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Retrospective: Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation

So I’ve been meaning to write about this game for a while since it has been some time since I beat it. I’d like to get some bad flak out of the way for this game – it’s nice to see an Assassin’s Creed game on a handheld that is just as pretty as its home console counterpart; however, it seems like the character development skimps out a bit. I think that was a case for both installments of “Assassin’s Creed 3.”

It was exciting and fresh to see a female Assassin take the lead role in the franchise even if it was just for a portable on Vita. New Orleans was fun and I think the different personas added a nice twist to the combat system. At times it was annoying to have different levels of notoriety across different ‘costumes’, but it makes sense. There were a few things that just didn’t make sense to me that made this game really hard to play through at times: who is Aveline? I understand she is the daughter of a slaveholder who grants her freedom and she is also the adopted daughter of her father’s wife. How did she come to be an Assassin? Why did she share her activities so freely with her step-mother? Why is Aveline’s birthmother intent on keeping her distance? Just what is that damn disc everyone is so afraid of? I feel like these are important, pivotal questions which remained unanswered to the very end.

The gameplay is relatively intuitive – it plays a lot like its predecessors, although there are a few quirky things here and there ranging from stroking the back of the Vita to row a boat, to rubbing the backside
a certain way to pick-pocket someone. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to rub my handheld to steal some change! Hold triangle to steal, please! These extra ‘controls’ felt really gimmicky, like the mandatory sixaxis controls in Heavenly Sword (anyone remember that game!?) in which everything involved tilting the controller because.. sixaxis. I also couldn’t stand decoding maps or letters. I’m told to hold my vita to the light as if I am peeking at a real piece of paper, yet the damn camera controls are inverted for some reason and it’s actually the front camera that needs to be held to the light. Decoding maps and other riddles took forever because of this glitch that is NEVER FIXED. I suppose after the game breaking save glitch fix Ubisoft gave up on this game.

Onto other details: there is a trading system side mission(or quest.. or mini game?) where you could make a butt-load of money using Aveline’s company to buy and sell crops, linen, and supplies. It seems
to be the counterpart to the Homestead trading in Assassin’s Creed 3; however, the controls are so horrendous it often took me ten minutes or so to figure out how to select a ship and where to send it. Once I figured out how to do it, the controls are so NOT intuitive that I would forget almost immediately how to send out another ship. Let’s just say I didn’t bother playing this part of the game very much.

Connor: Everyone was looking forward to meeting and running through New Orleans with Aveline. Well, he’s really just eye candy – you can’t do anything with him and all he does is follow you around somewhat incompetently.  I think he is in this short game for just a few minutes depending upon how quickly you clear the missions.

I think this game is worth it if you can find it in the bargain bin. It’s been almost a year since its release so that may be possible at this point in time. I got mine with the Assassin White Playstation Vita bundle which I think was a very good bargain. I’m glad I did not pay full price for this title. Unfortunately, I think I’ll be waiting for the bargain bin for Assassin’s Creed IV since I’m still not convinced that it’s worth being a day one purchase.

In Depth Review: Assassin’s Creed III

Asssassin’s Creed III does not disappoint and lives up to the hype – Ubisoft proudly announced weeks ago that this was their most pre-ordered game yet. The third title focuses around Connor, an American(yeah, I said it.) of Mohawk Indian and British descent. He is straight out of a Catharine Sedgewick novel, which makes this game all the more charming for early American history and literature buffs. I’ll be writing this from an American perspective in the same fashion I imagine Italians marveled at Ezio slaying the Medici and Borgia families in Assassin’s Creed II. Gamers get to mingle with a cast of historical characters and witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I giggled with glee when I dumped boxes of tea into Boston’s harbor and as a New Yorker, I shook my head in disbelief at how rural New York is in this installment of the series. The Desmond plot finally comes to a conclusion and I hope any forthcoming Assassin’s Creed titles keep him gone for good(I was never a fan of the contemporary levels – keep me in the Animus, please!)

The graphics in this game have quite a boost over the previous titles – the water is beautiful, the landscape is beautiful(although rendering could use an improvement, buildings popping up out of thin air isn’t pretty!), and I loved the new features – such as climbing trees, hunting animals, listening to conversations while remaining within a specified range, and the changing seasons. The snow flurries, pouring rain, and scorching sun really helped add to the experience. There are also new side quests that are much less redundant feeling that in earlier games. There are a variety of naval missions that are enjoyable, peg leg trinket missions(similar to gathering feathers for Maria in ACII), convoy missions, and eagle feather collecting. Welcomed back are fort missions in which you can liberate regions of cities from the Templar order – although with a twist. Like the convoy missions, you must find the forts before the mission becomes available. Other missions, such as helping people around town, become available as you walk around. Fast travel is a bad idea to use frequently in this game because you will miss out – in fact, you need to discover the fast travel tunnels in this game; they cannot be purchased. My major qualm about the technicality of this game is maintaining the homestead – I’m not enjoying the whole ‘creation’ of products that then need to be sold and transported via convoy. It reminded me of Atelier Rorona and I was not pleased. I much rather renovate buildings and collect income instead of hunting around for homestead missions to acquire people to live near my property, then buy materials from these rescued people, THEN ship these things on convoys that may not even make it to the destination. It’s like a weird cross between Atelier and Civilization. I could have lived without it.

On a side note, this game is really buggy and needs a patch. Assassin’s Creed III and Liberation has issues with freezing and other strange glitches that require restarting the game. I’m really surprised Ubisoft has not addressed this and issued a patch.

Ultimately, you should buy this game.

Continue reading for some character analysis - but be warned, there are SPOILERS.

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