I’ve never been blown away by the Assassin’s Creed DLC packs for all games in the series (though I never played those for III, which looked way cooler than the rest), and Freedom Cry continues this trend by being far from “need to play,” no matter how promising the protagonist is.
Following his time as Edward Kenway’s second in command in AC4, Adéwalé remains a man far less self-serving than our previous protagonist, though our introductions to these two characters aren’t too different. After a brief time swordless at sea, Adéwalé washes up on shore after violently finding himself submerged in the deep blue sea. But where Kenway was spurned on by greed, Adéwalé finds his mission in the slaves that still suffer in the world that he managed to escape years ago.
As weird as it was to start the game without a sword, Adéwalé quickly finds a machete that perfectly suits his level of violence when it comes to slicing and dicing the white man. The character animation is brutal and beautiful, and I found myself far more impressed with his skill when comparing it to the man who just had his own full-length game, and you will have plenty of chances to see it as a lot of the gameplay revolves around fighting to save the slaves littered throughout this smaller map.
The story and history that inspires this DLC makes a great addition to the Assassin’s Creed world, and it’s no surprise that those involved with this series have found inspiration from this period of time, but it isn’t translated into game form as effectively as it could have been. Not to say that slavery was a small problem that didn’t permeate deeply into all aspects of many cultures, but the way in which these acts of abuse respawn repeatedly in the same locations does get really obnoxious considering it would be nice to feel that my actions were at least having some lasting effect on the area, no matter how small in the grand scale of things.
The problem that brings about this need for respawning is that Adéwalé uses these rescued slaves as his own form of currency. That’s right, we trade slaves’ lives for upgrades and items! Ok, it’s not quite that simple… but I did find this slightly amusing as I spent most of the time with this DLC going around saving slaves so that I would be permitted to move on to the next campaign mission. This makes the DLC last a little longer, but having to save a certain number of slaves before getting to move on does feel pretty stupid, especially with the whole respawn thing I mentioned before.
Adéwalé may make a pretty cool protagonist, but the Freedom Cry DLC is definitely not worth the ten dollar price tag. The way in which the story progresses just feels awkward, and going back to level zero so soon after playing 50+ hours in the main game is a hard pill to swallow at first. Not only that, but the level of exploration in the main body of the game is lost with this smaller map, making this a lame continuation of the game that spawned this story continuation.
Final Grade: 6/10 Follow @BewareOfTrees