Assassin’s Creed 3: The Tyranny of King Washington part 3 ‘The Redemption’ review

The Tyranny of King Washington is a winner. The focus on story and the diminished amount of attention paid to exploration and discovery turns out to be surprisingly refreshing.
The Tyranny of King Washington is a winner. The focus on story and the diminished amount of attention paid to exploration and discovery turns out to be surprisingly refreshing.
The Tyranny of King Washington is a winner. The focus on story and the diminished amount of attention paid to exploration and discovery turns out to be surprisingly refreshing.

Highs

  • Sticks with the series' strongest mission types
  • A fitting end for this unusual alt-history tale

Lows

  • No basic control tutorial to reacquaint players after a month or more away
  • Final showdown with Mad King George underwhelms

A note to the readers: The write-up that follows takes a look at the third and final part of Ubisoft’s three-episode Assassin’s Creed 3 DLC, The Tyranny of King Washington. Key plot points from the earlier parts of the story will likely be spoiled. This is your first and only warning. Catch up on where the DLC has gone so far with our reviews of the first episode and the second episode.

Crazy old George Washington has nowhere left to run. For two episodes now, the scheming, scowling despot has pursued Ratohnhaké:ton – known in Assassin’s Creed 3 proper and hereafter referred to as Connor Kenway – only to find himself pulling back as loyal forces fell to the raging assassin. Post-Revolutionary War New York City is to be their final battleground, with Connor arriving in the shadow of a great, towering pyramid that the mad king had built in tribute to himself.

Assassins Creed 3 DLC ep3 review 4Many questions were raised in the DLC’s first two episodes regarding the alt-history timeline and how it fits into the fiction that was established in Assassin’s Creed 3. This final chapter answers those questions before the credits roll. None of the revelations threaten to ripple directly into Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag or any of the future entries in the series that might follow it, but dedicated fans will appreciate some added insights.

The Redemption opens with a naval battle that pits Connor’s sailing ship, the Aquila, against Washington’s armada. Not only does this nod back to AC3‘s fan-favorite gameplay set a positive tone for what turns out to be a fun and action-packed DLC chapter, it also provides a platform for a bit of Black Flag teasing. When first mate Robert Faulkner asks about Connor’s seemingly capable sea legs, it opens the door for the assassin to make a brief mention of his grandfather, also the protagonist of this year’s new Assassin’s Creed game. But that is a long story for another day, he explains.

Har har.

Assassins Creed 3 DLC ep3 review 2

The multi-stage naval battle – which includes a careful forward advance through a floating minefield and a concluding one vs. many showdown – leads directly into a series of story missions that favor direct action over information-gathering. Connor’s new animal spirit power, obtained immediately after the ocean engagement, speaks to the bloodier makeup of episode three. The Bear Strike is an impressively powerful ground pound attack with a shockwave capable of shattering iron gates and clearing out crowds of friend and foe alike. Using it drains health, much like the Eagle and Wolf powers do. This turns out to be a minor limitation, however; The Redemption is all about kicking ass.

Assassins Creed 3 DLC ep3 review 5There are no chase or “eavesdrop on the person of interest” missions to be found in this DLC. Connor comes to the early Big Apple on the warpath, and his aggressive assault on Washington’s safe haven carries through the entire episode. You’ll fight alongside the rebellious Thomas Jefferson as you take on the mad monarch’s forces, and then work alongside Jefferson and fellow Founding Father Ben Franklin as you foment unrest across the city.

One of the more inspired story missions in The Redemption embraces an open-ended structure in which Connor must rally the people of the city to rise up against their brutal lord and master. The resulting mad dash across post-colonial New York City is the episode’s uncontested highlight, giving players an opportunity to deploy Connor’s impressive array of combat abilities and animal spirit powers in a variety of scenarios.

This is Assassin’s Creed at its action-packed best; the great shame is that nothing else from The Tyranny of King Washington – or even much of Assassin’s Creed 3 – comes close to the adrenaline-charged high of whipping New York City up into a rebellious frenzy. The inevitable final showdown with George Washington is somewhat predictably a letdown. Worse, it’s familiar. We’ve played through this boss fight already, and while Connor’s new abilities ensure that a big capital-V Victory waits at the end of this one, narrative closure isn’t enough to excuse the repetition.

Assassins Creed 3 DLC ep3 review 3

These shortcomings don’t amount to a dealbreaker. The rising quality of the experience across The Tyranny of King Washington‘s three episodes is ultimately more fun than not, though it’s hard to appreciate Ubi’s decision to break the content up in the first place. Sure, doing so creates an opportunity to charge more money – the three episodes are individually worth $10 apiece, but all three together for $30 is a tougher sell – but the month-long breaks between each one left players at a disadvantage when just starting out.

The Assassin’s Creed control scheme is complex, and there’s a reason that each game’s tutorial tends to unfold slowly, over a period of hours. In The Redemption, much like The Betrayal and The Infamy before it, there’s a definite re-acclimation cycle of progressively less spectacular mission failures as you get a handle on how everything works all over again. Even a brief control tutorial would have helped matters, though better than that would have been a single, sprawling DLC release to begin with.

Concerns over uneven content and questionable delivery model aside, The Tyranny of King Washington is a winner. The focus on story and the diminished amount of attention paid to exploration and discovery turns out to be surprisingly refreshing. The Redemption‘s New York City is just as free of distraction as the chunks of Boston and the Frontier that were visited in earlier episodes. There are plenty of imperfect and even downright frustrating bits scattered across King Washington‘s three chapters, but it is thankfully mixed in among ample helpings of unhinged Assassin-y fun and mischievously grinning fan service.

This DLC was reviewed on an Xbox 360 using a code provided by Ubisoft.

Wearables

Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music adds Spotify support for tunes while you tone

After releasing Spotify for the Fenix 5 Plus series and Forerunner 645 Music last year, Garmin made good on its promise to bring the music streaming service to its Vivoactive 3 Music fitness watch.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.
Gaming

Kingdom Hearts 3 on Nintendo Switch reportedly never going to happen

Kingdom Hearts 3 for the Nintendo Switch will likely not happen, according to Game Informer's senior editor, Imran Khan. Square Enix is reportedly considering an alternative in bringing the franchise to the console.
Gaming

Xbox-exclusive games could find a second home on Nintendo Switch

Microsoft is reportedly set to release some of its first-party games on Nintendo Switch, as well as the Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud services. Cross-play between Switch and Xbox One is already enabled.
Gaming

Transform into a tetromino master with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks

Tetris 99 is the latest battle royale game to stir up quite a bit of commotion. The Nintendo Switch Online exclusive adds a few new unexplained quirks to the Tetris formula. We've got you covered with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks.
Computing

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 
Gaming

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.
Gaming

Battle royale-style Tetris 99 is the first Nintendo Switch Online-exclusive game

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.
Gaming

The best PUBG weapons to win you that coveted chicken dinner

Which weapons in PUBG are worth the time to scout out and fit with attachments? Which are going to help you become the last player standing? We've got the answers you need in our best PUBG weapons guide.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.
Deals

Walmart slices prices on PS4 DualShock 4 controllers just in time for Anthem

The standard black PS4 controller is what usually comes with the console itself, but if you want to add something a bit more customized your gaming experience, Walmart is offering a wide variety of colorful DualShock 4 controllers at…
Gaming

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.