The sad fact is that there have been very few translations from games into books that really capture the imagination and grow the story in any significant fashion. Some exceptions might be the books based on the Battletech game (dice and paper), the books based on Dungeons & Dragons of course (again a dice and paper game). The fact that both of these are not visual in nature, might very well be the reason that these translate so well versus this book based on a computer games. However, with that being said the books based on the game Halo (The Flood, First Strike & The Fall of Reach) are also extremely well written.
This book however simply does not have the same feel as those others – while the graphics and gameplay elements of the game are extremely good and worth the purchase, frequently receiving ratings of 9/10 and higher, the book unfortunately does not really match this experience and reads very stilted and rough.
I would say that the key difference is that the authors of these other series – as an example – The Fall of Reach was conceived after Eric Nylund had discussed the possibility of a Halo novel with Microsoft’s Franchise Development Group. A “Halo Story Bible” was created to assist Nylund in keeping with Halo canon. The novel was written in seven weeks, Nylund’s shortest writing deadline – had the authorization to advance the story and in reality you almost needed to read the books to understand what was going to happen in the universe you were playing in.
In Assassin’s Creed – Renaissance, the writing itself is average at best and trying to translate the magic that the game shows us into words just does not give you the same feel. There is no real love or caring for the main character and the tragedy that impacts him and sets him on this course, just seems like a way to start the ball rolling versus anything that would happen.
From the book jacket –
‘I will seek Vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore da Firenze. I am an Assassin…’Betrayed by the ruling families of Italy, a young man embarks upon an epic quest for vengeance. To eradicate corruption and restore his family’s honour, he will learn the art of the assassin.
Character Growth & Development – 2/5
Ezio gradually changes and grows from a dilettante playboy into the master assassin he is destined to become. Some definite changes in the growth of the character, but as stated earlier … you don’t really care!!
Story Growth & Development – 1/5
As mentioned, no significant change or advancing of the story occurs.