Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
DLC for: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Release Date: December 17th, 2013 (Most releases), December 19th, 2013 (PC)
Available on: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Reviewer’s note: I played the Playstation 4 version of this DLC. There may be differences between versions.
Freedom Cry is the first single player DLC available for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. While it doesn’t shake up or make any major changes to the formula set up in the main game, it’s a good addition to the story and adds more of everything great about the main game.
Freedom Cry takes place 15 years after the main story ends. You play as Edward’s right hand man Adéwalé who is now a fully trained Assassin. After he intercepts a package from some Templars he finds himself shipwrecked in Port-au-Prince. Stuck there for the time, Adéwalé begins assisting a rebellion and freeing slaves so he can overthrow the Governor. The story is helped by Adéwalé, who has much more selfless goals than Edward did and that separates him from his former captain. It’s a good story though it does feel a little heavy handed at times. The DLC really wants to hammer the point of slavery being bad home, though eventually it gets to a point where you want to say “yes we get it, can we move on?” Despite this by the end of the game I came to like Adéwalé more and I did enjoy the story at times. It’s more than enough for what is here.
The DLC plays like a smaller scaled version of the main game. Most the activities that made the main game so entertaining is here in some form. Kenway’s Fleet and Templar Hunts have both been ditched though, in favor of Plantation Raids and liberating slave ships. What you have to do for the Plantation Raids varies depending on the time of day you do it. If you go in the morning you have to sneak around and kill the slavers without getting caught because if you are they’ll begin to execute the slaves. If you go at night then you can be a little more reckless as you only have to kill a specific key-holding overseer so you can unlock the slave houses to free them. Liberating the slave ships simply requires you to destroy their escort before boarding them to take out the captains.
Saving slaves is an important part in the game. Unlike Edward, Adéwalé doesn’t need to hunt and craft upgrades. Instead it’s tied to how many slaves you save. The downside to this is that exploration is no longer as crucial as it was in the main game. Sure you can still hop in your ship and explore an underwater wreck or a few random island. They just don’t have the same kind of loot, rewards, or even use that they did in the main game. It began to feel that leaving Port-au-Prince for any reason other than finding a slave ship was pointless. Since the DLC’s world is barely even a quarter of the size of the main game’s world you’re not going to be missing too much. It’s just a shame to see it go to waste.
Adéwalé does bring his own bag of tricks to the DLC though with a few new items. He replaces Edward’s dual swords with a machete, which gives him some surprisingly brutal kills. That said, the difference there is purely an aesthetic one as it works the same either way. On the other hand he switches out Edward’s pistols for a shotgun-like blunderbuss. It doesn’t have the accuracy or ammo of the pistols but it does allow Adéwalé to eliminate several enemies in a single shot. Adéwalé can also throw firecrackers which can lure and confuse enemies, though I found their use to be rather limited. Still, it’s nice to see Adéwalé picking up on Edward’s slack and bringing a few new items to the Assassin’s arsenal.
Freedom Cry’s story lasted about 5 hours, with a solid 4-5 more if you plan to explore and do the side activities. If you’re looking for a truly unique take on the Assassin’s Creed series then this isn’t it. Yet if you’re just looking for more Assassin’s Creed IV then you can’t go wrong with Freedom Cry.