Posted by Benjamin Webb on Sep 28, 2012

Assassins Creed III: Liberation Hands-On Impressions

At an event hosted by Ubisoft this week, us here at Capsule Computers were invited down to have an early look at the upcoming Assassins Creed titles in the franchise. At this event, there were two games on display, the first being the main Assassins Creed III title and the second of which was the upcoming Assassins Creed III: Liberation for the Playstation Vita.

What I’ve found most interesting with this title is that the game features an all new Assassin that does not appear to be related to Desmond in anyway, or if she does, it is not obvious. After speaking to a UBISOFT representative at the event if she knew if this new character was related, but I was given a generic response; something along the lines of “She is a whole new character designed specifically for this title.”

As you may have already figured from the paragraph above, this new Assassin is indeed female. This is something new for the series, as all the major Assassins featured so far have been male. From the portions I’ve played of the game, it is unknown whether or not this is just an aesthetic decision, or if there is a gameplay reason behind it. I imagine that this is only a storyline decision, considering the main point of todays event was to show off core gameplay concepts.

A cool feature that is a part of this title for the Playstation Vita is the way you interact with your inventory and other User Interface elements. I noticed that instead of accessing a bunch of menus like in the console versions of the game, players are able to simply touch on the touchpad to activate elements and then quickly navigate to the things they want to use. Disappointingly though, at least for the build that we were playing, the back panel touchscreen was unresponsive to touch. I think that this is because the game does not support this feature of the Vita, but I think it’d be interesting to see if they could implement it in the future, just because I already have my fingers behind the screen whilst playing.

Like previous Assassins Creed games, there is a decent amount of parkour – or free-running – available. What’s cool is that the mechanics of this are fairly simple for new-comers to pick up. You just hold the right-trigger button and the player character will automatically start running and climbing, etc., depending on the circumstance. I feel that this is a good control mechanism for the Vita version, where there are less overall buttons available to the player than on a console.

The games UI is very uncluttered and is both functional whilst remaining aesthetically pleasing. From a visual standpoint it really does not get in the way of the action and you are able to focus on what’s going on in the actual game, rather than worrying about a wide-array of visual nonsense that may otherwise detract from that experience.

One thing that I did notice about the story-telling in this game was that none of the characters spoke in a way that you’d imagine a native American of the time to have spoken. The end result is that the characters sound like they only exist to further the gameplay; rather than being fully realised characters themselves. Heck, one line of dialogue sounded completely robotic in its delivery. I’m sure that the full game will feature a wider array of characters to interact with, all of which are probably better acted than the characters I had interacted with in this build.

On the side of character aesthetics, I’ve always loved the character designs in Assassins Creed games. With this title, it is no different; even if the main characters design does not really fit in with the visual theme of the rest of the game. As you can imagine, the main character is largely reminiscent of the main characters shown in previous Assassins Creed games. This is a good thing for iconography within the game, as it would not feel like an Assassins Creed game if the main character did not look similar to the already established Assassins Creed aesthetic.

The mission that I was on required the player to investigate these hidden glowy animal head things. This required the player to run to a particular section of the map and activate this sensory mode skill (which is activated by pressing up on the plus-pad) in order to see them. This feature will also highlight anything else of interest in the immediate area. From first appearance this appeared to be a kind of tutorial level, especially considering later on we were being shown how to switch between weapons and how to attack targets.

I would have liked to have seen the game being showcased from a more interesting section of the game, but from what I’ve seen, this game looks like it is a lot more promising than the console Assassins Creed game. You’ll definitely want to check this title out when it hits shelves in the near distant future.

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