The first episode of Assassin’s Creed III’s long awaited Tyranny of King Washington DLC, titled ‘The Infamy’ was officially released today and, as a season pass holder, I naturally couldn’t wait to dive in. Read on to see what I thought about ‘The Infamy’ and whether or not it lives up to all the hype.
Trial By Fire
Potential Infamy players who (like me) haven’t played the original Assassin’s Creed III in a while are in for a rough start as the DLC pretty much immediately thrusts you into a long sequence of combat scenarios. Players once again take control of ACIII protagonist Connor who is now addressed solely as Ratonhnhaké:ton since, in Tyranny’s timeline, he never met Achilles and thus was never given the name “Connor.”
Once I managed to get reacquainted with the controls, I started picking up on what exactly was going on while I transitioned from one set-piece to the next. Washington, who is now known as “King Washington”, is leading his bluecoat army in a swath of destruction and mayhem that starts in Concord but quickly moves to Ratonhnhaké:ton’s village. After a brief fight with Washington in which Ratonhnhaké:ton is soundly defeated thanks to Washington’s new eden-infused scepter, Infamy’s narrative fast-forwards five months into the winter season.
Wolves At The Gates
Since Infamy’s Ratonhnhaké:ton never allied himself with Washington and the other colonists, he doesn’t have ready access to many of the conventional weapons from the base game such as firearms and swords (he does however still have his father Haytham’s hidden blade and other fun tools like the rope darts). To make up for his smaller arsenal, Ratonhnhaké:ton soon acquires the ancestral power of the wolf which allows him to both summon a pack of wolves to aid him in combat as well as temporarily cloak himself and move undetected out in the open.
Infamy’s later missions require ample use of the cloaking mechanic as Ratonhnhaké:ton prowls through enemy camps in search of intel regarding Washington and the whereabouts of his cohorts. Sadly, as cool as the cloaking power is, it’s offset by the equally annoying new mechanic of having to bait enemy sentry dogs using raw meat. The dogs can sniff Ratonhnhaké:ton out even when he’s cloaked and since getting caught in the later story missions means instant failure, these missions often walk a razor-thin line between stealthy subterfuge and nerve-wracking frustration.
New Setting, New Frontier
Fortunately, the linear story missions aren’t the only component of Infamy’s narrative. In-between missions, Ratonhnhaké:ton is free to explore the surrounding countryside and complete a variety of optional objectives. Exploration is slightly hampered by the snow and the much smaller frontier of Infamy but completionists can still look forward to at least a few hours of hunting down all of the DLC’s optional objectives on top of the two-three hours it takes to work through the main story missions.
Not Quite Picture-Perfect
As cool as the concept behind Tyranny sounds, the execution probably could have used a little more polish and testing time. During my playthrough of Infamy I encountered a fair amount of bugs and glitches. Nothing game-breaking and nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a simple checkpoint reload but that didn’t make them any less aggravating.
In one mission I was tasked with climbing on a horse to continue but the horse never spawned. During several fights the indicators that normally appear over an enemy’s head to signal a counter opportunity didn’t trigger, basically rendering their attacks unavoidable. Again, these and other problems weren’t anything major but be ready to deal with them if you decide to give Infamy a go.
A Rocky But Satisfying Start
Despite its minor hiccups, The Infamy is a pretty solid start to the Tyranny of King Washington trilogy. Not only does it allow players to re-immerse themselves in the beautiful Assassin’s Creed III universe, it also presents an exciting new “what if?” scenario that does a good job of shaking up the player’s pre-established notions of ACIII’s narrative.
If you’re a season pass holder and you enjoyed the base game, I’d say there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give The Infamy a try. Non-season pass holders might have to take a little more consideration, especially if they weren’t completely sold on Connor’s original outing. However, if you’ve got $10 to spare, I’d say you could do a lot worse than what The Infamy offers. No matter the overall reception, I’m excited to see where Ratonhnhaké:ton’s new adventure takes him next month. If you thought Ubisoft did a good job enhancing conventional history with ACIII’s base campaign, you haven’t seen anything yet….
- A short yet action-packed alternate take on the events of the Revolutionary War
- Ratonhnhaké:ton’s new wolf powers make him an even more deadly prowler and fighter
- Offers a solid 2-3 hours of story content as well as several more hours of optional content for a relatively small price tag
- Can be a bit jarring if you haven’t played the base game in a while
- A fair number of noticeable bugs and glitches
- The new “guard dog baiting” mechanic is unnecessary and often frustrating
- The Infamy is not very likely to sway the minds of those who didn’t care for ACIII’s base campaign