Assassin's Creed 4 came out last year. In my opinion, it fixed everything that was wrong with the previous entry in the franchise, Assassin's Creed 3. While I do think that Assassin's Creed 4 had the best story so far, it still didn't do too much for me. It was riveting, story wise, but the main character was just another brooding, handsome white guy. Being a black man that loves video games, I’ve always searched for games where I could play as a black protagonist. Games like last year's Remember Me, from Capcom, are always on my radar because I finally got a chance to see a black woman as the hero in a game. So when I saw that Assassin's Creed 4 was going to have DLC that let me play as a runaway slave who was actually the quartermaster to the main character in Black Flag, I couldn't pass up the chance to give it a shot. I'm glad I did, because it was a superb expansion.
The DLC starts off with you as Adéwalé 15 years after the events in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. You are captaining your own vessel and are about to destroy a convoy that has a package from the Templars. You end up losing your crew in a storm while trying to escape the fleet of re-enforcements that show up after you destroy the aforementioned convoy. After being thrown overboard, you wake up in St. Domingue on the shore of Port au Prince. You quickly notice that it’s a slave market where you can buy and sell slaves, trading them for goods. You end up meeting a woman named Bastienne Josèphe who runs a brothel which most of the politicians frequent. She keeps her ear to the streets to find out who’s doing what, and where. Because of her, you end up saving and working with the leader of the Maroons (escaped slaves) to end Gouverneur de Fayet’s rule and to free your brothers and sisters from slavery.
I really appreciate how the developers at Ubisoft took the time to not only make this a game where it’s a completely different character existing in the same world as the main game, but the whole world changes to reflect Adéwalé as the main character in the DLC and his mission to free the slaves. For instance, in Black Flag, Edward would go to store fronts in town to go get new weapons and items, but in Freedom Cry you couldn’t access those because slavers would try to capture or kill Adéwalé. So you’d have to find marooned merchants, who hid in trees and other hideouts, to sell you what you needed. Also, the DLC essentially replaced money so that to get your weapons you had to free slaves. For example, you'd have to free 300 slaves to unlock the next machete or 400 for your next firearm. I preferred the switch up because it made this title feel more unique than the others and made the game feel new to me, a frequent Assassin's Creed player.
You are able to free slaves by following the main story and by doing the side missions, which vary from liberating slaves at auctions and killing the Punishers who can be seen whipping slaves at the markets to destroying convoys and taking over slave ships. (I roamed the sea doing that for hours).That’s all fun and breaks up the repetitiveness of the game, but the biggest way to do that is by taking over a whole plantation. You have to kill a certain number of slave overseers and then there’s a slave uprising, after which the slaves are free on the plantation grounds. Eventually, another slaver will take over the plantation and you can to repeat the process. It’s a great addition to the story.
Overall, I love Assassin's Creed 4: Freedom Cry. I appreciate that the developers chose to tell a different story than usual, and finally being able to play a black assassin was awesome. The soundtrack, composed by Olivier Deriviere, complemented the game’s story perfectly. I applaud Ubisoft for basing the story on a topic that is still taboo and also for keeping it as honest as possible. While I did get spit on by white men, I don’t think they called me a “nigger” once, which I thought was odd but also understandable. It was the dev’s choice to not make the game depict that part of racism, even though a fair amount of the rest of it was depicted accurately enough. Even if you don’t care about playing as a runaway slave and freeing other slaves (all while murdering anyone in your path à la Django), you’ll still love the game just because Adéwalé is such a badass.
My biggest issue with Assassin’s Creed IV: Freedom Cry is that it wasn’t a full-length game, the character of Adéwalé had so much depth that I can definitely see them doing something else with him…hopefully. This DLC is well worth the $10 bucks if you already own Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and if you are a Playstation owner, you can purchase the game as a stand-alone story, not needing the $60 Black Flag.
This game is a must buy for any gamer and it has me hyped for what Ubisoft plans to do next.