Giant Bomb Review

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Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry Review

4

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.

As risk averse as some (most?) big-budget games are, we often see publishers loosening the reins with downloadable content. Ubisoft has shown itself as a publisher willing to take a risk, exemplified by Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and the recent Assassin's Creed IV: Freedom Cry. The latter was just made available completely separate from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (except on Xbox), and it's crazy more people haven't been talking about it. Freedom Cry represents a AAA publisher trying to make the deplorable, shameful act of slavery both a narrative and mechanical part of a game. It's not without problems, but it's a hell of a try.

Black Flag players have already met the main character of Freedom Cry, Adéwalé. The add-on is set years after the events of Black Flag, but does not remark on them, except for the occasional mention of the main game's protagonist, Edward Kenway. Adéwalé, now an active member of the Assassins brotherhood, intercepts a Templar package. It's unclear what's inside, but it's clearly important, so Adéwalé makes off into a deadly storm with it. Nature tears apart his ship, and he wakes up on the shores of Port-au-Prince. Slavery was mentioned in Black Flag, but it's central to the economy in Port-au-Prince and the nearby islands. Adéwalé becomes involved in the brewing revolution, promising assistance before returning to the Assassins.

Even though Black Flag represented a welcomed return to form for a series that was almost made irrelevant by its third major entry, there was so much to digest. I spent more than 30 hours as a pirate on the high seas, and it's easy to imagine how one could more than double that. So I wouldn't blame anyone for being tired of Black Flag by the credits, especially since Ubisoft is likely to deliver another Assassin's Creed this year. In that regard, Freedom Cry doesn't do much to mix up the formula that's worked so well for the series since finding its footing with Assassins Creed II. On-foot missions are still largely about frustratingly trying to eavesdrop on a group of characters who constantly look behind themselves for no good reason, killing a set of assigned targets, and generally stealthing around. Life at sea has not changed very much, either, but it remains damn fun.

What has changed in Freedom Cry, however, is the context of your actions. The ongoing, mostly tired tug-of-war between the Assassins and Templars is merely window dressing in Freedom Cry, with Adéwalé's central motivation a desire to free his brothers from the shackles he once found himself in. There's a good reason games have largely steered away from the subject of slavery. It's harrowing, personal, and deeply emotional. Even though the Assassin's Creed series is one born of a fantastic premise, one cannot invoke the very real concept of slavery without strict scrutiny alongside it. And this is where Freedom Cry both soars and stumbles.

I could never muster the desire for the optional objectives in Assassin's Creed. It's a feature for completionists, and seemed to encourage player behavior that highlighted the very worst parts of Assassin's Creed gameplay. But I often found myself trying to do everything in Freedom Cry. It's one thing to ask the player to try and air assassinate a target, and quite another to ask them to rescue a group of slaves on the compound you're exploring. This is a fictional experience, but that's a powerful string to tug at. As a player who often errs on the side of helping, it was hard for me to justify not making sure these types of objectives were completed. It not only made sense for the type of character I play as, it perfectly lined up with Adéwalé's deeply personal reasons for action in Freedom Cry. It's not that Freedom Cry completely reinvents the often boring objectives that drive missions in Assassin's Creed, but the contextual reframing gives them a powerful emotional component.

But there are reasons to raise an eyebrow, as well. Rescuing slaves is one of the key gameplay additions in Freedom Cry, and you're constantly reminded of ways you can help. A slave may be trying to escape from their captor, and you can stop the chase. Another group of slaves may be in the process of being sold, and you can step in, buy them, and set them free. Some of them may join the fomenting revolution in Port-au-prince, while others are simply allowed to live their lives. This makes sense, and from the perspective of designing a fulfilling open world, this gives the player regular, meaningful actions to participate in while getting to the next mission. What's questionable is Ubisoft's decision to turn the slaves into a form of in-game currency, a cruelly ironic twist. The more slaves the player frees, the more upgrades available from vendors that support Adéwalé. This generates a horrific disconnect from the very human tragedy the upgrade system pulls from. It's an especially gross feeling to be running around a town square, waiting for slaves to spawn on the map because you're only a few away from unlocking that really sweet machete. (This actually happened.) It's mostly unnecessary, too, as players accrue most of the upgrades simply by engaging with the required mission objectives. That includes rescuing slave ships, which can house nearly 100 captives at once. There's already an in-game currency the player uses to buy stuff, so while it's understandable Ubisoft designers wanted to reward players for engaging in side objectives, it only undermines the seriousness with which the game otherwise treats the subject.

And there are genuine moments of emotional heartbreak where all of these concerns, for the moment, fade away. An especially trying moment involves Adéwalé defying the recommendations of his fellow revolutionaries, and attempts to free a nearby slave ship. It all goes horribly, horribly wrong, and puts the venomous, inhuman contempt of Port-au-Prince's cruel rulers on full display. When you can't save everyone, who do you save? It's a moment in which Freedom Cry poignantly layers the draw of a spectacle that is only possible in a big-budget video game with the subtlety we have come to expect from our best independent productions. One section involves Adéwalé climbing up a wall, the same way a character in Assassin's Creed often does, but what surrounds you is...unforgettable. When the mission was over, I had to set the controller down. I was drained, and Adéwalé's pain was my own. We were both equally seeking blood and revenge.

Freedom Cry is about hope. It's about hope for a people, even if it feels futile and fleeting. You don't solve the problem of slavery in Freedom Cry. The way slaves and plantation owners constantly cycle back into the world, no matter how many you liberate, also works as genuine commentary on the state of slavery at the time. It might just be a way the game keeps the world from becoming empty...but it works. The add-on also gives hope for what's possible when blockbuster-driven creators take risks with material. There are missteps in Freedom Cry, more ethical than mechanical, but it hits as often as it misses. That's undeniably an important step forward.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
130 Comments
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Posted by Milkman

Thought I was done with AC IV but I'm gonna have to give this a shot.

Posted by Hurricrane

I didn't even know something like this was coming out, and it sounds fascinating. Get on the marketing ball Ubisoft! You take more chances than almost any other big publisher!

Edited by leejunfan83

VIDEOGAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Online
Posted by Pie

Should I pick this up or AC4?

This got as much in terms of raw gameplay and systems as that?

Posted by ArtisanBreads

Oh god moralizing down a review score...

Edited by XplusY

Does it talk much about the metagame? I could get into a game exploring slavery in the Caribbean, but I've been uninterested in Templars, Assassins, Abstergo, and Greek Gods since AC 2: Something something.

Posted by Mercury45

Thanks for the review, Scoops.

I'm not into AC at all but I was curious to read about Patrick's perspective on the issue of slavery, especially given the context and the format this is presented in. Some of these things like the vendor upgrades do sound questionable, but overall this does sound like a mostly-forward step, and I guess there's gotta be missteps as well as triumphs if we're going to have a proper portrayal of these issues.

Posted by Y2Ken

This sounds pretty intriguing. Still yet to make it through all of AC IV, but I really enjoyed what I've played of it so I imagine I'll get through it eventually; might have to give this a look after that.

Edited by Hassun

If only this series could get actually interesting missions and engaging combat.

Slaves as a collectible/currency sounds like a downright hilariously Ubisoft way to tackle the subject.

@patrickklepek I would love to hear more about this mechanic on tomorrow's Bombin' in the AM (sans spoilers of course).

Edited by ArtisanBreads

@mercury45 said:

I'm not into AC at all but I was curious to read about Patrick's perspective on the issue of slavery, especially given the context and the format this is presented in. Some of these things like the vendor upgrades do sound questionable, but overall this does sound like a mostly-forward step, and I guess there's gotta be missteps as well as triumphs if we're going to have a proper portrayal of these issues.

I agree, but when games pretty much never tackle anything with any importance to it you have to give them slack. Making a game fun in addition to having a message is great and is only something to celebrate. I love that this even exists. Don't think many game companies would take the risk.

Basically docking it a point for that? Really silly to me.

Doesn't matter to me really I just think that's lame to see.

Posted by TheVGamer

Freedom Cry was very different in tone than Black Flag, so much so that I think it deserves a playthrough even if you have finished Black Flag. It made me feel like a vulnerable, hunted man who's always on the move but it also made me feel like a badass hero, something AC games are great at evoking. It also recontextualized Edward's story. I was suddenly aware of how lucky and privileged he was to be a white man from the Isles and I never looked at Black Flag quite the same way. Overall, it delivered its message better than AC3 even could with its cumbersome behemoth of a story.

"Freedom Cry evokes white guilt as it puts you into the boots of an 18th century black man." - 11/10

Posted by patrickklepek

@mercury45 said:

I'm not into AC at all but I was curious to read about Patrick's perspective on the issue of slavery, especially given the context and the format this is presented in. Some of these things like the vendor upgrades do sound questionable, but overall this does sound like a mostly-forward step, and I guess there's gotta be missteps as well as triumphs if we're going to have a proper portrayal of these issues.

I agree, but when games pretty much never tackle anything with any importance to it you have to give them slack. Making a game fun in addition to having a message is great and is only something to celebrate. I love that this even exists. Don't think many game companies would take the risk.

Basically docking it a point for that? Really silly to me.

Doesn't matter to me really I just think that's lame to see.

Who says I docked it a point for that? That's not how review scores work. Review scores are a gut feeling, not a specific plus/minus system based on what you liked/didn't like about the game.

Staff
Edited by LackingSaint

@mercury45 said:

I'm not into AC at all but I was curious to read about Patrick's perspective on the issue of slavery, especially given the context and the format this is presented in. Some of these things like the vendor upgrades do sound questionable, but overall this does sound like a mostly-forward step, and I guess there's gotta be missteps as well as triumphs if we're going to have a proper portrayal of these issues.

I agree, but when games pretty much never tackle anything with any importance to it you have to give them slack. Making a game fun in addition to having a message is great and is only something to celebrate. I love that this even exists. Don't think many game companies would take the risk.

Basically docking it a point for that? Really silly to me.

Doesn't matter to me really I just think that's lame to see.

"Freedom Cry doesn't do much to mix up the formula that's worked so well for the series since finding its footing with Assassins Creed II. On-foot missions are still largely about frustratingly trying to eavesdrop on a group of characters who constantly look behind themselves for no good reason, killing a set of assigned targets, and generally stealthing around." - As Patrick says in the review, this game does have flaws that have little to do with ethical questions.

Edited by TruthTellah

@artisanbreads said:

@mercury45 said:

I'm not into AC at all but I was curious to read about Patrick's perspective on the issue of slavery, especially given the context and the format this is presented in. Some of these things like the vendor upgrades do sound questionable, but overall this does sound like a mostly-forward step, and I guess there's gotta be missteps as well as triumphs if we're going to have a proper portrayal of these issues.

I agree, but when games pretty much never tackle anything with any importance to it you have to give them slack. Making a game fun in addition to having a message is great and is only something to celebrate. I love that this even exists. Don't think many game companies would take the risk.

Basically docking it a point for that? Really silly to me.

Doesn't matter to me really I just think that's lame to see.

I didn't get the impression that was the sole reason he gave it a 4 instead of a 5. He also noted the inherent issues with some of the quests which are only helped a bit by the improved context. So, to me, it sounds like a 4 out of 5 with a simple side note on something that was a bit off to him.

Online
Posted by Veektarius

I told myself I wouldn't play ACIV unless they dropped the AC name, then I played it anyway. I was right the first time - I'm definitely done with this series unless it gets a full overhaul.

Edited by ArtisanBreads

@patrickklepek said:

@artisanbreads said:

@mercury45 said:

I'm not into AC at all but I was curious to read about Patrick's perspective on the issue of slavery, especially given the context and the format this is presented in. Some of these things like the vendor upgrades do sound questionable, but overall this does sound like a mostly-forward step, and I guess there's gotta be missteps as well as triumphs if we're going to have a proper portrayal of these issues.

I agree, but when games pretty much never tackle anything with any importance to it you have to give them slack. Making a game fun in addition to having a message is great and is only something to celebrate. I love that this even exists. Don't think many game companies would take the risk.

Basically docking it a point for that? Really silly to me.

Doesn't matter to me really I just think that's lame to see.

Who says I docked it a point for that? That's not how review scores work. Review scores are a gut feeling, not a specific plus/minus system based on what you liked/didn't like about the game.

Tough to judge the points I just don't see many other complaints. I don't care about what score you gave the game really, like I say.

Anyways, I just object to the idea, for the reasons I say. Totally get there can be more elegance but I hardly see it as an ethical question more than simply one of elegance. If they are tackling tough subject matter it would be nice to have the game's mechanics reflect that, but again, no games even do much of this. It's cool to see a big budget one tackle this and maintain it's gameplay, with that same satisfying progression.

It's just a balancing act for the people making the game and for me, they seem to have done about as well as they could in this position. They built off the game with DLC that has it's own unique angle. This wasn't a new game that could design its mechanics around a message.

Anyways, it's just magnifying a small issue to me. I don't care about the point in the score, but you lead with it on the description for the review. I just don't see the need. Like you say, it's a triumph.

Posted by TheVGamer

@xplusy: There's absolutely zero Abstergo subplot, no ancient aliens and the Templars vs Assassin war is almost non-existent in this campaign. They're mentioned here and there but it's mostly used as a vehicle to get a badass liberator of slaves into action. And yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds, they're three levels deep now.

Edited by Atwa

@forkboy said:

@pie said:

Should I pick this up or AC4?

This got as much in terms of raw gameplay and systems as that?

It's DLC for AC4. That means it requires AC4 to play.

They made it standalone, which I find crazy. It builds on from AC IV and even has spoilers for that game in it. The gameplay is also a cut down version of AC IV, so I don't see why anyone would play this instead of AC IV. Its for people that want more after that game, which I did and enjoyed it.

Edited by ArtisanBreads

@forkboy said:


@artisanbreads said:

Oh god moralizing down a review score...

You don't think there's something messed up in that mechanic, treating slaves as currency? Fuck off.

Fuck off hahahaha okay dude.

It's a game where you are liberating slaves... you think they didn't want to make that and instead made a racist game where you make it seem like slaves are free but really, THEY'RE CURRENCY STILL OH GOD!?

No dude, they just made a DLC with a message on top of a game with collection based progression mechanics, and so they kept that in there. They weren't making a whole new game and I'm sure they had a small team and a short deadline. That's all.

But magnify it and make it a huge issue. That was Ubisofts intent I'm sure!

Edited by kcp12
Edited by development

@artisanbreads said:

@forkboy said:


You don't think there's something messed up in that mechanic, treating slaves as currency? Fuck off.

Fuck off hahahaha okay dude.

It's a game where you are liberating slaves... you think they didn't want to make that and instead made a racist game where you make it seem like slaves are free but really, THEY'RE CURRENCY STILL OH GOD!?

No dude, they just made a DLC with a message on top of a game with collection based progression mechanics, and so they kept that in there. They weren't making a whole new game and I'm sure they had a small team and a short deadline. That's all.

But magnify it and make it a huge issue. That was Ubisofts intent I'm sure!

Thissssssssssssssssss. There's really nothing more to it. That being said, I thing Patrick laid out the reasons for the score quite well. He didn't dock it for the perceived mishandling of the issues.

Posted by csl316

I'm intrigued, but I still have sooooo much Black Flag left.

Edited by ArtisanBreads
@development said:

@artisanbreads said:

@forkboy said:


You don't think there's something messed up in that mechanic, treating slaves as currency? Fuck off.

Fuck off hahahaha okay dude.

It's a game where you are liberating slaves... you think they didn't want to make that and instead made a racist game where you make it seem like slaves are free but really, THEY'RE CURRENCY STILL OH GOD!?

No dude, they just made a DLC with a message on top of a game with collection based progression mechanics, and so they kept that in there. They weren't making a whole new game and I'm sure they had a small team and a short deadline. That's all.

But magnify it and make it a huge issue. That was Ubisofts intent I'm sure!

Thissssssssssssssssss. There's really nothing more to it. That being said, I thing Patrick laid out the reasons for the score quite well. He didn't dock it for the perceived mishandling of the issues.

You're right and sorry for bringing that up, arguing about a score is dumb I'm usually the guy saying that.

It's just devoting any more than a sentence to its inelegance is overkill, and he leads into the review with that in the description for the review. I just find it sensationalist and kind of missing how this all probably came together and that it's amazing and awesome that it came together at all.

Say "inelegant", not "morally questionable". So when you say it's a moral issue in this review multiple times, what are you saying? The people who made the game are racist?

Posted by SkippySigmatic

Is gaining unlockables for freeing slaves somehow more ethically "questionable" than flat out murdering people for unlockables? I mean, you were a PIRATE in the base game! You boarded ships and murdered people for in-game currency! This is sensitivity taken way, way too far. It's a video game with progression mechanics, which happens to actually tackle interesting ideas in history. Given the fact that these video game tropes are very deeply integrated at this point, I simply do not see the ethical problem here.

Sometimes it seems like Patrick is reaching too hard for "big" ideas and issues in the industry, when in reality they're just trivial.

Edited by Milkman

@artisanbreads: Disclaimer: I haven't played this yet. But what would have been wrong with just using AC IV's upgrade systems? Just reading about this new system at face value, it does sound a little strange. You can spin it however you want but it sounds like the slaves literally do equal currency. I don't think it was Ubisoft's intent at all but it still seems like a misstep.

Edited by Heycalvero

Really interesting review, Patrick, thanks. I'm burned out of the AC franchise, but I might eventually play this.

Posted by Pie
Edited by InfamousBIG

I told myself I wouldn't play ACIV unless they dropped the AC name, then I played it anyway. I was right the first time - I'm definitely done with this series unless it gets a full overhaul.

Word, I really don't understand the love for this game. I feel it still has every single frustrating problem as ACIII did (although it starts faster), and gameplay-wise it's literally unpleasant for me to play. And I fucking loved ACII and Brotherhood, ACII is one of the best games of last gen if you ask me. I mean, I guess if you aren't completely sick of the games' mechanics by this point, it seems competent, but I guess I'm just not sure why everyone acted like it was some crazy renaissance for AC, when functionally, I find it to be nearly goddamn identical to the last several games, especially III.

Edited by ArtisanBreads
@milkman said:

@artisanbreads: Disclaimer: I haven't played this yet. But what would have been wrong with just using AC IV's upgrade systems? Just reading about this new system at face value, it does sound a little strange. You can spin it however you want but it sounds like the slaves literally do equal currency. I don't think it was Ubisoft intent at all but it still seems like a misstep.

I actually liked this more, felt more focused. And yes I did have the thought about the slaves being a number on a counter, but I had the exact same feeling playing AC IV through multiple progression systems it had. My crew that I never gave a fuck about cause I'd find them floating around so I'd happily fire swivel cannons into groups of them? Going to war and destroying forts so my pirates can then take over the fort and be even worse probably, terrorizing open waters? I mean, isn't that stuff morally questionable?

To me, it's just like a throwaway criticism that I understand, but it's just a game with a message trying to work around the AC series nonsensical and often morally ruthless progression systems.

Posted by Pie

@atwa said:

@forkboy said:

@pie said:

Should I pick this up or AC4?

This got as much in terms of raw gameplay and systems as that?

It's DLC for AC4. That means it requires AC4 to play.

They made it standalone, which I find crazy. It builds on from AC IV and even has spoilers for that game in it. The gameplay is also a cut down version of AC IV, so I don't see why anyone would play this instead of AC IV. Its for people that want more after that game, which I did and enjoyed it.

I thought maybe it just had a smaller main story but still had all of the side content from the main game still. I would happily pay for a cheaper version of AC4 that had all the side content but had a smaller (but more interesting) story

Posted by joshwent

The more slaves the player frees, the more upgrades available from vendors that support Adéwalé. This generates a horrific disconnect from the very human tragedy the upgrade system pulls from.

Hmm. If it made Patrick feel disconnected, you can't really argue against that honest reaction, but saying the game is turing slaves into "currency" seems like a bit of a stretch. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the mechanic, but stores offering your character more items as you do more to help in the towns seems like it would actually incentivise helping the people even more, right? At the very least, it seems like some good story-based justification for doling out new items over time. As if vendors are actively helping you out as you help others. (as opposed to all the other AC games where you finish a sequence and now here's a sweet new dagger, knife pouch upgrade, and a treasure map that have been unlocked for no reason)

Edited by ArtisanBreads
@skippysigmatic said:

Is gaining unlockables for freeing slaves somehow more ethically "questionable" than flat out murdering people for unlockables? I mean, you were a PIRATE in the base game! You boarded ships and murdered people for in-game currency! This is sensitivity taken way, way too far. It's a video game with progression mechanics, which happens to actually tackle interesting ideas in history. Given the fact that these video game tropes are very deeply integrated at this point, I simply do not see the ethical problem here.

Sometimes it seems like Patrick is reaching too hard for "big" ideas and issues in the industry, when in reality they're just trivial.

This guy knows what I'm saying.

Videogames are still developing and so involved with the internet I feel like they just can't get away with one tiny bit of what any movie or TV show can because people even look at the characters and say things like they are "morally questionable" so they are wrong. When like you say, it's all morally questionable.

And no one gives a fuck when Walter White is morally questionable. No one mentions negatively in their review of Breaking Bad that they didn't like how Walter White started acting.

Posted by Fredchuckdave

Good read, I probably won't play this but certainly an interesting period to focus on.

Posted by Milkman

@artisanbreads: Fair point. I think the crew stuff makes sense in context but since I don't know the context for why "slaves = better weapons", I can't really comment if that feels the same way. Like I said, at face value, it just seemed weird. Either way, I'm definitely going to play this. Misguided mechanic or not, it sounds great.

Edited by Brodehouse

So any time I unlock something, progress in a quest or a talent tree, or are otherwise rewarded for doing something positive for fictional human beings with problems, it's actually bad because ... it trivializes the suffering of real human beings with those problems?

Okay then.

Edited by ArtisanBreads
@milkman said:

@artisanbreads: Fair point. I think the crew stuff makes sense in context but since I don't know the context for why "slaves = better weapons", I can't really comment if that feels the same way. Like I said, at face value, it just seemed weird. Either way, I'm definitely going to play this. Misguided mechanic or not, it sounds great.

I applaud that Patrick looks at social issues in games and around them, I just find he will very easily be sensationalist about small issues, and I think that's too bad because it lessens the impact of your legit criticisms.

I do find the mechanic a bit weird, like I said I had thought of this before when I played this DLC but I have this thought throughout videogames in general. They are always silly and morally questionable.

But I do highly reccomend the DLC. I liked AC IV but it floundered for me (I found the plot very boring) and this was much tighter and focused. And I loved that there was a AAA game with this subject matter, big step for games.

Edited by _Frobos

The game page for this expansion seems to be wrong. The game was developed by Ubisoft Québec (located in Quebec City). If someone could correct this my fellow Quebec City citizens would be very thankful!

See trailer below for proof.

Posted by Milkman

@artisanbreads: Well, I don't want to speak for Patrick here but is it possible that because this DLC seems to deal with such a serious subject matter that the silly and morally questionable stuff that we usually ignore in games could stick out a lot more?

Edited by BaconGames

It's a tight rope to walk that's for sure and I think I can suspend my disbelief concerning the progression associated with freeing slaves, at least as its presented, but I can begin to see the unease when it comes a detached grind. Hard to say how one would strike that balance or was a pitfall inherent to Assassin's Creed.

I'm glad it hits where it needs to though because otherwise this thing would be an embarrassment.

EDIT: I was totally under the impression this game didn't come out last year but I guess it totally did. Weird.

Edited by Sweetz
@forkboy said:

@artisanbreads said:

Oh god moralizing down a review score...

You don't think there's something messed up in that mechanic, treating slaves as currency? Fuck off.

It's ultimately still a video game that needs to reward you for completing tasks. It's a mechanical element abstracted from reality - along with dozens and dozens of other things in the game. If you're offended by it, you're reading into it far too much.

I mean, how random guards do you kill in the course of an Assassin's Creed game? Hundreds - and for really trivial reasons, like I got caught climbing on a roof or wanted to take some collectable in a restricted area. Are they espousing mass murder as a rational response to getting caught for a misdemeanor? Or instead is it just that it makes for a better video game to have a risk before getting a reward and that it's fun to combo kill a bunch of guards?

It's narrative dissonance due to it still needing to be an entertaining video game and there is truly no open world action game in the history of video games that is free of that "problem" - and thankfully they aren't because they'd be really boring if they were.

I trust Patrick that this wasn't the only reason (or even a reason) why he rated it 4 stars, but this specific critique boils down to "action video game has narrative dissonance". Well...yeah. In a context where these slaves aren't real people or even all that believable as real people and are just sprites in a video game like every other unnamed character - what's my motivation for saving them? I know I can only speak for myself, but I don't take pretend people in a pretend world seriously enough to derive any moral satisfaction from saving them (which let's not forget, often involves murdering other pretend people), I need to be motivated by a reward and progression mechanic.

Posted by Questerian

This seems interesting, and I think it's good that they acknowledged slavery in the Assassin's Creed games after ignoring the issue for so long (slaves were inexplicably absent from AC3, and glossing over that aspect of American history was something I found really troubling). That said, I find myself wondering if we really need stuff like Freedom Cry to, as Patrick said in the review, comment on the atrocities of times since passed -is that necessary? If we find it unnecessary now, what is the point of repeating that again and again in our art? I'll venture to say that, even though I haven't played Freedom Cry, Twelve Years a Slave probably has a more nuanced depiction of the psychology of slavery. I felt it brought a depth and nuance to the table that I hadn't found present in other media dealing with the topic of slavery -what does Freedom Cry bring?

Edited by tgammet

As I was playing I felt the way in which it used slaves as currency was intentional way to make the player uncomfortable. Just like how the supply of slaves infinitely respawns and how easy it is to acquire them was intentional. Maybe I'm giving the developers too much credit, but as I played it I felt something about that.

I feel like AC Freedom Cry was the most important big budget company game of 2013. Not the best game, but the most important for culture and REASONS. Regardless, I am happy that it even got made and am impressed that they're re-releasing it as a standalone product.

Posted by Snail

@_frobos: You can edit that, good sir or madam! Just go into the wiki page, hit the edit button, and type up the name of the development studio in the appropriate field - then submit your changes, and get some hot points!

I went ahead and did that for you, but next time you see a mistake in the Giant Bomb wiki, you can do the website a favour by correcting it. Wiki editing is opened to all! Unless you're banned from the wiki. Which I hope you aren't.

Posted by golddeathmonkey

I know it's been like 10 years since they first started doing it but I still just can't buy into the DLC concept, it feels like a gouge every time and I would rather burn my money than give it to them. The AC games have been so bad for it, take an extra few months and finish the game if you want me to pay for it!

Posted by Dan_CiTi

I found the use of freed slaves very odd too, I don't know why they so closely tied the number to little unlocks and stuff like that, instead of something more general like the war readiness in ME3.

Posted by rmanthorp

You can count on the Giant Bomb community to have a decent back and forth about the deep stuff. I love you guys. Let's keep the aggression low and the top draw discussions high:

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