As an upgraded PS Vita game, I think expectations are generally a bit lower for Liberation than for the rest of the AC games. The thing to remember however, is that the Vita itself is a capable console, not just a handheld in the standard definition, and as such this is the same as any other AC game. It uses the same mechanics, same tactics, same missions, just a different story.
The biggest difference between this and the main games is the bloodline. While the rest have always been the ancestors of Desmond Miles (with the exception of the DLC for Black Flag), this follows Aveline de Grandpré, a seemingly random assassin from New Orleans.
As far as the story goes, Liberation is acceptable. Aveline, a born free black woman in the mid 18th century, has joined the assassins, and uses her skills to try to fight the templars and free slaves. I however felt that Ubisoft missed a trick with the story, because how Aveline came to be an assassin is never really explained and that may have provided a bit more depth to the storyline. Also absent from the story are any of the pieces of Eden, which I consider a pretty large oversight in this case. I realise that the pieces of Eden are meant to be few and far between, but given the setting of New Orleans, and the fact that you meet witch doctors, come across voodoo dolls, and even have to emulate a curse at one point, the absence of any real magic in the game is a missed opportunity.
As far as gameplay goes, much is the standard we have come to expect; hidden blades, hiding places, shops to own, people to save, and myriads of collectibles; there is also a major gameplay changer in the form of guises. Throughout the city are dressing chambers which Aveline can use to change from her assassin outfit, to her dress, or a slave disguise. Each different guise gives a small change of gameplay. The assassin is just as normal, except now guards will always be on the lookout as notoriety cannot be dropped to zero. As the lady, Aveline has a position of privilege, meaning she can go almost anywhere, and guards take a lot longer to suspect her, however the trade-off is that she has to maintain the disguise, so cannot climb or jump around. She does get a parasol gun so that she can kill undetected. Lastly, the slave is about halfway between, capable of blending, but also with the agility to climb and run over rooftops.
Completely absent from the remake is the ‘multiplayer’ from the Vita, and this can only be seen as a fantastic move, as it was a terrible, boring, and complete waste of an addition on the original game, far more akin to a Facebook game than something console worthy.
Overall, it’s an AC game, and you generally can’t go wrong. Other than the odd choices in the story, there’s not really anything negative to say. On the positive side, this is actually the first AC that I’ve completed twice; both on the Vita and the 360; and although that is partly due to doing the series on XBOX, it’s also because it’s an enjoyable enough game to warrant replaying.