Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – The Redemption ReviewApril 30, 2013
Assassin’s Creed III’s The Tyranny of King Washington DLC comes to a close in The Redemption, which is by far the best episode in the three part series.
Note: This review covers the third and final part of Ubisoft’s three-episode Assassin’s Creed 3 DLC, The Tyranny of King Washington. This review contains spoilers for the first two parts in the series. You can catch up on where the story has gone so far with our reviews of the first episode and the second episode.
Assassin’s Creed III’s The Tyranny of King Washington DLC is wrapped up in this third and final chapter, dubbed “The Redemption”. In this alternate, ‘what if’ timeline, George Washington has gone mad, affected by the evil of the Apple of Eden, and he and the Bluecoats have overtaken New York. He’s been trying to take out protagonist Ratonhnhaké:ton – Connor hereafter – but Connor’s Sky Journeys have endowed him with magical powers, gifting him with the abilities needed to overcome such a foe. In The Infamy, he obtained the Power of the Wolf, and in The Betrayal, the Power of the Eagle. In part three, he’s bestowed the Power of the Bear, but we’ll get to that later.
The Redemption starts off pretty great. Some of my favorite parts of Assassin’s Creed III were the naval battles, and once again Connor is piloting the Aquila, in a grand sea battle against a huge fleet of Washington’s ships while attempting to gain entry to New York. There’s even a clever nod to Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag while you’re sailing the high seas.
Unfortunately, The Redemption suffers from the same problem as the previous two entries right off the bat – Connor is thrust almost immediately headfirst into combat, with no refresher tutorial for those who’ve been away from the game awhile. Assassin’s Creed III has one of the most complicated control systems that I’ve encountered in a game, and the DLC expansion’s magic powers – though great to play with – have only made things more convoluted. Prepare for a trial by fire – and many frustrating deaths – as you attempt to iron out the controls and combat mechanics.
Shortly after landing in New York, Connor awakens the Power of the Bear in a really cool Shadow of the Colossus-style dream sequence. Connor has to climb a gigantic bear and help it remove spears from its body before being given access to its power, which can clear out nearby enemies with an effective stomp, at the cost of a lot of health. This power uses so much health, in fact, that I found it almost completely useless in fights. I only used it when it was absolutely necessary, either in puzzle sequences or to break down doors. Funnily enough, I found myself using the Power of the Eagle even more than the Bear in this episode.
If you were expecting some grand sense of closure in this episode, you’re in for a bit of a let-down. The entire story arc hasn’t been very well handled, and for some reason it seems that the voice acting is especially phoned-in. Connor in particular constantly sounds as if he’s on the verge of falling asleep. The whole thing ends up tying into the main narrative, but the connection is tenuous at best.
I feel as though the King Washington DLC has been hampered by the questionable decision to release the episodes over three entire months. With a full month in between each episode, players were bound to forget the controls and combat all over again, and by the end, all I really remembered was that King Washington was a bad dude who murdered some indians. Now that all the DLC is out, it would probably be a much better experience playing through all three episodes in one fell swoop, or maybe even just wait until the inevitable Game of the Year edition. While I’ve enjoyed these DLC episodes and the excuse to jump back into Assassin’s Creed III, the staggered gameplay was awkward to say the least, and I hope that Ubisoft shies away from this model in the future.