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When the original Assassin’s Creed was released in 2007, there was a mixed reaction. There was a promise with the story, and even the idea of revisiting assassins of the past was a great premise. On the other hand, there was a lot of repetition, so when Ezio got introduced to the world in 2009, he brought a charismatic character, refreshing gameplay, and an even more powerful story. Between 2009 and 2022, we have seen eight mainline Assassin Creed games. This is excluding, of course, the three-game span of The Ezio Collection.
That is a lot of games to make quality of life improvements over, and the Assassins Creed games we get now are entirely different from what we got back in 2009. So is the revisit to what some call the best years in the series worth it? Let’s find out, shall we?
The story of The Ezio Collection takes us from the beginning of Ezio’s life right up to the final moments, and the 2 animated shorts are an excellent unexpected addition that further expands the story. While Ezio is one of the more charismatic characters, his story is plodding, especially at the start.
Once we begin to see Ezio live in the world a bit, it does pick up, but the way the older Assassin’s Creed stories are built out is generally slower. Having instant fail stealth missions and checkpointing from 2009 also means a lot of time is lost if you fail a tailing sequence. Also, with dialog, you cannot skip if you are re-watching, which happens often.
This is addressed and fixed with the second and third games, Brotherhood and Revelations, though. It would have been nice to have this in Assassin’s Creed 2, as this wouldn’t be so bad if you could skip it on a second go-around.
The gameplay is again something that has evolved so much that revisiting a game from 2009 now feels rough. Climbing isn’t as intuitive; movement feels rough, clunky, and unresponsive; combat just feels okay. While I do enjoy the face buttons mapped to parts of the body, the modern control system just works much better with everything throughout the series finding its placement on a controller.
The stealth and blending into crowds mechanic is okay but feels a little rough around the edges. Again with the skipping cinematics, this is addressed and feels much more improved with each subsequent sequel in the trilogy. It would have been nice to have it retrofitted to feel as good as it does in Revelations as it does in Assassin’s Creed 2.
The mission layout really sticks out in today’s gaming space. It is split up into tiny chunks that mean you need to accept or decline it every time you start a mission, usually after a long unskippable cutscene. After completing these small missions, there is also a modern part to this game that if the new games in the series are missing, its the modern-day story that keeps you wanting to know more. But to speak anything else on Desmond’s story would be big-time spoilers for the whole trilogy.
So the performance on the Switch isn’t too bad, as there is some slow down here and there, and the game did crash on me, but nothing so awful that it was game-breaking. The crash came up a few times when resuming from rest mode while playing in handheld. Graphics usually don’t bug me too much, but it looks like all the leading players to the story have been possessed with facial issues in almost every scene. Other than that, though, everything looks good for a 2009 game.
Overall, I think Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection has a weird spot. If you haven’t played the trilogy, then, by all means, check it out. I don’t think it is worth a revisit if you have, though. While back in 2009, this trilogy was looked at with respect and promise that the Assassin’s Creed series has some legs to it. Now, though, it’s just a reminder of how far we have come.
But also, times were paying through the trilogy, especially in Brotherhood and even more so in Revelations, that I started to feel that excitement. If you are looking for a reminder of what was once considered the best in the series, you can’t beat this package. I wish there was some way we could merge the story of the game’s past with the fluid gameplay of the series now without the open-world bloat, but maybe that’s asking for too much.
Once it gets going story is exciting
Latter games feel responsive and thought out
Brother and Revelations are still really good
Story starts VERY slow....
Older game feels clunky and unintuitive
Facial animations make people look possessed
Combat is laughably easy