Fans of reliving fictional memories are no doubt gearing up for the high-profile release of the latest adventure in Animus adventuring, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag – featuring sea dog, Edward Kenway. Despite tempered expectations from the developer, Ubisoft‘s sixth triple-A console Assassin’s Creed installment is already one of the most preordered games of the year.
Yet, if you’re a PS3 player, Black Flag isn’t the only Assassin’s Creed game set for release on Sony‘s current generation hardware, as the PS Vita exclusive, Assassin’s Creed: Liberation was previously announced for an HD remake with significant gameplay tweaks, along with new missions and personas. At the time of the report, the game was teased as “coming soon,” but Sony has now unveiled an official release date for Liberation‘s console debut.
According to a post on the official PlayStation Blog, the HD title revision will arrive via the PlayStation Network on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at a price of $19.99.
If you don’t own a Vita, or simply weren’t interested in a handheld Assassin’s Creed game at the time, check out the trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD below to get an idea of the story and updated feature set.
While the amount of content will pale in comparison to a full-fledged Assassin’s Creed experience, given that Liberation was originally developed for the Vita, the $19.99 price point is a full $20 cheaper than the game’s original launch price – and includes a variety of new features and refinements.
Here’s the official list from Sony:
In addition to the HD upgrade, we also have new missions specific to Aveline’s Personas. Aveline is the first Assassin with such clearly different character types – Assassin, Lady, and Servant. Each persona has its own advantages and disadvantages when playing missions, and each generates a different reaction from the city life around Aveline. That’s a total of 15 missions delving deeper into Aveline’s story.
The timing of the release makes sense, especially considering that Liberation‘s protagonist, Aveline de GrandprÃ©, will be featured as a playable character in at least one Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag mission. Meaning that interest in the character’s backstory will, in theory, be even higher after gamers (that didn’t play Liberation) have been introduced to her in the latest numbered AC title. Additionally, with next-generation hardware less than one month away (from the time of this writing), the clock is definitely ticking for an HD update of Liberation – which looks good now but will likely start to appear pretty dated as more and more PS4 and Xbox One titles are introduced throughout 2014.
That said, the Ubisoft team has, without question, made good use of the added PS3 power – as Liberation boasts sharp visuals on the console hardware. Our Vita Liberation review was mostly positive but cited a lot of room for improvement, especially when it came to mission variety and combat encounters. So, it’ll be interesting to see if the developer has successfully improved the core gameplay experience as much as the onscreen assets.
Liberation is unlikely to be a system-selling Sony exclusive but the game is not expected to make an appearance on Microsoft or PC hardware right away (though Xbox 360 and Windows versions have been announced). As a result, it’s possible that more than a few die-hard Assassin’s Creed fans may end up picking-up a PS3 to get the full AC experience – now that they can enjoy the game on a console. If so, Sony will not only manage to draw consumers to their PS3 hardware, they’ll also open up an all new group of potential players to additional exclusive game sales (i.e. the Uncharted and Killzone series, to name a few).
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD arrives January 14, 2013 on PS3.
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is currently available for PS Vita.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.