins Creed games are about going into your genetic memory.
Overall, the graphics were quite impressive. They reminded me of Uncharted, but not quite as nice. Thats’s not a surprise since Liberation deals with a much larger world than Uncharted more linear stages. Sure the occasional pop-up and frame rate drop reared their ugly heads, but this is still an impressive engine. I’d love to see what they can do with it now that they have had the time to tweak it and fix it more, maybe for some kind of Assassins Creed IV tie in?
The audio quality is not nearly as good as the graphics. From the voices to the music, it all sounds super compressed. I even tried it with headphones and it just doesn’t sound good, which kind of puts a damper on the whole thing. I’d like it if in a future game it didn’t sound like it was coming from an old radio.
The gameplay is very true to the series, and that in itself is impressive in handheld form. I felt the assassination missions didn’t carry the weight they should have, instead they felt like a normal mission. However, the normal missions I felt were of a good length for a portable system. Some of the touch controls were a pain. Most of the basic ones, like opening the weapon menu or the map were fine. It was the special events that were the problem. Opening a letter was fine, but having to hold the system up to a light source, rotate the system, and spin a dial on the touchscreen to read it was too cumbersome. Also one of the puzzles where I had to tip the system to move a ball was frustrating, but that may have been due to me playing that section while extremely tired.
Basically my main gripe with Liberation is the story it tells. It’s sloppy and poorly told. The twist at the end I saw coming from a mile away, and that was disappointing coming from previous entries in the series. The story felt disjointed, I didn’t feel I had a clear reason for doing most of anything, or things weren’t resolved correctly.
For example, my mentor doesn’t trust me because I didn’t follow his instructions. So when he tasks me to do something, and I do it correctly I’d imagine there’d be a scene where we talk about things, work things out. Nope, it just moves on to a quest with a completely different character. That feels like a wasted opportunity.
I think the game was alright. Running around the environments was enjoyable, some of the missions were fun, and there is a fair amount of content to the game. I just don’t see myself going back to play through it anytime soon. And I wouldn’t outright recommend it, unless you want to play every Assassins Creed game or really want an action game for your Vita. Or if it’s cheap, because at 10 bucks you could play worse.
So, Assassins Creed III: Liberation is both a nice looking game with some great adaptions of the console titles to a portable system, and a poorly told story with some gameplay issues. You can skip it without missing much of anything.
Assassins Creed III: Liberation is for the Playstation Vita and can be found in retail and on the PSN. I completed the main storyline, killing all the Citizen E and seeing the true ending. Admittedly, it was better than the false ending but still could have been more.