While this Assassin’s Creed collection does bring forward the most popular series of games in the long running franchise, the degree to which they’ve gone unchanged is both a blessing and a curse – read on for our Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection review.
The Assassin’s Creed series is seemingly always in constant motion. When Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed II, many fans fell in love with Ezio’s wit, charm, and storyline. Capitalizing on his popularity in contrast to the relatively bland Altair, Ubisoft made him the focus of the next two games; Brotherhood and Revelation. And while Ezio’s story has completed for the series, Ubisoft has been desperate to create a character as appealing and popular as Ezio. It makes sense then, given the character’s involvement in elevating the franchise, to choose the games he features in when compiling a remastered collection of this eclectic series.
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is that collection. Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection includes Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations with all their downloadable add-ons. While the quality of the downloadable content is inconsistent, there’s still a lot of content that provides for a lot of gameplay.
Each game focuses largely on Ezio Auditore da Firenze, the most popular assassin in the franchise. And while all three games are included, only the single player components are. There are also some additional storylines that follow characters like Desmond Miles and Altair Ibn-La’Ahad. The short film, Embers, which concludes Ezio’s story is also included. The Ezio Collection makes sense here as it chronicles Ezio’s life from beginning to end, but those who aren’t well versed in the Assassin’s Creed universe will play these and be either disappointed or lost as to how certain storylines are dropped or concluded in other games not included in this collection. It may be a nitpick, but one that’s worth mentioning.
Without a doubt the resounding question for remasters like the Ezio Collection is just how necessary they are. The oldest game in this franchise came out in 2009, which isn’t all that long ago. But despite that, there have been some efforts to get these games looking their best. As always, a collection is only as strong as the games contained within, and the Assassin’s Creed games are somewhat inconsistent.
Assassin’s Creed II is the game that arguably put the series on the map, but it’s easily the game here that time has been least kind to. It introduced the open world design that became instantly addictive and basis for the rest of the series. But despite Assassin’s Creed II’s stunning locales and the fact it introduced us to Assassin’s Creed as we know and love it today, the basic functionality that has been smoothed out in later entries, climbing, jumping, and combat, feel clunky and frustrating at time compared to the better precision of later games.
Assassin’s Creed II is easily the worst looking of the three but also the oldest. A running theme with the Ezio Collection, the visuals are clearly being rendered at 1080p to improve the overall image quality but textures and models have not received any touch ups. Character models can sometimes look horrible in comparison to the original version. The eyes especially are absolutely horror shows, many character models look like they have almost cartoon googly eyes. The ridiculous character models immediately pull you out of the game in Assassin’s Creed II and it’s a shame for such a great base game.
Brotherhood and Revelations are much better looking games in the collection. Brotherhood, as a whole, is much more refined looking than Assassin’s Creed II. The models have been updated and the results are smoother characters with more depth than some of the uncanny valley that a lot of character models suffered from previously. Revelations redid most of the facial modelling and animations, and thus looks the best of the three. The world of Revelations is much richer and better rendered than the other games in the collection and it shows as the environment really stands out.
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is essentially a collection of games that many of us have already played and enjoyed previously. There are little additions to the collection which are nice but hardly earning the title of a remaster. These games have been enhanced to take advantage of the new gen hardware but the results range from beautiful lush environments in Revelations to ridiculous cartoons in II. The collection generally feels like there was a lack of effort put into it to make a real amazing remaster, it feels as though Ubisoft hoped to coast on the strength of the games rather than offering anything special for next gen consoles.
The problem is that essentially the games themselves are solid, enjoyable games, and they are just as enjoyable to revisit and play; however, the graphical improvements just feel like lip service to squeeze a full price point out of fans. Even tiny improvements like bumping it up to 60fps would go a long way to justifying this collection, however as it is, it just feels like a collection you are better off waiting until it hits the bargain bin to grab. But for those itching to get a fix of Assassin’s Creed before the new movie hits screens later this year, it at least is providing some of the best titles the franchise has to offer.