Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Publisher: Ubisoft | Played On: PlayStation 4 [Also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Windows] | Release Date: December 17, 2013 | ESRB:Mature [Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence]
As the quartermaster of Edward Kenway aboard the Jackdaw, Adewale made for a fitting right-hand man to the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Whereas Edward’s tale is one of internal conflict between the Assassin Order and the life of piracy, Adewale’s sense of self paints the quartermaster as a focused, determined seeker of justice and a prime candidate as an assassin.
SPOILER! Black Flag’s main story reveals that Adewale does in fact end up as a fully capable assassin, although we didn’t have a chance to follow him on any of his own stealthy adventures. That’s where next week’s Freedom Cry comes in. It’s an aptly named DLC since Adewale’s exploits focus on the thriving slave trade that was briefly explored in the main game. As a former slave himself, his drive to free other slaves is a strong one, and Freedom Cry offers many opportunities to do just that.
Whereas the majority of the soldiers and guards Edward encountered where Spaniards, Adewale deals more with the French in and around the Haitian city of Port-au-Prince. Whether intentional or not, the presence of the French as well as the focus on slavery, makes Freedom Cry feel like a thematic bridge to Black Flag and last year’s Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. And just like the exploits of Liberation protagonist Aveline de Grandpre, Adewale ends up relying on disguise to complete at least one mission.
While Adewale is notably more built and fit than Edward, he still moves and fights like any other assassin in the series. How he stands out is with a couple of his tools for combat. Skilled in both firearms and melee weapons, I got to try out his machete and blunderbuss, the latter being a predecessor to the shotgun.
Killing a pack of soldiers with a single round of the blunderbuss is both effective and satisfying. Seeing Adewale wield a machete makes him look as intimidating as ever, although I have seen Edward Kenway wield more effective and elegant blades on Black Flag. I hope that Freedom Cry, with its estimated five to six hour playtime, will offer Adewale other melee options beyond the weapons he can steal from enemies. It should be noted that he also has access to smoke bombs which, like the main game, makes killing four or five blinded enemies feel almost like an exploit.
The mission types aren’t all that different from many of the assignments in Black Flag, or other Assassin’s Creed games for that matter. In the less than an hour, I managed to defeat a number of enemies, pursue an escaping boat while on foot, and free a number of prisoners. Eavesdropping missions in Black Flag were often tricky and the ones I experienced in Freedom Cry were unusual in that the eavesdropping was confined to a single mansion and its outer area. Equally challenging were the brief chases sequences where I stopped slave traders from catching slaves who managed to break free from their confines.
The many, many months as a quartermaster made Adewale more than ready to command his own ship, and indeed, Freedom Cry will let you control a ship under the former slave’s command. Although I did not take the time to thoroughly explore the waters beyond Port-au-Prince, the map did indicate that Adewale’s sea exploration will have its own collection of icons, most notably the plantation icon.
By using a well-justified new character to control in Freedom Cry, this adventure feels appropriate as DLC, even though Black Flag only came out several weeks ago. It would be a different case if that first DLC featured more missions for Edward Kenway, which in turn would have been met with negative reactions from many consumers. By spotlighting Adewale, Freedom Cry does not feel like the kind of content that was intentionally withheld from the main game.