Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD review – Has the redressed adventure made more of its looks?

Assassin's Creed Liberation HD

Back in the day I reviewed the Vita version of Liberation. In short: I didn’t like it. It was technically shoddy, with glitches aplenty, possessed an uninteresting story, and shoehorned in touchpad mechanics for no Earthly reason. One of these issues has been fixed in this PS3 HD re-release – stroking the back of your DualShock will achieve nothing bar making you look a bit weird – and another is certainly reduced, with far fewer immersion-shattering technical issues. However: I still don’t like it.

Assassin’s creed Liberation HD PS3 review

As a Vita game, Liberation was at least semi-impressive in terms of its visuals and the size of its world. On PS3, despite a noticeable graphical improvement if you view the two side by side, it really isn’t. Coming in the wake of Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag this feels more like an hi-res PS2 game, and playing on a big TV only hammers home the fact that the environments are underpopulated with no real sense of life. The last few PS3 Assassin’s games have all been prettier, so the use of the term HD isn’t going to fool anyone.

More on Assassin’s Creed

And, of course, the handheld version’s plot problems haven’t been fixed. Playing as female assassin Aveline de Grandpré, you’re fighting off the Templar presence in New Orleans, while also attempting to discover what ever became of your mother. There’s little wrong with this in itself, but the delivery is deeply unengaging.

Assassin's creed liberation hd PS3

Side by side Assassin’s Creed Liberation’s HD step from PS Vita to PS3 is obvious.

Liberation’s main gameplay innovation is Aveline’s three costumes – lady, assassin and slave. The lady can ‘charm’ enemies and use a weaponised parasol, but can’t fight or freerun. The slave can blend into certain scenarios, but is weak in combat, and the assassin is skilled but easily noticed. The trouble is that these feel restrictive and actually harm your ability to freely explore New Orleans.

Sadly, Liberation can’t escape
its limited gameplay, technical
unevenness and poorly told story

Beyond that this is a return to the series’ earliest games, with a focus on sneaking and contract killing. Combat is pleasingly swift although overly simplistic, ultimately coming down to little more than pressing e to counter and r to kill. There is some satisfaction to be found in a well-crafted unseen hit though, making it far more conducive to stealth. However, going back to the series’ roots brings old problems to bear: there’s little meaningful way to engage with the open-world, and the selection of missions is repetitive at best. Sadly, Liberation can’t escape its limited gameplay, technical unevenness and poorly told story. While Black Flag kicked the series on, the past holds no glory for Aveline.

Our Score

Score: 5