Assassin’s Creed 3 DLC Review in Three Parts by @vdjomb
Tyranny of King Washington Part 1: The Infamy
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform: Xbox360, WiiU, PC, PS3 (reviewed)
Price: £7.99 solus (or as part of Season Pass £25)
Before you read this I’d highly recommend you check out Kari’s awesome (spoiler free) Assassin’s Creed 3 review HERE!
I bought a Season Pass for £25 (which saves 25% on the price of pieces bought separately) on release day purely because the list of additional content had been made available, the idea of three episodic parts of alternate story as well as Multiplayer content had me sold. I’ve already played the extra Single-player content in the Hidden Secrets Pack. The Benedict Arnold pack was a decent amount of fun set as it is within the games time line and providing a few extras including an additional short story mission, located in a brand new area to explore. Battle Hardened DLC brings extra Multiplayer maps and additional playable characters; my personal favourite being the Red Headed Scotsman, who taunts by lifting his kilt to flash his bobby at opponents. This pack contains four more easily achieved Silver trophies. If you’re interested in my opinion as a Veteran player of Assassin’s Creed 3 Multiplayer check out my views HERE!
Not how I left it
The DLC is set in an alternative time line where key events of Assassin’s Creed 3’s main story never occurred. As a result of this divergent story line, the protagonist never became the vengeance filled Assassin (and more sadly never became my namesake). Ratohnhaké:ton remained with his tribe, maturing into one of his clans great warriors. The clan was forcibly evicted from their land by the Blue coats enabling them to secure the Apple of Eden, which the Ancients had placed under the protection of the tribe. The glowing golden orb has now been fashioned into a septre and is wielded mainarchly by the self-declared King George Washington.
Those of you familiar the Ezio Trilogy will be aware of the strength of this nefarious power that Washington has been wielding to become the country’s King. From the start of this new chapter it becomes rapidly apparent that his control and domination is due to the power of his staff, enabling the subjugation of people’s minds.
This first episode has Ratohnhaké:ton awaking from a nightmare at a time just after the final events of the original story, still has memories of the events of the original timeline. The discombobulation that Ratohnhaké:ton feels is transferred to the player in a form of forced empathy. If you paid attention to the Assassin’s Creed 3 story you spend most of your time watching the DLC cut scenes thinking “but what about that / them”? It’s very much breaking the fourth wall, almost to the point were I was waiting for Ratohnhaké:ton to turn to the player and ask “do you have any idea what’s going on cos I certainly don’t”?
Locating you within the snowy Frontier, an area now besieged by the ruling Blue coats who are under Washington’s dictatorial command. By enslaving and starving the Frontier’s inhabitants, Washington’s subjects have been left impoverished and the villages ravaged by extended civil war. These are deliberately jarring when juxtaposed to how everything looked during the original story. I loved the snow it was always beautiful in the main game but only used sparingly, fairly early in the main story so getting a chance revisit the picturesque tundra I found welcoming. I have no intention of spoiling the story as it’s rather interesting a bit like watching the disorientation Fourth Season of Fringe.
The game allows you the ability to free roam the Frontier and you can spend your time (pointlessly I found) collecting treasures chests, which contain no money but are useful for restocking ammunition. There are memory fragments from the original story located at key locations, which when activated appear as live floating screens in the area they are found. The best thing I found was that you don’t need to physically travel to each mission start location, as you can simply fast travel to them using the map, thus aiding getting straight on with the story.
The gameplay is the same as the main game, in that you’re still able to effortlessly leap through trees but in an impressively different Tribal outfit.
The combat also remains the same (sans signature Assassin’s Tomahawk). The main difference to the gameplay comes when you gain new powers, these are granted through a Sky World Journey, this trippy hallucinogenic experience throws you into a glitchy version of the Animus. The first power gained is that of the Wolf (granting the power of spontaneous invisibility) the method of gaining this would be a massive spoiler but it’s rather more clever if intentionally visually disorienting.
Using this power has a very high reward level, as it allows you to sneak between hiding places without alerting guards, this cloaking ability also gives you the opportunity to assassinate enemies without alerting anyone else. Being invisible does come at a cost though, notably that your energy is rapidly drained, as it’s used. Ratohnhaké:ton health will regenerate rapidly if not in conflict with enemies, timing of this takes a bit if practice.
I found the ability not always as effective for attack but perfect for infiltration, up to the point where you discover that guard dogs can see straight through your attempts to sneak past them. Thankfully there’s a way to distract these mutts by bating an area, which attracts the hounds and prevents guards being alerted to your presence. There are a couple of missions that require you do not become detected, I failed these repeatedly until I sussed out how to bait the dogs, and slip past them. The balance between frustration and sense of achievement for me fell wholly in the former camp. With that said I was soon distracted by the addition of a new Wolf Spirit Power in the form or the rather awesome Wolf Pack Summoning. It does feel slightly overpowered when you first use it, as these spectral beings will ravage any enemies in close proximity, chewing down merrily on a beefy Scots guard like they are a yummy Angus burger. This power has quite a lengthy cool down, which I’m pleased about otherwise I’m sure I would just spam it to get through any enemies.
The story unfolds nicely, the alternate timeline is a clever way to bring back character’s that had met with a timely demise at the hands of Connor or his Templar foes.
Whilst never explaining how this alternate reality has occurred it is engaging. I’m hoping by the time I finish Episode Three: The Redemption I will understand what has caused the splitting of the branch, especially as Ubisoft seem to class these episodes as part of the Assassin’s Creed every expanding canon. There are plenty of surprises along the way, especially the cliffhanger ending, which will start you in Boston for Episode 2: The Betrayal.
Without a conclusion
This would usually be the point where I’d tell you whether this DLC is worth the £7.99 price but as it’s only part one of three and I feel it would be unfair to give it a score, due to the nature of the story arch. I will say that there’s about two and a half hours of extra interesting story (without hunting down all the treasures) and I found the story compelling enough for me to be eager to see where the story is going. trophy wise there are One Bronze and Three Silvers with one requiring 100% synchronisation, which I can say with confidence is going to be a pain for me personally. If you’re a Trophy Hunter you can decide for yourself if it’s worth the price.
Join me next time as I discuss The Tyranny of King Washington: Part 2 The Betrayal