“Assassin’s Creed: Liberation” sneaks onto the PS Vita

I am beyond excited about this because it has me all excited about my PS Vita for once. “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation” is the first game to come to a Sony handheld that is a story about a character that is not the focus of a major console game. Of course, the social games and phone games weaved in and out of the stories and other characters, but “Liberation” follows Aveline de Grandpre, a French/African woman from New Orleans.

That is a serious machete…

Based on the trailer, it appears that there are several uses of the Vita’s touch mechanics being featured in this game.

The “Touch to Kill” demonstration was especially interesting. I’m not sure how it’s activated or how one would pause mid fight like that, but that seems like it would make the game much less difficult than having to actually fight and press buttons to react.

Of course, the fighting system was made easier when the “Instant Kill” was added in the most recent “AC” games, letting you string several killing moves together. But, this fighting system seems to eliminate that completely and provide a more cinematic experience rather than immersive gameplay. That could bode ill for the franchise since it has previously heavily relied on reactionary combat mechanics. However, if executed properly, this could be a fun feature for someone weary of pressing the small buttons on the handheld.

The “Touch to Move” system is familiar to those who played “Uncharted: Golden Abyss,” and as we see in the video it is used for things like rowing a canoe.

The rear touchpad on the Vita is probably my least favorite thing attached to the system. Every time it gets activated, I’m unaware of it and all of a sudden things start going haywire as my fingers are all over it and the Vita begins to freak out with too many digits on its back like a spastic cat. You really have to work at doing stuff with the rear touchpad, but once you get it down it works fine.

Graphically, “Liberation” seems to be pretty impressive overal,l but in the trailer you can somewhat see blocky figures and less-than-detailed character models. I’ll definitely be judging this harshly since I loved the way “Uncharted: Golden Abyss” looked on the Vita. However, since this game is made specifically for the handheld, I have a strong feeling they’ll be up to par with the power of the system.

Blow darts. Nice.

Plot-wise I’m not too concerned about what this has to do with the overall story of “AC,” but the scuttlebutt is that Aveline will indeed interact with Connor either in this game or in “ACIII” at some point. What their relationship is and how it plays out will either be really cool, or just a passing lame cameo. Hopefully, events will cross over in both games that either explain a plot point in one, or solve a plot point in another.

Ubisoft is quickly becoming a powerhouse developer since the level of work they put into their games is almost second-to-none. The success of their franchises is obvious, even though most of their games don’t really translate to FPS or RTS crowds. Even their press conference was heralded as probably the best of all of E3 this year due to their lineup on the Wii U and other systems. Some big things are coming from this company, and “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation” definitely appears to be one of them.