After an extended stay in Italy, Assassin's Creed III pushes forward the franchise’s clock a couple centuries, bringing players into the 1700s and putting you in the middle of the Revolutionary War. With Colonial style buildings and old fashioned American wilderness, it’s a brave new world for for the series to say the least. But Ubisoft isn’t stopping with one update to AC, as viewers of Sony’s E3 press conference can attest. PS Vita is getting its own Assassin’s Creed adventure, Assassin’s Creed III Liberation, and we saw the all new game in action on the E3 show floor.
Leaving behind the New England setting of the console adventure, Liberation goes to New Orleans for its campaign. It follows the story of Aveline, the first woman to star in the series and she has a complicated past fitting of an AC protagonist. Her Creole heritage and privileged upbringing set her apart from ACIII’s Connor, even if she’s equally trained in the ways of the assassins. She moves and kills with the slick speed of assassins, though she’s unique enough to have her own weapons, including a machete.
Multiple times in our hands off demo our guide pointed out how this was not some compromised version for handhelds. Liberation uses the same updated engine as ACIII proper, Aveline has many of the same newly added moves and kills that Connor enjoys, and New Orleans looks to be as intricately designed as we’ve come to expect from AC cities. The big city seems to be expansive in the ways that Boston is in ACIII, though we think it won’t match it in pure size.
Soon we see Aveline dive right into a fight with some unhappy soldiers, taking down two instantly with hidden blades before turning on the rest. That’s when the optional touch control gets introduced. After the player taps on the screen, she let loose with an insane auto-combo, as icons appear over each enemies head. After tapping on four icons in a row, all were taken down in quick order. Of course, Ubi was quick to respond about how optional that simplified gameplay is and that you could ignore it, playing the game normally.
After getting in the usual assassin hijinks of stabbing people till they’re dead, we left the area in a cart race, a horse cart race to be exact. With the cart’s contents on fire and slowly spreading, the race down the back alleys was tense, but provided more of a sense of how big the world is that has been built for a handheld. And Liberation isn’t limited to New Orleans, as we can’t wait to see the promised Bayou area. Does this confirm she’ll be fighting alligators down the line? We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
With classic buildings, quick movement, treetop exploration and an expansive city to explore, Liberation seems like a lost console entry for the series instead of an entirely new adventure for Sony’s handheld. We personally wonder if such a big, well realized release can really stay exclusive or if it’s bound for console rerelease down the line, but for now it’s one of the Vita’s strongest titles. Out on October 30 (the same day as ACIII) we hope Assassin’s Creed III Liberation can fulfill its promising showing.