Celebrating almost 11 years since the release of the first Assassin’s Creed game featuring the master Assassin himself, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, comes a new book from Hachette Partworks, claiming to be “The Complete Character Guide”. Actually, book may be the wrong word here, as even on Hachette’s own website this new publication is called a “Bookazine”; basically what we have here is a slim volume paperback, just a bit thicker than most magazines, which claims to be able to tell us all we wish to know about the characters that inhabit the world of the three Assassin’s Creed games that star Ezio. These, as I’m sure anyone who’s ever played a game will know, are Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. So, lets flick through the pages and see what’s what, shall we?

The bookazine is split into three sections, one for each of the games, and it does certainly look the part, with beautiful illustrations throughout. In fact, there are a lot more pictures than there are words, and apart from a brief paragraph about important characters and parts of the games, it is very word light indeed. 

Each of the three sections, and therefore each of the three games, is laid out in roughly the same way. First off, there is a section setting the scene of the game in question, showing you what has happened to make Ezio into the man he is today. In the first section, covering Assassin’s Creed 2, this is obviously the death of Ezio’s family at the hands of the Templars, which sets the path for the rest of his life. It then goes on to list the various people that help him through his mission, ranging from his mother, Maria, to the genius that is Leonardo da Vinci. Each character gets a portrait and a brief outline about who they are, and what they do. 

The same is true for Ezio’s named enemies, from Umberto Alberti, whose betrayal caused Ezio’s family’s deaths, to Rodrigo Borgia, who found the Apple of Eden and ultimately had his life spared by Ezio in an in-game twist I personally didn’t agree with. The rest of the section is made up of a precis of the story, detailing all the key events that take place, along with a section on the environments of the game, such as the great Sistine Chapel. Again, these are beautifully illustrated, and go to show what a great looking bundle of games the Assassin’s Creed series has been. The last section in each part of the book is a breakdown of all the gadgets and weaponry that Ezio gets his hands on, along with important artifacts like the Apple and the Staff of Eden. 

This is repeated for all three games, and certainly allows for a real trip down memory lane, particularly as it has been a while since I played any of these games. Being reminded of some of the epic fights, or even just some of the famous buildings that Ezio can clamber up to get the lay of the land, delivered a smile to my face. There are obviously spoilers in here though, so if you haven’t finished working your way through AC2, Brotherhood or Revelations it may be best to avoid reading. For those who have though, it’s just a well presented retrospective of Ezio’s career as an Assassin. 

So, should you shell out for this book? Well, that’s a tough one to advise on, as it depends entirely on how much of a fan of the games you are. For instance, I have all The Assassin’s Creed series of novels, by Oliver Bowden, Christie Golden, Matthew Kriby and Gordon Doherty. I really enjoyed reading them, mostly as they are novelisations of the games basically, but are able to flesh out the characters a bit more than can be done in a cutscene. This isn’t what is on offer here however, as this is just a collection of facts about the second, third and fourth games in the whole series. It is by no means a vital purchase, but it is very well presented and may have that little titbit of information about a character or about the Greek Fire that you may have forgotten. If you are a rabid Assassin’s Creed and Ezio fan, then this is a no-brainer, but for the rest there’s not, as far as I can see, any actual new information on offer here. It looks great and it isn’t too heavy, but it’s light on actual words and with a price on the cover of $25 it did make me take a sharp intake of breath. The choice is however yours, and if you’re a fan then Hachette Partworks’ Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection bookazine should suffice. 

Massive thanks go out to Hachette Partworks for providing a copy of the Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection bookazine for review. If you wish to pick up a copy for yourself, pay them a visit direct.

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