Children Of Liberty Hands-On Preview

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Posted May 5, 2014 by Simon Marshall in PC Previews, Previews

After stealth-platformer Mark of the Ninja rose to critical acclaim in 2012, it seems as though many in the gaming community have been patiently anticipating a game which progresses some of the ideas found in Klei Entertainments smash-hit title. Fast forward to 2014 and a game which potentially fits this mould exists and, although the game has already been released via Steam’s Early Access feature, I have been sampling a small section of Children of Liberty and I have been able to see some of the features which the developers have been able to implement into the game.

Children of Liberty has been developed by Lantana Games and features unique 2D gameplay in a 3D world. From what I played, I could sense that there had been inspiration taken from a few popular titles, but Children of Liberty seems to hold its own when it mixes all these aspects together.

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With the 18th century proving to be a popular setting for a recent AAA title, Children of Liberty is set in 1775 and the game sees you playing as one of four characters in the chain-of-events which led to the start of the American Revolution. As the enemy Redcoats looked to take over munitions depots outside of Boston, the Sons of Liberty must step in and try to warn the countryside of the Redcoats impending attack.

The amount of gameplay I was able to preview only amounted to around 10 minutes, if that, but the game almost seems focused on using a controller. While I did try to play through the game by using a keyboard, it’s much easier using a controller. The main environmental design which first strikes you are the parallel blue and red lines which signal areas where you can hide against a wall, climb up or down ladders, where you can jump over obstacles and grab onto ledges. Normally the red line shows where you can sprint and interact with obstacles while the blue line normally shows where you can hide from incoming patrol guards and they pass you no matter the circumstances when on the blue line.

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The stealth mechanic which sees your character evading enemy sight by pinning them self to a wall, where you can ultimately attack and dispose of your enemies with a one-hit kill feature on all enemies you catch by surprise. This reminded me of a recent Nintendo exclusive title which used the ‘merge’ feature to great reward. From what I’ve experienced, the combat seems to be basic and straight forward. With one press of the X button your character will slice an enemy with their wooden sword and knock them down. There is no blood from what I experienced, but there was a slightly bigger problem. It’s relatively easy to make it through a section undetected, but to see how the enemies would react I decided to get spotted on a few occasions and this presented its own problems as even though they had muskets, they couldn’t hurt me at all. Hopefully this is something which has been resolved in the finished game, but that wasn’t all I had encountered.

Every time I felt as though I was making decent progress, the game would put something in my way that would suck me right back out of the experience. Children of Liberty seems to revolve around stealth and moving through an area undetected. It’s hard to feel as though you’re accomplishing anything when the enemies spot you, you aren’t punished and the game will often freeze as I experienced several times. I must stress, that the game which I played was very much an early build and with the reaction from the Developers on the Steam community, it seems as though there is still a bit of work to be done on the game.

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If you look at the video, or even the screenshots, it’s clear that a lot of care and attention has been dedicated to the art style. There are thousands of hand drawn animations which combine with accurate-to-reality constructed environments and lighting which help to punctuate the characters to make them feel almost lifelike. I do imagine that, from what I’ve played, the gameplay could become repetitive and the screenshots from different areas of the game seem to reflect this. At the moment this is all up in the air as I haven’t played the final game, but it seems as though they are eager to iron out the creases to make this game into something special.

That is often the trouble with Early Access titles; they can be released merely to meet deadlines instead of the quality which they potentially could have. At this stage it’s hard to tell how well Children of Liberty could be. The story, art design and tone all seem to be there, it’s just whether or not enough notice is taken to the feedback provided by the community.

Children of Liberty is available now on Steam Early Access for £6.99.


Author

Simon Marshall



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