As a handheld entry in the Assassin’s Creed series, this game does justice to its predecessors. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation tells an engaging story and features all the trademark stealthy gameplay that the series is known for. Even better, most disabled gamers who are able to access the Vita should be able to play this game.
First, gamers with hearing disabilities will be happy to know that this game features a full set of subtitles, which ironically should be used by most English speaking gamers since a large part of the dialogue is in French or features heavy French accents. And similar to the console versions, the Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation does not rely solely on sound to tell players when the guards are alerted to their presence. There is a red indicator that fills to signal how suspicious the guard is, and when this is full, the entire screen blinks distinctively to signal the start of “open combat.” Beyond this there are very few features that rely wholly on sound, and seemingly none that affect the main storyline.
Second, gamers with sight disabilities will be happy to know that the Vita’s high definition screen and advanced graphics capabilities mean that everything in the game shows up crisp, clear, and extremely distinct. And while not completely barrier free, just because of the way the Assassin’s Creed controls are laid out (which may require players to kill a particular enemy first in order to avoid dying), to gamers with sight disabilities this game should be no less accessible than other Assassin’s Creed titles. This is due to the fact that there is very little in the game that is communicated solely through the graphical interface, and the things that are (such as treasure chests appearing on the mini-map) are only secondary objectives. And even if the player needs to use the mini-map, it seems like all the icons are distinctive and easy to read.
The real sticking point that we at DAGERS were afraid of when reviewing Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation was going to be how it implemented the back touch pad and the front touch screen, since this would greatly affect the accessibility of the game to those with fine motor disabilities. Fortunately, the back touch pad is forgiving enough so that in the rare occasions when the player will need to make Aveline pick somebody’s pocket or row a canoe, there should be no problem as long as the player can physically access the system’s back touch pad, which may require playing the game on a charging station. Another good point is that the front touch screen is only a secondary means of input. Everything that can be done through the front touch screen can also be done through the system’s buttons.
The one area which players with fine motor disabilities might want to be aware of is in the navigation and target selection. Much more precision is needed to make Aveline select particular targets on the Vita rather than making Connor do the same thing on a console. However, the game is forgiving enough that this should not be a major barrier, since if a player ends up dying they often have the opportunity of avoiding the fight that got them killed. However, this problem with precision also affects the free running mechanic, and there is a noticeable difference between the forgiving nature of the AC3 free running mechanic and that of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation.
As a whole, this game is not perfect. But it is definitely worth the time of any disabled player who can access a PlayStation Vita and enjoys the Assassin’s Creed series.
Please feel free to leave comments below the article that address your particular accessibility challenges with this game. If you feel there is a major omission in this review, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “revision” in the subject line. Please include specific details regarding anything we may have missed. If necessary, we will update our review based on your feedback.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Visual Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Auditory Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Released For: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: M
GameInformer Score: 7.75