NYCC 2012: Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation Hands-On

Sony had plenty on display at their New York Comic Con booth this year, and Assassin’s Creed Liberation was just one of the many Vita titles they were showcasing. We got to try out its demo briefly at the event, and from the looks of it, it’s sure to bring a legitimate Assassin’s Creed experience to the handheld format.

The demo began with lead character Aveline de Grandpré following her contact down the Bayou in canoes. This immediately showcased the game’s use of the Vita’s rear touchpad; the player can make Aveline move the canoe’s paddle by swiping forward or back on the left or right side of the touch pad. Players can also steer the canoe using the left analog stick. This took a little getting used to, but felt natural after about a minute of play.

Soon after, Aveline makes ground on the riverbank near a live alligator, which the player needs to wrestle and subdue. This plays out in a quick-time event and left me a bit off-guard – however the result threw me off even more, as the animation for Aveline fighting to free her leg from the alligator’s jaws looked like something out of an internet .gif – wacky and exaggerated. However, I took the opportunity to fight back, pressing the correct button sequences to move to the alligator’s back and subdue it with a quick stab. And as Aveline’s partner was quick to point out, all she got for her trouble is a stinking alligator egg. Worthwhile to her, perhaps, but I was ready to move on to the next challenge.

Soon enough, Aveline and her contact agree to split up and rendezvous later while she tackles her target’s camp. This portion of the game showed off the way the player can scale the natural environment (we’ve seen this in scores of Assassin’s Creed III footage), and for me, it began with scaling a downed wooden log up to a series of tree branches. Moving along the network of trees feels natural and incredibly fluid – moving the control stick allows Aveline to move slowly and carefully, but holding down the R button will cause her to briskly run from branch to branch, even making leaps over gaps effortlessly. Assassinating targets is just as effortless – if you get close without being noticed. I got lucky with my first target, sneaking around a tent to subdue him quietly. However, my other opponents spotted me, and combat quickly fell back into the traditional format AC fans will be familiar with. After finishing an enemy with a musket, I was then able to take it off his corpse and fire an opening shot at two others with the Triangle button. The firearm takes a long time to reload, however, so I decided to put the bayonet on the end to good use and kill off the last enemy with it.

There was another level to the demo, but at that point I decided to hand the system off to the person waiting behind me. The game feels solid, and brings an authentic Assassin’s Creed experience to the Vita. See our recorded footage for yourself below!

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is set for release at the same time as Assassin’s Creed III on October 30th.

Stay tuned to as we continue to cover everything New York Comic Con has to offer!