The Tyranny of King Washington DLC Spotlight
Alternate History is something I spend a lot of time writing about. It's something that I really love and when I heard that the Season Pass DLC for Assassin's Creed III would contain an alt-history story with supernatural powers and a quirky take on the events post American Revolution, I was all ears. It was an opportunity to dive back into Creed III and experience events from a whole new perspective and whilst it wasn't Haytham DLC, I was happy enough - even if Connor isn't as charismatic a lead as Haytham or Ezio.
The first part of the DLC sees Connor awakening into a strange world, one that is familiar and yet completely off. George Washington has gone mad with power and he's trampling over anyone who doesn't see eye to eye with him. He's declared himself king and is putting to gun or sword rebels, seditionists and traitors all. He's taking the land from Connor's people and hunting Connor's mother (who tried to kill him) - this puts Connor and Washington on a collision course which sees Connor trying to reason with a man who appears not to know him, in fact, no one knows Connor (even his old allies from the American Revolution appear to have forgotten him, just what is going on?).
Connor is soon ready to fight for his people's rights and the downtrodden of the frontier, where this DLC takes place in rain, storm and snow. There are some nice set pieces along the way and teased little tid-bits of story flesh out the whole thing. The shops are closed and Connor has to scavenge for his equipment from various sources, chests, helping out people in distress and doing story based missions which will lead him to a target for assassination.
To help Connor achieve his goal he gains the Power of the Wolf for this instalment. This supernatural trick of his people, conveyed by herbal tea brewed from special boughs and leaves allows Connor to cloak himself and sneak around. It isn't a Ghost Recon: Future Soldier infinite-cloak though, this cloak eats Connor's health and will eventually kill him unless he hides and regains health that way. It can be used in combat and provides a good way to murder lots of guys quickly if you use it correctly.
Connor can also call a pack of three spirit wolves to help him out in combat. These ghostly lupines will quickly tear the throat out of frightened bluecoats in seconds.
Along with the various rinse/repeat side missions in the Frontier, there are memory fragments and chests to find. Some of these chests will offer upgrades and weapons for Connor, increasing his arrow quiver and pistol rounds as well as providing him with new tools and advantages. Most of these chests are guarded by enemies and getting into the thick of combat is just as satisfying as the main game, if not more so with the advantages of Wolf Cloak.
You can expect to spend around 2-3 hours on the first part of the DLC. More if you want to collect all the treasures, save the people and help folks around the frontier. The story takes Assassin's Creed III into an interesting direction and whilst it still suffers from the same constraints as the main game, there's a feeling of power here that you just don't get from the core experience. All in all it's a nice little change and a good chunk of DLC with decent writing and more action from a series I'm very fond of, plus the DLC sets up part 2 nicely.
Connor is now in Boston after the end-events of DLC 1. He quickly learns a new power which allows him to soar like an eagle. It is a power which transforms mundane AC III chase sequences into something that's really quite fun. Connor can chain Eagle Flights just before he lands and the system works quite well with only a few minor hiccups, usually when the eagle cursor lands on the wrong part of the roof and you're committed to the flight after pressing Y just before you land on the first marker.
This is a minor issue because flying around the city helps with both navigation and assassination. Since you can target a bad guy and swoop down in the form of a spirit eagle. Once Connor makes contact with one or two people he transforms back and deals swift justice. It is a great mechanic and really does breathe life into the series. It also lets you swoop into a hiding place. Eagle Flight, like all of Connor's animal powers drains life, but the flight power only takes a tiny sliver so it's possible to use it a lot.
Eagle Flight can also be combined with Wolf Cloak, so you can literally swoop into a hiding place, come out under the cover of Wolf Cloak and murder your targets before swiftly leaping back into the safety of the hiding place.
The story moves at a swift pace and soon Connor is on the trail of his old friend (now an enemy) Benjamin Franklin. What Connor learns in this episode will change his opinion of the man for good, and there are twists and turns in the story arc worthy of the series. A few interesting mechanics appear now and then in the game, including a neat little QTE which makes sense as far as the story goes.
Again there are people to help across Boston and more fragments to uncover as in the first DLC. There are lots more chests to open and new upgrades to get. The story leads neatly into the 3rd and final part of the DLC out in April. You can expect to spend another 2-3 hours on the DLC and more if you want to get all the chests/upgrades. Just skimming from roof to roof as a spirit eagle can while away time too, it's a great playground for learning the AC III combat system.
Yes, this is much more fun than and main game and having an AC V game with powers like these would be an amazing turn for the series. There's so much scope including mystical China with ancient sorcerers and possessed people where our assassin could learn magical abilities and fight with hidden blades, as well as the weapon of the Monkey King (the staff).
The Tyranny of King Washington parts 1 and 2 are well worth the download and if you want to save on all 3, get the Season Pass which also lets you grab other DLC as well for free (since it is included in the price of the pass).
I like this DLC a lot, go get it!