If you read my review yesterday of the first volume, then you know this is really where this series of graphic novels begin a serious departure from the storyline we play in the Assassin’s Creed games. Yes, the characters we met in the first game (Desmond and Lucy) and the second game on (Rebecca and Shaun) are all present but things are way out of synch between the games and this series.
And you can’t even say “well the game just didn’t show this happening.” The game doesn’t show some of the present day events happening because they didn’t happen. The events shown here contradict the beginning of Assassin’s Creed II to the point where it almost seems like an alternate reality for the characters we know through the game. It certainly isn’t something big fans of the game will turn to for continuance or being part of canon. I’m frankly surprised Ubisoft allowed such big contradictions.
With all that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the historical stuff from the Animus. Just accept that Desmond is reliving the memories of an Assassin character not mentioned in the games called Aquilus, and not Ezio as the end of volume one led us to believe would be happening. It’s as if they decided after the first one to change course and invent their own stories rather than telling a condensed version of the games. And that’s fine. Aquilus is a pretty interesting character too, and ultimately I wouldn’t mind seeing another Assassin’s Creed game set in Rome and in Gaul playing as either Aquilus or his cousin Accipiter (the third volume).
As was the case with the first volume, the writing and art here is great. It may seem like I’m somehow hating on the novel because of its departure from the games, but I’m not. I actually like that it’s different. Yes, it affects continuity a bit, but it’s hardly a major deal when considering this is simply a graphic novel series based on the video game franchise. If the discrepancies were present in one game to the next there would be a problem, but not so much across two different mediums. Simply enjoy it for what it is.
This volume, while titled Aquilus, is actually pretty heavy on the present day Desmond stuff. It starts off well and ends great, and really it doesn’t let up too much. There’s nothing “bad” about this story at all; both the Desmond and the Aquilus sections are interesting and will make you want to read the third volume (which will be reviewed tomorrow).
All in all, while this one takes a lot more liberties than the first one, this is the best one thus far (and the Desmond parts are really great). While the first one was easy to recommend, this one is even more so to the point where I think any big fan of Assassin’s Creed should want to have this book in their collection.
Assassin’s Creed Aquilus gets a four out of five: GREAT.
* A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.