YET IT'S ASSASSIN'S CREED

Narrative gripes aside, Liberation certainly feels like an Assassin's Creed game, if one that's slightly watered down. Aveline's got a full arsenal, including useful new tools like poison darts and a bitchin' whip, and though the series' signature free-running movements aren't as reliable as they are in the console games, everything still feels smooth. That proved true particularly out in the game's bayou environment, where fallen trees mark the beginnings of lengthy and satisfying branch-to-branch running paths.

Combat feels slightly more awkward on the Vita, though for the most part it's fair. Stunning groups of enemies with smoke bombs and strangling them with Aveline's whip as they recover is loads of fun, and sometimes it's nice to simply use Liberation's limited auto-kill mode to tap enemies on the screen and have her do the work for you. It's like a fast-forward for tussles, and while I didn't use it often, I was glad for it when I did.

The real star of any Assassin's Creed game is the environment. While the Vita's versions of New Orleans, the Louisiana bayou, and a small section of Mexican jungle aren't nearly as large or elaborate as Rome or Constantinople in past games, the detail Ubi has packed into them is impressive considering the hardware. And the number of characters Liberation manages to jam on-screen is even more impressive.

PAGE 3 of 5