The Tyranny of King Washington is a three-part “what if” scenario for Assassin’s Creed III. From the very beginning, it is made clear that this is a side-story as Connor wakes up from a dream, into a world where he is just as confused as you, the player, to find himself in the circumstances that he does. The world both he and you, the player, knew, was apparently just a fantasy. Mild spoiler warning ahead (nothing you won’t find out within the first thirty seconds, anyway).
While completion of Assassin’s Creed III’s main campaign is not necessary to enjoy this DLC, some events are referenced as if the game had been completed. Admittedly, using Connor as the vehicle for the players’ confusion works well here. Connor and I are both dismayed to find the world in the state that it is in, and we are both eager to unravel it and get some answers. First of all, why is Connor’s mother alive? More importantly, what happened to George Washington that he went mad with power, called himself King, and went on a rampage? Did the events of Assassin’s Creed III actually happen?
Connor was never inducted into the Assassin Order in The Tyranny of King Washington, and the DLC plays like it. There are far fewer things to do in the world. There is no money, so there is nothing to buy or sell. You don’t have to worry about notoriety, and there are fewer side missions. In fact the side missions in The Tyranny of King Washington consist of you simply interacting with a civilian, or getting into a small skirmish. Instead, we get a narrative that presses urgency. Early missions have you running through a settlement being bombarded by Washington’s forces. Cannonballs are exploding all around you, and innocent civilians are being obliterated. Your mother’s voice urges you on, for to stop running means your death.
Slightly later, you get in a large battle against Washington’s forces (Whom are called bluecoats, which is just the logical choice) in your home village. There is no end to the swarming blue masses, and the game punctuates this by playing louder, more dramatic music, pulling the camera back, and actually temporarily removing the UI. The end result is a battle that feels hopeless. This is great storytelling, and for my money, the first half of this DLC is better than the first half of Assassin’s Creed III.
Back to his Roots
Connor has none of his Assassin’s tools save for the hidden blades, in The Tyranny of King Washington, having never been an Assassin, but he has new tools based on his Native American heritage. At one point, he goes on a vision quest, and gains the power of the wolf as a result. This power can be set as your sub-item, and when used, cloaks you. You are completely invisible, and can move from point to point with zero percent chance of detection. Your health will constantly drain while this power is active, but you can move from brush to brush with zero risk, and the health drain is not great. Eventually, the game challenges this by adding a new enemy: guard dogs that can sense you, and break your cloak. However, you only have to deal with them in one mission, and they are easily dispatched by dropping bait to distract them. The other power you get is the ability to summon a pack of spectral wolves to attack opponents. I have to admit, this one is a little too far for me to suspend my disbelief. I can somewhat rationalize the ability to move, in open ground, undetected, but a pack of ghost wolves is too far.
I want to add that I believe there are some story elements and some hints that might actually explain why Connor can summon magical ghost wolves. However, this DLC is the first part of a trilogy, and nothing is directly explained.
It’s only part one
Assassin’s Creed III might take a long time to get past its introduction, but The Tyranny of King Washington takes just seconds. However, this is only Part 1, entitled The Infamy. It might end on a decent cliffhanger, one that definitely has me wanting to play the next episode, but the downside of this fast-paced gameplay is that it is over all too soon. I did about half of the available side missions, and I had completed this first person of episodic Assassin’s Creed III content in 90 minutes. That might be a bitter pill to swallow for some, as this DLC costs $10. However, I have to make the case that this DLC has more dramatic set pieces, faster, tighter action, and far less filler than Assassin’s Creed III. It might be 10 dollars, but it’s 90 minutes of action I couldn’t stop playing.
Ted finished all the main quest storylines, and did all the sidequests he ran into, which was about half of them in total.
Available on: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 3