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View Full Version : Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is so much better than Liberation



Farlander1991
03-31-2017, 08:16 AM
Some people might now my dislike for Liberation... a game with interesting ideas, but ultimately a buggy mess with disappointing mission design and an unfollowable story. With that in mind, I didn't expect much when I tried Bloodlines for the first time today, and... I must say, I'm actually impressed.

While sadly the two big assassination missions so far still end up with boss fights, the mission design is much more intricate than that of Liberation with different alternate routes to get to the target. The missions between assassinations are more simplistic in nature, but somehow they don't feel as disappointingly short as Liberation's.

It also helps that the story is actually pretty interesting, and even though I know that Maria will join the Assassins, it's cool to see how her and Altair's relationship evolves. And, narratively-wise, the game even plays on the technical limitation of not having much people on the street by putting it into the frame of civil unrest when people are afraid to get out.

My only big gripe is the controls, mainly camera and combat. With only one stick on PSP, camera is controlled by holding L and then using one of the buttons, which is very uncomfortable. And combat, though it tries to emulate AC1's combat, is pretty clunky and not smooth. Performing combos and counter-attacks is not as flowy as it is in the big AC games.

All in all, I'm quite enjoying Bloodlines, and I think that some of the defenses of Liberation in the veins of 'well it's a handheld game so some of the downsides are due to technical limitations' are not quite valid as Bloodlines manages to do more and better than Liberation with even more technical limitations.

SixKeys
03-31-2017, 08:53 AM
I've only watched some of it on YouTube, but I think the game's biggest mistake was trying to emulate a true AC experience on such an underpowered system. There are almost no people on the street and guards give up the chase before it's even started, possibly because of short draw distance. Liberation at least brought something interesting (if flawed) to social stealth, Bloodlines barely had any.

Farlander1991
03-31-2017, 09:06 AM
I've only watched some of it on YouTube, but I think the game's biggest mistake was trying to emulate a true AC experience on such an underpowered system. There are almost no people on the street and guards give up the chase before it's even started, possibly because of short draw distance. Liberation at least brought something interesting (if flawed) to social stealth, Bloodlines barely had any.

Guards actually don't give up so easily, Bloodlines does a trick that it spawns new guards until you hide, even when on rooftops it takes quite some distance to actually get anonymous (though they don't chase you on roof, if you get down without getting anonymous, they will run towards you). And when it comes to social stealth, well... there's the blending from AC1 in Bloodlines :p But honestly, I'll take not having new social stealth systems or advanced social stealth with better useage of what you've got (and Bloodlines has a lot of sections that can be completed stealthily without being detected akin to AC1 only with less people on the streets, though mechanically it's the same) over a new system that's not only underutilized, but when the mission design itself prevents that system from being actually useful and interesting, which is the case in Liberation.

ze_topazio
03-31-2017, 10:08 PM
Them explaining in the game the lack of people in the streets, people are scared of the Templars so remain at their homes, I thought it was a nice detail, the first few games had a lot those details, integrating the game limitations in the narrative or lore and somehow making them acceptable, the more recent ACs have none of those cool details, very sad.

I only played the game once back in the day, I no longer remember the game in detail, I remember that I liked it, it did help that I played the game after AC1, so it was my second AC game (technically the third since the first AC game I ever attempted to play was Altair's Chronicles on the DS, but I never finished that one), from what I remember the story was okay but nothing to write home about, but there was some interesting mission designs, I remember a particularly good chase mission, there was several boss battles, and I actually enjoyed them, I remember the witch one, I think, that uses smoke bombs to hide or something, the only problem was the controls, a problem that most full 3D PSP game suffer do to the lack of buttons, I've been saying for years that Bloodlines should get an HD port for home consoles.

ERICATHERINE
03-31-2017, 10:25 PM
I've been saying for years that Bloodlines should get an HD port for home consoles.

Me too. Maybe we'll get one alongside ac 1 remastered in an Altair dual pack. ^-^

Farlander1991
04-03-2017, 09:49 PM
Hear hear, ze :) Though I would say the issue with 3D PSP games is not as much the lack of buttons as it is the lack of the second stick.

But, anyway, I've finished Bloodlines. The main story is actually fairly short, I'd say about 5/6-ish hours? There's not a lot of incentive to get back in to complete the remaining side missions after finishing the main story, which is a shame, but also kinda nice in a way.

And it's a very enjoyable, solid title (some control issues aside). Does it revolutionize anything? No. But it's got solid narrative, solid missions, solid AC1-like stealth (yes, there's not a lot of people on streets, but AC1 stealth in terms of gameplay works without a lot of people) and frankly better boss battles than the big console titles. It scales down some of AC1's design, but it uses what it's got smartly. It's a good game and I like it, and my opinion that it's so much better than Liberation has only strengthened.

SixKeys
04-03-2017, 11:11 PM
My main issue with the game is similar to the problem I have with the Chronicles games. Chronicles were labeled as AC despite not being open world, not being able to climb everything and not having social stealth. At that point I'm wondering "why call it AC at all?" Those are things that define AC. Bloodlines tried to bring the AC experience to a system that couldn't possibly support it. The world may not have been linear exactly, but it was so small it may as well have been. There were no crowds (they may have had a story-related reason for it, but the problem remains). You mentioned that the monk blending from AC1 is there, but crowds in AC aren't just about stealth mechanics, they're vital to establishing atmosphere. The climbing may be the only thing they got semi-right. Liberation, for all its problems, was able to offer a "true" AC experience that relies upon the three established core pillars. Although Bloodlines may be forgiven since it was only the second AC game ever made and there wasn't an established formula yet, as such.

Farlander1991
04-04-2017, 03:37 PM
My main issue with the game is similar to the problem I have with the Chronicles games. Chronicles were labeled as AC despite not being open world, not being able to climb everything and not having social stealth. At that point I'm wondering "why call it AC at all?" Those are things that define AC. Bloodlines tried to bring the AC experience to a system that couldn't possibly support it. The world may not have been linear exactly, but it was so small it may as well have been. There were no crowds (they may have had a story-related reason for it, but the problem remains). You mentioned that the monk blending from AC1 is there, but crowds in AC aren't just about stealth mechanics, they're vital to establishing atmosphere. The climbing may be the only thing they got semi-right. Liberation, for all its problems, was able to offer a "true" AC experience that relies upon the three established core pillars. Although Bloodlines may be forgiven since it was only the second AC game ever made and there wasn't an established formula yet, as such.

Chronicles aside (I don't see a reason why the Chronicles games can't be AC games but I suppose it's a different discussion), but I would argue that Bloodlines is more of an AC game than Liberation has ever been.

Bloodline's world is actually not that small. Okay, it is divided into smaller sections and the cities are not 'seamless', but:
1. Liberation with its seamless open-world limits mosts of its missions to small parts of it, while Bloodlines has plenty of missions that take place across multiple world sections.
2. Liberation in its mission design does a lot of hand-holding (even the very first mission that is essentially 'get to a viewpoint' requires the player to go through a lot of checkpoint), while Bloodlines follows proper open-world design by giving a goal and letting you find your way to that goal (and in most of the cases you can even complete side missions). Isn't that what AC is about?
3. Liberation main assassination missions are very linear in very small limited locations, Bloodlines has special levels for each of its assassinations, most of which (there are two exceptions) with a variety of ways to go through them.
4. Liberation adds a system that is supposed to enhance social stealth and provide more choices, the persona system, but for most of its missions it limits the choice to just one persona (and in some very rare cases - limits to two). More than that, the persona system doesn't matter in Bayou and all other special locations. Bloodlines doesn't provide any new additions in comparison to AC1, but it actually uses everything that its got.
5. Liberation has some more people on screen, but you never get to utilize them, it's got mechanics from post-AC2 games that are absolutely useless. Bloodlines has less crowds, but: a) it's supported narratively, and b) it doesn't affect gameplay. You have the same type of AC1 stealth, if you're walking infront of a guard they don't notice you, if you're running or doing other high profile actions infront of guards they're more aware, and at the later sequences guards have better discovery rates than in the earlier ones. That's the same kind of behavioral stealth that AC1 has got.
6. Bloodlines has got all the Combat/Navigation/Stealth pillars from the AC games. All the pillars are there from gameplay perspective, and the atmospheric issue of less NPC is handled in a smart way. I'll be honest when I say that when I personally played through the game, the amount of people on the streets wasn't striking in a negative way.

I'm sorry, but despite Bloodlines' technical limitation, in no way can I call Liberation a more 'true' AC experience than Bloodlines. Bloodlines is a good, solid AC games with some shortcomings, and a true AC experience. And I really mean true in a way that it felt like I was playing a mix of AC1 and AC2 (because Bloodlines has a more AC2-like overall mission structure for main missions).

SixKeys
04-05-2017, 12:01 AM
(snip)

Fair enough, good points.

ze_topazio
04-05-2017, 01:13 AM
Hear hear, ze :) Though I would say the issue with 3D PSP games is not as much the lack of buttons as it is the lack of the second stick.

That's what I meant, I have a tendency to think of the analog sticks as buttons.