Published on August 17th, 2012 | by Cameron Woolsey
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation is the Game Batman Would Play
Developer: Ubisoft Sofia
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012
Query: If I asked you to guess the name of a fictional character in my mind who carries dual identities, one disguised to blend in to the surrounding while stalking over rooftops while using a variety of fancy gadgets to fight wrongdoers, and the other disguised as a rich socialite used to trick others into believing that the other identity doesn’t exist, which character comes to mind?
I have little doubt that you would have at least one or two characters in that list, and I know that for a majority of you the top of the list will be graced by the scowling visage of everyone’s favorite grumpy superhero, Batman.
But you would be wrong.
No, the character I’m thinking of is none other than a woman named Aveline de Grandpré, the assassin and main character of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. Last week I was given the chance to get to know Aveline a little better, and I was surprised to find many peculiar parallels between her universe and that of the famous dark knight. And it all starts with those disguises.
The heroes of past Creed titles rarely shed their assassin cloaks, favoring the uniform as a part of their personality. Aveline however is not bound to the guild’s cloth, and can use disguises to complete her objectives.
In the demonstration, I watched as Aveline walked into a shop as a white-cloaked assassin, and emerged dressed in the finest dress the southern city of 1771 New Orleans could offer. A white and green gown now covered the assassin and her arsenal of deadly weaponry. This disguise isn’t used to fight, but to deceive.
As a gentlewoman, Aveline slowly moves her way through crowds and between buildings; her dress makes it impossible to climb or hop on rooftops. However, this disguise will keep guards from growing suspicious of her.
Aveline’s primary weapons are wealth and southern charm, both of which she has in high supply. For example, she can use a bribe to get passed a group of guards blocking the entrance to a mission area. The bribe initiates a mini-game of sorts in which she can offer the guards several dollar amounts of increasing value and the likelihood that the bribe will work is different with each amount in the range of low to high probability.
The bribing mechanic is sort of like gambling, in that you may be able to get away with paying the lowest amount, or you could end up spending far more than you planned.
Aveline can also use her charm to captivate a guard, who will become her escort in an enemy-controlled region for a limited time. If in trouble, she can make a quick disappearing act by tossing a smoke pellet on the ground, and move by enemies as smoothly as good ol’ Bats.
Though the leading star of Liberation shares some traits of the caped crusader, she does not always follow the same rules. She throws knives as accurately as baterangs, and yes, Aveline does kill when it is necessary. This darker path ironically caused her to take up some talents possessed by some in Batman’s rogues gallery. One of Aveline’s tools of the trade is a fancy umbrella, typical of what one would see in movies or television shows based on 18th century lifestyles.
But this dainty umbrella owned by this Southern flower hides a secret. Hidden within the harmless looking enemy of water is a blow gun, which is given to Aveline early in the game. Holding the fire button creates a targeting laser that grows narrower as her aim steadies. Releasing the button sends a poisoned dart screaming at her target. The weapon is noiseless–completely undetectable to anyone else around.
I noticed two different types of poisons. One was fast acting and took a guard out within a few moments. The other was the poison that Assassin’s Creed fans should be familiar with. It’s slow acting and causes the target to lose control, attacking anyone within arm’s length before dying.
I realize that some of you may be wondering: what does the umbrella have to do with anything? Batman doesn’t use one. No, he doesn’t use umbrellas. But as I mentioned before, Aveline does share similarities with Batman, but she also takes notes from his enemies. After all, who else but The Penguin would find Aveline’s silent method of dispatching guards to be…just exquisite.
In another scenario, I watched as Aveline took the guise of a simple worker. Gone were the fancy clothes, replaced by foul and dirty rags that caused some higher class citizens to give a wide berth.
In this new disguise Aveline is able to hoodwink the guards into thinking she is a local worker, and grant her access to the enclose mission area. Without heavy garments to weigh her down, she can easily scurry up buildings and leap across rooftops. I watched as she entered Eagle Vision, a returning ability which highlights her targets. When she found her victim, walking aimlessly around without a care in the world, she took out a long whip, something that Batman’s more familiar feline companion would employ, snapped it around the guy’s neck and pulled–hard–choking the life out of him.
I can picture no better scenario than Batman perched on a ledge with a PlayStation Vita in hand while making Aveline drop enemies with an umbrella or choke them out with a whip. Sure, she could toss knives as easily as batarangs, but why? The Dark Knight lives by his set of rules, much like everyone does their own. But every so often isn’t it a little fun to step outside those boundaries? Just to see what it would be like? I’m sure he’s been a little curious.
From what I’ve seen with Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation so far is a game similar to that of prior titles in the series. However, Aveline is a unique character–part African-American, part French, she walks a thin line dividing two different cultures and beliefs. Compared to assassins before, Aveline has different skill sets that she can employ to accomplish her mission–another unique trait to a unique character.