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!

GamesCom 2012 PlayStation Conference Recap

Sony sets the bar high when it comes to its press conferences, and GamesCom 2012’s was no exception. The conference was streamed live on PlayStation Access’s site at 1 PM EST, and in case you missed any of it, here are the major details. Brace yourself; Sony belted out a LOT of info.

  • LittleBigPlanet Vita will be available as a solo game and also in a new Vita bundle, which includes the system.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale gameplay footage with Dante, Spike, Nathan Drake, Big Daddy, Sweet Tooth, PaRappa the Rapper, Ratchet & Clank, Fat Princess, Sackboy, and more is shown. CrossBuy announced as a planned, recurring feature – buy the game for PS3 or Vita, get the version for the other console at no additional cost.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Ratchet & Clank: QForce announced.
  • Assassin’s Creed: Liberation will make use of the touch features of the Vita; Front screen used for “Touch to Kill” feature, while the rear pad is used for context-sensitive movements.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified details revealed:
    • Single-player campaign set between the events of Black Ops 1 and 2.
    • Will feature 4v4 multiplayer over WiFi on brand-new maps, including Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed game modes.
    • Will be available as a solo game or in a bundle with the Vita system.
  • Final Fantasy 7, Tomb Raider free for PlayStation Plus members starting August 20th.
  • Tear Away, a new Vita IP from Media Molecule, features paper as a central element.
    • Players can use front and rear touch pads, as well as the gyroscope and microphone to manipulate the game environment and fight enemies.
    • Fingers (representing the player’s) will actually pop out of holes punched in the game world.
    • Augmented Reality features, such as taking a picture for an in-game character to wear as a coat.
  • Killzone Mercenary, a new chapter in the IP for the Vita. Touch gestures enable different melee finishing moves.
  • PlayStation Mobile announced. Seemingly similar to the Apple App Store and Google Play, offers “Bite-Sized” games to be played on PlayStation-approved mobile platforms and the Vita.
  • PlayStation 3 Essentials series revealed – a selection of iconic PS3 games at a bargain price (20 Euros). First games in the series are Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Infamous, and LittleBigPlanet.
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 to receive “CrossController” DLC, featuring levels in which players use both the PlayStation 3 and the Vita.
    • Gameplay demo showed Vita being used as a second screen, providing extra information and level control.
    • Touch screen and rear touch pad used to manipulate the environment and objects in it.
    • Jumping into a pipe marked with the Vita icon changes the level’s perspective to the Vita screen, reminiscent to the cross-platform functionality of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.
  • PlayStation Plus to receive many great improvements soon.
    • Red Dead Redemption will be a free Plus title in September.
    • Cloud storage increasing to 1GB, from 150MB.
    • Plus service coming to Vita “soon”.
    • 25% discount on Plus subscriptions from September 5th – 19th for European customers.
  • Wonderbook:
    • Book of Spells will have head-to-head multiplayer.
    • Two new titles announced for the Wonderbook line-up:
      • Diggs Nightcrawler – a noir-style detective story. Retells the story of Humpty-Dumpty as a murder conspiracy.
      • BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs will allow players to select dig sites, use a virtual chisel to dig up fossils, and interact with dinosaurs and see them in action.
      • Disney will also be contributing to the Wonderbook lineup, though no specific details were given.
  • FIFA 13 will make extensive use of the PlayStation Move controller.
    • Players can mark opponents, draw movement paths for their team to follow automatically, and take shots by flicking the Move controller – even add spin by twisting the controller.
  • Until Dawn, a new game inspired by teen horror movies. Players will control seven characters whose relationships with each other evolve over the course of the game’s story.
  • Rain, a new Sony IP about a boy who can only see in the rain. No further details given.
  • Puppeteer has players control a character who can swap heads to gain different powers. A pair of magical scissors is central to the story, and allows the character to fight enemies and traverse the environment. The presenter stated his inspiration for the game was his desire to exercise his son’s (and his) imagination.
  • A new The Last of Us trailer – Ellie makes Joel a mix tape, and Joel admits that he’s seen events “from both sides”, implying he wasn’t always a good man.
  • The event closed with further Black Ops: Declassified multiplayer footage.

It was certainly a lot to take in, but Sony certainly revealed a lot of exciting developments in such a short time since E3 in June. You can see all of the trailers and footage seen at the event below; be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!