'Assassin's Creed III' takes on the American Revolution
As the conclusion to a five-game story arc, AC III carries a lot of narrative baggage, and the bold moves taken in telling Connor's story will likely limit the broader appeal that curious new fans hoped for. But, in a game this large, maybe you don't care why you are assassinating redcoats, only that you can do so with consistent flair. Finding the formula for a successful video game is tricky these days, and many developers fear the risks of continuing to innovate once they've found a proven recipe. The risks taken here lead to both successes and failures, but kudos to Ubisoft for not being afraid to try new things.
'Assassin's Creed III: Liberation' (Ubisoft Sofia/Ubisoft)
With another all-new protagonist in debutante and secret assassin Aveline de Grandpré, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation is set within the same time period as Assassin's Creed III, but in New Orleans. Moving play from AC III to the PlayStation Vita exclusive, the technical downgrade is difficult to overlook, but Liberation is no less ambitious and laudably attempts to stuff most of what makes the console series work into a handheld experience.
Fitting all that content leaves little room for story, and Liberation drops the science fiction angle for a straightforward re-enactment of a series of important moments in Aveline's life. Orphaned and brought into the Assassin order at a young age, Aveline is capable of selecting among different "personas" in order to disguise herself, at times as a slave, at other times as a high-class lady. The lady disguise is likely to be a stickler in many a Creed fans' craw, as the dress restricts the character's ability to climb buildings or fight, leaving Aveline with the less appealing abilities of charming men and infiltrating restricted areas. Without a deeper story, the Liberation package feels slight at times, but having a little Assassin's Creed in your hands is impressive, and the venue change allows Ubisoft to prove its formula works outside of the original narrative.