Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (PSV)

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“What is Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation?” began producer Martin Capel during an El33tonline-attended gamescom 2012 presentation. “In summary, it’s the first, full Assassin’s Creed experience on a handheld.”

All of the features you’ve come to expect from an Assassin’s Creed game, as well as the visual niceties you could hope for, are all present in Liberation, says Capel. In development at Ubisoft Sofia (in Bulgaria), Liberation is set in the same time period as this year’s Assassin’s Creed III, taking place in New Orleans during the American War of Independence.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be a lot different about Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, but when you factor in the game’s all-new female protagonist, Aveline, and her three personalities, as well as secret PS Vita functionality, things start to sound a lot more fresh.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Gamescom 2012 Demo

I took in an excellent demonstration of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation during gamescom 2012 to find out a lot more about this new addition to the franchise, while trying my best to discover the mysteries of how Ubisoft intends to use the PS Vita’s unique features.

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation stars Aveline, the series’ first ever female main protagonist who is every bit as skilled as Altair and Ezio ever were, imbued with all of the climbing, combat, roof-running, weapon-using and assassination abilities that you could want. In the gamescom presentation of the game, I was shown more of the stealth options that Aveline will have access to during the game, some of which Altair and Ezio wished they had.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Screenshot 1

Stealth gameplay in Liberation will rely on the use of disguises and Aveline’s familiarity with the layout and dynamics of the city of New Orleans. As the daughter of a rich French merchant, Aveline is quite well-known in town as a ‘prim and proper’ aristocratic lady, but she is also able to change her appearance and go on hijinx without the weight of familiarity on her shoulders.

The first mission of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation that we saw was set in 1771 as New Orleans suffers the control of the Spanish. Decked out in full Assassin gear, Aveline is tasked with infiltrating a Spanish-held area in order to retrieve important documents, using her trusty whip to latch on to navigable objects and swing from perch to perch.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Screenshot 1

Silently taking down guards surrounding the area with poisoned blow darts, Aveline was successfully able to achieve her goal (despite being seen) while using a classic Assassin swan dive off of a building to crush her main opponent. Aveline needed to fight her way out of the Spanish fort, however, but thanks to slick-looking combat options (and what looks like ‘swipe to select’ options for choosing weapons and items on the Vita touchscreen) and a bit of hostage taking, she was effortlessly able to take down multiple guards and make her getaway.

But this is just one approach to this mission.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Screenshot 2

Using the new ‘disguises’ feature of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, the player is able jump into designated rooms to change her appearance and transform into ‘the aristocrat’ – the version Aveline that friends, family and occupants of New Orleans know her as.

As the aristocrat, Aveline is much more limited in terms of movement and combat options compared to her Assassin disguise due to the formal attire that comes with this costume. Capel also says that in this disguise, Aveline is able to use her charm, beauty and wealth as methods of moving around the environment unnoticed (or noticed, as the case may be, hiding in plain sight), which I found a little irksome.

El33tonline Editor-in-Chief Lisa also expressed her concerns with this gameplay mechanic when she heard about it, and I’m sure this isn’t the last time we’ll hear someone raise an issue with Liberation’s use of Aveline’s ‘charms’ that work “to her advantage” in order to further her ambitions.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Screenshot 2

Regardless, on display during the demo we saw Aveline bribing guards with money to let her pass through protected areas, and we also witnessed her ‘charming’ a guard (complete with flirtatious hand wave) to follow her in order to provide an armed bodyguard and decrease suspicion surrounding her activities. “If all else fails,” says Capel, you can always use Aveline’s deadly parasol (similar to the weapons used by The Batman’s ‘Penguin’ character) to shoot poison darts at enemies with a mechanism hidden in the fancy umbrella.

Escaping danger is a bit more tricky as the aristocrat, but Aveline is equipped with smoke bombs, as well as her parasol and charm abilities to get out of a fight if need be.

One last method of disguising yourself in Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation was demonstrated as Aveline took on the form of ‘the servant,’ a character Capel describes as being on “the opposite end of the economic scale in New Orleans” as compared to the aristocrat. During the events of Liberation, “poverty and crime was rampant in New Orleans,” says Capel, and “hiding in plain sight” as a servant (of which the city is “full,” Capel explains) is a good way of going unnoticed.

After a quick visit to the change room, Aveline emerged as a rather filthy and ratty servant and immediately went to work doing everyday ‘servant’ duties, like carrying boxes and sweeping the floor – anything to blend into the busy backdrop of the city. In this way, Aveline is able to walk through a guarded entrance without raising suspicion and gain access to otherwise impenetrable areas.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Screenshot 3

In servant form, Aveline can “incite other poor people” to her cause and rally them together to create diversions as they worry and attack enemies for her – very cruel indeed. We saw a number of these less fortunate folk slain by armed guards simply so Aveline could make her way further into the Spanish fort, and also to allow her to escape! As the servant, Aveline is once again very restricted as far as movement and combat options go, but she still has access to her wrist blades and basic navigation abilities.

That concluded our gamescom 2012 presentation of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, and we got to quiz producer Martin Capel on the game in a quick question and answer session. While Capel and the team is still being very secretive, some of the more interesting morsels of information included the fact that there will be benefits to owning Assassin’s Creed III on PlayStation 3 and Liberation on PS Vita, with an exclusive character for the multiplayer game, the tomahawk of Connor (from ACIII) as a weapon as well as “other pieces” of content as your reward.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation Screenshot 3

In terms of unique uses of the PS Vita and its hardware, Capel confirmed that Liberation will use “all” of the handheld’s accoutrements, including the front touchscreen (for selecting targets, navigating menus and choosing items), the back touchpad (for searching enemies and pick-pocketing, as well as rowing a canoe, for example), while geo-location, camera and motion control support was also mentioned.

Also of interest is the fact that the stories of Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation overlap, and Aveline and Connor will meet one another in at least one instance of the PS Vita title.

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation releases exclusively on PS Vita on October 30th in the US – look over El33tonline’s previous coverage of the game and look forward to new announcements soon.

Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation – Features Trailer