Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry (2014)

Genre: Action / Adventure | Players: 1 | Developer: Ubisoft

Our introduction to Freedom Cry’s protagonist Adéwalé was in Ass Creed IV: Black Flag (2013) when he served as quartermaster aboard Captain Kenway's pirate ship, the Jackdaw. FC is set fifteen years after that time, with the former quartermaster now a fully-fledged assassin and Captain of his own vessel.

Things go bad and Adéwalé gets washed ashore after a shipwreck. The place he lands is Saint-Domingue, a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. In Saint-Domingue black workers are kept as slaves by cruel white masters. Adéwalé empathises with the working men and women, having once been held in similar chains, so he chooses to stay and liberate them using his assassin skills.

Originally a DL-only addition to Black Flag it was subsequently released as a standalone title minus the IV prefix in the title. That means if you own the Ass Creed IV disc you can choose the original partial download. It’s the full FC game but makes use of your existing AC IV install files. If you don’t have the disc you can download a larger file enabling you to play the full FC game in its standalone guise. At full price, when compared to the amount of gameplay that IV gives you, FC is piss-poor value. It doesn't get close to my definition of value for money.

The biggest addition to gameplay is the ability to free slaves from plantations. In fact, it’s your currency while on land. It sounds odd, but (once unlocked) guns and ammunition are free as reward for selfless services rendered. The better items can only be purchased once you've freed enough people.

There’s an important social message at its core that's deserving of wider attention, but everything about the expansion feels rushed, from the story to the poorly thought-out progressions and limited number of upgrades. Whereas IV had more in it than it first appeared, FC has less than it first appears. The majority of the locations are nothing more than a tiny beach area with two or three visible treasure chests. You’ll visit them once, with no need to ever return. Worse still, the sea shanties are absent, meaning sea journeys feel longer and are mirthless.

The few larger areas that make up the bulk of the game are well-designed and would've fit nicely into IV. It's a shame there isn't more to do within them and that the missions on them are so broken. Of the nine memories (missions) available, I had to restart six because of glitches. One in particular had to be restarted four times because the same glitch made it impossible to complete. That's the kind of thing I'd expect in a beta, not a final product. Well, except a Ubisoft product.

2½ changing tides out of 5

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