The first of three parts, The Infamy introduces Assassin's Creed III players to an alternate version of history. This is how events might have played out if George Washington had been seduced by power and declared himself King of America. This is the Tyranny of King Washington.
Waking up in this parallel universe, Ratonhnhaké:ton (he never took the name Connor here) is shocked to discover that his mother, Kaniehtí:io, is alive and well. She is being hunted by Washington's army, the Bluecoats, for daring to stand against him. The two attempt to fight Washington, but Ratonhnhaké:ton is quickly defeated by Washington, who wields an Apple of Eden. Severely wounded, Ratonhnhaké:ton wakes five months later.
Before he can take on Washington's forces, Ratonhnhaké:ton must drink tea made from the virgin boughs of a sacred willow tree. This kicks off a vision quest to unlock a new power that proves useful when assassinating enemies: the Wolf Cloak.
The Wolf Cloak gives Ratonhnhaké:ton the ability to turn invisible at will. While cloaked, Ratonhnhaké:ton's health decreases at a steady rate. Using the cloak won't kill Ratonhnhaké:ton, though it will bring him to near-death if used too long. Making effective use of the cloak is a matter of knowing your surroundings well. Rather than relying exclusively on invisibility, the cloak is best used while moving from one cover point to another.
Another good way to use the cloak is while attacking a group of enemies. It's not effective when cornered; however, if Conner can attack from the edges, the cloak allows for some easy hit-and-run maneuvers. Touching someone causes Ratonhnhaké:ton to become visible, but running away and quickly re-cloaking usually works.
In addition to the Wolf Cloak, Ratonhnhaké:ton also learns the Wolf Pack skill. When used, the Wolf Pack skill sends out a pack of spirit wolves to attack any nearby enemies. This can be used while hiding, so it is a powerful tool, though it is balanced by a relatively long cool-down period between uses.
Both of the new powers are enjoyable to use, especially when they allow you to get into the thick of the action. The only downside is that Ratonhnhaké:ton doesn't get the new powers until about halfway through the episode. Much of the first hour is spent on general busywork. Watch a cinema scene. Run to an objective. Save a villager. Stop a runner. Watch another cinema scene. It's not quite a Metal Gear Solid level of movies, but at times, it feels more like you're watching than playing.
The second half of the episode is a bit better, though it too has some objectives that feel like busywork, especially if you've played the main game. After all, eavesdropping on soldiers or tailing a target isn't nearly as challenging as stealthily taking out a series of guards or figuring out the best way to execute a high-value mark.
Sneaking into Valley Forge is the highlight of The Infamy, as it requires smart use of stealth and distraction. Although the Wolf Cloak renders Ratonhnhaké:ton invisible to people, he can still be detected by dogs. Getting past the patrolling guards requires either good timing or the use of bait to distract the dogs and throw them off Ratonhnhaké:ton's scent.
Though it is possible to simply power through the six core missions in The Infamy, the episode also contains a handful of side missions for you to explore at your leisure. These are entirely optional, though they do provide extra play time.
One thing The Infamy doesn't do is correct all of the issues with Assassin's Creed III. The base game has a reputation for being buggy, and you'll see some of that here. For example, in one mission, the NPC that is supposed to be guiding Ratonhnhaké:ton stopped fighting and just decided to stand there, staring off into space. A distant archer would hit the guide with an arrow every 30 seconds or so, but he would remain motionless. Even after killing the archer and returning to the guide, it was impossible to get a reaction. Thankfully, it wasn't game-breaking. After moving on to the next part of the mission, the guide suddenly reappeared at Ratonhnhaké:ton's side.
As the first episode in a three-part series, The Infamy starts out slow before hitting its stride and ending on a cliffhanger. It's not perfect, but it does make for a promising opening to the overall story of The Tyranny of King Washington.
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