It’s very rare (in fact this may well be the first) that we do book reviews on Zath for the obvious reason that as a general rule ‘literature’ doesn’t fall under the banner of ‘technology’, but seeing as this one is about one of the games of 2009 we thought we’d break the rule and have a closer look at the book we brought you news of about a month back: Assassin’s Creed — Renaissance.
As I said before Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance is a novel based on the story in the game which if you read any of the press releases and associated media related to it, has had a lot of effort put into it in an attempt to rectify the mistake made in the first one which lead to very repetitive gameplay and ultimately a general detachment from the storyline through sheer boredom.
So this time around the people behind Assassin’s Creed 2 have engineered the game around the renaissance story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze whom unlike Altiair (the main protagonist in the first game) you follow throughout most of his life — more specifically from the age of 17 where both the game and the novel start.
Unfortunately I have yet to play the new game due to the delayed release date of the PC version of Assassin’s Creed 2 (26th February 2010) but assuming the story is the same — which I imagine it is- it is very impressive. Whilst any literature critic would laugh at the book, probably before burning it, I have to say I enjoyed it and I think that has a lot to do with the attachment with Ezio that grows on you through the game.
Whilst the storyline is gripping at times the execution within the novel is less than impressive, and at times you start to wonder whether there really is such a need to describe all the killings in such a graphic/offhand manner but where it fails as a novel it merely reflects the game which is probably the reason that game-based novels have been so unsuccessful in the past.
One of the main problems in the book is the time span which is an unfortunate byproduct of having a storyline that follows the life of a person. Whilst certain missions are described in great detail you can go through 20 years in a matter of pages which is a little annoying at times, but if nothing else it wets your appetite for the game.
I’m not a literacy critic, and to be honest I find books so subjective that you really don’t know whether you like a book before you’ve tried it, but I think there will be a fairly clear divide between those that find this book enjoyable/interesting and those that really don’t. In a Ven diagram the person that likes this book with be in the circles ‘likes Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘likes books’.
Fortunately for me I do fit into that category and Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance just made me keener to get my hands on the game, and more involved in the whole media splurge that’s surrounding the game — but for those that don’t then maybe it’s not for you!