Thursday, January 9, 2014

Assassin's Creed IV: Freedom Cry Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/assassin-s-creed-iv-freedom-cry-review-67e9f5973591

One of the more interesting characters in Assassin's Creed IV was Adewalé, a former slave who becomes Edward Kenway's quartermaster for most of the game. He seemed to have his head screwed on better than Edward, and he actually cared about doing the right thing.

Freedom Cry takes place after the events of the main story, and Adewalé has joined the Assassins. However, he is shipwrecked near Port-au-Prince. As we know from our vast historical expertise, Haiti would eventually be the site of the only successful slave revolution; however that isn't until around 70 years after the events of this DLC. Adewalé initially wants to get back to the Assassins and continue his current mission, but he is convinced to stay and help free as many of the slaves as possible and plant the seeds of revolution.

The side missions found in the main game are replaced by various types of slave-freeing. Liberating plantations, interrupting auctions, intercepting convoys, and stopping beatings are a few of them. The game keeps track of how many people you have liberated to determine what upgrades are available to you in the shops. When I first saw that I needed 300 slaves to get the upgraded machete I was worried that they were just simplifying people to currency. However the game explains it as "the more people are living in your secret community of liberated slaves, the better resources are available to you" which does make sense.
The story was definitely more engaging than the main game's story, and thankfully it had more to say than "slavery is bad" which would have been a really easy crutch for the writers to fall on. There was even an emotional moment that really hit me and made me feel powerless and angry. "All the feels" as they say.
Even so, I had the most fun when I was doing what I wanted to do, which was a lot of the open-world side activities. The world was not very large; Port-au-Prince was the only city (and it was a pretty small one) and there is a modest bit of ocean to plunder. It provided me with about seven hours of enjoyment, which made it worth it for me, but this is by no means a must-buy for everybody.