Assassin's Creed III: Liberation is a 2012 action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Sofia and published by Ubisoft Entertainment. It was originally released for the PlayStation Vita on October 30, 2012, in North America, with a worldwide launch the following day. It is the fourth spin-off installment in the Assassin's Creed series, and takes place alongside the events of Assassin's Creed III.
The plot is set within a fictional history of real-world events and follows the millennia-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight to preserve peace and free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The game is set in late 18th-century French Louisiana, from 1765 to 1777, and focuses on the life of French Assassin Aveline de Grandpré, the series' first female protagonist, as she fights the Templars' attempts to gain control of New Orleans following the end of the French and Indian War. The game takes place within an open world and is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on using Aveline's combat, stealth, and parkour abilities to complete missions and explore the environment.
The original release of Liberation received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its setting and protagonist, but disliked the narrative's execution and certain aspects of the gameplay, while feeling that the title was limited by its status as a spin-off. A fully remade version of the game, titled Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD, was released in January 2014 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows via the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam, respectively. A remastered version of Liberation HD was released as part of Assassin's Creed III Remastered for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows in March 2019, for the Nintendo Switch in May 2019, and for Google Stadia in December 2021. The remastered version was redesigned to operate with 4K HDR/enhanced visuals, and includes several improvements such as a new graphics engine using physics-based lighting, new character models, and heavily revamped gameplay mechanics.
Assassin's Creed III: Liberation retains the "franchise's trademark open world and gameplay", while making use of the PlayStation Vita's touchscreen and rear touch pad, cameras and gyroscope. Players assume the role of Assassin Aveline de Grandpré in 18th-century French Louisiana, who controls similarly to other protagonists in the series, being able to free run, use 'social stealth', and fight enemies using a counter-based combat system. Because the game uses the same engine as Assassin's Creed III, most of the animations from that game are reused. However, Aveline does have several unique animations, as well as the ability to dual-wield weapons, such as the new blowpipe as well as the familiar swords, knives, pistols and hidden blade.
New gameplay mechanics exclusive to Liberation include a Chain Kill ability, which allows Aveline to chain attacks together to kill multiple enemies at once; a trade system, in which Aveline manages her father's trade network by purchasing goods and selling them to other cities via ship; and the ability to switch between Aveline's three distinct personas, each providing its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the Assassin persona performs better in combat, but is very quickly detected by enemies; the Slave persona can blend in with other slaves or carry crates to pass by suspicious enemies, but has access to fewer weapons; and the Lady persona can charm or bribe guards to enter restricted areas and is detected slower than the other personas, but cannot free run.
By linking the game to Assassin's Creed III, players can receive several in-game bonuses, such as the signature tomahawk of Assassin's Creed III's protagonist, Connor, an exclusive character skin, a multiplayer character and a complete upgrade of all ammunition pouches.
Liberation explores the life of a second 18th-century assassin in Colonial America who operated during the end of the French and Indian War within Louisiana, during its Spanish occupation; an Afro-French woman named Aveline de Grandpré, whose work included freeing slaves while eradicating Templar presence in New Orleans. Aveline's story encompasses a period of twelve years of her life, and takes place alongside the events of Assassin's Creed III. Much of the game takes place within the city of New Orleans and the bayou that surrounds it, though also includes locations connected to the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War.
Liberation incorporates several events from American history into its plot, like the tragic mulattos, the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, the back-to-Africa movement, and education during the Slave Period. Historical characters featured in the game include Jean-Jacques Blaise d'Abbadie, Antonio de Ulloa, François Mackandal, and Gilbert Antoine de Saint-Maxent.
In the modern day, Abstergo Entertainment, a subsidiary of Abstergo that produces multimedia goods, releases their first major product, Liberation - a video game about the life of the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré. The hacker group Erudito contacts the player during their playthrough, and reveals that a heavy amount of censoring was done in regard to the Assassin-Templar war, offering to help them learn the truth.
Assassin's Creed III: Liberation was released on October 30, 2012, the same day as Assassin's Creed III. The game is available in a PS Vita bundle pack with a new crystal white Wi-Fi Vita and a 4GB memory card. In Japan it was released under the title Assassin's Creed III: Lady Liberty.
It was announced on September 10, 2013, that the game would be re-released as Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows via the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam, respectively, in 2014. The game features visuals closer to III as well as updated audio, AI and facial animations. Additional missions have been added and some of the Vita-specific touch screen missions have been removed, as well as the nodes multiplayer and a minor Quick Time Event minigame. The game was released on the PlayStation 3 on January 14, 2014, in North America and January 15, 2014, in Europe. The Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 versions were released worldwide on January 15, 2014.
Purchasing Assassin's Creed III for the PlayStation 3 gives the player the ability to connect it to Liberation and unlock an exclusive mission in the latter game featuring Connor, as well as a multiplayer skin and an Ammunition Pouch. There was also a promotional DLC, titled Mysteries of the Bayou Pack, that came with pre-orders of the game in PAL regions. It included an exclusive weapon, an alligator hunting hat, a multiplayer skin, and Ammunition Pouches for smoke bombs and poison darts.
The music of Assassin's Creed III Liberation was very well received by both game and music critics. Robert Workman of GameZone wrote, "The music is superb," and Evan Narcisse of Kotaku called the soundtrack, "a stealthy success." Jen Bosier of VideoGameWriters said that the music of Assassin's Creed III Liberation was "without question, the best soundtrack the series has seen to date." Music critic Randall Larson of BuySoundtrax.com stated, "This is a fine score and one that even non-gamers should applaud for its cinematic, dynamic and immersive drive." Reviewer Lucas Smith of Piki Geek asserted that "the soundtrack will go down as one of the year's best."
Initial reviews for Assassin's Creed III: Liberation were mixed. Metacritic, which assigns a score based on reviews from industry leaders, has the game scored at 70/100 based on 71 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Shaun McInnis, reviewer for GameSpot, gave the game a score of 6.5/10, praising the protagonist as "...a woman born from the romance between a wealthy father and a slave mother, someone who has overcome her uncertain upbringing to find a new life in the Assassin Brotherhood". McInnis also commended the setting, writing "...a brilliant version of 18th-century New Orleans, one that beautifully reflects the diverse cultural ambience formed over years of operating as a French trading port". However, he also wrote that the game "squanders its most unique ideas...Liberation takes little advantage of its own narrative format" and that the plot is "largely aimless and hastily delivered".
IGN's Greg Miller stated, "The moves and kills you'd expect are here, but the story is boiled down to be easy to jump in and out of. That takes away some of the excitement in playing through it", giving it 7.2/10. In April 2020, Game Informer ranked the game as the 13th best game in the Assassin's Creed series to date, the lowest entry on the list.
Ubisoft seem to be cutting it off instead of putting in the work to maintain its playability on PC. While removing it from sale makes sense, making it inaccessible to people that bought it is frankly unacceptable, and shows one of the dangers of the increasingly digital first approach to buying and accessing video games.
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