Set 15 years after the events of Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag, Freedom Cry tells the harrowing past and events of Edward Kenway’s first mate Adewale. Again the setting for this great adventure is the tropical locations of the Caribbean, which sets up as a nice backdrop for all the tailing, sailing and killing that you will be doing in the 6 hour now stand alone DLC. Born into slavery, Adewale’s story has the potential to be captivating and immersive with a connection to modern day issues. So does Freedom Cry live up to its potential?
Back in the events of Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag, Adewale was assigned Quarter Master of Edward’s ship the Jackdaw. This meant that for most of the 15 hour campaign, you would have him by your side mostly just shouting. This DLC allows gamers to connect with Adewale like never before, with the slavery background being known to us via the credits of AC4. This DLC certainly explores his past and portrays a depiction of slavery that is both shocking and powerful.
Freedom Cry starts in a similar fashion to how AC4 did – at sea and in a storm. Set 15 years after the events of AC4, Adewale is now master assassin and captain of a great vessel, much like Edward Kenway. After a magnificent storm, Adewale finds himself shipwrecked on the tropical destination of Port-au-Prince. After these similarities between the two stories, the DLC starts to distinguish itself from its counterpart when Adewale encounters a slave, leaving him guilt-ridden whereupon he decides that he can no longer ignore the plights of these slaves and decides to ignite a revolution, much like Connor did from the disappointing AC3.
The story of Freedom Cry is powerful and shocking all at the same time. Walking through the levels looking at slaves lined up for auction and imprisoned in cages really adds leverage to the missions that you undertake. The good voice acting really enhances the story in ways that impel you to play. While all the potentials are there, the story starts to become loose and disconnected due to tailing missions. If you were expecting the tailing missions to be in any way improved from AC4, you will be disappointed. They are actually worse than AC4, with me being desynchronised many times due to a lack of cover that ultimately led to me getting spotted. The fact that this would happen many times broke the allusion with the great world of the Caribbean and interrupted my connection with the characters I desperately wanted to rescue. There is no new missions in the game to keep the DLC feeling fresh. It is rather just a copy and paste from the original game. All this affected what could have been a great fresh voyage for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Unfortunately this DLC just ends up being raw potential that could have been tapped.
The gameplay in the DLC is simply repetitive. While the whole free running and ship combat are still as fun as ever, there isn’t anything new to talk of in this expansion. Maybe developer Ubisoft is waiting to add a whole host of improvements in the new 2014 game. However, it’s simply disappointing to revisit the Caribbean months down the line with no added feature. Exploration is still a key part of the Freedom Cry experience, but it just doesn’t do it as well as the main game. All collectables are located in the confined areas of the map and you are asked to find them all over again for no apparent reward. The same repetitious brush can be tarred on the side quests too, with freeing slaves becoming a chore after the first couple of attempts. The only fresh renovation of the beloved formulae is the addition of new weapons for Adewale’s arsenal. Machete, hook shot and blunderbuss have all been added and keep combat feeling satisfying.
The graphics of this add on varies from good to amazing depending on which platform you experience this on. The last generation versions push their hardware to the maximum with the graphics being decent. When the PS4 and Xbox One are taken into account the game looks outstanding, much like AC4. This could well be the best looking game to hit this generation yet – well except for Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. The Province of Saint-Domingue is visually stunning with exploration feeling quite amazing too – this location is the best location in the add on and is where you’ll want to spend most of your time.
The now stand alone DLC, Freedom Cry, offers another relevant adventure into the Caribbean setting. Though the graphics and combat feel amazing and somewhat upgraded, the lack of innovation when it comes to key aspects of the game leaves the DLC feeling like it hasn’t reached its full potential in taking the beloved Assassin’s Creed franchise into new territory. The plight of Adewale with the slaves is compelling, with the voice acting and scenes of slavery adding leverage for the missions that you encounter throughout the game. However, due to loose tailing missions, the thread of the narrative can get lost. Freedom Cry could have been something great, but ends up being just another mediocre adventure that takes you along for the ride. Freedom Cry is now stand alone for the PlayStation platforms while is also available for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag owners of all platforms.
Images: Official Site