January 14, 2014

Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD

Lasting First Impressions

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation was first released on the PlayStation Vita back in October of 2012, and I did our usual Lasting First Impressions of the game back then.  I was impressed with the game and was even went on to call it “the best console experience available on a handheld system.”  Now, over a year later, Ubisoft has released an HD upgrade to this title for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Dropping the Assassin’s Creed III moniker, Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD brings the portable experience to the console fans who may have missed out on one of the most fascinating assassins in the Assassin’s Creed universe, and the only playable female assassin.  Could I say assassin one more time?  Assassin.

Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD is more than just an HD upgrade of the previously released Vita title, however.  Ubisoft went beyond just making it look prettier for the larger screen.  The entire game was ported over to their AnvilNext engine, the same engine that powered Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and have added more story to the game to further flesh out Aveline’s character.  New missions have been added that were previously never seen, making Liberation on the console worthy of standing beside its brotherhood of Assassin’s Creed console games.

AC Liberation HD Screen (2)

In a Global Q&A session conducted in January 2014, producer Momchil Valentinov Gindyanov described how far they went to bring this Vita title to the consoles: “When we set out to do Liberation HD, our objective was simple – improve upon what worked and adapt the gameplay and missions to be the most fun and enjoyable they could be. As a result, each mission has been reworked in order to improve their pacing and the challenge they pose for the player. Based on the feedback from our fans and our internal review of Liberation, mission paths, objectives and enemy encounters have all been edited to improve flow and the gameplay experience. Additionally, each scripted scene has been updated.”  He also went on to say that the world layouts were polished, included every free-running path, ensuring that player’s navigation through the game would be more like what we have come to expect from a console Assassin’s Creed game.

AC Liberation HD Screen (5)

Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD not only brings the game from the Vita to the console in high definition glory, it also expands on the story of Aveline by introducing 15 new missions specifically designed for the three personas that Aveline can don: Assassin, Lady, or Servant.  Each of these missions are wholly new to the console version and focus on the strengths of these three personas and feature sets.  Having played the Vita version of this game, I can definitely feel the difference with this new console edition.  It is evident that the game has been upgraded to use the same engine as was used in Assassin’s Creed III and some of the same on-screen indicators are pulled directly from III.  There are some relics from the Vita version that remain which seem to be an odd choice to leave in.  Mission objectives are found in game as large floating bubbles which, while it made sense on the smaller screen of the Vita, just seems out of place on the larger format TV.  This certainly doesn’t distract form the overall quality of the game, however, but it does serve as a reminder that this was a portable game to begin with, despite all the upgrades.

Over a year ago, I felt that Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation was an incredible console experience brought to life on a portable device.  Now this title comes to the console, upgraded in every way possible, from graphics to gameplay to the vitality and life found in all of the game’s distinct locations.  Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD is a worthy addition to the collection and history of the Assassin’s Creed console lineage and one that every Assassin’s Creed fan should play.

Ubisoft, I gave you another hour, and I am IMPRESSED.

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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