Despite being a piece of DLC for AC4, I still decided to rank put this game into the ranking considering it is standalone. Hello and welcome back to my ranking of Assassin’s Creed. As always, this blog is the explanation for my ranking while the actual rank can be found here. So, let’s get right into it.
Remember Adewale from AC4? Well, in this game you get put into his shoes as he finds himself shipwrecked onto Haiti after trying to follow some Templars. While in Haiti, he finds a struggle that isn’t tied to the Assassins, but decides to postpone his ordeals with the Assassins to help out this new struggle. What is that struggle? Slavery. The rest of the journey that entails involves Adewale trying to rescue slaves and maroons while hunting down Pierre De Fayet, the governor of the island.
This isn’t my first rodeo with smaller AC titles. Not too far back, I ranked AC Liberation, a spinoff game for the PS Vita. Since I go into into these smaller titles expecting nothing, I came out quite surprised with Liberation considering the content and improvements that were there. So, what about Freedom Cry?
It should come to no surprise that Freedom Cry plays just like AC4. I mean, it’s DLC for AC4. But the game does change things up a bit to compensate for its smaller size. But whereas AC Liberation made things a little better, I feel that the ways this game has been downsized made this a little worse.
The biggest new mechanic to this game is a slave-saving mechanic. Around the area, there are slaves and maroons to be saved. Slaves can be found in auctions, running away from someone, in a cage, or in other predicaments. The amount of slaves and maroons you save adds up, and hitting certain thresholds will unlock Adewale better items and upgrades for himself. At first, I thought this mechanic was really cool. I like progression bars, and this fed right into that. But it didn’t take long for this mechanic to get really annoying. I went from being a great liberator to wondering why there are so many slaves on this island. Everywhere I go, four new slave-freeing opportunities came up. Even worse, they always happened at the exact same place. I remember one time I saw a slave running for his life out of the jungle. I also remember seeing that same slave running out at the same spot over and over. It made the whole slave feel to the game feel chaotic, and thus unrealistic. By the end of my time with the game, I felt that the islands I inhabited were filled with millions of slaves because of how constant this mechanic was. Not only that, the mechanic got to be grindy when some of earlier missions got locked behind this slave threshold. Fortunately, it wasn’t for every mission, but some of the missions required a certain amount of maroons and slaves freed, which got to be annoying. There were opportunities to get a large amount of slaves like plantations that would repopulate after some time, but it still got annoying really fast. The big new feature of this game was definitely a good idea, but its poor execution became annoying and broke the immersion of this world.
Since this is a piece of DLC, picture this as a miniature version of AC4. Now take that picture and cherish because while this game tries to do that, the ways it does that just sucks. Going in, I thought it would just be on one map with no free-sailing to be had. I was wrong, but I wish I was right. The game, just like AC4, offers the ability to jump onto a ship and sail the high seas to other islands and to fight other ships. The issue with that though is that other than getting to certain islands for missions, there is no reason to do any of that. Other than the main island or the secret cave hideout with nothing to do in it, the islands either consist plantations or the biggest waste of time. And by biggest waste of your life, I mean an island that you can only go onto the beach of and only contains a single chest. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this game has no side quests or collectibles. The only things to do in each area is either climb towers or pick up chests. And do you know what a lack of collectibles mean? No sea shanties. Now sailing the seas is about as silent as combat audio. Oh yeah, by the way the audio while in sword combat is super broken.
When it comes to the story, things aren’t any better. The characters are weak and I didn’t even know what main antagonist I was fighting until the end. The entire story was just about fighting back against the government, but they never put a face to it until it didn’t matter. But I will give the game kudos to one moment where I was trying to save a slave ship, only to have the enemy just sink it. The moment was surprisingly weighty and I felt rather somber as I was climbing out of the sinking slave ship with slaves hanging from their shackles. I haven’t really had a moment like that in an AC game (other than a smidge of happy sadness with the ending of AC4 when seeing all of the old crew at the table), so I’ll give the story that.
I have talked a lot of negativity with the game, but my time with it wasn’t horrible. It’s a strange dilemma I keep hitting with the lesser AC games, and this one is no different. I had fun with what I had, but I also hit plenty of issues. Because of that as well as the smaller nature of this game, Freedom Cry is definitely a hard one to rank. In the end, I decided to put this game right in front of AC3 at second-to-last place. While this is a rather poor AC game, I can’t help but think that it is the victim to being a standalone DLC. Plus, looking back I can still say that this is better than AC3. As for my prediction, I believe it will stay second-to-last. We’ll see what happens with Unity as well as The Chronicles Trilogy, but I still think it will stay right where it is.
That’s a wrap. Thank you all for reading, and tune in soon where I talk about my time when I leave the sun and get right back into the snow.