Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Freedom Cry
Top Critic Average
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Freedom Cry tells a great, emotional story in the shell of classic AC gameplay.
One step forward in terms of story and two back when it comes to gameplay, Black Flag's first story expansion has its heart in the right place but that's about all.
A detour for a slave-turned-pirate-turned-assassin helps sow the seeds of a rebellion in this well-intentioned but flawed add-on.
It's easy to imagine a big-budget game tackling slavery with the subtlety of a hammer, but Freedom Cry is an emotional triumph...with some ethical issues.
If you wanted more Assassin's Creed IV, Freedom Cry will do just nicely. Although it doesn't offer as compelling a narrative or even close to as open of a world, it manages to capture the spirit of Black Flag in most of the right places. This is a much better effort than AC III's pointlessly episodic Tyranny of King George DLC, and a great model for Assassin's Creed add-ons going forward.
Adéwalé has his moments, but the real draw here is in the expansion of free-form gameplay both on land and at sea, meaning Freedom Cry succeeds at what it set out to do.
A daring premise and fearless hero make Freedom Cry a bold, if not quite completely satisfying, supplement to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
In the end, the DLC is $9.99, or double that for a season pass. While the story is compelling, it's also fairly light on a meaningful denouement. I enjoyed my time with it, but I can't help but feel like it could have waited a little longer to polish off some of the bugs, integrate the companion app (it's unsupported for the entire adventure – no map, no fleet things, etc.) and give us maybe one more mission to add at least some level of closure. I enjoyed my time with Freedom Cry, and I suppose the fact that I want more of it says something.
In the end, Ubisoft used an established combat and traversal system to tell a story set in an explosive and ugly period in history. And by letting the gameplay do the talking, it largely succeeds.
Freedom Cry is pretty much another four or five hours of Black Flag, but this time in the capable shoes of Adéwalé. A self-contained tale about the human catastrophe of slavery is an abrupt turn from the original's happy-go-lucky plundering style, but the game's mechanics adapt relatively well.