The promise of a portable experience is so alluring, yet ultimately one better left unsaid.
I can't tell you how many times I've picked up the portable version of a full console game, only to find that nothing of my beloved made its way through. I've played Spider-Man games where their open worlds are translated into for cut-and-dry levels. I've played puzzlers that can no longer support multiplayer, despite it being the best feature on the console version.
The Assassin's Creed series has been no different, making the flying eagle leap to both PSP and Nintendo DS and landing in a horrible assassin's splat on the pavement. But that seems to be changing with the PlayStation Vita and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed III: Liberation.
Liberation brings with it a full 3D world, allowing for the series' hallmark open-world exploration on a handheld device. The Vita has the oomph to keep the frames and textures pretty too.
From what I saw behind closed doors at E3 2012, Liberation may push the boundaries of what a handheld spin-off can be. Rather than porting ACIII proper, Ubisoft has developed a brand new assassin with a brand new storyline. Players will take the role of Aveline de Grandpre, a female African-French assassin near the end of the French and Indian War in New Orleans.
Liberation combines the city and wilderness gameplay found in ACIII and uses a scaled AnvilNEXT engine, so things look and play as beautifully as they will in ACIII. In addition to the swamps and rooftops in Louisiana, players will visit Mexico, although it's not known if this will be a story-based mission or a permanent landscape you can visit at your liking.
Touch controls haven't been shoehorned needlessly, and combat, traversal, and mission designs have made their way from the console versions of Assassin's Creed as you'd expect them. I watched as one of the Ubisoft Sofia developers climbed to the top of a bell tower and leapt off after synchronizing the map.
What's more, Liberation's protagonist will meet with ACIII's hero, Connor, in the story. If you pick up the PS3 version of ACIII, the two titles can link together and unlock exclusive content in both games. With core gameplay loops and features intact, I might end up having to choose between one assassin and another.
Assassin's Creed III: Liberation is slated for the PlayStation Vita day and date with Assassin's Creed III. Both titles will be on store shelves October 30th, 2012.