'Assassin's Creed Liberation HD' UbiSoftSony PlayStation 3 (PC, Xbox 360) $19.99 DownloadESRB rating: Mature3.5 stars
Sony's PS Vita may not be extremely popular, but it is the most powerful handheld system on the market. As a result, so many companies have ported console games to the PS Vita that they now outnumber exclusive games. In an interesting twist, Ubisoft has ported and upgraded their PS Vita-exclusive title, "Assassin's Creed Liberation" to modern consoles and the PC.
In a first for the series, players take on the role of a female assassin. Aveline de Grandpre is a steadfast French African woman who lives in New Orleans in the late 1700s. Despite her heritage (these are the days of slavery), Aveline lives in the lap of luxury. Eventually, she becomes an assassin, which is only part of the convoluted and unclear story.Even though this title was originally designed for a handheld system, it still plays like other "Assassin's Creed" titles. The mission structure is broken up into main sequences, and there are plenty of voluntary side missions to undertake. The main character can climb on nearly anything, perform a wide variety of flashy assassinations and also mingle in the crowd.Speaking of which, the main difference between this game and other games in the series is the introduction of "personas." This basically lets the player change between three costumes that each have distinct advantages. The standard assassin has all the tricks and abilities, but stands out in a crowd. The Lady in fancy dress is a great disguise, but she moves slowly and cannot climb. Lastly, the slave blends in wherever she goes but cannot perform assassinations."Assassins Creed Liberation HD" pales in comparison to "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag," but it's still a fun game that should appeal to completionists.
'Kingdom Rush'Ironhide Game StudioWindows PC$9.99
ESRB rating: E10 4.0 stars
Tower defense games are an odd offshoot of the strategy genre that only appeal to a small group of people. In fact, most gamers think they're a waste of time. Fortunately, they're relatively easy to design, so they're quite numerous! "Kingdom Rush" has become very popular on portable devices, and now this medieval little gem is available on the PC."Kingdom Rush" forgoes a complex storyline in favor of the age-old idea of defending a sturdy castle from supernatural evildoers. Twelve stages that range from tall forests to snowy mountaintops make up the main campaign, while numerous additional missions that had to be purchased on mobile platforms are included for free. This is very welcome since the PC version is more expensive.This game utilizes standard tower defense game play where players strategically place towers along pathways to destroy hordes of attackers. Only four types of towers are available at the beginning, with the ability to upgrade and customize them opening up as players progress. Eventually, special abilities such as different types of spells for wizard towers become available.One unique twist in this game is the inclusion of Barracks towers that spill soldiers out onto the battlefield to fight enemies while also slowing their movement. This opens up the ability to use extremely effective tactics such as blocking enemies in while unleashing barrages from powerful towers placed nearby.
Another cool feature is the inclusion of Heroes. Each has unique abilities and attacks. Players choose their Hero before each level, and they act like moveable towers during game play because they can be moved to different pathways. It's also cool that they earn experience in battle, which increases their power as they gain higher levels."Kingdom Rush" on the PC is a direct port of the portable version with all of the bonus content (levels, heroes, towers) included.