Assassin’s Creed 3: The Tyranny of King Washington – The Infamy Review
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Gear up and get going for the newest DLC for Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – The Infamy. Ubisoft has released part one of a three-part DLC episode series, and you can pick up this little goody on your console today! The second installment, The Betrayal, will be available for download as of March 19, 2013, followed by The Redemption on April 23, 2013.
Keep in mind this is heavily based on a fictional alternate reality – one where George Washington has crowned himself King of the United States of America. He is the antagonist of the story, and quite an entertaining one at that! Taking place a few months after Assassin’s Creed III (no spoilers), Ratonhnhaké:ton (Connor) awakens to see his mother Kaniehtí:io (Ziio), warning him there is trouble in the woods. They make their way through the forest and come across Bluecoats ambushing some villagers, rescue them, and then get a warning that King Washington is on the hunt for Ziio. Under the command of the tyrannous Washington, the Bluecoats then attack the nearby village, resulting in Ziio meeting her demise. Connor seems altogether confused throughout the first opening scene, trying to figure out what the heck is happening through all the commotion, as this is happening so suddenly and contradictory of what his reality was at the end of Assassin’s Creed III.
The Washington ‘friend-gone-foe’ angle is really neat; the main idea is that even the virtuous George Washington could be corrupted when obtaining the Apple of Eden – as its powers are so strong, that very few are worthy of holding it without being corrupted by its sheer strength. Wielding the Apple of Eden, his reign is full of bloodshed and death, and his thirst for power seemingly unquenchable.
So what happens when a mere mortal goes up against someone who has the Apple of Eden? New abilities! In The Infamy, there are two abilities: Wolf Cloak and the ability to summon wolves instead of recruits. The first ability is kind of interesting – it’s a Wolf Power that allows Connor to camouflage himself, making him invisible to the naked eye – which certainly makes sneaking up and disposing of your enemies that much easier. The downside to this ability is that it slowly drains your health, so it cannot be used indefinitely. This supernatural gift can also be applied to missions that sport old mechanics, and at times the game forces you to Cloak to properly synchronize and complete your objectives. For instance, when eavesdropping on someone, or tailing and enemy on a mission, you won’t have quite as many spots to hide as before – making Wolf Cloak a necessity.
The second ability is the option to call three wolves to aid you, and upon doing so, a pack of spirit wolves will come attack your enemies. The sound effects to this are fantastic, especially the sickeningly awesome sounds the wolves make while they tear through the flesh of their horrified foes. Much louder and more violent than your recruits, these wolves pack a punch when you’re in a pinch.
There were a lot of notable delays and glitches in the game. For instance, you go to complete an action and the game acts as if you did not, and graphical errors will leave you disillusioned. A few examples would be game items like horses that either take a while to spawn – or they spawn, you get on, and the game acts as if you are still waiting around for the horse to appear. These kinds of delays can be detrimental to the gameplay and mission completion – and will mess with your synchronization. The combat system also has some errors. When you’re stealthed to kill an enemy, sometimes it’ll glitch and take you out of stealth, or your target will notice you anyway. To top it off, you’ll have characters and AI get stuck in things (like trees), or indicators on your map that don’t disappear when you’ve killed an enemy. It’s rare to run into so many glitches in an Assassin’s Creed game, which is probably what makes these errors so shocking. It is certainly an unexpected change, but one that — if you are aware of before you go into the game, and aren’t a perfectionist — can be dealt with fairly easily as they come.
Thankfully, the DLC allows for the same open-world concept included in all the Assassin’s Creed games, though many of the side-missions feel monotonous and repetitive. It is the same rinse, lather, repeat concept we have all come to know. While keeping with the basic concepts that follow the Assassin’s Creed series, it hurts the idea that you are in an alternate universe within an alternate universe, as you get mystical powers, but still have to do all the same tasks you would as any other ancestor of Desmond’s. The main storyline itself is about 2-3 hours in length, which for a DLC pack is a perfect length, especially when you then add all the side quests, treasures, and parts of the map to explore. A bonus to the side content is that the markers for new missions on your map are actually teleport points this time around – giving you the option to quick-travel to your destination if you just don’t feel like roaming around anymore. While the side content is not new, it still gives you something more to do than the main storyline. You’ll find yourself compelled to purchase the rest of the episodes, however, so be warned that if you’re going to sink your money into The Infamy, you’ll probably end up spending your hard earned cash on all three.
Visually, the designers at Ubisoft were having a dark moment. This DLC is set in a very grim and gloomy alternate world, where there are village fires, dead bodies, and cold winter storms scattered across the lands – this is not the bright and (while slightly dingy) beautiful seaside we are used to. The graphics are on par with the series, adding crisp animations, smooth changes between scenes, and unique new abilities, but the transition into dreamland was a little trippy. The design they chose to use when you go on a spirit hunt (after drinking special tea to ‘open your mind’ so you can obtain your new abilities) is muddied and disorienting. You end up trying to see past yourself, into a sort of vaseline-like surrounding, trying to hunt various beasts and follow wolves. It’s understandable that they would try to make it disorienting and surreal, because it’s essentially a glorified drug-trip, but this will turn off some users. In spite of the design choices for The Infamy, there are some amazing touches that make this game really feel like something special. The smoke and ash wafting through the air as villagers run for their lives from their own homes, or the quick, sweeping motions as Connor flips from limb to limb in the forest – you won’t be experiencing the same kind of lighter scenery you did in the original game.
Overall, The Infamy does what most Assassin’s Creed content does: it gives a new twist to gameplay without taking away the base mechanics fans have come to rely on. The main let-down is the noticeable glitches. Sometimes restarting the mission will fix these issues, others seem to be there whether you restart or not. If you can get past this problem and still find yourself immersed in the storyline, it’s a great add-on that will make you excited for the new release. It takes the age-old Animus feel and injects new forms of abilities into battle, new unexpected foes, and an injection of Assassin’s Creed for those craving just a little more gameplay.
Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – The Infamy receives a 4.0/5.0
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