Assassin’s Creed 3 Tyranny of King Washington: The Infamy Review

About halfway through The Infamy, Ubisoft delivers a new gameplay mechanic in the form of a vision quest that leaves Connor with new spirit animal powers. Yes, it’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. Connor comes away from the experience with two new abilities: he can engage an active camouflage “wolf cloak” for short periods of time at the cost of (his regenerating) health, and he can call spectral wolves to murder people for him in battle.

If you’re going, “Wait, what?” you’re on the same page as me.

There are some benefits to this new wolf power thing. For one, Connor lacks the ability to call on his assassin pals, as in this reality he doesn’t have any. So the wolf pack brings backup back into play, allowing for some different approaches to various fights and stealth situations. It’s dumb, sure, but at least it changes things up.

Better is the wolf cloak, at least as a game mechanic. But Connor can use the cloak between hiding places, effectively returning some semblance of stealth to Assassin’s Creed 3 — a feature it sorely lacked in the original retail release. You can actually sneak up on people now, rather than having them spot you in almost all cases and at almost all times. So that’s nice.

But the wolf cloak suffers from two problems: First, it feels crazy out-of-place given what Assassin’s Creed is (walking right past people’s ankles is just weird, if not dumb); second, it makes things extremely easy when the technical issues of Assassin’s Creed 3 aren’t getting in the way. You can just float past enemies and nab new cover positions to recharge health. The game tries to mitigate this by introducing guard dogs that can sniff you out, and then immediately teaches you how to easily circumvent them. When you do get caught in the one mission where stealth is a necessity, it’s more annoyance than anything.

Even though it has its issues, the wolf cloak ability does have the benefit of helping to allow for actual stealthy maneuvers in Assassin’s Creed 3. There’s much too little stealth to go around in Assassin’s Creed 3 otherwise, so the addition helps deal with that problem. The mechanic feels a bit half-baked and exudes plentiful weirdness, but then again, this is an alternate reality of which Connor has no memory — so “Whatever” is the ultimate conclusion.

All those elements roiled together make The Infamy the beginnings of an interesting addition to Assassin’s Creed 3, and the direction is, again, a decent one in theory. But the execution of this first episode suffers from all the missteps that Assassin’s Creed 3 had spread out across an entire game, condensed into two or three hours. The game still feels a touch buggy and lacking in polish; stealth is still weak and frustrating even with the wolf abilities; the wolf abilities themselves feel totally out of place in the game; the story makes absolutely no sense; most of the action and side missions are generic, “we’ve seen this before” material.

Without a narrative that really drives the episode forward, The Infamy doesn’t feel like a real meaningful addition to Assassin’s Creed 3. It does hint that The Tyranny of King Washington will be a solid add-on as we move further into it, but this introduction mostly leaves the player confused and waiting.

Pros:

  • Alternate history is a cool way to expand the Assassin’s Creed 3 story
  • Ubisoft brings back the Frontier, lots of area to play around in, and wintertime
  • Additional abilities add a lot more stealth capabilities to Connor’s arsenal
  • Vicious characters like Washington and Israel Putnam have Bond villain levels of evil going on, which makes them fun to hate
  • Hints that the DLC will continue to ramp up

Cons:

  • Wolf abilities feel out of place in the game
  • Episode provides almost no solid context as to what’s going on and little or no meaningful story
  • Doesn’t feel like a strong or meaningful addition to the Assassin’s Creed 3 experience (yet)
  • New mechanics don’t really do much to mitigate standing issues with stealth, or they make stealth much too easy

Final Score: 65/100


Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

1 Comment on Assassin’s Creed 3 Tyranny of King Washington: The Infamy Review

Blight

On March 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I really hope that ubisoft spruces up the stealth element in black flags. Too soon to say anything, but as I do remain skeptical it looks to be promising and fun.