The bear necessity
When last we left Ratonhnhaké:ton, he’d escaped from Boston after striking down Israel Putnam on his quest to rid the New World of Mad King George. Sailing on a liberated Aquila, Ratonhnhaké:ton heads for George’s headquarters in New York—and is stunned to see a pyramid rising from the heart of this great city. Knowing Washington is past the point of no return, Ratonhnhaké:ton begins forming a plan with Ben Franklin as to how to deal with King George and learns of another ally he’ll need to recruit if he has any hope of succeeding: Thomas Jefferson.
Much like the episodes before it, Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington Episode 3—The Redemption (such a mouthful) follows a clear formula. Ratonhnhaké:ton explores a little bit of the familiar-but-changed world he finds himself in before ingesting the toxic tea that allows him to have a spirit journey. He then gets new powers, represented by an animal. Ratonhnhaké:ton kills someone with these powers, and we move on. And when you finish the final episode of this highly anticipated DLC, that’s all you do: You’ll move on.
That’s not to say this was a waste of time, money, or energy, although I think fans would probably have preferred to get the DLC in one 6-to-8 hour helping instead of having it broken into three 2-hour servings; on that front, this episodic DLC failed. Still, the alternate universe that The Redemption wraps up is an entertaining, well thought-out side story to the main Assassin’s Creed timeline that reaches a satisfying conclusion.
The Redemption starts off with a bang, pulling you in far more quickly than previous King Washington DLC offerings. You see, this is the only episode to feature the beloved naval warfare seen in much of Assassin’s Creed III. It was a rush to get behind the wheel of the Aquila again and take on another small fleet of warships. I even chuckled at the reference Ratonhnhaké:ton makes to his grandfather Edward, who we all now know will be the star of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
Unfortunately, this strong start and finish can’t hide the fact that The Redemption features weaker narrative buildup and action sequences compared to the previous two episodes. The quest for Thomas Jefferson feels more like a quick errand than some epic goal to reach before confronting King George for the final time. And while the outside of the pyramid feels appropriately daunting, it’s a letdown once you actually enter the structure. The final confrontation with George at least lives up to the hype, even if it’s a little on the short side.
I also will say that the bear powers that allow you to stomp the ground and send enemies flying everywhere—with those closest to you instantly dying—are much more fun to use than the wolf and eagle powers from previous episodes. But just like those enhancements, the bear powers make many of the missions far too easy and remove any thinking required from reaching the mission objectives.
The Redemption provides a fitting conclusion to this DLC storyline, and if you’ve come this far, you’d be remiss to not finish it off. I think only the most diehard of Assassin’s Creed fans will truly walk away from these three episodes completely satisfied, however.
|Developer: Ubisoft Quebec • Publisher: Ubisoft • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 04.23.13|
A strong start and finish to the final King Washington episode help carry what’s probably the weakest action and narrative of the entire DLC miniseries. The new bear powers are also more fun to use than the wolf and eagle powers from previous episodes, though only hardcore Assassin’s Creed fans will be totally satisfied with the experience.
|The Good||A fitting, satisfying end to this miniseries.|
|The Bad||The weakest narrative—up until that end sequence—of all three episodes.|
|The Ugly||Ratonhnhaké:ton’s brilliant blue bear eyes.|
|Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington – Episode 3 – The Redemption is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.|