Set in New Orleans towards the end of the French and Indian War (1765 and 1777). You play the role of Aveline de Grandpré, an African-French Assassin and the first female protagonist for the Assassins Creed series.
During your time in Assassins Creed Liberation, you will scale the heights of a bustling 18th century New Orleans and navigate the boggy crocodile infested marsh that is the Bayou. Aveline’s personal journey is quite intriguing, having lost her mother from an early age and ending up joining the Assassins Brotherhood in secrecy from her adopted family. Aveline does what she can to do what she feels is right, by liberating slaves, aiding her adopted family and uncovering what really happened to her mother.
Like all Assassin’s Creed games there is a present day aspect but it takes more of a back seat approach in liberations; passing off Aveline’s tale as a form of interactive media from Abstergo, the front for the Templar organisation and enemy of the Assassins.
Utilizing the same engine that Assassins Creed 3 was based on (Anvil Next), Liberations looks below standard in comparison to AC3; even the HD remastering didn’t really appear to have helped the visuals. The scope of New Orleans is quite small in size and quality, but we must remember that this title was first on the Vita. The architecture is simplistic, with timbre based buildings mixed with the local flora that makes traversal a breeze. Perhaps the better of the locations explored during your adventure is the Bayou; fallen trees and hanging branches are a joy to navigate though (when it works) and I feel that the creation of the Bayou is certainly one of the games strongest points.
Voice acting was a mismanaged portion of the game. My first missions in the bayou threw off my sense of immersion due to the poor voice acting from the natives, they didn’t sound convincing, and all in all, it was just a poor performance. This however was just one instance that stuck with me as Aveline herself was fortunately, a well cast figure. To accompany this experience is a quality soundtrack that invokes a sense of mysticism and tension, Particularly throughout bayou missions where you can’t help but feel that there is a touch of voodoo in the air.
Liberation is easily the most streamlined of the Assassins Creed games to date, not hesitating to dive right into the action and unleash Aveline in New Orleans and a few surrounding areas. For the re-release of Liberations, Ubisoft have removed a few of the Vita specific missions where tools such as the camera or touch screen were required, but the experience is not hindered by this transition what so ever.
Aveline controls like all Assassins in the series, making it a comfortable swap between games, but unfortunately her interactivity in her world is beyond painful. The system fails to recognize movements and doesn’t interact within its world at all. Attempting to scale a ladder and dismounting at the base of a slanted roof saw Aveline fail to recognize the difference in heights over and over again, making her fall, igniting my frustration. This wasn’t an isolated event, it happened many times whilst on missions, causing a fail and of course, the impending restart.
There are a few new variations to the Assassins Creed formula not seen before that do provide some unique variations. Aveline with her French-African heritage utilises differing outfits for various missions, but obviously, the most iconic is the Assassin’s outfit. The second is a lady’s outfit where she is a well-dressed, respectable member of the community and finally is the slave outfit, where she dons a raggedy set of run down clothes. Each of these outfits gains and loses varying abilities. The Assassin’s outfit allows her to perform all of the assassin’s usual techniques, but gains notoriety much faster. The slave can free run but has lower health and fewer weapons and finally, the lady cannot free run and is limited to only one weapon. It was a well thought out mechanic that I found enjoyable and made certain missions much more approachable and understandable.