Assassin’s Creed is all about delivering an authentic, engrossing atmosphere in which the appreciative gamer can ply his stealthy trade. The series gained critical acclaim for offering unbelievably authentic environments, which are almost unparalleled this generation in terms of detail, design, vibrancy, and nuance, and now one such enviroment is coming to the PlayStation Vita. In fact, Liberation will launch alongside Assassin’s Creed III for the PS3 and true fans of the franchise will certainly want to play both.
For the very first time, we get a female protagonist. The assassin’s name is Aveline, and she apparently has roots in the history of New Orleans, which is where the game will take place. This young assassin is the daughter of a wealthy French merchant and unsurprisingly, it’s not exactly normal – in that particular era, especially – for a woman to be involved in such a bloody mode of business. But Aveline is not only skilled, she’s also quite determined, as players are bound to discover. Her character design is also fantastic; one of the best I’ve seen to date, in fact.
It’ll be interesting to see if she uses similar weapons as her male brethren; according to early information and what we’ve seen in trailers thus far, however, she will have a few unique weapons at her disposal. The blowpipe should be useful for some long-range stealth work, and what the developer is calling a “sugar cane machete” should do the nasty work when up close and personal. This brings up another intriguing question, though: Realistically, can Aveline be as strong in melee combat as her male counterparts? If not, maybe stealth will be all the more essential…
As for the story, the game’s plot will be spread out over a span of 15 years, during which the Louisiana Rebellion is in full effect. New Orleans natives are a little peeved at the idea of the city falling into the hands of the Spanish, so you can bet that most of Aveline’s foes will be dressed in the uniform of Spain. We will explore this meticulously created environment in much the same way we’ve done in past AC entries; the landscape will consist of both urban and rural areas (from buildings to swamps), and this variety should keep our wanderings fresh.
The Vita’s cool features will be utilized to some extent, as the touchscreen will come into play. As you fight, a power gauge will fill up and once it’s full, you can execute a special chain kill. The latter is accomplished by freezing the action (niiiice), tapping each victim in the order you wish them to die, and then returning to real time. Aveline will go into a deadly flurry in which all the targeted/tapped enemies will fall automatically. You can also use the touchscreen to steer when on a horse but really, that chain kill touch feature has gotta be where it’s at.
Themes such as smuggling and slavery will rear their ugly heads during the course of the story and yes, there is a connection to Connor’s story in ACIII. That being said, it’s important to note that Assassin’s Creed: Liberation for the Vita is every inch a standalone title and one that should be well worth the cost of admission. If it turns out as expected, this game will undoubtedly be one of the biggest reasons to own Sony’s new portable.
6/23/2012 Ben Dutka