When you think of Assassin’s Creed, you should be thinking of Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Desmond Miles and Altair may have started off the franchise, but they did it as blandly as possible. Truly, Ubisoft’s once fledgling new IP found its feet with Assassin’s Creed II and its most memorable protagonist to date. By instilling an actual personality into Ezio, players were able to connect with him, learning the skills of the Assassins Brotherhood just as he was. Through contracted killings, chill sessions with Da Vinci and feather collections — SO many feather collections — Ezio won a place in our hearts. Assassin’s Creed III destroyed all of Ubisoft’s goodwill with another bland protagonist in the form of Connor Kenway, but Ezio had two more adventures before this: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
As you’d expect, The Ezio Collection bundles Ezio’s three titles and presents them for current-gen play.
The Ezio Collection is an interesting thing, taking three PS3 and Xbox 360 games and offering them back up on PS4 and Xbox One. As you’d probably expect, Revelations comes out looking the best of the bunch, and that’s simply because it’s the newest. Sadly, Assassin’s Creed II — the title I considered the best game in the franchise before replaying it — comes across as dated and clunky. Ubisoft is very guilty of oversaturation when it comes to Assassin’s Creed titles, but you can’t fault it for continually improving control schemes and mechanics. Simply put, once you’ve experienced the up-and-down control changes made since Assassin’s Creed: Unity, you’ll never want to go back. Yet, here we are.
Assassin’s Creed II shines due to its simplicity. It’s basically just you, as Ezio, doing your thing. You help out your family, you learn the tricks of the trade and, most importantly, you grow as a person. Despite the clunkiness, you can easily remember why it made a lasting impression with so many. Brotherhood amps the Ubisoftness up a bit, offering Ezio the chance to control a band of Assassins alongside seemingly infinite dots on your map that you’re tasked to deal with. Revelations, of course, adds even more in-game content and management into the mix, at the same time it tied up the stories of Ezio, Desmond and Altair while doing away with most of the need to head back into present day narratives.
Despite a release on current-gen systems, don’t expect the world from The Ezio Collection. What you get is three 1080p, 30 frames per second (fps) titles, and not a one is greatly improved when compared to its last-gen counterpart. Character models really haven’t been improved (or in other cases, make you realise just how basic some were). Colours seem to be enhanced (but not in an HDR way), and I think Ubisoft intended to emphasise them by making things way too bright when starting each game up. Frame rates seem stable, but I don’t really recall any big dips when playing through the original titles.
This bundle is really meant for those who’ve never experienced Ezio’s journey to finally do so; those who’ve done it before might find it muddies past memories. Similarly, those used to the new Assassin’s Creed control schemes may find themselves frustrated for an hour or two, essentially having to de-evolve. The whole experience, while ultimately welcomed as an Ezio fan, is head-scratching. We didn’t demand — or even ask for this — yet it’s here. Take it as you will.
For newcomers to the Assassin’s Creed franchise, this is the place to start — and with the Master Assassin, no less. For others, it’s probably one to miss, unless you really, really want to get back into the thick of things.
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection was reviewed using a promotional code on PS4, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.