Assassin's Creed Liberation HD ReviewGuest_Jim_* - January 28, 2014
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As I mentioned in the introduction, you are not playing as Desmond in this game. Exactly who you are playing as is never revealed either as everything takes place within the memories; there are no modern-day periods. As it is supposed to be a game made by Abstergo Entertainment, based on someone's genetic memories, it would appear we are to assume you are playing as just some gamer within the Assassin's Creed universe.
Aveline is the daughter of an African slave and French merchant. As a young child she was separated from her mother, and so ends up being raised by her father and step mother. Though not shown within the game, as she grows she becomes a capable business woman, so it is not surprising when she takes at least some control of her father's business. Also not shown in the game is her becoming an Assassin. The memory of her losing her mother is actually presented to us as a dream she occasionally suffers as an adult, so all of the time between is skipped.
With Abstergo being the modern-day form of the Templars, it is not surprising that they scrubbed parts of the story to be more favorable to their cause. As you play, you will receive messages from Erudito, a group of hackers that want to expose Abstergo's lies. It is not clear if they have any direct association with the Assassins, but at least for now their interests are aligned. Anyway, Erudito has placed Citizen E characters in the game, and by killing them the original memories will be shown to you, revealing what actually happened.
Sadly these correct memories I found to often be confusing, adding information that does not seem to relate to anything and being of little importance, if any. Perhaps I somehow missed some of the Citizen E's, and thus parts of the puzzle, but then a better job should have been done directing the player to them. Of course the story itself is confusing and/or lacking in focus, so really those memories are just icing on the cake.
As I stated above, the game skips over Aveline becoming an Assassin, which I believe has hurt the story. I say that not because we need to see that, but because without it, we do not have an understanding of the dynamic between her and her mentor, Agate. This becomes a problem when she eventually defies his orders, because his reaction seems to be greater than that incident deserves. Something else is fueling his emotions, such as a difficult past training her, but we are never told. In fact it is not until the end of the game that it is even revealed how he came to recruit her.
Related to this is that we do not know his character very well either, and the person we do get to know is, well, an asshole. Honestly, when he eventually dies, I did not care because he was such an asshole and really not a good Assassin Mentor, based on what we see in the other games.
Speaking of the end of the game, it left me rather confused, though that may not be the best word for it. During the course of the game you recover pieces of an artifact related to the First Civilization. Considering the danger associated with obtaining them and the acts it took to find them, what you are ultimately presented with is underwhelming. People died for this and you nearly died multiple times, yet that is all you get? It does not even seem significant enough to be more than a footnote in the Assassin's Creed mythos. Ironically it would appear that Abstergo Entertainment recognized this as their ending for Liberation actually does not reveal the nature of the artifact. Of course that could be to protect themselves, but considering you are allowed to know the artifact exists that hardly makes sense. Besides, the fictional developers could have just changed the memories to something else that suits their purposes.
Altogether I found this to be a quite poor story. Many relationships are not established well enough to make reactions to events interesting and the motivations of many characters are also not clear. In some ways the clearest motivations are those of supporting characters that are not really influencing events, but are present.
One more thing worth mentioning is that through it all, I cannot recall, "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted," being said by anyone. There were decidedly appropriate moments for it, but somehow this Assassin's Creed game actually lacks the Assassin's Creed. Perhaps that is for the best.