Thursday, June 7, 2012

Finally Getting to Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation

Now, you had to know I was going to bring this up eventually, as I have a little bit of history with the Assassin's Creed series, and I really enjoy me some Vita.  So the former on the latter is -naturally- going to draw my attention, and especially when there's such a wealth of information about it already out there.  Which, frankly in this week of "Here's a trailer, now guess about everything else" is fan-freaking-tastic.  Sure, I can sit here and go on and on about what I think might be in the game from two seconds of a trailer for it, but it's always much nicer to just be able to say "You know what, this is what we know about the game so far" and have that list of things be something approaching substantial.  The hardest thing about this game actually won't be waiting for information about it, but rather what it should be:  simply waiting for it to get released so we can friggin' play it.  Because I am quite looking forward to that day.

First off, the basics.  The game is exclusive to the Vita and isn't some pithy little sidestory or hand-me-down, but rather a full, fresh installment of the series made from the ground-up on the Vita.  It tells the story of Aveline, a French and African assassin during the tail end of the French and Indian War (about the 1765-1780 year range) who is, get this, not connected to Desmond.  Finally, we get to play a game where we're not tethered to him (I mean, technically the offshoots with Altair didn't feature Desmond, but you know what I mean), even though I really like him as a character.  It's just that I have to wonder just how many games he can be the focus of without running around and being a super ninja badass assassin who is going to ruin some fucking days.  Because currently, the answer is four, with AC3 coming up in a way that suggests there will be a full 'game' for Connor, which leaves us to wonder if Desmond will have a proper conclusion in AC3, or if it will be another span of games.  I believe they've said they're not going to do that, but...well, I'll believe it when I see it.  AC3 simply has to cover too much, I think, and I can't see it working out pleasantly in a single game if it's literally not all about him.

As Liberation will not connect to Desmond (or, by extension, Connor), it's safe to assume that the game will be fairly self-contained in that aspect, telling the full story of Aveline as she comes into her own under her mentor Agate who leads the New Orleans Assassin's Guild.  Oh, did I not mention that the game would be set in New Orleans?  Because it's going to be set in New Orleans, which is absolutely wonderful if the last game set in (fictional) New Orleans is anything to go by.  With that being the first thing mentioned in some of the bits of news, I personally had to wonder if we could expect to swim, which seems to be answered with a "Probably not", as the swamps about the city will be infested with Alligators.  I could see this as being the "This is why you can't swim in our game" reasoning, but we'll see for sure when more info about the game comes out.  Regardless, not that big of a loss if it's true, even though swimming around offers a lot of opportunity for sneaking around and getting to your target.

Regardless of being a (possibly) self-contained one-off game (Which, who are we kidding, this game isn't going to be that and if it doesn't directly have something to do with AC3, I'll eat a hat made out of something delicious), Liberation promises to be a complete Assassin's Creed game.  Taking no shortcuts, this means that the City of New Orleans and the surrounding area will be one big map that you do not have to load whilst traveling about, simply existing in means with which you can explore it at your leisure.  While I imagine that it will not be that way from the start and, in classic AC fashion, will partition off sections of the map until you advance the story, that simply adds to the genuine feel of playing an actual installment of the series.  As for the other facets of the gameplay, it will feature Multi-player that will apparently be "tailored to the Vita experience" whatever that means (My guess would mean playing something at your leisure and sending it off rather than playing necessarily at the same time as someone else), but no word of that beyond the cryptic message and that it exists.  Which, hey, I've never bought an AC game for Multi-player, so whatever, no worries on my end.

As for the proper gameplay of it, I've heard some strange rumbles here and there of some drastic shifts in the way it actually controls.  If the rumors are true, then Liberation ditches the Profile requisite for making leaps and in fact, simply maps "X" as the "Jump button".  I don't know if R still actually controls Profile, but such a drastic change will definitely impact the platforming aspect of the game.  I'm imagining that it's for the better, as my grumblings of platforming in the AC series are known, so something that potentially adds a little more control in that is certainly a good thing.  Beyond that, the touch controls will be implemented in such a way that allows...basically what I can tell is the "Mark and Execute" function from Splinter Cell:  Conviction, in so much that if you touch an enemy, Aveline will make him die.  Apparently this has been added because, get this, the actual meat of the swordplay and combat system has been made more difficult somehow, so they wanted to allow an option for a player to stay out of it, should it be a little too hard on them.  Granted, I doubt it'll prevent you from -ever- having to swordfight, but it will certainly lessen the instances.  Definitely a curious statement, and I can only hope we get a little more light shed on that.

Liberation is definitely a tantalizing prospect, if just for the way it incorporates the old and the new and melds them rather pleasantly.  A New Main character (who is a first for the series in being a female protagonist) and an entirely new landscape, combined with the core elements that we expect from an Assassin's Creed game.  Interestingly enough is that the game even is rumored to follow more of the Templar side of the whole Assassins/Templars conflict, though how they'll do that, I haven't the foggiest.  With new twists on the gameplay here and there, there's a good chance that it'll be one of the better games in the series, if said twists don't prove to be cumbersome or, at least, just as 'bad' as they started.  And, of course, I don't think jumping off a building to stab a guy with a hidden blade is ever going to become boring, so being able to do that on the go is just....just wonderful as a thought.

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