Adewale proved to be a capable first mate to Edward Kenway aboard the Jackdaw, and felt he had found his path through life by joining the Assassins in their fight against the Templars. Fifteen years later, after becoming a trained Assassin, Adewale finds himself in a position to influence the future for his fellow African brothers as he washes up on a beach in Saint- Domingue following a shipwreck during a storm. Adewale had steered his ship into the storm, seeking to escape from Templar ships after stealing a package bound for Haiti. After being shipwrecked, the former first mate finds himself embroiled in some island intrigue, with a growing slave rebellion against their French masters. He makes contact with Bastienne, a madam who runs a brothel in Port-Au-Prince, and from there contacts the leader of the Maroons, a rebel group comprised of escaped slaves. Adewale lends a hand, liberating slaves from plantations and their cages, recruiting the whole way for the Maroon cause to overthrow the French governor, de Fayet.
Such is the set-up for the story driven DLC single player pack for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Freedom Cry. The nine mission pack offers much of the same thrills as the main game. You’ll tail important people to learn of the governor’s plans, engage in ship battles and assassinations, and liberate slaves from bondage, both through violent means and a more peaceful approach where you can buy the slaves and set them free. It all plays out against a fairly solid story that leaves us wanting some more. It addresses the struggle of one man against slavery, something not often tackled in videogames, and we can feel Adewale’s sense of futility as he frees more and more slaves, only to have it seem as if there is a never ending supply of captives to be liberated from their cruel masters. It can be easy to get distracted from Freedom Cry’s main missions as you just feel the need to free each and every slave you come across. More can be freed by liberating plantations, but one must be cautious doing so. Draw too much attention, and the overseers will start killing slaves left and right, making a stealthy approach so much more necessary. You’ll need to use your Assassin skills well, lest things go very wrong.
Adewale has your basic Assassin weapons- his wrist blades, rope darts, sleeping darts, and berserk darts- to accomplish his tasks. In addition, you get a machete (a rusted one at first, but by exploring you can upgrade to a much better weapon) and a powerful firearm in the blunderbuss, which can take out up to four enemies with a single blast. It’s a weapon that requires some discretion in use, otherwise you could take out friendlies as well. Adewale also has smoke bombs and firecrackers to create diversions. The more slaves you free, the more options open up to you in terms of outfitting Adewale. Eventually you do get your own ship, the Experto Crede, which can be upgraded in the same way that Kenway upgraded the Jackdaw.
You’ll need to upgrade your ship, especially when you try to liberate a slave ship, which is always under escort by three other heavily armed ships like frigates and man-o-wars. Being a DLC pack, naturally the map is much smaller than the main game, but it does give you a chance to explore parts of the Caribbean that weren’t open to you before. As in the main game, there are treasure chests and secrets to be found, game to hunt, and whales and sharks to harpoon. There are also some wrecks to explore. The gameplay is the same as the main game, with Adewale able to counter and break defenses much as Edward could. And there are some of the same issues with the main game present here, with tailing people to eavesdrop on conversations is used more often than one might like, and the occasional bad camera angle during combat. The flaws may hold it back from being perfect, but they don’t ruin the enjoyment of the game.
And it is a fairly fun trek through the nine missions, boosted by some terrific voice acting. The music has more of an African/ Haitian sound to it, giving the DLC its own unique sound and flavor from the main game. You can concentrate just on the missions and tear through this in about 4-5 hours, but if you take your time, explore, and indulge in some side activities that can easily be doubled, making it worth the price of admission. Adewale is a well developed character, and quite likeable to boot. It tackles a subject rarely dealt with in games, even though one could argue that it merely only scratches the surface of its weightier themes. Still, the story it tells is told well, and it leaves one hoping that maybe Adewale can get his own spin-off game in the future. All in all, Freedom Cry is a worthy piece of DLC, and a fine addition to the main game.
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