Verhille: The Newest The Tyranny of King Washington delivers through Eagle Flights

BY DAN VERHILLE | APRIL 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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There is a new a way to travel in the latest episode of Tyranny of King Washington, and it is called eagle flight: welcome to the future.

In my review of Infamy, the first episode in the Tyranny DLC series for Assassin's Creed III, I hopefully speculated on the possibility of getting to use other animal powers in additional to the wolf powers. Ubisoft delivered exactly that in its newest episode, Betrayal, the ability to fly about the city like an eagle, and it couldn't be more fun.

The freedom of movement and the ability to fly away from everyone is a delicious new mechanic that fundamentally changes the way the game is played. Any longtime Assassin's Creed fan can vouch for how exhilarating it was when he or she first learned to run across and leap from rooftop to rooftop, but eagle flight trumps all of that by making walking a thing of the past.

Now, the player simply chains eagle flights together to get to his destination. It's a little annoying to need to identify perching spots atop buildings or poles to use like stepping stones across Boston, but the minor inconveniences pale in comparison to the raw exhilaration of flying.

Outside of eagle flights, Betrayal is more of the same, chasing down patriots-turned-power-crazed-tyrants and killing them. The narrative becomes irrelevant rather quickly, so my advice is to just go with the flow and enjoy the three or four extra hours Betrayal adds without asking why Ubisoft didn't develop this alternate reality a bit further.

One of the most enjoyable parts is the Sky World Journey: the place protagonist Connor "goes to" when he drinks the special sap to acquire animal powers. During this part, I couldn't help but laugh at the idea that to everyone else it must seem like Connor is just tripping balls as he writhes about on the floor and makes eagle noises.

The final chapter's alleged animal power is the power of the bear, the effects of which are super-charged strength and health. I'm excited to see the new power, but we'd better be able to play all of them in the regular game if we achieve 100 percent synchronization (completion) in the Tyranny DLC.

If the powers are to be left in DLC-stasis and unusable in the campaign, Ubisoft may have done something more detrimental to its franchise than it ever thought possible. Fans might (and will, I believe) expect mechanics like this to be available in future games because of how drastically it improves this one.

I don't care if it doesn't fit with the current story, ban powers from certain missions if necessary, but give us eagle and wolf powers in the campaign mode.

I've heard some rumblings online that players might be given the ability to level up wolves in their wolf pack like assassin recruits of previous Assassin's Creed games, but its absence from the middle portion of the trilogy seems to suggest the alpha of the pack power will remain as is for the conclusion of Tyranny.  

In that regard, I was a little disappointed with how extremely linear Betrayal played out. It seems with only a small amount of effort, a few more side quests or things to do could have been added to stay truer to the sandbox style the game was built on.

I'm not asking for much here Ubisoft, some boxing matches, some whatevers to collect at really high points across the city that I can only access via eagle flights, or some weapon-specific challenges.

Without any of these things (which are really home comforts for the title), Betrayal feels extremely empty despite the fact that every street corner and stoop is packed with King Washington's soldiers.

All complaints considered, Betrayal is still a small breath of fresh air for Creed fans that are tired of the normal running, climbing, and historical accuracy.

Game: Assassin's Creed III,
The Tyranny of King Washington DLC content pack
Episode 2: The Betrayal
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Release Date: March 19
Publisher: Ubisoft

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