Electronic Theatre Preview: Assassin’s Creed: Liberation

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Electronic Theatre ImageOutside of its home console and PC outings the Assassin’s Creed franchise has not been blessed with the best interpretations. Always enjoyable but rarely of an equivalent standard of innovation as the high-definition (HD) contemporaries, the challenge faced is how to adapt the free-running action videogame formula to inferior hardware. This year however, that challenge hasn’t been overcome as such, but rather skirted around thanks to the launch of a high powered handheld system.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation on PlayStation Vita isn’t a slimming down of the Assassin’s Creed experience, it’s not a distillation of the action elements into a much simpler platform videogame nor is it an adaptation to a completely different genre. Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is a true Assassin’s Creed Electronic Theatre Imagevideogame playable on the go. Many titles have tried before, but none have ever proved to be quite as impressive as Assassin’s Creed: Liberation.

Electronic Theatre’s time with Assassin’s Creed: Liberation was limited to two missions – or, in typical Assassin’s Creed fashion, ‘Sequences’ – each of which featured six unique missions. The videogame delivers it’s gameplay in the manner original presented with Assassin’s Creed II, with the story leading the player through each mission one-by-one as the plot develops, however players are able to reply each mission whenever they so choose. Beginning in Sequence 2, Electronic Theatre spent time exploring the Louisiana Bayou and found a fantastic amount of detail throughout: mushrooms growing on trees, lily pads bobbing on the surface of the murky water. Such locations may be a step aside for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but this first visit to swampland was just as believable as the third visit to Rome.

Traversing this dank, uneven terrain was easier than you might suspect, with a control system clearly inspired by Assassin’s Creed III as opposed to any of the earlier titles. While not quite as versatile as its bigger brother, the navigation system is undeniably superior to any of the Assassin’s Creed II trilogy, promoting a level of automation that allows players to think three leaps ahead rather than simply about timing Electronic Theatre Imagethat next button press with perfect precision. Sadly, the canoe travel along the watery lengths isn’t quite up to the same standard; unnecessarily obtuse at first, it becomes accessible after a small amount of practice but remains far too fiddly.

A representative of Ubisoft estimated the Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is twenty hours long, which is impressive to say the least, but then a colleague further suggested they may actually be being quite conservative in that approximation. The visual quality is also impressive for a handheld system, not quite as good as Assassin’s Creed III though better than Assassin’s Creed II by a small margin, however it’s the remarkably high quality of the voice acting that impressed the most throughout Electronic Theatre’s time with the videogame. There were some issues, such as the sound levels being poorly pitched at times and a significant glitch that caused all imagery to disappear off the screen until an interaction with another character, which unsurprisingly made navigation rather difficult, but Electronic Theatre is confident that these issues will be rectified in the final build.

A surprisingly comprehensive example of the PlayStation Vita’s ability to perform on a similar level to its home console brethren, Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is looking set to be a fine addition to the much loved franchise. In just a short time with the videogame it was easy to see that the design team have Electronic Theatre Imageput every effort into making Assassin’s Creed: Liberation as wealthy in terms of story depth and content as any of it’s bigger brothers, and that it’s leading lady is just as incorrigible as any of the male cast. Put simply, there’s no other PlayStation Vita videogame as keenly anticipated by the Electronic Theatre team as Assassin’s Creed: Liberation. Not only is this potentially best Assassin’s Creed handheld release, but Assassin’s Creed: Liberation also has the chance to become the best action videogame on PlayStation Vita.

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