With lagging PlayStation Vita sales going on into years now, it’s no surprise Ubisoft brought its portable Assassin’s Creed experience to the consoles with an HD remix. Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD has landed on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and with that, Ubisoft brought their first single-player-playable female assassin Aveline to the big screen.
In Liberation HD, you are playing Abstergo Entertainment’s first foray into the video game marketplace, essentially placing Animus headsets in the home and allowing people the opportunity to “play history.” Yes, the whole concept is a little meta, but Ubisoft needed a jumping off point for new present day storyline now that the Desmond Miles story was completed at the end of Assassin’s Creed III. I know this concept does not appeal to everyone, but I really like how Ubisoft has taken the present day to the next evolution.
In certain respects, previously being a portable game gave Liberation and the team at Ubisoft Sofia a lot of freedom to explore some different styles of gameplay. This flexibility resulted in the use of the persona system, which allows Aveline to make use of disguises in order to blend into the vastly different lifestyles of the different socio-economic classes in 18th Century New Orleans. While I wasn’t in love with this system, I really appreciated how using the different personae (the lady, the slave and the assassin) afforded me different options in tackling complex problems and the restrictions to make it challenging. My only complaint is that I wish they had gone further with it. At the end of day, when you need to get something done, it’s time to put on your assassin’s gear.
When looking at the comparison between Liberation HD on the Xbox 360 and the Liberation on the PlayStation Vita, I noticed a slightly higher graphical fidelity, but mostly it was the controls. Thing is, I don’t know if the controls are actually tighter on the HD version, or if simply being the sixth Assassin’s Creed game I’ve played on the Xbox 360 has given me a better feel for being an assassin rather than the one game I’ve played on the Vita. I will say there were a couple of gyroscope features in Vita version that I did appreciate at the time, though I must say I do not miss trying to hold my Vita up to a light source to view a document or clue. I really hated that piece. Thankfully, it is not present in the HD version.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD is a solid addition to the franchise. It is not a full Assassin’s Creed game, nor should be considered one. It is more like an appetizer of an Assassin’s Creed game that will tide you over until the next big slice of single-player DLC for AC4 arrives. I really appreciated the variety of new concepts Ubisoft brought to the franchise and while they weren’t all winners, it shows there is still some life in this franchise and somewhere new for it to go.
You can pick up Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD now on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $19.99.