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Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
Having played games since the days of the Atari 2600, and even some Pong...I've been there, and done that. So it's hard to truly impress me. I love games, so I play lots of them and have fun with them, etc. But to really impress me, a game has do to something I've never seen before. And this one does that, and how. It complexity, depths, and breadth of a ginormous open world console/pc game, and puts into a console that you can play while sitting on an airplane, or in the car, or on the toilet...etc...etc. Stunning.

When the Vita launched, I would marvel at how beautiful Uncharted: Golden Abyss was while playing it...but this game is on a whole different level. Uncharted was very linear in scope, and so the technical achievement there isn't quite as impressive. This game though...it's truly like picking up a PS3, cramming it into a tiny little handheld, and playing it anywhere. The depth of the world in this game is stunning. I find myself ignoring the task at hand, and climbing to the highest tower, and just taking a few minutes to look around. It's breathtaking...and you can play it on the toilet! What a world we live in.

It opens up the idea that ANY game could work on the vita. They should totally remake arkham city for this system..totally.

As for gameplay, it's assassin's creed through and through. If you like those games, you will like this game. It doesn't really stray from the script there.

The plot is ok, and keeps the game moving along. Nothing mind blowing, but good enough. Aveline is an excellent character, with a great back story and I find myself rooting for her as I am slashing up red coats.

The multi-player, at this point...I just don't get it. It's a complete loss for me...I fiddled around with it, but just couldn't figure out exactly what the point was. It's kind of like Risk, but not exactly...strange choice, for sure. If it were up to me, I would have just left it out.

The only downside to the game are a few bugs, and some framerate drops when things get hectic.

Otherwise, what is there to complain about...it's a console quality game in the palm of your hand. If you don't own a vita, here's yet another reason to get one.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2012
For the record, I really loved Assassins Creed: Bloodlines for PSP. I think the same can be said about this game: A console quality game, on a handheld. And now, it can also be said, console quality graphics. They're amazing, and its the first thing that stands out. This game uses the same engine as its console counterpart, and it looks quite as stunning.

Now, the sound is a quite a bit off, its... not all too good sound design. There's not really ambient noise, and for an open world game, that's a bit odd. The other thing is, the over use of very old and almost cliche sound effects. Other than that, I have no complaints regarding technicalities.

Now, as for the story, I absolutely love it so far. The beginning was more than a little rocky, but once you got into it, it moved along nicely, and made you feel immersed. This is truly Assassins Creed as we all know and love, right in the palm of your hand. So, no real complaints there.

The multiplayer, however (Yes, it has multiplayer, which wasn't exactly announced), is quite... different. It uses the location data and pits Assassins against Abstergo agents, where there is a VAST overpopulation of Assassins, and Abstergo agents only seem to appear in the middle east and west Asia... Too much to explain, as I haven't delved deep enough, just know that Assassins Creed multiplayer is there, with a twist.

Now, for the new features. the Vita uses the touch screen, back touch panel, GPS, camera, and motion sensors. I have yet to use the latter two. The touch screen is used for various things, such as selecting weapons and enemies in a certain mode. The menus and such can be used with touch, and with the physical controls, which I much prefer. The back touch panel is for similar usage. The GPS is used for multiplayer, as well as the "near" functionality.

Also, if you have Assassins Creed III for PS3, if you connect the Vita to the PS3, then you can unlock certain bonuses for each game. I have yet to do this, as I have spent all the money I could on this game and NFS: Most Wanted. I'm a bit disappointed thought, that there was no Cross-Buy deal, but I guess I can understand; this and ACIII are entirely different games.

To wrap it up, with the nice addition of the muliplayer and "near" functionalities, Assassins Creed III: Liberation makes good use of the PS Vita and is to date, one of the best Vita games on the market.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
AC Liberation was my first experience with anything in the AC universe. I didn't know what to expect. Was it going to be stupid? Was it going to be overly complicated? Who knew! So I took the plunge and took my first few steps into the AC world. The authors have done a great job creating a character that is intriguing and compelling. The storyline is interesting. The gameplay is fantastic. Please keep in mind that I have never played any of the other AC games so I have nothing else for comparison. From what I've experienced so far I have become a believer! Once I finish this game I'm going to check out AC1 and starting catching up on a whole world of gaming that I've missed out on.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
As others have said this game contains several bugs including one which effectively corrupts your save losing all of your progress (dumps you back to the main menu). There are also numerous other annoying little bugs in the game before this such as the black screen changing room glitch, trading ships disappearing, treasure chests remaining on the map after thet are collected. If the bugs were fixed this would be a 4 or 5 star title, but as it stands best to avoid purchasing until it's fixed. I've lodged a query on Ubisofts support site but haven't heard anything back yet.

Update: the response I got back from support was not helpful; however they separately announced on the 22nd Nov they are working on another patch for the game... So now we wait and see if this patch fixes the bugs in the game, whenever they decide to release it.

Update 2: The second patch was released on 11 December, however it doesn't fix the corruption issue if your save is already impacted, your only choice is to format the game card and start the game again from the very beginning... hopefully the patch fixed the problem causing the corruption so it won't occur again.

Final Impression... After the second patch the major save corruption issues have been fixed, as well as the black screen changing room glitch and the disappearing trading ships... The uncolectible treasure chests remain. However having now played through the entire game it was all a bit disappointing... Short story, easy repetitive missions and a boring pointless story... Graphically the game looks great, but otherwise it's all a bit dull.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've been playing all the AC titles since the original. The fact that an AC title was being developed for the Vita was influential in my decision to buy a Vita. If I could sum up this title in a phrase it would be; "Thrown together."

I was excited to play this title because the story sounded intriguing. You are the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur and his slave. When you are born, your father grants you and your mother freedom and raises you as his own. It's a time of turmoil in New Orleans. Your Mother disappears shortly after your father takes a wife. Your new stepmother plays the doting wife, but is actually playing a key role in emancipating local slaves. You use your mixed heritage to your advantage, dressing either as the wealthy debutant, the quiet slave girl or the assassin to deceive and gain access to areas or throw pursuers off your scent. You follow the teachings of an old Assassin, hiding out in the bayou, who adds a dash of voodoo into the mix here and there. All that's left of your mother are journal pages scattered throughout the city and countryside for you to collect. Each page brings you closer to the truth behind her disappearance.

Sounds great, right? Wrong. The story is cobbled together and you don't feel a lot of motivation for doing much of anything other than someone told you to do it. I found myself asking several times, "How did I know this was supposed to be here? How did I know that I was supposed to go over here?" At one point you go to Mexico to investigate slaves that are disappearing. There's this big show of you leaving New Orleans, you even wonder when/if you'll return, then you do like 4 missions and you're back in New Orleans saying that you found what you were looking for, but you had to wait for the right time to escape. You don't actually have to escape, it's not a mission or anything, and they just say that that's what happened. And that's really the way the story seems to go, things are glossed over and paraphrased to the point that it's difficult to become invested in the world and the characters.

The game itself is buggy. Not game-breaking buggy, although my Vita did crash once, but mostly annoying buggy. You'll be doing a mission where you're not supposed to be detected, easing along a path or hallway and, out of nowhere, the guards load in mid-conversation, as if they'd been there the whole time and you're spotted. The red dots that mark the guards on your map are rarely accurate and jump around as the map catches up with them. There's a chest in New Orleans I can't get to because it fell through the other models. I've landed in spots that place me in perpetual fall causing me to have to quit the game and reload from the last checkpoint. Collision detection is hit or miss at times causing your climbing and jumping through the bayou to be frustrating. You receive a whip at one point that allows you to swing, a la Indiana Jones, across large gaps via branches, scaffolding, etc., but it rarely works during free run, you must stop, wait for the game to register that there's a branch there and you have a whip then jump.

Vita features are used in gimmicky and tedious fashion. You find letters and instead of picking up the letter and reading it, you have to swipe the front and back touchpads simultaneously (like you're tearing open a real letter!) which it pops up with the tutorial for every time. Even then, it doesn't always work and it doesn't tear along with your swipe. You swipe, it waits a second, then it tears... Really? Not only is this just unnecessary, it's not like it's a puzzle or anything, but it isn't even well executed. There's also clues on light reactive paper. This would be cool if they didn't tell you every time, "Hey! This is one of those light-reactive clues! Hold your Vita up to a bright light and then spin the dial with your finger until the clue is revealed!" Again, this isn't a puzzle. You hold it up to the light and then spin a dial on the touchscreen until something happens. Then a couple indiscernible marks appear on the paper and your mission objectives are updated. The problem with this, other than the fact that it's tedious and unnecessary, is that the Vita camera auto adjusts to light. So you may hold it up to a light and the screen with actually dim because the Vita camera says, "Hey, this picture you're trying to take is blown out, let me adjust the brightness for you!" which then means that the light isn't bright enough. I've held the camera right up to a light bulb and had it still not work. You just have to mess with different distances from different lights to get it to finally work. There’s a marble labyrinth-style puzzle at one point that uses the gyroscopes to have you tilt the Vita to get the marble to the goal. I don't know about you, but I don't play my Vita flat on the table, so the puzzle was all messed up. I had to restart it with the Vita flat on the table to get it to work properly.

Additional objectives aren't displayed on the mission. Sometimes they'll appear when you first accept the mission, but they're not continually displayed on your screen. This means that most of the time I don't know that there are additional objectives until I'm notified that I failed them by doing, or not doing, something I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do, or not do. At this point I don't care enough about the game to restart the missions for 100% sync, but for those that do, that's super frustrating.

Controls are clunky and so is combat. Maybe it's the short and more sensitive analogue sticks. Maybe it's the limitations on animations due to the hardware. Fighting seems much more button-mashy (yes, I made that up) than other titles. Jumping around and navigating the free-run/free-climb seems much less precise and frustrating. It's not the fluidity I've come to expect from the AC name.

Graphically, the game is fantastic. Although, New Orleans seems largely empty and drab. The textures and models are very detailed and look great on the Vita though. Music is repetitive and mediocre, but it's easily tuned out.

Weapons are not terribly varied and the game tends to equip the items it thinks you should be using. This is extremely irritating as you don't notice it and when you go to use your item, you'll find it isn't there. Meaning screwing up what should've been a deftly executed kill, or failing a mission because you missed your opportunity. It has also equipped lower quality weapons on me, meaning I had to go back to a weapon shop and re-equip it. All the items you've bought aren't just in your inventory, you need to go back to one of the shops that sells the item if you want to equip it. Assassin outfits are pointless as they are just different color palettes and cost 1000 gold/money/whatever. They do nothing but change the colors of your outfit. The only other option you have is wearing a hood or the tri-corn hat on the cover. Slave and Lady outfits are the same, lots of money for just a color palette change. Good weapons and ammo are fairly expensive in a game where money is not easily accumulated which can be irritating.

Money is primarily earned through quests and a shipping company you own/operate. You must buy ships to add to your fleet. You will purchase goods (cotton, fruit, tobacco) from one port and then sail your ship to another port where those goods are worth more money, at which point you will sell all your goods, buy new goods from that port and then sail home or to another port where the goods you bought are worth more and then repeat. The caveat is that there are storms and pirates that can damage and even sink your ship or, at the very least, cause you to lose some of your goods. It's interesting, but a bit more involved and risky than the previous systems of buy and renovate shops and earn income periodically. It's not awful, but it's also not really my cup of tea. I can see how some would get lost in it as it is a bit of a mini-game in and of itself.

Overall, I thought the premise was great, but poorly executed. Aveline was the only real redeeming quality in this title and I would like to see her in better executed installments in the future. Unfortunately, there is just too much wrong with this game. The choppy, poorly paced story, the annoying bugs and glitches, the scarce landscape, the clunky controls all add up to a marred experience. I can only recommend this title to the diehard AC fan that has to have all the games and have played through all the stories. Vita owners looking for a fun action/adventure title should look elsewhere.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
Looks like Assassins Creed and plays like Assassins Creed- if you have enjoyed the AC franchise in the past, this game is for you.

Controls are familiar- with the added touch screen for convenient menus

So far (2-3 hours of gameplay in) the most noticeable addition is the "Persona" feature; where Aveline changes costumes to better play different roles for the Assassins:

Slave Persona- easily blend into a working crowd, blend into the background where her other Personas would be noticed, fewer weapon options and weaker in combat
Lady Persona- high society Aveline, charms and bribes her way to key locations, begins with a good reputation throughout New Orleans, can not climb/jump to roof tops, fewer weapon options and weaker in combat
Assassin Persona- armored and a full arsenal of assassin weapons, plays like Ezio and Altair
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
When Sony promised that the Vita could deliver console experiences on a handheld, this must be the game that they were thinking about. If you're a fan of the series, and have a Vita, you owe it to yourself to play this game.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
After reading some of the critic's review of Liberation, I am having a feeling so far that the Vita version of this franchise hasn't been given a fair shake.

First off, it's one of the few games that really gets to show off what the Vita can (and shouldn't) do and rather than being a shrunken down version of its console brother, it's a separate game in the same era.

The story so far:

As anyone who has read knows, this is the first game of the franchise to have a female lead by the name of Aveline and the story takes place in New Orleans. Not much is known about her except that she lives in a rich household and is an assassin. I am hoping along the lines as I play, we learn how she got involved. We have learned about the others before her including Conner so it would be nice for some back story.

Controls

Let's get right to it. The touch controls are gimmicky and while it's not a game breaker, it's not helping the game play either. I have had to do weird things like hold my Vita to lights and slide my fingers across the screen just so to open a letter. Thank goodness this doesn't happen too often but thankfully some of these moments don't always require complex touchscreen meaneuvers and that is a plus. Touch screen chain kills are hit or miss but some are just downright cool as you pull them off. Otherwise, the controls are very responsive and give me a mobile experience I have been looking for.

Sound

After fiddling around with the settings, I managed to find a good blend of music in the background and atmosphere in the foreground and while it may not be much immersive sound, it's still enough to give you a feel of being in the Big Easy in the 1700s. A lot of French speaking citizens, building noises and some of the usual sounds to give a nice ambiance for a game like this; it works for what it is.

Graphics

While it is one of the best looking games to appear on the Vita since Uncharted, it also suffers from some of the same glitches of the consoles where there are weird clipping errors and NPC bugs which can cause a flower to attack when he shouldn't be attacking and people who blink in and out of scenery. It's not game breaking however, but on the other hand the game is indeed gorgeous and one can see the contrast between this and Boston.

Other cool things one may like

One of the things I really like is that Aveline can change costumes near the appropriate buidlings and each costume has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Also for each costume, there are different alerts. She can even charm or bribe officers to help her get to places that she needs to go and that within itself is why I like what they did with this character. They let her act like a female and use her `feminine whiles' to distract as she gets her missions done and that is just one of the many weapons at her disposal.

Conclusion

This is pretty much the experience one can hope to imagine for the PS Vita. While so far it may not have the best story, graphically speaking and control wise, it's a good mobile Assassin's Creed experience one can get while on the go.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2012
AC3L Review Update: Nov 1, 2012

After spending enough time with the game, I can say that the complaints are true. AC3L is the buggiest, glitchiest game that I have ever played.. None but one of these glitches are game breaking though, so I'm still having a hell of a good time with it. The biggest glitch I encountered occurred during the 2nd chapter in the Bayou. The frame-rate slowed to what I would assume is below 10fps. I don't know the technical terms, but the game was completely unplayable for about 30 seconds. For a while I thought the system would crash, but it eventually worked itself out and I took back control. Other bugs I've experienced include:

1.) A guard turning into a different NPC completely.
2.) Going through a roof as if it wasn't there.
3.) The game completely shut down once while I was playing. There may have been external factors (the room I was playing in had a heater on so it was really hot), but seeing as how much of a glitchy mess Liberation is, it could be just another bug.
4.) Twice while loading the story mode, the system shut down completely (this was after I applied the patch). It could be a bug or I may have a defective system. We'll see.
5.) The PS Vita's screen went completely dark at the beginning of a Bayou mission. Aveline was still controllable, but nothing was visible. I had to restart the mission to bypass this glitch.
6.) There is an especially aggravating puzzle that requires you to tilt the PS Vita back and forth and to the sides to maneuver a ball through a maze. It is very unresponsive. When I neared the end of this tedious puzzle, the game glitched and the ball went through the walls of the maze and back to its starting point... I was pissed!
7.) Many have reported save data corruption on multiple occasions. UNACCEPTABLE!

For those who may be deterred by the glitches, there is a patch available that fixes a good amount of them. If you're hooked up to a wifi network, a yellow icon will appear in AC3L's launch screen. Click on that to apply the patch. This patch was a good effort by UBISoft, but it isn't good enough. The game is still infested with too many bugs. UBISoft needs to release a new fix because this is just ridiculous. I hear that the PS3's Assassin's Creed 3 also suffers from many glitches. UBISoft, get it together!

Let's move on to the gameplay:

The action is so satisfying. I don't know how it compares to Assassin's Creed 3 on the PS3, but Liberation's fighting is violent, sweet and best of all, easy to control. It sometimes feels like you're playing a movie during the fight scenes, especially when you're taking on multiple enemies at once.

The stealth is really well done this time around. It felt forced in Bloodlines for the PSP, but the larger environments in Liberation make for so much more freedom. Take out one guard with your gun, chase another and take him out before he knows what's happening, then jump from a roof to take out the final one silently. Awesome stuff!

AC3L Review Update: Nov 2nd, 2012

There, I finally finished Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation. Honestly, I'm a bit conflicted. The game as a whole is pretty good. No doubt about that, but I still feel UBISoft failed in the execution of Aveline's character and her story. Its as if UBISoft just wanted to make an Assassin's Creed game with a female lead. We don't know how Aveline became an assassin. There is very little to engage the player. The story's final twist (who the company man was) didn't leave me feeling anything... at all, even though it had to have been very traumatic for Aveline.

Story grievances aside, AC3L manages to shrink a console size game into a 5' screen. Seriously. This game is huge. New Orleans is very populated with a lot of side-missions to carry out and business/houses to build, and then the Bayou. Jesus christ I love the Bayou map. It is gigantic and it also features one of the best viewpoints of Liberation. There are other great locales as well but this review is already running a little too long.

In conclusion:

7/10 - Very good game but I think it could've been handled with a little more care. The bugs don't kill the experience completely, but the amount of glitches that are present in the game makes you wonder who the hell was in charge of quality assurance. The story though presented well is uninteresting. The gameplay is very very fun. Overall I would recommend it, but be aware that you WILL come across many bugs. The game would be an 8/10, perhaps 9/10 were it not for these glitches.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2012
Game is cool, and a true Assassin's Creed game. Graphics are decent, sound is below average, and the voice work is downright atrocious, but the fun factor is still there. UNTIL the dreaded and much-noted bug that corrupts your save file strikes. This just happened to me, after investing many hours in the game. The bug will leave you at the loading screen just walking around, and will not let you re-enter your game. There is a patch out for it that supposedly fixes the problem, but it didn't fix it for me. I've already traded the game back to GameStop. I am very disapointed and recommend you steer clear and instead try AC3 on one of the consoles.
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