Assassin’s Creed has had three handheld outings so far, but none have really felt like a true, complete release. The tech just wasn’t there – but now with the Vita, sporting power similar to the modern era, the time is finally right for AC to leap onto handhelds. We’ve gone hands-on with the Vita version of Assassin’s Creed III, entitled “Assassin's Creed III: Liberation,” and was amazed by just how much it felt like a traditional Assassin’s Creed experience.
Aveline (the heroine of the Vita version) began the demo in a kayak, paddling through the murky water. Well, actually, we paddled, swiping on the back touchpad to cruise through the water. It was seamless and beautiful, pushing the Vita to graphical heights unseen outside of Uncharted Golden Abyss.
After getting to the coast she popped out of the water and was immediately attacked by an alligator. An on-screen indicator popped up prompting a quick-time event and we quickly put the gator down after a quick (and cool) attack. Moving on we came to the main area of the demo: a large, grounded boat, surrounded by guards both in trees and on the ground.
We’d seen this setup before in other Assassin’s Creed games. The difference, though, was that we now had the ability to climb trees, which we set out to do immediately. Climbing through the tall trees of the swamp was instinctual and fit in great with the AC formula. We jumped from branch to branch, working our way towards the guards on the ground without incident. Eventually we leapt out of the trees, falling into a mass of leaves, before popping out and taking them down.
Working our way around the boat and assassinating the guards was simple, and we were able to use our weapons to take down all of the enemies within a few minutes before spotting the last, perched high up in the trees. Navigating different branches and jumping between them to get to this sky-high enemy was extremely enjoyable, and provided a decidedly Assassin’s Creed-style experience that still managed to feel totally new. When we finally got to the top and sliced into his neck the demo ended, and his body tumbled backwards to the ground.
Our minds were put at ease after getting hands-on with ACIII: Liberation. We no longer feared getting some dumbed-down handheld experience, especially after we saw the disguise system in a hands-off demo. Aveline has the ability to change between three different outfits, fighting and climbing as the assassin (as always), hiding in plain sight as the worker (which is essentially social stealth taking to the next level), and exploring in the pen as the aristocrat (who can flaunt around, bribing and charming her way anywhere). Each provided a unique experience, catering to any play-style, and we can't wait to see how it all works together when the game releases day and date with the console version on October 30.