One of the Nintendo Switch’s biggest supporters from the begining has been Ubisoft. Games like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition, and Starlink: Battle for Atlas show the developer's commitment and how its partnership with Nintendo has blossomed over the years. However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that Ubisoft began to bring its premier open-world offerings to Switch — or its older ones, at least — with the likes of Assassin's Creed 3 Remastered, Black Flag, Rogue, and (via a Japan-only Cloud version) Odyssey. Now, Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection has finally been ported to Switch as well, allowing for some of the most highly regarded games in the series to be playable on the go for the first time. And they're still great, despite showing their age.
For those new to the Assassin’s Creed series, some set-up. The games follow a battle between the Assassins, a peace-keeping organization, and the villainous Templars, who are trying to control and rule the world. This battle has taken place throughout the course of history, occurring for the most part in the shadows. Fast-forward to the modern era where the organization Abstergo, a front for the Templars, has developed a machine known as the Animus, which allows users to experience their ancestors' memories. Utilizing a similar technology, the modern Assassins and Templars begin a hunt for ancient relics to help each side win the battle once and for all.
The elaborate setup, however, really only serves as an excuse to place the player character from the first games, Desmond, in the role of various titular Assassins throughout history. As the name of this collection suggests, here Desmond assumes the role of his ancestor, Ezio. Set during the Italian Renaissance period, Ezio is a wealthy nobleman living in Italy, working for his father. After the Templars betray his family, Ezio becomes an Assassin, setting out to avenge his loved ones and stop the Templars once and for all. This, for the most part, sums up the general plot of Assassin’s Creed 2. The other two games in the collection, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Revelations, follow on directly, which makes it difficult to summarize without spoiling some narrative surprises. The trilogy as a whole has some incredibly odd and unbelievable twists and turns, but within context, having all three of Ezio’s main games in a single package goes a long way to create a cohesive story.
While the plot of the Assassin’s Creed games is definitely 'there', it's the gameplay and presentation of historical 'playgrounds' to explore that entice most players. All three games are open-world, action-adventures with stealth elements attached. Games like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild pulled inspiration from the open-world traversal pioneered in this series. Climbing up walls and buildings and towers, for example, is an amazing feeling, as it turns what would conventionally be an obstacle into a new way to explore your surroundings. It won’t be long until you completely change the way you view your environment as cities become large jungle gyms for you to clamber over and explore. And once you get your assassination equipment, there is no better feeling than jumping off a building and killing the enemy in one attack they never saw coming.
The gameplay structure is exactly what you’d expect from a modern open-world game — at least the 2009 vintage of the genre. There’s a series of main story quests Ezio follows as he explores plenty of large environments. Along the way, he’ll find side quests, treasure chests, and collectibles aplenty, which all serves to improve Ezio’s capabilities as an assassin. Whether it be upgrading your armor or purchasing new weapons, everything optional you do results in tangible benefits. It is a shame then that the combat isn’t equally as developed as it could be. For the most part, Ezio only has a single attack button, with a block and a counter maneuver. There’s no real technique here outside of button mashing and waiting. If you’re doing your best to stealthily assassinate targets, this becomes less of an issue, but the combat lacks depth across all three games.
Going back to these earlier entries, it can be a little difficult to get accustomed to a less refined version of mechanics and systems that have been refined over many years — these games do feel undeniably dated. While climbing is great fun, nothing is worse than falling down half a building due to an invisible wall the game made no indication was there. This extends to the physics, as sometimes bullets can hit you even through walls. Similarly, the presentation can be downright ugly at times. Models, especially human faces, look incredibly poor, even for the era the games were originally released in. These issues do slightly improve as you progress through to the later entries, but at times, The Ezio Collection can feel archaic.
What doesn’t improve across the games, however, is stability. There were various glitches, bugs, and even soft locks during our time with the Switch version that required the game to be rebooted, especially in Brotherhood. While there are plenty of checkpoints and auto saves to help alleviate some of the pain, nothing is a bigger pace breaker than having an NPC you’re supposed to follow get stuck, making a reset the only option.
The Ezio Collection also includes several bonuses outside the main game. All single-player DLC released previously is included, though some content is locked behind the Ubisoft Club program. It’s also worth noting that no multiplayer content from the original games are here, which is in line with how this collection was previously presented on other platforms, but still disappointing.
To help make up for it, perhaps, two short movies are included: Assassin’s Creed Lineage and Embers. While neat bonuses, there are bafflingly no playback controls to the videos, which means no pausing, fast-forwarding or rewinding. If, for instance, your Switch dims automatically after a few minutes and you press a button to wake it up, you may accidentally exit out of the video player. And because there’s no playback controls, you can’t fast-forward back to where you were, which means you have to re-watch the film from the start all over again. Very odd.
The Switch version also has a few exclusive features, in the form of touch controls in menus and a slightly larger HUD for portable play. While the latter is a nice addition, the touch controls sometimes broke menus, causing another instance of a full game reset. As such, you’re better off sticking to button controls — at least until there's a patch to address hopefully these issues.
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is a great compilation of some of the series’ most highly-regarded entries. Aside from some combat that lacks depth and a convoluted story, each of the three games included here are absolutely worthy of your time. There’s still plenty of fun to be had if this is your first set of Assassin’s Creed games, with the cities still managing to impress with their sense of scale and historical detail, but some of the dated gameplay elements and glitches may make other entries a better jumping off point. The Rebel Collection is a very fine alternative if you want slightly more modern interpretations of the series, with a seafaring bent. However, if you’re already a fan and are able to tolerate its foibles — old and new — Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is an enjoyable trip into (video game) history and an easy recommendation.
Is the DLC installed separately? I hate when rereleased games give you all this high level DLC at the outset that imbalances the game and doesn’t fit the story.
This was the peak of the franchise. It all really went downhill from AC4-on
Missed the massive con only one game is on the cartridge, the rest is download
@IGN_Commenter to my memory, the DLC in AC2 was additional chapters of the story. Not weapons or armor or anything
I’ll buy it once it goes on a hefty sale. Which will happen soon enough considering it’s a Ubi game.
i watched some videos about the first race on yt and there frederico starts a few inches right in front of you.
but in the switch version he starts „miles“ ahead of you (you cant even see him at the start of the race)
is this a bug? i just cant win the race… i restarted the game but it stays the same
i tried to climb the church wall for a shortcut… it does not work
Now Ubisoft just need to bring some of the FarCry games to the Switch
Already got the collection ordered, now just waiting for it to get to my door.
You are correct. In AC2 there is a giant time skip at a certain point in the game. The DLC stories fill in that time skip to a certain extent.
Played these to death back in the day so no need for me to buy them again here and going by this Review it's just as well.
@Mando44646 That is subjective. I'm actually playing Origins again and I'm really enjoying it.
Gotta give credit where it's due, they made small changes just for the Switch and they finally added the option to install specific parts of the trilogy rather than forcing you to download it all. My biggest complaint about Black Flag is they forced me to download 2 full games plus DLC when all I really wanted was Rogue by itself.
All that said, the Ezio games are dated, invisible walls are no fun, and that video playback thing is pretty odd. I don't want to sound ungrateful because Ubisoft has been pretty good bringing their games to Switch but at the end of the day the games are still lifeless and lack that warm loving charm many other games have.
@Mando44646 having gone through everything from 3 to Syndicate recently, including spin offs/DLC like Freedom Cry and Liberation, I don't think it's fair to say they're bad from 4 onwards. If anything Black Flag is a peak that created valleys, but Syndicate is the closest thing to Brotherhood and a great game in its own right. I'd easily put Black Flag up there with AC2 and Brotherhood, and say what you will about Odyssey and Valhalla but Origins is mint in its own right.
AC2 and its sequels were great because they took the proof of concept that was the first game and fully realized it but I think some of the series gets written off because of how many were released in a short time. 3 and Unity were too ambitious for their own good on top of it, but they're not bad at all (post patches).
@Mando44646 Honestly I enjoy the gameplay of the new ones way more. Odyssey was really criticized but to me it was a really fun game with 200+ hours of solid combat and exploration.
". Aside from some combat that lacks depth and a convoluted story"
I take issue with the latter still being pointed out as a problem. You give it flack for lack of combat depth, but then inversely complain that its attempt at depth is convoluted and thus not a good thing. Reviewers need to stop citing this as a negative as it just results in developers watering down their plot to some really basic trash. Yes, developers do read these criticisms and take them to heart.
This game will be $20 in a few months, and that's when I'll pick it up. I don't mind waiting since most of the content isn't included on the cartridge.
@roy130390 Gameplay has definitely improved. But I hated the writing, world, and characters somewhat in Odyssey and especially in Valhalla. Valhalla is also the only AC I never finished. They are too large and just too overbearing. Ubi no longer prioritizes quality over quantity
@TedGundy 100 agreed that Origins is the peak of the new trilogy.
I just dislike 4. I felt it got away too much from the meta-narrative of AC and I thought Edward was a dismal, unlikable character. Similarly to Eivor for me. Pirates and Vikings are not people that seem in tune with the Creed.
Syndicate was fantastic. I'd love to have a port of that. And I wish it would go back to that style as sorta the last hurrah of the old formula
3 of the best games of the last 20 years imho, perfectly ported to switch.
@RubyCarbuncle origins is not assassin's creed despite the name
Even with all the bells and whistles of Valhalla, AC2 is still the best in the series. One could argue that the combat has gotten more grindy as the games have gone on. The straightforward 'counter' mechanics from AC2 are brilliantly cinematic.
AC2 has just the right amount of open world nonsense in terms of the collectables and the assassin tombs are like well-designed Zelda shrines.
Still better than AC: Valhalla or any AC games with tacked on/forced RPG elements.
It's too bad ubisoft never got that snow boarding game out on switch. I still feel like the void has never been filled on the system.
@NotSoCryptic Are you aware all reviews are based on opinion?
Would you prefer the reviewer not mention games made over a decade ago have dated clunky mechanics and controls simply because they're older games? Failing a mission or falling to your death due to invisible walls is frustrating and I'm happy they mentioned these occurrences.
Would you prefer the reviewer not mention the story is convoluted and hard to follow when many people have said this for years? I've never seen anyone recommend or talk about this game because of the amazing plot, it's mostly attractive for the fun mechanics and sneaky history lessons.
You can disagree with their opinion, but don't attack them for doing their job.
You conveniently cut off the rest of their statement: "each of the three games included here are absolutely worthy of your time".
AC IV is the peak of the series for me, and makes The Rebel Collection very much worth having since IV is on cartridge.
Already have Rebel Collection physically. Will wait for a $20 price point for this then download it.
@Mando44646 Finally someone agrees with me. That game did not felt like an AC game, more like Pirates Creed or Boats Creed
I remember the first game pretty fondly. I got sucked into it and after a while I started looking at the real world the way I looked at the game world. "Okay I can climb that fence and then hop over to that wall and then use that rope to..." etc. I'm sure it doesnt hold up as well in 2022 but I'm glad these ports at least aren't Cyberpunk-level disappointments.
Was the review copy the release copy or a pre-release copy?
Is/has Ubisoft done any patching?
@Mando44646 I'll agree with that, 4 was definitely the start of venturing away from assassin-centric gameplay. I want to like Odyssey and Valhalla but they're too big for their own good.
Very excited for this!
@TedGundy I'll give Odyssey that at least Kassanda/Alexios was an enjoyable protag. Eivor is wooden and absolutely unlikable in Valhalla. But the writing and narratives are trash in both :/
I've never played the games featuring Ezio; I had some exposure to the first game via a relative's Xbox 360 back in the day and then skipped straight to AC III and Black Flag since they came to Wii U. The fact that only one of the games is included on the physical cart pushed me from "Near launch" to "eventually" however. Which is fine; I obtained the Rebel Collection not too long ago and still need to play it (namely Rogue), plus Ubisoft games inevitably are subject to decent sales.
Assassins Creed were not, are not and will never be "classics". They are just relics of their time, with massive game design issues, and some cool bits and pieces that are not enough to make them enjoyable outside their limited window of relevance.
The combat is lacking because this was back when stealth was prized since this was back when the series was assassin focused.
Flash forward to modern Assassin Creed games where the combat is modern, but it’s only Assassin in name only
@Astral-Grain I'm not here to discuss your value of opinions. Especially since I wasn't calling him out for having one. You completely leaped over my actual issue. Apparently the word Latter isn't in your vocabulary.
No one is going to contest the control quality of AC. That is just fact, its bad, has always been bad, and always will be. That is actually something that can be evaluated with metrics, ubisoft has an entire suite of lectures and tools for evaluating controls. No one is under the delusion the controls are bad and it can actually be evaluated objectively.
I'm also not contesting that it is convoluted. I fully agree that it is. I am saying that acting like it is a negative is the sort of thing that leads developers down to more simplistic plots. I'm saying its not something that should be listed as a postiive or a negative. Just simply that it is. To list it in the same breath of something that is objectively bad, when whether or not a convoluted story is bad should be left up to the reader and simply stated as "being convoluted" should be addressed. Now he can critic how that convoluted plot panned out and review it, but I don't want to see a precident being set where convoluted is bad. Xenogears has a convoluted plot, Chrono Cross and Trigger have convoluted plots, Xenosaga has a convoluted plot, FF1-12 have convoluted plots. Is that unfortunate? Should we be linking that sort of thing to a negative conutation. The answer is no.
So as you can see it has nothing to do with opinions. He can have all the subjective expression he wants on the matter. Happily he didn't put it in the bullet points. Over all, I don't want to see it downplayed like that as it really devalues the articles ability to separate such matters.
As far as:
"each of the three games included here are absolutely worthy of your time".
Oh I read it. However that doesn't change the fact that someone now gets it in their head that convoluted is bad and suddenly we end up with 5 AC games with paper thin plot lines. Quite literally the reason why the AC plot line just turned to absolute garbage after AC3. Ubisoft was tired of hearing how convoluted the plot is. I'm saying that as someone who was on staff.
So please lecture someone else about silly opinions.
@Mando44646 Black Flag was the peak in my opinion, but to be fair I haven't played any of these from Origins on...
This is how my must have list, the list of games from the last Direct, gets smaller.
Just a 7 and a load of glitches and this game is off my list.
@Gwynbleidd Well, this is handheld, that's one of the main draws. You can take this anywhere too. I don't really like how only one of the games are on the cart, but I don't think they could fit them all anyway. It is what it is. As a diehard fan of AC who has walked away from Sony and basically Microsoft now, this is an easy buy for me.
@Arawn93 I think the combat in the older AC games is more contextual. You could dodge enemies, parry, circle-around, grab them, disarm them, etc. And enemies aren't spongie either.
@Troll_Decimator You can say it as forcefully as you want to, that doesn't make it any more true, valid, or less subjective a take. I don't think going out of your way to be a contrarian constitutes 'decimating' trolls. "Awkkkshully it's not a classic series, you guys are all wrong". Lmao.
It's a popular, prolific series with entries that were a lot of people's first experiences with that gen, hundreds of hours of youtube analysis and articles about it, a novel series, a graphic novel series, an upcoming live action series, longevity...at this point it's as 'classic' as any series that was birthed on 360/PS3. Sorry :/
"However that doesn't change the fact that someone now gets it in their head that convoluted is bad and suddenly we end up with 5 AC games with paper thin plot lines. Quite literally the reason why the AC plot line just turned to absolute garbage after AC3. Ubisoft was tired of hearing how convoluted the plot is. I'm saying that as someone who was on staff."
As a former Ubisoft staff member, should you really be attacking a game review for criticizing a game you may have helped work on?
By stating you were part of Ubisoft, isn't this evidence you're incapable of being unbiased about this franchise and the criticism for this franchise?
I'm just happy they actually ported the games. They could have been cloud ports, and not only that it looks pretty good!
@TedGundy Counterpoint: "Classics" are not immune to being ruined with new entries.
If the Assassin's Creed franchise ended at the Ezio storyline, we'd likely look back on the franchise fondly with rose-tinted glasses. But since each new AC entry is arguably worse than the last, even in the current gen, the franchise name becomes sullied and ceases to be a classic.
People remember last impressions more than first impressions.
"As a former Ubisoft staff member, should you really be attacking a game review for criticizing a game you may have helped work on?"
Does it matter? I'm not getting money from it. I see no royalties from the project. I also do not work for that company anymore. So arguing in favor of their game would make no sense as I'd want to see my own games succeed. If you're going to jump through logical hoops, than maybe see it through. I've worked for a lot of studios in my day. On a lot of games. I can say that I have never worked on these games. That my history with the franchise and these titles predates my time with Ubisoft.
"By stating you were part of Ubisoft, isn't this evidence you're incapable of being unbiased about this franchise and the criticism for this franchise?"
Not particularly. Since I'm not speaking in favor or against the Assassin's Creed titles. I'm also not longer a part of that company and does me no service to do one or the other. I fully admit to the convoluted nature of the story and the bad controls. I can also say that about Bioshock Infinite's story among others, though I've never worked for 2K or the now defunct irrational games. As the point I'm making has absolutely nothing to do with Assassin's Creed or Ubisoft, I'm making that statement as a universal and blanket statement. It should not be used with regards to this title or any title I've listed thus far from Bioshock to Xenogears as a negative aspect for a game. A game can be good or bad regardless of it being convoluted. That convoluted story could be bad or good, but it being convoluted doesn't tend to be the issue. It's the quality of the story. At that point we're talking about games in general. Which is what my original comment was on. So please don't try to shut me down with some false equivalency for conflict of interest here simply because you want there to be one. Fact of the matter is using convoluted as pajorative as a talking point against the game's quality when its a pretty benign component says nothing about the games quality or story.
@Astral-Grain I dunno about you, but I go through the series every couple years. There are ones I like, ones I don't, ones I want to like and can't. That's the way I look at any series. Look, you can try to justify your own taste however you'd like, I don't actually care why you like anything or if it lines up with my taste at all or not. That doesn't make the series any less well known or well regarded, or negate specific titles from being viewed that way.
I'm not going to get into an argument that amounts to "No u", I just think it's ***** to pretend any one of us is being more objective in their take, as is interjecting into an argument when one of the relevant parties hasn't even responded yet. I'm not going to argue against what you think they meant, so enjoy what you enjoy and leave it at that.
"the point I'm making has absolutely nothing to do with Assassin's Creed or Ubisoft"
Then why state you're a former Ubisoft employee in an Assassin's Creed game review comments section? I can't think of a more inappropriate place to make this point of yours or a more inappropriate time to mention you used to work at Ubisoft.
I know this is unheard of on the internet, but I'm beginning to suspect you may not be telling the truth about your professional background.
One thing I hate about Ubisoft is their glitches and they never fix them...it was one of the reasons why Mario+Rabbids was a pain for me to complete, too many glitches and crashes. I tried getting back into Black Flag on the Switch before, too...and...yeah, still glitches everywhere. Actually, one glitch even tried to kill me...maybe it did and I don't remember...
EDIT: Yup, it did...lol
@TedGundy Obviously it's an opinion, not a scientific fact. But Assassin's Creed games were never "masterpieces" by any stretch, despite being popular, they always had major weaknesses. It is down to each individual to weigh whether those weaknesses are bad enough or not. Going back to these earlier games is not easy today, despite them not being all that old. As I mentioned, they were decent for their time, pretty much obsolete now. That said, I'll give you that these are better than modern Assassin's Creed that don't even know what they are anymore.
On the one hand it’s sad that only AC2 is on the cartridge but on the bright side it’s the Cart that unlocks the other games. I really really hate it when other “saving on cart memory games” offer the download content with eshop codes. Now you can at least loan the full games to friends.
So happy these games are now on Switch.
Best way to play them now. Steam doesn't have the Ezio versions, just the originals, and only has Xbox and keyboard prompts.
They look and run great on Switch, too. Movement can feel a bit rigid compared to later entries, but it works.
I just finished the Triangle Strategy Prologue demo and will be playing more of AC2 to kill the time until the full release next week
7/10?????? I give it 9/10... this game rocks and runs smoothly. OK, it looks a little dated, but it's really nothing to talk about. I'm very much entertained by this title... and then the extra content... it's a winner.
"Then why state you're a former Ubisoft employee in an Assassin's Creed game review comments section?"
I didn't state that I was a former ubisoft employee until talking about the process for determining the objective analysis of game play control. It was relevant to that point, not to the article. Ceased being relevant when I stated my comment had nothing to do with the game, just in the manner in which the review was written.
"I can't think of a more inappropriate place to make this point of yours or a more inappropriate time to mention you used to work at Ubisoft."
This is actually the perfect place for which to make the point. As these comments are reviewed and examined by the editors. As far as my employment status, only relevant to my point about play controls. It has really nothing else to do with anything else.
"I know this is unheard of on the internet, but I'm beginning to suspect you may not be telling the truth about your professional background."
Well I'll tell you what every other dev who has revealed they were a dev on the internet has ever said. I don't care. You can take it or leave it. The insight was just dropped to illustrate objectivity since you were clinging to subjectivity like some sort of holy icon to prop your position here. Remember you started talking to me. You also don't have to talk to me. Simple as that. I'm not here to prove to you I'm an employee of any company, what you do with the insight I gave is your business. Just know that I'm not buying the trash your shoveling.
I'm sure you meant well, but lets be perfectly clear here. This was never about opinions. This was about the objectivity of the article. There is room for subjectivity or opinion, but that wasn't the place to do it. This could have been any other article I read on Nintendo Life and I would have said the same thing I'm saying here.
Keep in mind that before I was a dev, I was gamer and I still am. Why I'm reading a review on a game I use to enjoy to see how well it performs over all. To see if I, like you, should buy it. Let's be fair Ubisofts ports haven't always been the best. To the wierd rendering in early AC releases to the bugs that haunt South Park to this very day. To the subpar quality of starlink. It's something I'd like to know if my former employer improved. Its the same reasons I read up on the bioshock collection or the witcher 3.
@Joeynator3000 Glitches in Black Flag... where? I've played the game through 2 times now and it's still one of the best games I've ever played and I didn't experience neither glitches nor crashes.
All I care about is Brotherhood on the go. Will pick this up when it goes on sale.
If a Nintendo remaster looked a little dated, nintendolife would praise it and not even mention it. They are old games, of course they feel dated these days.
My favourite in the series is still AC4, in the same way that dead rising on 360 felt "next gen" I had the exact same feeling when I played AC4 for the first time, it was so vast and open and most importantly FUN.
I have never played the ezio games so after enjoying everything from 3 to syndicate, including spin-offs (not interested in the newer ones) I was worried that playing these older ones would feel very dated and boring, I'm happy to say that's not the case and although not up there with 4 AC2 has been a blast to play so far and I'm looking forward to brother hood and revelations.
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