Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – Episode 2: The Betrayal Review

Platform(s): Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Action

Platform Played On: PlayStation 3

Minor spoilers for the previous episode and beginning of this one follow. 

As promised, the next episode in the Tyranny of King Washington alternate story arc to Assassin’s Creed III has arrived to tell the next part of the story of the heroic Commander Washington’s decent into a reputation that has earned him the title of “the Mad King.”

The game picks up shortly after the events of the first episode with Connor being rudely awaked in his prison cell by George Washington, Israel Putnam and Benjamin Franklin. Reveling in his catch, George Washington goes off on a villainous speech that seems as if it’s been ripped from a “How-to-be-a-bad-guy-for-Dummies” book with Putnam and Franklin sneering in the background like the two sidekicks of Hades from 1997 Disney film Hercules. Washington then orders Connor and the “other savage” to suffer an execution the following day. Obviously, Connor will have to escape. Using his Wolf Cloak, Connor is able to trick the guard into unlocking the cell and from there on, Connor escapes with his fellow captive who turns out to be none other than Kanen’tó:kon, Connors childhood friend. Let the story begin!

The game then funnels Connors escape into a warehouse full of enemy guards that must be dispatched to ensure escape. Less than a few minutes into the game and I was already starting to fume at display of poor AI and stealth mechanics. This particular mission had me attempt it six times before I was able to get it right. You’re tasked with clearing the area to escape and then signal Kanen’tó:kon to follow once the guards are killed. Except as soon as a guard see’s you trying to be stealthy in your approach, and see you they will, Kanen’tó:kon jumps right out of where he’s hiding to attack the enemy unarmed. Connor himself is also unarmed so fighting off the higher enemy classes which are the only guards in the room is tough enough without having to save your friend from being killed. The way the game encourages you do this is by using your Wolf Cloak power which drains your health thus allowing for the enemy to quickly overpower you.

This mission is easily the most tedious in the entire DLC. It’s ridiculously ill thought out and will really try the players patience.

Once the game opened up I was expecting it to get better but sadly this was not the case as The Betrayal will have you running around a small segment of Boston which is tied to a loose and inconsistent story. The city of Boston is not the same city as it was in the main game. Gone are the bustling crowds. Gone are the countless colonial citizens trying to get by in their daily lives. Gone are the things that make Boston are city. The city is largely empty of all civilian life with the few civilians inhabiting the rain soaked city just idly standing by not doing anything in particular. Other than the living statues that are the civilians, Boston is inhabited by soliders. Lots and lots of soldiers that will run you down within seconds of seeing you forcing you into another fight.

The story behind The Betrayal leaves something to be desired but it does offer an update on what has been happening since George Washington took control of the colonies with his Apple of Eden. Sam Adams is now the head of a resistance movement that oddly enough, contains British Redcoats. Talk about enemy of my enemy is my friend. Connor, following the advice from a dying Benedict Arnold in the previous episode, goes on a hunt to find Benjamin Franklin and use him as an asset to defeat King Washington. The story was obviously designed to make sense after all three episodes have been released but the here and now parts of this story have had very little attention given to them. Much like the main games appalling mission design, the story merely serves as the reason for sending the player on another fetch quest or another fight and doesn’t capture the interest of the player at all. It’s almost as if they didn’t try. Why am I getting a Horseshoe for Benjamin Franklin? I couldn’t tell you, I was too busy being bored.

The side missions from the previous episode, the Infamy, make a return here but if you’ve played the previous entry, you’ll quickly be reminded just how fruitless the task of feeding the starving civilian really is. The only exception is that this starving civilian is standing next to an unoccupied food stall. Beggars can’t be choosers but it’s apparent that they can be food critics. Other than save the starving UK Masterchef host Gregg Wallace, you can attack a convoy or stop a civilian from being killed. Non of it leads to any type of reward or decline in enemy control over the city, you just simply get to look cool in a fight which Ubisoft Montreal seem to think is a good enough prize.

The fighting once again returns as the saving grace of this game with combat being entirely unchanged but just as fun. The good news is that with lots of enemies to fight, you’ll get some good practise. The bad news is that you have to fight wave after wave of brainless AI. At least you look cool whilst you’re doing it.

With the new episode comes the new Wolf power which this time around, is Eagle Flight which acts in a very similar fashion to Batman Arkham Asylums grapple mechanic with Connor targeting a ledge or a similar handhold and flying to it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be darting around like a supernatural assassin (Move over Corvo). It’s quite a lot of fun to vanish from an enemy only to appear on a rooftop and then descend to deliver a killing blow. However, it’s disappointing that the game can’t keep up with prolonged flight. The player is able to chain together flights to stay in the air longer. The problem here is that this is when Connor is moving faster than he ever did in the DLC or the main game so the game can’t sustain the frame rate which results in freezing for a couple of seconds which is miles worse than your typical framerate chugging.

The Verdict

The Tyranny of King Washington: The Betrayal seems to take the worst aspects out of Assassin’s Creed 3 and places them all into one nasty basket. The clumsy AI, the never ending swarms of rent-a-soldiers and the inexcusable mission design make this DLC a frustrating hour and a half to two hours of gameplay. Yes, it’s really that short which will probably turn people off for the price of £7.99 and $9.99. All in all, the Betrayal is not how you do a DLC.

The Positives.

  • Eagle Flight.
  • Slick as ever combat.

The Negatives.

  • Poor story.
  • Even worse AI.
  • Shoddy Mission Design.
  • Empty and lifeless Boston.
  • Laughable villains.
  • Performance issues.

Score – 4 out of 10