Review – Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection (Switch)

Ubisoft, what took you so long? We’ve had Assassin’s Creed III, the Rebel Collection, and a bunch of other Ubisoft games all released for Switch. Yet some of their most famous games, already released in a convenient package for other consoles, have remained absent. Thankfully, no longer, as Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection has finally released for Switch. Combining the so called Ezio Trilogy with the short films Lineage and Embers, it’s the definitive collection for everyone’s favorite assassin. The biggest question I had going in was if these games had aged well or were just gunna be a nostalgia trip. After playing through them though, I’m happy to say that they have aged far better than I thought possible. I might even appreciate them more now than I did back then.  

Once you reach the menu, you’ll see that everything has been put into chronological order. Connected via a DNA strand, it’s both helpful, stylish, and strangely immersive. It’s an ode to when menus had effort put into them and my respect for Ubisoft grew at seeing some put in again. It starts with the live-action short Lineage and ends with the animated Embers, everything labeled by year. Both shorts are actually quite good, too. Lineage was especially surprisingly good, with acceptable production values and even actors from the game. It provides some fairly important backstory too, lining itself up exactly with 2, making it a great way to start out. Likewise, Embers is the perfect epilogue, and I won’t say any more than that. 

Part of the classic experience is occasionally being kicked out of the fun part to run around as Desmond, which, for some reason, people apparently miss?

When it comes to the games, you start with Assassin’s Creed II. And I’m not going to lie, it’s still far and away the best game in this package. One of the best in the whole series even, and that’s something I was questioning before I played it again now. It’s about the young years of Ezio Auditore, and his quest for vengeance against the conspiracy that cost him his family. The story is well told, characters well-written and voiced, and the gameplay is simply smooth and complete. It totally lacks the fat that later games in the collection (and series as a whole) would add on. But it’s not lean or lacking, it’s a proper beast on its own. It’s the kind of game that knows what it wants to be, and just achieves that to perfection. Social stealth, simple but quick combat, and parkour gameplay that’s relevant. 

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is not that kind of game. It’s an immediate sequel to II, and deals directly with the consequences of your actions there. Where II was smooth, solid, and relatively simple, Brotherhood started to experiment. The main new mechanic was Ezio’s rebuilding and control of the titular Brotherhood. While it was fun on its own, the story chapters that take place as a backdrop in the middle are an absolute drag. Thankfully, the opening and closing chapters are absolutely phenomenal to compensate. I equally love and hate it, and see it as the game where AC started to think bigger and faster then maybe it should. Still, Cesare Borgia is a phenomenal villain, and seeing Ezio grow from angry youth to adult leader is very well done. 

It may be a Switch port of a PS3/Xbox 360 game, but that doesn’t mean it’s ugly by any means.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is super underrated. Even by me. Regardless of what people say of later releases, the back to back to back Ezio releases were the peak of AC oversaturation. Despite switching out Italy for Constantinople, and some new mechanics, it still felt the same at core. And the new hook blade, bomb making, and tower defense missions felt tacked on even moreso then the Brotherhood building from the last game. Still, as time has passed, I can appreciate it more. The story acting as a finale for Ezio’s growth is simply outstanding, as is seeing more of Altair and the connection between the two. Bombs are fun, and the tower defense missions have grown on me. I still hate the hook blade aesthetically, but it sure is nice to traverse with. My favorite game? No. But absolutely a more than worthwhile play.

While the question of Switch ports is always valid, these are PS3 games at heart, and Ubisoft has bit of experience with the console at this point. Each game looks great and can even be downloaded individually to conserve space. FPS is a solid 30+, with no drops. HD Rumble support was added, but it’s a pretty basic implementation. The best new feature uses the Switch’s least used function, the touchscreen. It may be limited to navigating menus and using the map, but it’s still more than what most games do. Even most first party games, even the bloody JRPGs that would be killer with a touchscreen, completely forget the touchscreen exists. 

My inner flat-earther still loves all the conspiracy stuff this trilogy introduced about how the Templar/Assassin war intersected with real world history, culminating in a “real” explanation for the 2012 apocalypse.

At the end of the day, Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is a great collection of great games. Games most of us have already played. But the Switch is perfect for replaying exactly those kinds of games again. Borderlands, Baldur’s Gate, Dying Light, even other Assassin’s Creed games already. I’ve been waiting way too long for this collection to finally release, and I’m very happy that it turned out as well as it did. And while you could very well say that obviously these games would be fine, there’s always the Kingdom Hearts on Switch situation to remind you that there’s never a sure thing in gaming. Thankfully, even Ubisoft has more respect for its legacy titles than Square Enix does. Good thing too, because Ezio Auditore da Firenze deserves it.

Graphics: 7.0

They’re PS3 era games. They look pretty great, and run well, but still old games are old.

Gameplay: 9.0

There’s a reason that these games made Assassin’s Creed a blockbuster franchise, and the slick gameplay and focus on social stealth is the highlight.

Sound: 10

Ezio’s Family is such a phenomenal track that it became the franchise’s main theme. The rest of the soundtrack and voice acting is pretty damn great too.

Fun Factor: 10

While I can think of some very specific moments I would hesitate to call fun, all in all these are three amazing games everyone should experience.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection was provided by the publisher.