And at last, the final episode of Assassin’s Creed’s whimsical alternate reality reaches its launch date and The Tyranny of King Washington finally comes to an end. All in all, The Redemption is a dynamic, fitting end to an interesting story, though I wouldn’t go as far to say that it was the best in the series.
The third instalment adds little to the gameplay, other than the newest spirit power which is that of the great bear. After The Betrayal brought the eagle power to the table, I had my doubts about how the follow up could possibly be any better – but I was wrong. Though the eagle power remains my personal favourite, the power of the bear turned out to be a strong contender. After having stealth and movement abilities, a little more variation is added to the combat and New York is swarming with Blue Coats that at a glimpse of Connor’s wolf cloak will attack without warning. And there are hoards of them. If there was any criticism about the original narrative about killing hundreds of British soldiers, then The Tyranny of King Washington makes up for it with killing hundreds of Blue Coats. And unlike the eagle power, you have to be careful when using the bear. The drain on Connor’s health if much more extreme than the other, tallying only two chain attacks at the most and when health doesn’t regenerate until you’re out of combat, you’ve got to pick the right moment without risking being overwhelmed by the survivors. There’s a lot more strategy to such a power than players will realise, but is something that needs to be credited.
Other than that, there is very little change to the game. You can still find the same pointless side missions dotted around the map, more chests than you can count and – little else. This wouldn’t have been that disappointing had the main story been longer. The missions are engaging and satisfying but there doesn’t seem to be that many of them. After a blockbuster opening, reminding everyone how awesome the naval combat is (throwing more ships at you than ever before); you unite with the local resistance and before long you’re fighting your way through King Washington’s temple. Surprisingly though it didn’t feel rushed, yet the only primary objective is to take down the King with no other story elements to flesh out the finale. Some may not see this as a bad thing. It remains firmly focused on what it set out to be, but compared what we’ve already had, I couldn’t help but feel a little annoyed.
There is also little connection at all to the bigger picture of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Other than a name drop of future protagonist Edward Kenway, there is nothing that explains or hints what’s going on in the modern day world. Neither does it explain further the power of the Apple. If you were wondering what happened before the alternate reality kicked in, you will be sorely saddened, for there is hardly any explanation at all for the whole trilogy. With this being labelled as canon I would have expected a little more, but it ends with a noble monologue by Washington himself as Connor sails away on the Aquilla.
It was similarly disappointing that none of the characters from the main narrative made a guest appearance – not even Achilles, who was heard to still be alive by one of the guards from The Betrayal, so if you were expecting to see any more familiar faces you’re going to be unsatisfied. I had speculated after Episode Two that Haytham Kenway and his band of Templars would be working with Achilles to overthrow the King. Having said that I’m still not entirely sure what happened in this alternate timeline before Washington took power, in which case this theory could have been thwarted by the fact that Haytham and his Templars were all dead but who doesn’t want to see more Haytham.
With the negatives aside, The Redemption simply offers more of what the entire Tyranny of King Washington has offered – the same assassin experience in an alternate reality with a set of supernatural animal powers. The story that they set in motion gets a fitting finale with a final showdown with the King himself, which regrettably only echoes what we’ve already seen in previous encounters. The colossal pyramid in the centre of New York personifies the magnitude of the threat they face as you are constantly reminded while traveling the city, since it’s almost impossible not to get a glimpse of it from anywhere on the map. But other than that, everything remains the same but the new environment, being within the pyramid itself, offers enough to add a bit of freshness for the final skirmish. And the cinematic in-game cutscenes are some of the best we’ve ever seen, showing off some slow-mo in combat and a scene filled with hundreds of AI civilians that shows the scale and depth of what the developers have achieved.
For those of you who have been following The Tyranny of King Washington from the beginning, you’ll find disappointment in places but once you look past them, it’s just as enjoyable as the previous instalments. But for now, with no future DLC been announced, we’ll just have to wait until Edward Kenway takes us to the high seas.
“Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.”
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