Wait, I'm including this game too? Why yes, yes I am. Welcome back to my ranking of the AC games. For those who don't know, I am ranking the games as I go along. These blogs are the explanation to why I ranked them where they are and how I feel on the game, while the rank itself can be found here. With that out of the way, let's jump right into the list.
AC Liberation is a small spinoff game released along side AC3 that originally launched for the Playstation Vita, then found its way to consoles. In this game, you play as an assassin named Aveline as she follows the trail Templars have left behind to uncover what exactly the nefarious group is up to. The game doesn't have a modern plot; instead, it has more of a backdrop. Instead of throwing you into a machine and reliving your memories, Abstergo has decided to make a video game about the life of Aveline called Liberation (so essentially it's Liberation inception). The only issue with the game is that Abstergo has decided to cut some key details out and put in their own telling of the story, which is when a mysterious hacker groups hacks your game and gives you the true moments of Aveline's story.
My experience with AC3 was not great, so to hear that the next game is based off of 3 but as a spinoff game ported from Vita didn't exactly leave me jumping for joy. But what really surprised me about the game was that it was actually kind of good. Let's start with the story.
Since this is a smaller spinoff game, the scope of the story and characters are limited. This can be said for all aspects of the game, despite that, Liberation still told an interesting story with characters I kind of liked. Where all of the other previous games have given you the end goal straight from the get-go, this game has the story evolve as it goes along. Having the story evolve as it goes along was a nice change of pace and it allowed for a more interesting and intriguing story. While I don't think the characters are as good as the Ezio timeline, I still found them to be better than AC3. The biggest issue I had story-wise was the shift away from the Assassins and Templars. They aren't outright gone, but the secret orders felt limited even for this game to the point where any part of the story involving the orders felt forced. The story really felt like a telling of Aveline and her journey to fight bad guys while questioning her own loyalty to the good guys. Still, I think the story is one of the better ones in the AC games because of its evolving nature and how it really leans into the 'who really is the bad guy' aspect the franchise has sometimes leaned into before. Overall, I think the story aspect of the game was refreshing and didn't feel hindered by the game's smaller scope (for the most part).
The biggest thing that scared me about the game going in was the fact that this game came from the Vita. So it was to my surprise to find that the game plays well for a handheld port. The gameplay for the most part played similar to AC3. Some issues still persisted into this game like the combo kill move I don't like and bad stealth are in this game as well, but this game also has some upsides and downsides to the gameplay that changes up the gameplay. Let's start with the positives. Parkour feels much better, the tutorials are faster, menus are easier to use, you can finally skip the credits, and beggars are finally gone (huzzah!). The AC games have been ramping up in terms of how glitchy they are, but this is the first game that is sloping down in glitchyness. The music is a definite upgrade and fits the theme well. Two new items, the blow dart and the whip, make an appearance, with the blow dart either dispatching quietly or making guards fighting each other and whip (my personal favorite) allowing you to pull enemies towards to you punch them in the face or to swing around at certain points like Indiana Jones. The New Orleans/bayou locations are more interesting and more fun to be in than Boston and the frontier, and a funny little Mexico maps is also in this game as well. AC Liberation offers more interesting side quests than AC3, and I found its trading aspect to be better as well. While the combo kill move is still there, AC Liberation also has a chain kill move, which has you choosing people to attack while paused and killing them with the whole thing on a recharge system (something I wish would take the place of the combo kill move). But the most interesting addition of them all is a persona mechanic, which has you either disguised as an assassin, a lady, or a slave. Each persona has their own set of abilities, benefits, and drawbacks, and I found that to be a really cool twist on the game and how to tackle certain missions. I didn't believe I would say this, but a good amount of the bigger issues I had with the previous game were fixed in this game. But not everything I experienced was good either.
The biggest, most obvious downside to this game are the various missing features. Less items overall, no hunting (even though I never really hunted in the first place), no inner-map fast travel, and more. But I actually forgave a lot of this because I have always known this is a smaller game. I don't expect everything from the other games to be in this one, and I found the maps to be small enough to not miss inner-map fast travel. Still, some things can't be waived off as the victim of its scale. The game doesn't give you a lot of freedom in between missions and it didn't display freedom between missions that well. Enemies are comically stupid to the point where I can walk right up to an enemy with notoriety on my head and still have enough time to choose how to kill him. While there were some really cool boss fights, I found them to be rather uneventful. One particular one to note is me fighting the boss who has a big health bar, only to end the fight victorious despite the guy still having 2/3rds of his health left. Whistling can now only be done when leaning against walls, making stealth even worse. Finally, the optional objectives didn't display well, making me give up all together on them. Overall, I would say that the game's issues can be explained by its smaller scale, but I found my positive experiences to outweigh the negative ones.
In conclusion, I found this game to be a welcoming surprise. While I don't think this game stands up to the earlier games, I don't think this game is a disaster either. This game stands as a basic experience, which is better than a bad one. It was a smaller experience, but I am fine with that because I wouldn't want it to be stretched out and thin. As of now, I am going to wedge this game between AC3 and AC: Revelations, and I predict this game will be relatively low on the list. Still, not a bad game and I would say it's worth checking out if you are a fan of the series.
But what about you? How do you feel about this game or the series as a whole? Put those thoughts in the comments below. I feel like I am in the minority in liking this game, but that's fine (this isn't the first time I have been in the minority for liking/disliking something). I am going to take another small break on the franchise because I want to catch up on my ever-growing backlog of games I have started and not finished as well as finish the Red Faction series. And as always, thank you for reading.