The original three games are brilliant for anyone who hasnever played them but be prepared for massive loading times, graphical glitches and game engine that feels outdated and unfit for purpose.
Being an absolutely massive fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I was originally excited to hear that the three Ezio games, Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood and Revelations, were getting remastered for the Next Gen consoles. Partly, this was due to the fact I love Ezio Auditore, as one of the most developed, witty and altogether brilliant modern video-game protagonists, whose Assassin path is genuinely interesting and awesome to play through. But it was also due to the fact I recently invested in the remastered Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection for PS4, and was impressed at how superior it looked in terms of graphics and how much smoother the gameplay was.
I am sad to say that this remaster doesn’t live up to the lofty expectations. By this, I don’t mean that any of the original three games have lost any of their sparkle. They certainly haven’t. From the young adult cocky-as-hell Ezio in AC II as he watches his parents executed for crimes they didn’t commit, and lets the inferno of rage fuel his assassin natures as he liberates Renaissance Italy from the tyrannous Borgia family, to the middle-age dominant Master Assassin Ezio as he destroys the Templar Centre in Rome with his Brotherhood. Finally, you have the older, wiser, cynical Ezio as he breaks the final Templar links in Constantinople and discovers the final Revelations of his life. All three games were brilliant, and Ubisoft deserve great credit for making three fantastic games.
What Ubisoft certainly don’t deserve credit for, however, is their ‘remaster’. I mean, sure, the graphics do look slightly better, but nowhere near the quality expected for the Next Gen consoles. Whereas Uncharted‘s Collection really did update the graphics and style so it felt less clunky and flowed much more smoothly, this bundle has failed to do this. In fact, due to the Game Engine not being fully compatible with Next Gen consoles, it actually means loading times (which have forever plagued the series) and the unwanted ‘lag’ of graphic loading once again rears it’s ugly head.
Furthermore, I would have at least hoped that some of the glitches that existed in the original games—which came out in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively—would have been fixed. Alas not. The most infamous of them, a glitch which causes graphics to fail to load when you enter an area and leaves you trapped in an invisible box on the loading boundaries, has actually become more common because of how slowly the graphics actually load. One would of thought they at least might have patched it. Another major gripe is the failure to incorporate some of the newer mechanics – the poison mechanic and the revamped Eagle Vision especially, into AC II and Brotherhood, considering Revelations introduced them. Players who buy the Collection get used to Eagle Vision mechanics in the first two games, only to find it completely revamped and different in the final game. While it operates in a much better way in Revelations, it can be confusing for players to suddenly have to adapt to the new game.
The Ezio Collection is no different in regards to the three game’s story, and at least they have included all the extras in terms of DLC and special Missions, which some players may have never got the chance to experience first time around. Particular props to the Revelations DLC, ‘The Lost Archive’ which is unique both in terms of gameplay and storyline, and offers players a genuine test of acrobatic skill, blending developed brand-new plot with a test of aerial and button-mashing ability.
The original three games are brilliant, and I would advise who has never played them to get the bundle and discover Ezio’s legacy. On the flip-side, be prepared for massive loading times, graphical glitches and game engine that feels outdated and unfit for purpose. It’s a sad end for a character arc which promised and delivered so much in the past.
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is available now for PlayStation 4.