X360A Review: Assassin's Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington - The Betrayal
Written Tuesday, March 19, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Now where were we? That's right, we were with Ratonhnhaké:ton and his newly-acquired Wolf Cloak powers. King Washington has gone completely mad, burning villages, having people shot, keeping the poverty-stricken commoners down, and our hero is the only one who can stop him, channeling the spirit powers of animals to take on the Apple of Eden's corrupting influence. If you've forgotten what happened in episode one of Assassin's Creed III's The Tyranny of King Washington 'The Infamy' last month, then you needn't worry. Episode two, The Betrayal opens with a handy 'previously on...' cut-scene to bring you up to speed.
This time around, Ratonhnhaké:ton (let's just call him Connor, eh?) finds himself imprisoned by Washington's men, making your first order of business to escape. Once you've foxed the guards with your Wolf Cloak however - when they freak out and think you've disappeared - you're back into the swing of things. With the guards' natural response being to rush into your cell to see what's going on, you're presented with the perfect opportunity to either slip out unnoticed or kill the stupid prison guard in cold blood. No prizes for guessing which one we did. Chalk up one dead guard.
Before long, Connor takes another sojourn to the Sky World where he acquires the power of Eagle Flight, and a whole range of options open up, including the ability to execute an Eagle Strike assassination. Using Eagle Flight is incredibly intuitive, just like initiating the Wolf Cloak. Holding Y with the power equipped brings up the Eagle Flight crosshair, and you simply aim at the piece of scenery you want to swoop along to. You're able to seamlessly switch between powers by assigning them to the d-pad (they're automatically assigned anyway), meaning you can majestically soar through the air as an eagle spirit and switch on the cloak for swift stealth manoeuvres.
While using Eagle Flight expends your health in the same way the Wolf Cloak does, there's far more scope for chaining together the ability as it recharges quickly and doesn't leech nearly as much from Connor's vitality as the Wolf Power does. Like The Tyranny's first episode, Eagle Flight presents new gameplay options, making navigation immensely enjoyable. One second you can be on the ground, and in the blink of an eye you can be scaling the top of a ship's mast or warping from rooftop to rooftop (it's not entirely unlike Dishonored's Blink in some respects, though able to cover greater distances). The more you use it, the easier it becomes to aim the reticle and jump to where you want to be. You can only travel relatively short spans using the Power of the Eagle, meaning shooting all the way across the entire map isn't possible, but it's still liberating to be able to zip all over the place at lightning speed.
Handily, the Eagle Flight reticle also turns red when you're aiming at a piece of scenery that you can travel to or an enemy you can take down, so you always know what you can and can't do with it, and it's surprising just how much of the environment you can interact with using the power. This is likely due to the fact that The Betrayal takes Tyranny of King Washington's story to the streets of Boston, which means less scope for exploration than part one, The Infamy, but also means a more focused narrative-driven piece of DLC.
The Betrayal features a much darker realisation of Boston, with people subjected to poverty out on the muddy streets, as the bluecoats march in regimented patrols keeping the citizens oppressed with loaded muskets. This time around, Connor's on the trail of Benjamin Franklin and General Putnam, as he moves ever closer to the inevitable final showdown with King Washington, and The Betrayal manages to spin a compelling yarn that features more familiar faces from Assassin's Creed III's main single-player campaign. Again, there are more mysteries to unravel regarding the nature of the DLC's alternate reality, with more memory fragments to collect and piece together.
Running at about the same length as the first episode, The Tyranny of King Washington is a bit on the brief side, but there's distractions to pursue and that pesky 100% synchronisation achievement to go for, if you're so inclined. And like the previous instalment, the achievements are pretty unimaginative fare, asking that you cover a kilometre with your Eagle Flight and complete the DLC. They'll hardly put you to the test. It's an easy extra 75 Gamerscore though, if you're looking for a silver lining.
Assassin's Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – The Betrayal picks up nicely where The Infamy left off, expanding Ratonhnhaké:ton's mystical powers and the story in an exciting and engaging way. Another solid slice of DLC, The Betrayal offers a second neat spin on Assassin's Creed III's established lore, mixing up the gameplay while providing enough narrative intrigue to take you through to episode three, The Redemption due next month. If you've made it this far, there's no doubt you'll see through the entirety of The Tyranny's three episode story arc and lap up every minute of it. Next up, Ratonhnhaké:ton obtains Bear Might, the almighty power of a big, bastard grizzly. If that isn't a compelling argument for Assassin's Creed III's Season Pass, we don't know what is.