In 2009, Assassin’s Creed II took the world by storm. After the lukewarm reception to the first game (which was more of a glorified tech demo), Ubisoft took the lesson to heart and delivered a sequel that exceeded all expectations, and was a paradigm shift for the series from then on. go ahead. But in addition to the evolution that it meant at the gameplay level with respect to its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed II also gave us Ezio Auditore, a new and charismatic protagonist who conquered the hearts of millions of players.
Such was the success of this installment that Ubisoft decided to swerve from its original plan to introduce a different protagonist in each game in the series, and give us two sequels led by the Italian. More than a decade after the end of its history, to this day for many people Ezio Auditore is still the face of Assassin’s Creed.
The Ezio Collectionoriginally released in 2016 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, compiles the three games starring the aforementioned: Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed Revelationsin addition to lineage and emberstwo shorts that serve as a prequel and epilogue to the trilogy respectively.
If you’re one of the five people reading this who has never played the first Assassin’s Creed, the premise is simple: Desmond Miles is a normal man (or maybe not? Dun dun dunnnn) who is kidnapped by a mysterious company called Abstergo and connected to an even more mysterious machine called the Animus, which allows him to relive the lives of his ancestors through his eyes, thanks to the fact that the Animus can interpret the memory stored in the DNA. Abstergo – who are actually a front for a current version of the Templars, a rival faction of the Assassin Order – are rummaging through the memories of Desmond’s ancestors in search of Pieces of Eden, powerful artifacts created by an extinct civilization that once inhabited the earth before humanity, and that it is believed could be used to conquer the world, did you see? Easy.
Assassin’s Creed II introduces us to Ezio and shows us his evolution from young womanizer to Master Assassin, following his story through the decades in different Italian cities. Brotherhood -arguably the strongest gameplay entry on the compilation-, originally a DLC II expanded to a full sequel, is set entirely in Rome and introduces the ability to recruit Assassins to aid us in combat, with Ezio in his new role as mentor. of the order. Revelations, the end of the trilogy, finds a much more mature Ezio visiting Constantinople following in the footsteps of his predecessor Altaïr. The main story of each game can be completed in around 20 hours, although of course each one includes loads of extra content, so completionists will have many hours of gameplay.
How is the port to the Nintendo handheld?
REQUIESCAT IN PORTABLE
It’s… fine, I guess. Ubisoft didn’t spend too much on improving the experience and aside from the novelty of having these huge open world games on the Switch, The Ezio Collection It’s a pretty basic port. Outside of the option to use touch controls in menus in handheld mode, I didn’t notice any difference to the PS4 version I played a few years ago. The graphics are exactly the same as the 2016 release, including the “improved” character faces that were quite controversial when the remaster was originally announced. Framerate remains identical to the other versions as well, capped at 30fps in all games with some drop when the on-screen action gets too chaotic. The appeal of the collection on Switch is obviously portability, and there’s not much reason to choose this version if it’s not something we care about.
The trilogy’s gameplay has aged quite a bit better than its graphics must say, with its controls and parkour system being just as intuitive to control as they were a decade ago. Not so much the structure of quests, which at the time set a trend but in 2022 was far surpassed a while ago. Combat is fine, with each game expanding the repertoire of tools at our disposal. Nothing that blows our minds but it is correct and fulfills its function. What yes, it is evident with each installment how the series moved further and further away from the original focus on stealth, with the premise of being an Assassin operating from the shadows, “a blade in the crowd”, replaced by Much more action at the forefront of gameplay and story (nothing says “subtle” like crafting bombs, right? Revelations?). It’s also obvious as each game progresses that while Ezio’s story goes to interesting and emotional places, the writers had no idea what to make of poor Desmond, whose story feels almost improvised by comparison.
Another thing that struck me revisiting this trilogy is how small each map feels today. The scale of each region should be a comparatively small fraction of the titanic worlds Ubisoft has grown accustomed to over the last decade, making each game feel much more compact despite the open world structure. After so many years of absolutely huge worlds on the loose, it’s almost refreshing to return to one of reasonable scale.
My biggest reservation when recommending the collection is space. Both the physical and digital version of The Ezio Collection include only Assassin’s Creed II in the original installation, and both the other two games and the two shorts must be downloaded individually from the Eshop, with which we must free up about 35 GB of total space on the console if we want to install everything it offers.
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is a faithful compilation, perhaps too faithful, of one of the most celebrated trilogies of two generations ago. In the same way that some of its technical sections are somewhat rustic today, the games also refer us to a transition period in which open worlds (and especially those of Ubisoft themselves) were not yet an arms race for see who made the world bigger and richer with content™. What is old is new again, etc.
if you never played Assassin’s Creed and you want to start (almost) from the beginning, go ahead. Everything is permitted.