This review is for the PS3 version of this game, available through the PSN. Since you can hook the PS3 controller up to your computer and play it that way it should contain the same basic mechanics. I can't even imagine playing this using a keyboard.
Assassin's Creed had to make a few compromises to adapt itself to the Vita's less powerful hardware and smaller screen. Texture maps are far more limited and incapable of standing up to close scrutiny. The look of hair and grass/leaves is particularly false looking. Grass is just a series of 2D images lined up perpendicular to each other while hair just looks like oddly-colored lumps. This is particularly obvious in the case of Aveline's stepmother, whose beehive hairstyle is often seen in closeup and looks atrocious. Also taking away slightly from the feel of the game is the fact that you can watch the populace appear from nothing as you get closer. On the widescreen the graphical limitations of the Vita come out a lot clearer. The textures are very basic and complex features like hair and leaves are very simplistic bundles. I don't know what has been changed in the port, but the graphics seem very close to the Vita level. What can be hidden on the Vita's small screen is far more apparent on the unforgiving scale of an HDTV.
Some of the other compromises made for the portable market are a bit more annoying. Instead of the long cutscenes using in-game graphics, Liberation relies on shorter scenes that don't go into as much detail. I actually didn't mind this at first because I got sick of the overdrawn cutscenes in the main games, but after a while I noticed that this meant it was giving out much less plot as well. Throughout the entire game you are told to do things with no explanation given as to why, except occasionally for those times when they explain a lot very fast talking at you as if you know why you're there. Let's give an example: at one point you show up in the bayou with no explanation given and then you follow the arrows to get to somebody who tells you you have to kill somebody. Apparently that is because the target is a bad guy or something? They talk about this as if you already know why you're here and what this guy did. There's some guy there you apparently know, don't ask how because they won't tell you. Then it turns out that your mentor, or perhaps friend, or perhaps temporary partner (without having introduced him the game is unclear) has betrayed you? Somehow. The bad guy says something that is apparently contrary to what that guy claimed. Or something. Oh, and apparently there's someone hacking the game to show you what's really happening. Because there's nothing that makes a game better than having to do bonus quests to have the plot explained to you. Then it's back in New Orleans. Oh, and it's under Spanish rule now. Apparently that's why you were there. Is this important?
I understand why they're doing this. People playing a portable system often have less time to devote to it, meaning that missions have to be shorter and simpler and exposition less in depth. Instead of making shorter exposition however (and it tended to the longwinded already) they've written it at normal length and simply cut random chunks out. I don't know what's going on, except that I have to obey the computer in my head and follow the little markers. The compromises made for the portable market are bad as it is, and they're even harder to take when playing on a big screen.
A nice new mechanic has been added allowing Aveline to switch between three different personas: her assassin guise, her slave guise, and her noblewoman guise. Being notorious in one guise won't affect the others, but you can go around in any guise reducing your overall notoriety. This adds a new level to the game as each guise is treated differently by the populace. As a noblewoman you can go pretty much everywhere you want without anyone stopping you, and can even seduce guards into following you. On the other hand you can't run, jump, or swim, so if you can't charm your way in there there isn't much you can fall back on. The slave guise means that people usually ignore you, which makes it easier to investigate or climb things. The assassin's outfit is basically like the slave's, only all your skills work better. The game takes advantage of this new system quite a lot, and for the first time in a while I actually did feel like a sneaky git while playing.
As I mentioned before the story is nothing special. Admittedly, I don't really like the story in most Assassin's Creed games (the contemporary stuff is boring while the historical stuff is often cheesy or forced) so I shouldn't be complaining about it now. However, I really do need a bit more motivation than 'here is your assignment, do it.' It's nice that they toned down the present day material, but in adapting it to the short timescale of a portable system they have removed the motivations. And that is a real problem.
The big draw here is Aveline, Assassin's Creed's first female protagonist. And she works pretty well. She's not go much personality because of the limited plot, but what little she displays is charming and entertaining. She's a vast improvement over bland-as-muck Conner, who also shows up here in an unnecessary cameo. Other characters are rather limited. I enjoyed her father and respected her somewhat complicated stepmother, but generally speaking they don't go in much for characterizations. I guess something had to be cut. Too bad it was that.
Assassin's Creed: Liberation was a pretty good Vita game, but it makes a mediocre console/PC port. The graphics just don't hold up as well and the setting is limited in a way that it doesn't have to be. It does have a lot of good game mechanics, but it also has some limitations that are detrimental to the game. The addition of a female protagonist is interesting and adds a lot to the story, but there is precious little story to provide support. The plot is complicated and impossible to follow since they cut large chunks out. The costume-switching aspect is clever, and allows for a more varied way of making assassinations. I did enjoy this game, but at the same time I wished for more. I did enjoy it more than 3 (limitations and all) so if you're a fan of the games and own a Vita give this a try.
As for other Assassin's Creed games, Assassin's Creed is the first and is set during the Third Crusade. I liked it a lot (not least for its little-seen locations including Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre), but it wasn't as good as Assassin's Creed II, which made a number of gameplay improvements making the combat system far less broken and introducing the best character in the series: Ezio Auditore di Firenze. This game is set in Renaissance Italy and takes you to Florence, Forli, and Venice. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a direct sequel to the second one and features the return of Ezio. This one takes place entirely in Rome, but the map is so big it doesn't matter. It was probably the best of the games. Certainly it was better than Assassin's Creed: Revelations, which was set in Istanbul but never had as much of a personal touch. Assassin's Creed III takes place in the American Revolution. I'm not a big fan, despite the impressive wilderness locations. I just think that the 1700s are too late to set a game like this in, although Liberation did a fairly good job with it. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is set slightly before the third game and tells the tale of a pirate captain, emphasizing and improving upon the ship-to-ship combat that was so fun in number three. There was also a PSP game called Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines, which is far inferior to any of the other games. The PSP just doesn't have the graphical capability to handle an Assassin's Creed game.
One person found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
Having played it through i have to say that it feels and looks very rushed, i also explored a great deal of the game and exposing the various issues found in the game. this has drastically reduced my opinion on this game. im afraid a few details would need to be exposed in order to make the point.
pros: - looks like assassin's creed
cons: - puppet control system. want to get around a tree to another branch on the other side and instead run up the side of that tree? typical feature in the assassin's creed franchise. - no real storyline or background to it. the other assassin games had some background to what was going on and details between missions to fill in the pieces. - citizen-e afterthought. didn't enjoy the idea of having to find the storyline and find out its just a few extra seconds of cutscene action which adds very little. - various models of the character and objects loop and jump each time you head down a ramp for example. or the umbrella you get for the lady persona, just walking with it up, you notice it. - camera POV. incredibly frustrating having a camera angle at times stick in one location without having the ability to know what is around you. - de ferrar fight and escape part. want to state more but it would be writing too much. - connor felt like an empty shell and acted as it in his cameo appearance. - new orleans was far too small compared to some of the stuff the ubisoft team has done for the franchise. - even getting the game from steam i still needed to use the ubisoft launcher.