Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny Of King Washington Episode 1: The Infamy Review

Imagine a world where George Washington, the first President of the United States and revolutionary hero never resigned and gave up his power. I then ask you to imagine a similar world where George Washington instead seized power using an Apple of Eden, one of the fearsome mind control weapons the Assassin’s Creed franchise revolves around. Imagine that and you have the Tyranny of King Washington in a nutshell.

The Tyranny of King Washington is an alternate timeline take on the events in Assassin’s Creed III where Connor was never an Assassin thus he never went by the actual name of Connor, instead he retains his birth name, Ratonhnhaké:ton. For the interest of pronunciation means, we’ll call him Connor. Connor is awoken in the forest by his mother who, to Connors surprise and joy, is alive and seemingly well. However, our young Assassin has woken up at a time of despair for the people of the colonies. The oppression of the British has been banished but has instead been replaced by the oppression of an unlikely tyrant whose violence far dwarves that of the previous occupiers.

The Tyranny of King Washington is an episodic tale that will span three episodes. As you might imagine with an alternate history take, the story is the prime focus here. The Infamy is quite clearly the set up here to the next two episodes but at the same time, it still feels very much like a tutorial. It’s a very interesting alternate take on the story from Assassin’s Creed III and it does get good but just as you reach that point where you start to enjoy it and you want more, it’s over but the cliffhanger didn’t necessarily leave me clamouring for the next episode which is due next month. Simply put, The Infamy is very short for the price of £7.99.

Whilst the main game of Assassin’s Creed III painted a rather realistic picture of George Washington with both good and bad traits shown in the game, the George Washington we see here is a gross exaggeration of that image. Whilst fully intended, it does get a bit ridiculous when he pulls out dual pistols and proclaims he’ll bring liberty with “iron fists”. All that was missing were sunglasses, a cigar and an explosion that he wouldn’t look at. What makes George Washington almost laughable here is that he is just too evil. His appearance in The Infamy is brief so the case may be that we’ve only seen what could be a more fleshed out character in later episodes but for now, he’s to villainous to be taken seriously for a piece of DLC that holds some dark tones.

The Frontier is where you’ll spend whole of The Infamy and you can tell that it’s a changed place right off the bat. Frozen bodies of both humans and animals litter the roadways, encampments and towns. Burnt down buildings act as husks of the former lives that once lived within. It’s a bleak landscape for sure and it feels devoid of life due to the actions of Washington and his men. These scenes of destruction make up for Washington and Israel Putnam’s almost comical like villainy. Whilst the Frontier paints the pictures of the atrocities implied, there isn’t a lot to do. You can collect treasure, save people from Wolves, feed starving civilians, rescue prisoners and that’s it. Whilst it may seem like a decent amount of stuff, it really does boil down to going to one location and killing something or just pressing “O to interact”.  The next pieces of DLC which will be set in Boston and New York hold the most potential for seeing how this now familiar landscape has changed. Most notably, New York is now said to feature a pyramid as an ode to Washingtons power.

Being an Assassin’s Creed game, you’ll have to fight a lot of enemies. However, fighting endless waves of troops isn’t all bad. The superb combat of Assassin’s Creed III is still here in flawless fashion and allows you to stack up the bodies in some of the most elegant yet brutal combat I’ve seen in a game for a while. Assassin’s Creed III’s poor mission design is still prevelant here unfortunately with players forced to undertake the mundane tasks of “tracking” targets by going to pre-designated locations that will uncover the next marker on the map. You’ll still have to chase people (a pet hate of mine), you’ll still have to eavesdrop on people and you’ll still have to fight people, the latter of which seldom gets boring. However, the former are gameplay mechanics that were still tiresome in earlier Assassin’s Creed games. The mission design of the entire franchise is in need of a massive overhaul.

What’s new is Connors new animal abilities that you’ll get from drinking special tea from a magical willow tree. Don’t worry, it’s not as corny as it sounds. Connor first starts with the abilities of the Wolf which somehow translate into invisibility. Connor will be able to move quickly whilst completely cloaked thus allowing the player to move around enemy camps undetected with ease. This ability comes at the cost of Connors health bar that will decrease as you use it. Whilst it’s good for stealth, Connor quite literally moves at the same speed as he does sprinting which goes against what was originally said it would do by Ubisoft but honestly, you won’t use it that much.

The Verdict

The Tyranny of King Washington holds a lot of potential as a series. Whilst this first episode of what will hopefully be a deep and engaging experience fails to excite, it won’t completely scare you off. It’s by no means high up on the list of DLC you must own but its worth a play simply because it sets up what could be one of the most interesting pieces of DLC for the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

The Negatives

  • Same old boring mission design.
  • Loose story.
  • Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels George Washington.

The Positives

  • Wolf powers!
  • Excellent combat.
  • Interesting take on a familiar landscape.

Score: 6/10.