Warning: This review may contain spoilers for both Assassin’s Creed III and it’s downloadable content, The Infamy.
The Infamy is ambitious. It’s perhaps just as ambitious as Assassin’s Creed 3 itself, being unlike anything we have ever seen in the series before. It changes all mechanics associated with the series, and takes away the realistic nature always associated with it. And, most strangely; it works. The story can be argued to be more interesting than the original game, and what it gives to the gamer is a promising statement to what is more to come. Though it may lack the reasonable amount of content associated with a DLC of £7.99, The Infamy’s story and atmosphere is enough to make it an essential buy for fans of the series.
As we all know, hopefully, The Infamy is the first episode of The Tyranny of King Washington – the single player downloadable content for Assassin’s Creed III.
Here I should mention that the introduction to the DLC is The Infamy’s strongest point: Connor wakes in the forest in which he grew up, but knows that everything is wrong. Not only by the robes he wears, but by the appearance of his mother (who players of the original game should know is odd). He is lead to the settlements of Lexington and Concord, which are being massacred by both bluecoats, and King Washington alike. However, it is at Connor’s village where the story get’s going. And without spoiling anything, it’s here where it’s pretty damn heartbreaking.
The story of the DLC is just as good, if not better, than the original game’s: the impact of Washington on the world is enough motivation not just for Connor to stop him, but also for the player itself. When wandering the frontier, it is quite painful to see how devastated the land has become. Seeing burnt down shacks and remains of a public lynching is quite a harrowing sight during play – but effective in creating an emotional attachment to the story. Then there’s the cliffhanger, just as present in every Assassin’s Creed addition to date. Though the ending of ACIII may have left a sour taste in the mouth of fans, the ‘finale’ of The Infamy is very satisfying – whetting the players appetite for the second episode.
However, that does bring me to the issue of the DLC’s episodic nature. Throughout the The Infany, and certainly afterwards, the lack of content available gives the impression that the DLC is just an excuse for Ubisoft to squeeze that very last dime from your pocket. It begs the question of if the DLC is actually worth the £7.99 demand, with me completing the story in less approximately two hours. Sure there is a few side missions to extend the playthrough hours , but they are of no real significance – with nowhere near the compassion and character development present in the original game’s. It shows that The Infamy is a story based DLC – and whether it is worth what Ubi ask for is simply dependent on the player.
In terms of gameplay, The Infamy has been gave a few new features. Mainly, there is the ‘powers’ Ratonhnhaké:ton gains when drinking a spiritual hallucinogenic tea. Though this may be deemed stereotypical by a few players, the developers have assured that this method was a part of Native American folklore – and approved by the studio’s Iroquois adviser. The tea gives him (in this episode) the power of the wolf, with the first ability being ‘wolf cloak’.
The ‘wolf cloak’ is a fancy word for invisibility – giving the game a much improved approach to stealth; which was immensely difficult to create in the original game. It is incredibly effective in both avoiding conflict and tailing high profile targets. However, there are consequences for over using the ability also, including the drainage of health during usage (hiding for long periods of time is an easy way to die), and no ability to attack directly from the cloak without staying incognito.
The other ‘power’ Connor possesses is wolf pack – which is just plain bizarre really. He summons invisible wolves from himself which pop out and kill every enemy close by. Now, I know Assassin’s Creed is meant to be as realistic as FIFA, so what exactly is going on with this? What I’m trying to say is that these powers take the realism from AC. I know that the aliens who came before didn’t exactly benefit this element, but maybe this is going too far. Connor was a great character as you could believe that he was actually apart of the American Revolution. He did feel like Forrest Gump at times, but the relationships with historical characters were incredibly realistic. Being invisible and summoning spirit wolves, I’m afraid, are not. Nonetheless, these abilities are really fun, and welcome in a DLC just like this one.
In terms of tech aspects, to finish; The Infamy improves in so many ways from ACIII. Of course there is still the main animations and voice actors, but the overall feel of the title has been changed drastically. This ranges from the new soundtrack from Lorne Balfe, to the darkness of the Fronteir. As said before, the leavings of executions (and murders of horses and convoys for that matter) leave you bewildered. It leaves you wondering how such a free and healthy new nation had succumbed to such a baron wasteland. What Ubi have essentially done in The Infamy is create a much more dark and gritty Assassin’s Creed.
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The Infamy is now available on all consoles and devices, as part of the series The Tyranny of King Washington – a DLC package available for Assassin’s Creed III.
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This article was first posted on March 3, 2013