- Three of the best Creeds, remastered
- Storylines and mission design still going strong
- Fantastic historical settings
- The most charismatic master killer
- AC2 isn't getting a great remaster
- It lacks the combat and gameplay refinements of later Creeds
- Valuation Price: £34.00
Available on Xbox One and PS4 (Reviewed Version)
For Assassin's Creed fans, the trilogy of games starring Ezio Auditore di Firenze will always be the crown jewels of the series. These three games not only properly established the series after the mixed reception of the first game, but redefined and refined its gameplay and style while introducing the man who remains most fans' favorite killer.
Here we learn the full story of his life and struggle with the Templars, starting from his early years as a playboy in Renaissance Florence to the late Middle Ages in Ottoman Istanbul, not to mention the parallel history of Desmond and the Templar fight against the Templars Corporation, Abstergo, in the modern world.
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So you'd think that Ubisoft would have packed this remaster with the utmost TLC, created the definitive version of the games, and allowed a new generation of fans to experience their glory.
Well, Ubisoft doesn't have that. We're still getting two classic Assassin's Creeds and a mostly excellent one, but if you were hoping for remasters that have brought them up to date, you'll likely be disappointed.
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Basically, we get the three games upscaled to 1080p at 30fps with the best PC assets available, plus new skyboxes, some extra architecture, and new water and light effects. Results improve as the series progresses, but are a little underwhelming at best.
Assassin's Creed 2 comes off worst with only minor improvements, while Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood gets a real boost in texture detail. Only Assassin's Creed: Revelations looks the closest to what you probably have in mind when thinking of a remaster. Sure, the scenery still looks a bit edgy or primitive at times, but the characters are well modeled, the facial animation won't make you flinch, and the train distances as you scale Istanbul's minarets are pretty impressive.
It doesn't help that AC2 can look weird at times. I'm not sure what Ubisoft has done to improve the looks of Ezio, his family, friends and enemies, but some of it backfired in the style of extreme cosmetic surgery on an aging movie star. Faces look weird and rubbery. The eyes seem to bulge from their sockets. It may be that AC2 has always looked like this and my memory is good, but there were times playing through the early stages of Ezio's first adventure that I thought to myself, "Didn't that look better the first time around?"
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I might have had my rose-colored glasses on for the gameplay, too. While AC2 did a great job of honing the goodness of Assassin's Creed and then turning it into a story with pace, strong mission design, and narrative verve, it's still far from the perfect Assassin's Creed you'll remember maybe remember. Combat is surprisingly chaotic and sloppy, while all the climbing and parkour stuff feels like it's held hostage to the whims of the game systems. It suddenly decides that you don't really want to jump onto the nearest brick ledge on the outside of a Florentine church tower, but rather jump sideways from the tower onto the cobbled streets several hundred yards below.
It would have been nice if Ubisoft had gone back and fixed this stuff and added things like more compelling masses and mass dynamics, but instead we have the sequel with all its merits and flaws.
Those virtues are still there if you can see beneath the surface. Ezio remains a charming and very likable lead, and by rooting the story in family, duty and revenge, Ubisoft has created a story that's much, much easier to relate to. Despite the bizarre appearance of the cutscenes, the missions do a great job of pulling you in, while the use of real Renaissance characters, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Lorenzo de Medici, the Borgias and Machiavelli, only adds to the feeling you're being unleashed within the pages of the story. Additionally, Ubisoft found Florence and Venice to be settings perfect for pursuing morally justified murder and virtual sightseeing.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is even better. Combat is tighter, faster, and more fluid, while movement seems less prone to bizarre misinterpretations of your inputs on the controller. Rome beats Florence and Venice in size, but also in depth and atmosphere, and there are some excellent, almost Tomb Raider-esque sequences of climbing and puzzle-solving in addition to the usual exploration and assassination.
Meanwhile, the additions to the gameplay work in its favor. It can be great to have other assassins you can call on when you want to take down the tough transplant or even down the odds, and sending them on missions across Europe is a fun diversion into a dumbed-down strategy. There's more to do on horseback, making horse travel an effective and even murderous way of getting around town, while new gadgets like the poison darts and parachute give you some interesting new options.
Brotherhood also has perhaps the series' biggest villain in Cesare Borgia, and even the Desmond sections aren't too tedious as he finally gets to do some interesting platforms and puzzles himself.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations got some stick-on releases because it came so shortly after Brotherhood and did so little to push the formula forward, but being played again now seems some of that undeserved. While it feels a bit of a stopgap between Brotherhood and its next (and rather disappointing) numbered sequel, Assassin's Creed 3, it has an intriguing main setting in Istanbul, while its portrayal of an older, wiser Ezio shows a growing series of depth and maturity .
Some of the new ideas, like the ridiculously detailed bomb customization system and tower defense minigames, point to a crowded future. However, others, like the range-extending Hookblade, really up the action and give you quicker ways to get up and around the neighborhoods. And while the new installments of Desmond's journey, in which the modern-day hero wanders a surreal virtual landscape and attempts to tie together the series' storylines, seem like a throwback to tedium, they're relatively short and sweet.
The Ezio Collection includes all of the single-player DLC and the Embers short film, but ditches the interesting cat-and-mouse multiplayer that was introduced with Brotherhood and remastered for Revelations. It's hard to complain given the sheer amount of content on offer, and it's not as if online play has even been a major focus of the franchise, aside from the foray into co-op that we saw in Assassin's Creed: have seen Unity. As far as compromise goes, it's easy to live with.
So now to the big question: is it worth betting on The Ezio Collection? Well, if you're relatively new to the series and looking to catch up, that's it. Fight your way through AC2's visual disappointments and you'll still find three very compelling historical action-adventure games, although I'd argue that Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag could be an even better Assassin's Creed to start with.
However, for those of us who played through the series on our original outings, I'm not so sure. While Brotherhood looks better than AC2, and even improved by Revelations, neither game is a huge step up from the earlier versions, and your memories will arguably be more impressive than the reality here. It's tempting to go back and spend another 40 hours with Ezio, but the nostalgia only goes so far. These were great games for their time and still a lot of fun today, but wouldn't you rather spend your time playing a little more in the here and now?
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The Ezio Collection brings you two classic Assassin's Creeds and one that's still one of the best - but the remastering doesn't really do them justice. Would it have hurt to bring AC2 and Brotherhood to the more lush visual standards of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, or to balance the combat and controls?
Thankfully, the Ezio trilogy's strong storylines and Florentine charisma still shine through, but while The Ezio Collection is a great catch-up set for Assassin's Creed newbies, it's not really enough to reward old fans coming back for another round .
What is included in Assassin's Creed The Ezio Collection? ›
Make history as the legendary Master Assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, in this compelling collection including Assassin's Creed 2, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed Revelations acclaimed single-player campaigns plus all DLCs, with enhanced graphics.Is Assassin's Creed Ezio Collection worth it? ›
In short, mostly as satisfying as it ever was. For fans and players of the more modern Assassin's Creed games, or even some of the games that have come out in between, the look, feel, and overall gameplay of The Ezio Collection is quite different, but still relatively simple and easy to jump into.Is The Ezio Collection full games? ›
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection is a 2016 compilation comprised of three remastered versions of games featuring Ezio Auditore da Firenze: Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.What 3 games are in The Ezio Collection? ›
Make history as the legendary Master Assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, in Assassin's Creed® The Ezio Collection, which includes the acclaimed single-player campaigns and single-player add-on content* from three games: Assassin's Creed® II, Assassin's Creed® Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed® Revelations with enhanced ...Is Assassin's Creed 1 in The Ezio Collection? ›
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection includes Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed Revelations, as well as the films em>Assassin's Creed Lineage and Assassin's Creed Embers. The physical edition of the game will only include Assassin's Creed II on the cartridge.How many games are in Assassin's Creed Ezio collection? ›
Summary. The Assassin's Creed Ezio Trilogy includes all three of Ezio Auditore da Firenze's legendary adventures: Assassin's Creed II (with all of its downloadable content,) Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed Revelations.