Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed The Ezio Collection features a remastered Assassin's Creed 2, but it appears the remastering process has been unkind to character's faces.
The release of Assassin's Creed The Ezio Collection earlier this month might have been a little overshadowed by bigger releases in October - Battlefield 1 has been dominating game sales, while Titanfall 2 has been garnering near-universal critical acclaim - but Ubisoft's remaster of Ezio's adventures is a big deal for fans of the series. There might not be a more beloved character in the entire franchise than the quick-witted Italian assassin, and without a new Assassin's Creed game on the horizon this year, fans will have to make due with the remastered offering.
That remastering isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, given that the Assassin's Creed series features some of the most painstakingly detailed environments in video gaming and a visual overhaul can only mean a more gorgeous rendition of Renaissance Italy. Unfortunately, however, a recent look at the remastered version of Assassin's Creed 2 from Polygon has revealed that the decision to make the game's buildings prettier might have come at a very real cost for the characters of Assassin's Creed 2.
In a side-by-side comparison photo, the changes that have been made to NPC face rendering become clear - and a little unsettling, too. While the original version of the man on the right is graphically quite simple, the remastered version is the stuff of nightmares. It looks kind of like someone took the Mario face-pulling feature from Super Mario 64 and just went to town on an NPC for no real reason, and even the NPC, averting his eyes from the camera in shame, knows he is now an abomination. At least he got a nicer hat, though.
The arrival of Assassin's Creed The Ezio Collection has also seen Ubisoft make modifications to the way Ezio behaves during gameplay. Ubisoft has clearly sped up the process of scaling buildings in the remastered Assassin's Creed 2, and while it's definitely a quality-of-life improvement, Ezio barely looks human as he climbs with the grace and quickness of a super mutant.
It's pretty weird that a remastered version of a fairly old game actually has weirder aesthetics than its predecessor, but the environment is definitely a significant upgrade. Just having the luxury of replaying one of the series' iconic iterations is a nice treat for fans of the series, and it's a reminder of just how much positive change Ubisoft is capable of from game to game just ahead of what the publisher is calling a revolutionary new Assassin's Creed game coming sometime in the near future.
Assassin's Creed The Ezio Collection is available now for PS4 and Xbox One.