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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Freedom Cry by Olivier Deriviere (Review)

posted Jun 25, 2014, 12:43 PM by Kaya Savas

Composer Olivier Deriviere has quickly made a name for himself as an extremely thematic, melodic and emotionally driven composer. His music has enriched every project he’s touched so far, and his presence as a game composer on the rise is a welcome refreshment. I first became aware of Olivier’s music with his stupendous score for Alone In The Dark, he gained more attention with his amazing effort for Remember Me. Now Olivier has provided the score to the add-on storyline Freedom Cry of Assassin’s Creed IV. Brian Tyler scored the main game with amazing execution and style, but here we have a completely different character and story. Deriviere delivers an amazing score chock-full of wonderful moments, stirring melodies, ethnic touches and a flourish that’s hard to describe in words.

Freedom Cry follows the character Adéwalé as he escapes slavery aboard the Jackdraw, becomes a trained assassin and finds himself on his own journey. The entire score is tailored for this character and this adventure, it doesn’t connect itself in any way to Brian Tyler’s main score. But Deriviere does an amazing job creating his own sound. The style doesn’t conform to the pirate archetypes that you expect to hear in a score. Swashbuckling isn’t a term you’d use to describe Freedom Cry. While it is an adventurous score filled with lush moments it doesn’t have that bounce that most pirate scores have. The music incorporates the cultures of the area and focusing on the background of our slave turned pirate from Trinidad. The choir work adds an organic richness and a history to the music. You feel like the score is representing a person, a culture, a people. The thematic and melodic structure flows and flourishes with great energy and momentum. The score propels you through the journey and it’s a fantastic listen all the way through.

You rarely see this much effort and talent pushed behind a DLC storyline for a video game. Olivier Deriviere has composed a fully realized story here. The score in some ways is above Brian Tyler’s main storyline score. Instead of broad brushstrokes we have a more intimate narrative. While there are some video game moments in this score in terms of looping points, the music feels like feature film score. We have plenty of emotional beats, builds and climactic moments. Freedom Cry deserves your attention even if you’ve never played the game. Olivier Deriviere is one of the most talented composers working in the video game industry and Freedom Cry is more of what he does best.