One for Creed completionists more than anyone else, Liberation’s HD makeover might not be that impressive (texture and aliasing work isn’t the greatest, and the frame rate can be rough) but it does have its charms. 18th century New Orleans (among other settings) is a pleasure to explore, filled with things to do and climb. Throw in shipping empires and other distractions and there’s something here for series fans.
But Creed’s problems have rarely been related to the setting or exploration, and mechanically this still has issues. Combat is essentially distilled between two buttons, counter and kill, and while the various death animations are quite enjoyable to look at, it never feels like you’re doing anything other than play a rather violent game of Simon Says.
Non-assassination missions are just as repetitive, suffering from the same problems of too many tailing missions and not enough variation. NPCs are just as stupid as before, and the ‘bitty’ nature of handheld play means your tasks will be over before you know it. Not so much of a problem on the Vita, but on 360 it makes for a stop-start experience that feels like it never gets going.
That said, Liberation isn’t bad, and it plays with the franchise’s conventions in an interesting, if uneven, way. Ubisoft explores different angles here: Aveline’s gender is often used as a tool, able to dress up as an upper-class lady to charm guards. It’s one of three disguises, with the Assassin robes and a slave outfit (for infiltration) also on offer.
Each has a different abilities related to the cover: the lady won’t kill and can’t climb, for example. There’s a notoriety gauge for each one that also must be managed. It’s a nice addition, if somewhat frustrating to have to keep switching between them.
With its most obvious original appeal – ‘real’ Ass Creed on a handheld – gone, Liberation’s appeal is diminished. While it does have some interesting ideas, which the main series itself would benefit from trying to integrate, this is the same old Creed, with the same old problems.
Version Tested: Xbox 360. Played for 7 hours.