Fly Like an Eagle
Editor’s note: This review contains The Tyranny of King Washington: Episode 1 spoilers; it is recommended you play Episode 1 before reading our review of Episode 2.
Continuing the story started in the first episode of The Tyranny of King Washington, this episode, The Betrayal, features Ratonhnhaké:ton exploring a transformed Boston as he continues trying to unlock the mystery of how he’s ended up in an alternate universe.
After being captured by Israel Putnam during his assault against Benedict Arnold, Ratonhnhaké:ton is transported to Boston to be served up as a present to George Washington. Putnam has his own plan, however, hoping to use this gift to garner more favor with Washington and wrest Boston away from the clammy fingertips of the cowardly Ben Franklin. It’s while he is wasting away in a cell, waiting for Washington to decide his fate, that Ratonhnhaké:ton comes across an old friend from the past, learns that Sam Adams is a freedom fighter no matter what reality he’s in, and, most importantly, embraces his second spirit animal—the eagle.
The eagle spirit power focuses on the second pillar of Assassin’s Creed: movement. Transforming into an eagle allows Ratonhnhaké:ton to fly short distances, making it easier to cover more ground than on foot. Also, when in eagle form, Ratonhnhaké:ton can literally get the drop on his opponents as he performs some impressive aerial assassinations. Much better balanced than the wolf power, the eagle can only be used to move between certain points—and although it takes some getting used to, the additional crosshairs become second nature by the end of the tutorial, disguised as your “spirit journey.”
Unfortunately, a fair amount of the DLC still requires you to use the unbalanced wolf powers acquired in the first episode, making your time in Boston poorly spent; you can easily avoid open combat once again. Moving along the streets among Washington’s Bluecoats is a breeze, as you magically camouflage yourself in a wide-open area and reach your objectives with alarming speed; this turns your early missions into glorified fetch quests.
Despite a slow start to this section of the story, The Betrayal picks up dramatically once you no longer need to rely on your wolf powers. The second half starts an inevitable ramp up in the action that not only sees this episode conclude on a high note, but will hopefully continue to a satisfying climax in Episode 3.
As is the case with most Assassin’s Creed-related items, the story is the heaviest focus; in that regard, The Betrayal does a fine job of moving this tale along. Combine this with the inventive eagle powers and amped-up pacing seen in the latter stages, and anyone who enjoyed Episode 1 will no doubt enjoy their time, short as it is (the episode shouldn’t take most players more than 2 to 3 hours again).
|Developer: Ubisoft Quebec • Publisher: Ubisoft • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 03.19.2013|
|7.5||The new eagle powers are far more impressive than the wolf skills from the first episode, and although the story drags early on, it picks up nicely towards the end, ramping up to a hopefully fitting—and satisfying— conclusion in the final episode.|
|The Good||New eagle powers take some getting used to, but they make for interesting assassinations.|
|The Bad||Needing to use wolf powers to worm your way through alternate-universe Boston.|
|The Ugly||Ben Franklin as a sniveling coward in the mud.|
|Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – Episode 2: The Betrayal is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.|