Assassin’s Creed 3 Tyranny of King Washington: The Infamy Review
Warning! This review contains some spoilers for the story of Assassin’s Creed 3, and some for “The Infamy” as well. It was kind of impossible not to reveal some story points in order to create an accurate review, but here’s your warning.
In creating downloadable story content for Assassin’s Creed 3, Ubisoft decided it wanted to play a bit with the historical figures available to it. In the last few games, story elements in DLC meant that any players who didn’t buy that DLC wouldn’t get the game’s full story. To keep that from happening in Assassin’s Creed 3, Ubisoft decided that dishing out an alternate history gave it a chance to add to Assassin’s Creed 3 without separating players in terms of the overall story of the game.
It was a good idea, in theory. The story that Ubisoft came up with: What if George Washington named himself king rather than go on to become the newborn United States’ first president? And that was also a good idea. Ubisoft divided the DLC into three episodes and let loose, and I have to admit, the thought of seeing the burgeoning country falling under tyrannical rule of the Mad King Washington was intriguing.
Unfortunately, like many things in Assassin’s Creed 3, it seems an alt-history featuring an evil Washington might be better in theory than in execution. In the first episode of the pack, titled, “The Infamy,” we get a lot of the same old Assassin’s Creed 3 and its same problems, only this time with a story that makes absolutely no sense.
Assassin’s Creed 3: The Tyranny of King Washington Episode 1: The Infamy
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Released: Feb. 5, 2013
The story of “The Infamy” finds Connor in much the same situation as the player — totally confused as to what the hell is going on. Connor awakens to find himself in an alternate reality, where his mother was never killed in a fire, he never joined the assassins, and he never took part in the revolution. Things went on fine without him, though, except that George Washington is a total bastard. And he wants to kill Connor’s mom (who still looks exactly like she did when he was eight). And he has one of those Assassin’s Creed universe MacGuffins, an Apple of Eden, which makes him pretty much invincible as well as absolutely crazy.
What follows is roughly three hours (more if you do all the side quests) of Connor going, “Wait, what is going on?” and “But I know these guys!” before watching people get murdered by Washington’s madness. Turns out, Connor’s mother tried to steal the Apple from Washington (and may otherwise be responsible for his obtaining it), and that caused him to decide to go all genocidal on Connor’s people.
Of course, Connor then kicks off a campaign of assassination against Washington and his key lieutenants, Benedict Arnold and Israel Putnam. That’s really the gist of the whole episode; it starts first with Connor fighting bluecoats in his village, and expands to him running around the frontier, fighting bluecoats.
That second part isn’t so bad. Ubisoft has recognized that the frontier is an interesting place for players to be, that running around in trees is the best part of Assassin’s Creed 3, and that the winter time is far and away the most interesting and dynamic of the game’s setting. After an initial story offering, The Infamy lets you loose on a frontier that’s been ravaged by war, with bluecoats marching all over it and frozen bodies of horses and redcoats scattered liberally around. It’s a fun place to hang out for a while, and the game includes some generic side quests to give you something to do if you feel like wandering a bit.