What’s Changed in Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD?
- Updated: 11th Sep, 2013
PS Vita game Assassin’s Creed Liberation is finally coming to the big(ger) screen. Starring female assassin Aveline, the game has been completely overhauled for its HD console port by the same team who created it in the first place, Ubisoft Sofia. Excellent news because, while the original version was entertaining, it could have been much better.
Ubisoft Sofia have rebuilt all their character models, giving Aveline and her cohorts far more detail in facial expressions and animation. “We polished all the animation, all the cinematics in the game,” said associate producer Momchil Gindyanov. “We implemented a new facial rig so in all the cinematics, which is more than an hour of material, all the animations were polished and the facial animation was done from scratch.” Everything in the game has been re-textured and the new HDR and linear lighting systems really bring out the detail of 1760’s New Orleans. Check out the direct comparison picture below, showing the bayou in which Aveline meets her mentor.
In my review of the Vita version, I said that the game lacks the depth of its console counterparts. Much of the crucial worldbuilding was done through the Animus encyclopaedia and optional tasks like collecting a series of notes from Aveline’s mother. Many players won’t get all these collectibles, so the developers have moved things around somewhat.
“We did everything that we could to tie [up] loose ends because it was an ambitious story and it still is,” said Gindyanov. “There are many many layers to it.” To make this narrative backdrop more visible, they’ve added story panels to the loading screens, reminding players of the important names in the region. These will also cover backstory, like what’s happening in New Orleans while Aveline is elsewhere.
The main missions themselves have been rebalanced. “Every one of the missions was reviewed. If we gathered that it was not fun enough and people were bored by it, we changed the objectives, changed the things you had to do.
“For the missions that were too hard – the mission difficulty and progression was not exactly even – we re-did all the encounters in the mission to make sure that all the archetypes are met gradually and that difficulty ramps up gradually.” I didn’t think any of the missions were particularly hard and I’m not exactly a hard-boiled Assassin’s Creed fan but I guess you can’t really argue with smoother progression.
Aveline’s guises are unique to Liberation and do have a big effect on the game. When dressed in her Lady costume, for example, Aveline’s movement is incredibly restricted, but as a high-ranking member of New Orleans’ society, she does gain access to other things.
Gindyanov continued “We implemented a big set of new tutorials throughout the whole main path so every important combat mechanic or navigation mechanic gets introduced in an exclusive way. It’s not a contextual tutorial at the side. They show when you have to do something nearby but the actual tutorial makes sure all the players go through an explanation of the combat system and the main navigation features.”
In addition to the guided tutorials, there are 15 new sidequests in this HD version. While the main story remains untouched, you will be able to play through three new quest chains, each explanding a little more on Aveline’s personality. “It’s all about Aveline and how she behaves in the context of the three personas,” said Gindyanov. While a lot of thought had clearly gone into Aveline’s various roles in society for the original game, this was little-explored, so these new quests will be very welcome.
The team are considering some kind of benefit like a discount for people who bought the Vita version of the game but as of yet, this has not been confirmed.
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD will be coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in early 2014.