Assassin's Creed IV: Freedom Cry
Developer: Ubisoft Québec
Genre: Open-World Adventure / Stealth
Release Dates: December 17, 2013 (EU & NA)
Price: 7.99£ (Xbox Live Marketplace) / 11.99£ (PlayStation Store)
Freedom Cry tells the story of Black Flag's Adéwalé, twenty years after the story of Edward Kenway, following Adéwalé in his journey through the West Indies Sea, where he ends up shipwrecked on the coast of Haiti. Making his way into Port-au-Prince he meets up with Bastienne Josèphe, the proprietor of a local brothel and a sympathiser to the Maroons, a faction of freedom fighters made up of liberated slaves. Soon afterwards Adéwalé gets caught up in the events and ends up teaming with the Maroons to free slaves from around the West Indies Sea.
As emotional and personal the story is, its length demolishes almost everything the plot wants to uncover, as most missions will be over before you realize it, leaving details aside and focusing only on the main objectives, therefore taking away from the emotional impact the story could've had if we were presented with some background on the slaves and their masters which Adéwalé is supposed to fight blindly. Adéwalé's relationship with Bastienne Josèphe is one of the few things that stands out strong throughout the six hour adventure, as you will find out more about her intentions from one visit to the next one, and by the end of the story form a bond with her that you could only wish would continue for a few more hours. 6.5
Being an extension to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Freedom Cry plays exactly the same, with a few interesting things added for the best, and a lot of amazing features present in the original game removed for the worst. This is still an open world game, so you can use your ship to travel from one location to another just like you did in Black Flag, but not only is the game limited to the West Indies Sea which is a pretty small portion of the Caribbean, but at the same time that portion feels empty in a way that Black Flag never did, even with its enormous map.
There are only three main islands where the main plot will take you and maybe five more where you can find a chest or a secret, but for the most part the seas feel empty, and even in those main islands aside from the objective where the mission takes you and the slave liberation missions there is nothing else to do, something that feels weird to begin with for an Assassin's Creed game. On the bright side, the Blunderbuss and Adéwalé's machete are some great new tools to play around with, at least in the main missions since that's the only occasion you'll get to use them properly. 6
Freedom Cry was built as an extension to Black Flag, so it uses the same engine and environment, which is only for the best since the original game was a beauty with vast seas, populated lands and unforgiving fleets. In this title, the seas are still there in all their beauty and so are the ships cruising them, but the difference comes when you set sail for land and realize there is nothing else to see there; unlike Black Flag, Freedom Cry has only a few island and even those look similar, as no matter which one you set foot on next, you'll still be greeted by the same slave plantation or empty beach. 6.5
With such great audio design and quality in Black Flag, it was impossible to screw it up this time, since most of it is reused in here, which isn't much of a problem since all the effects feel authentic in Adéwalé's story as well. There are a couple new tunes created for Freedom Cry exclusively and those find their spot in Adéwalé's story flawlessly, and thanks to some great voice acting performed by Tristan D. Lalla, Adéwalé's character feels even more authentic than it did before in Black Flag throughout Kenway's story. 9.5
Even though this can be purchased as a standalone experience, it is obviously just an extension to Black Flag, but even so playing an Assassin's Creed game where you can barely squeeze six hours of playtime if you're taking your time with the story, completing all the slave liberation missions and looking around for the few islands that hide a chest feels weird since Assassin's Creed was always about exploration and the things you can do on the side, things that are almost non-existent in Freedom Cry. 5.5
Freedom Cry wanted to tell a more personal story than the original Black Flag, but unfortunately the limited length of the story, as well as the empty environment in which it takes place makes it fall flawed as important and emotional events will be over before realizing it and for most parts without any explanation or background on Adéwalé's intentions. 6.8