Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD Review

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If you’re looking for a breakout Assassin’s Creed game that will redefine the way that you look at the stealth action genre, then you might want to look elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, Assassin’s Creed: Liberations HD is a great game, just don’t expect too much outside of the box.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation was an exclusive to the the PS Vita back in late 2012, and it has finally made its way to the big screen with HD graphics, aka things look a bit sharper than its handheld predecessor. XBLA, PSN, and Steam now host the action-filled game, hoping to satiate those Assassins Creed fans that felt left out for not having the title before.

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The game focuses on the same time period as its bigger brother, Assassin’s Creed 3, in the 1700s, with you taking up the the role of Aveline de Grandpré, an African and French Assassin in New Orleans. It’s a unique story, with it being the only one in the series to have a female lead and having African slavery as a plot device along with it.

I felt Aveline’s character should have felt a little more oppressed, giving the time period she lived in, but I’m going to just believe the developers wanted her to be strong as possible, being an Assassin and all. If Ubisoft wanted to make me feel like a black woman in the 1700s, I think they failed a little, but it didn’t take me out of the game.

The main story clocks in at around nine hours with small plot twists here and there, but nothing too surprising. A mentor here, a traitor there, you get it pretty quick. The story takes you to three somewhat fleshed-out locations: New Orleans, The Bayou and Mexico. New Orleans takes up most of the story’s time, but I never felt lost. Everything was pretty straight forward right up to the anticlimactic end.

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If you have ever played an Assassin’s Creed game, then the game mechanics and the controls will be like riding a bike, a bike that kills people. All the classic skills and weapon designs return in this title, and they are pretty accessible from the beginning. You’re able to upgrade Aveline’s arsenal with small weapons like hatchets, axes and pistols, and larger weapons like a “Heavy Cavalry Sword” or a “Macuahuitl”. These are all purchasable in the various stores around the world, giving you a somewhat familiarity to the series that will have you dispatching enemies with ease.

The counter system returns, making you feel like a real boss in every sense of the word as you lay down nameless enemy after nameless enemy. On occasion as you’re hopping around on the rooftops or free running through the trees, you might stop and poison dart a guy or two. The kill animations were more than satisfying. It kept me wondering, if I were an enemy up against Aveline, and I saw her kill my comrade by cutting his throat with a hidden blade and then axing him as he falls, why would I stick around to be next? But they still come at you, with little variations in their fighting styles. You pick up on how to beat them quick almost too quick, but it all feels right.

There’s not too much negative I can say about this game. There are a few bugs where I would get stuck in a crack in the game while I was trying to free run around, but that was few and far between. Besides that I had a good time, and with all the side quests and distractions around New Orleans to keep me busy during and after the main story, I could play the game for a long time, even with the omission of the multiplayer. The overall experience made me forget that Assassin’s Creed: Liberations was just port from a handheld with upgraded graphics. The game is well worth the admission to play.

Grade: A-

Also, here’s our quickie podcast review.

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