While gamers were sailing the high seas and foiling nefarious plots in the main campaign of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, one man trained to become an assassin.
Edward Kenway’s former quartermaster, Adewale, disappears at a certain point in the game, and we’re left wondering where he went. Adewale began his training with the Assassins, thus forming the basis for the game’s story-driven DLC, Freedom Cry.
In Freedom Cry, you take the role of Adewale who has taken reign of the Assassins and involves himself in a plot with the Maroons to determine why Pierre de Fayet, governor of Port-au-Prince, located in current day Haiti, has an iron grip enforcing the Code Noir, and must lead a rebellion to end his reign of slave tyranny.
Freedom Cry doesn’t do much to separate itself from the main game as far as a cosmetic presentation goes, and that’s a good thing. When arriving in Port-au-Prince, you’ll find it’s about the size of Havana, but there isn’t as much to explore for, but we’ll save that for later. Anyways, the town feels a bit more compressed because its a DLC, but it also presents a challenge for the player to move around without suspicion.
One of Black Flag’s positives was its presentation, and Freedom Cry feeds off that success. One of the negatives of the presentation was the actual world map size, which is about half the size of the main game and maybe a fourth of goodies to find.
The enemies in the game don’t differ from the main game, and I think that doesn’t present enough of a challenge because if you’re familiar with the enemy types in the main game, they’re more than likely copied and pasted into this DLC, but the only cosmetic changes that occur is how they look. The bad thing is they had an opportunity to present Adewale with some challenging enemies, but just used the same formula from the main game, which to players, doesn’t provide enough difficulty.
Gameplay is both similar and different to the main game. The similarities fall within the combat system, as its copied and pasted from the main game, but this isn’t bad if you’re used to it or even used to AC III’s combat, since they’re similar in style.
The differences come in the approach to playing Freedom Cry. While it’s about a fourth of the main game, there’s some different things to do. With slavery being the main aspect of the game, Adewale can free slaves in many ways, most of them are in combat, but he can also pay slave drivers 500 reales to free slaves without having to spend time fighting them.
The naval aspect was a huge part of the main game, and it plays a part in Freedom Cry, but not as big a part. The one new thing added to naval combat was the ability to plunder slave ships and recruit slaves and Maroon rebels. This requires destroying the 3 escort ships while keeping the slave ship intact, which provides good strategy to approach naval battles while trying to free slaves simultaneously, and this by far is the fastest way to free slaves towards getting 500, which also nets you an achievement.
While Adewale can only buy ammo in the beginning of the game, having to buy weapons has been eliminated, which provides the player more reales to upgrade the ship. Finding better weapons like better machetes and blunderbusses harps on freeing a certain amount of slaves and finding secrets on the various islands around Port-au-Prince, which is a huge pain reliever to those worried about having to save reales, so the more slaves you free and Maroons you recruit, you get better rewards. While there aren’t as many secrets and goodies to find, the concept is extremely simplified because of the smaller world map size.
Right after the opening mission, the game presents itself with a different format to that of the main game. The rest of the missions can only be accessed by performing a certain prerequisite, like having a certain number of slaves and recruits or liberating slaves from a plantation.
While Freedom Cry isn’t the odyssey that the main game was, it provides a different perspective and a different motive that was realistic enough for its time as slavery was still legalized. The presentation brings a similar feel while the gameplay changes some things up, but also remains the same. Rescuing slaves is a nice way of killing time in between missions as well as exploring the rest of the main map area, despite the lack of surplus secrets to find. For $10, the amount of content you get vs. the story is a decent amount, and worth a buy if you want to see what happens to Adewale, though don’t expect anything game changing to occur.