In an odd move, Ubisoft chose to split the King Washington DLC storyline into three separate parts. We've gotten The Infamy, then The Betrayal, and now, everything comes full circle for Connor and ol' George in The Redemption.
Not a whole lot has happened so far, but with the final chapter in sight, Ubisoft has a chance to tie it all together in a nice bow and justify its delivery scheme.
Assassin's Creed III: Tyranny of King Washington: The Redemption (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed]) Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft Released: April 23, 2013 (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) / May 16 (Wii U) MSRP: $7.99 (Each part; DLC is in three parts), $29.99 (Season Pass with five DLCs, including three for King Washington)
Minor spoilers involved for the first two parts of the King Washington DLC.
I'll be blunt -- I wish the other two DLCs were just like this one, as it offers up a fairly satisfying series of events that actually feel different from the main game. From a unique environment to a satisfying conclusion, barring a few missteps, I was thoroughly satisfied with The Redemption.
Redemption starts with one of the better ship battles in the game at the start, but with a twist, forcing you to navigate a tricky minefield, and fight a rather large armada, resulting in a tense intro. Not content with hitting a low note just yet, you'll earn the Bear power pretty quickly to augment your existing Wolf and Eagle powers.
As you're earning your power this time around, you'll battle your way through a dream sequence clearly modeled after Shadow of the Colossus, as you climb a moving, towering spirit bear and assist him in pulling spears out of his body. It's a fairly straightforward and simple sequence, but the giant bear is a nice touch, and strays from the usual Assassin's Creed conventions
The actual power itself is not nearly as interesting as the Wolf or the Eagle, sadly, as all it does is trigger a simple area-of-effect smash at the cost of a fair bit of health. In fact, you'll be issuing the Eagle power more in this DLC than any other animal, which feels weird. With a bit more tweaking, it would have been really cool to see the Bear power function as a mobile tank, allowing Connor to run through the streets and plow through enemies at will.
Thankfully, the hub world itself makes up for it, as you travel across New York under the shadow of the ominous Pyramid of Washington -- a structure that the newly minted King has built to display his power to the world. Simply put, it's the best attempt to display a believable world yet in this DLC series, actually driving the point home that Washington is a power-hungry despot, hell-bent on following through with his god complex until the bitter end.
To help combat his vast collection of troops, you'll have to undergo a collection of missions to incite riots, and start your own revolution within the city. It's not nearly as epic as it could have been, and feels more like going through the motions than a real guerrilla war, but the choice of how to approach the missions -- even if it's simply a manner of fun factor -- is a decent way to mix up the linear nature of the series.
As you make your way towards the conclusion, the actual pyramid itself was extremely fun to scale, making use of one of the only truly new environments in this DLC to provide a unique playground that feels massive in scale. I immediately thought of some of the best moments in the first few Assassin's Creed games as I scaled the King's monolith, and by the time I reached the top, I wanted more.
While I don't want to spoil anything in particular, the final confrontation makes use of your powers in a unique way, to the point where I really feel like Ubisoft could handle a spin-off series with a character primarily centered around magic use. The fight itself is remarkably brief, but it brings forth some interesting concepts that I wish were expanded upon further.
As previously stated, somehow this entire tale was supposed to fit into canon -- and only during the final few minutes do you actually get the explanation. I have to say, the justification is very tenuous, but it does connect the story to the core narrative as promised, which was at least partially satisfying.
Across all three parts, it took me a little over four hours to complete the content in total (with a few more hours tacked on for 100% collection/completion). But however you choose to buy this DLC, whether it's by way of the Season Pass or piecemeal, I'm not so sure the two first halves are worth putting up with to get to this.
In fact, despite my enjoyment of the final chapter it's probably best to just wait until a proper Game of the Year Edition hits and play the side story that way. Ubisoft had major potential with King Washington, and sadly, there were a few missteps that prevent me from recommending the package as a whole. If you've already picked up the first two parts and are on the fence about Redemption though, it's probably a good idea to just bite.
Assassin's Creed III: The Redemption - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.
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