The Tyranny of King Washington, Episode 1: The Infamy
If we were to travel back in time a few hundred years, reverse one of the most significant moments of history within the United States, and watch the overall effect it had on a country that was still struggling for liberty at the time, it would undoubtedly reveal what would have been the inevitable impact if the founding fathers had become bloodthirsty and obsessed with power instead of upholding the virtuous statutes of the constitution. Albeit fascinating, it would be chilling to imagine a colonial America where liberty and freedom failed to exist after the success of the revolution, partnered by a crude dictatorship from the very men who had promised liberation and equality.
Yet that is the exact vision that has been carefully created by the teams over at Ubisoft with yesterday’s initial release of episode one from the new DLC for Assassin Creed III – appropriately titled The Tyranny of King Washington. Set to follow up with two additional episode releases in March and April, The Tyranny provides a small glimpse into what America would have been like if George Washington had been far less noble and honorable during the days of the revolution, or perhaps if the revolution had not happened at all. Ratohnhaké:ton, the beloved assassin that many have come to know as Connor Kenway — is now reimagined — emerging as a brave Native American warrior who is forced to bring some sense of reality into an alternate universe where the states have been taken over by force from the troops of The Mad King, an individual none other than the man that Connor has known as Commander George Washington in the initial installment of Assassin’s Creed III.
Or is it really an alternate universe at all? Ratohnhaké:ton awakes in the familiar settlement of his tribe, face to face with the unexpected visage of his mother instructing him that they must flee as soon as possible from the area as Washington’s violence is being unleashed. What he knows to be the true from the history he has experienced in the previous Assassin’s Creed installment has not been forgotten; he still clearly has memories of the fact that his mother died during an attack on his tribe, the experiences of a revolution that was waged against those who would silence democracy, and the ideals that Washington was a respected man of his word. It is not without any confusion that he meets the harsh experiences of his new ‘reality’ – even trying to remind Washington himself that he knows him to be a far better man than what his actions portray him to be within these moments. However, the words fall flat on deaf ears as Washington replies that Ratohnhaké:ton is nothing more than a ‘savage’ and proceeds to wield an object far more dangerous than any weapon known to mere mortals – an Apple of Eden. This is the true culprit of what has caused the uprising of the Mad King.
I’ll lay no word to any spoilers here – with the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the story is understandably so intricate that spoiling any of the crucial parts of the storyline is essentially one of the most dreaded levels of faux pas that you can commit within the Brotherhood. That being said, I can focus on a few points that I thought were particularly noteworthy as I feel they bear a great amount of significance as to the overall quality of the content found in the DLC. Connor isn’t expressly or specifically Connor here – he is Ratohnhaké:ton in his greatest form. As a result, although he has memories of being an assassin and is clearly and experienced fighter in this regard, this DLC showcases him more for who he really is, a knowledgeable and astute warrior for his tribe. In consideration of that, there have been great adaptations to the usual forms of combat that we became accustomed with in Assassin’s Creed III – adaptations which ultimately make gameplay a bit more challenging, while factoring in the more logical aspects of waging a successful ambush or attack upon someone, often without any weapons. There are an extensive amount of optional objectives which need to be completed in order to attain the prized 100% sync (for a little reference here, I started playing the DLC at almost midnight last night and finished around 2:30 AM, and there’s still a huge percentage of optional objectives I’ll have to complete in order to attain full synchronization, so you’re getting a lot of content with this release.) Meanwhile, as for that ‘alternate universe’ reference – the initial loading screen featuring Ratohnhaké:ton is actually very reminiscent of the black room that we became accustomed to seeing during Ezio’s loading screen times circa Assassin’s Creed: Revelations era, almost instantly prompting a few theories within the fandom for those who are familiar with AC3’s ending.
Although there are some in the AC fandom who may feel as if Connor’s addition to the series has been short-lived, citing their disappointment that Assassin’s Creed IV is already slated to have a completely new character; I think it’s safe to say that for the amount of content being provided in the upcoming episodes of The Tyranny of King Washington, it almost feels as if it’s a new game in itself, complete with new variations of combat and experiences that are uniquely custom to Ratohnhaké:ton himself – an ideal addition for those who were craving to see more Native American and tribal influences in Connor during AC3. As someone who has followed Assassin’s Creed throughout the duration of the entire series and spent countless hours syncing and developing theories about certain areas of the storyline, I can honestly say that I’ve never been so excited for future DLC installments in my entire history as a gamer. Episode one of The Tyranny – entitled as The Infamy — is an addition that is definitely set not to disappoint, if not completely setting a new standard for DLCs as far as Assassin’s Creed is concerned, granting it an easy 9/10 rating on my scale (with one point being removed because I kept running into a silly little glitch, but nothing major). This is one DLC that truly gives a new spin to the well-known quote: nothing is true, everything is permitted.