Assassin’s Creed II was released in late 2009, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Later, it would also come to PC and Mac. Ubisoft released several editions of the game, something they would continue to do with later installments in the series. Aside from the regular version, the US received a Master Assassin’s Edition, while the two special editions that were available in the PAL regions were called the White Edition and the Black Edition, with the latter one being the more expansive (and expensive) option. This Black Edition is the one shown here.
The outside of the box looks very appealing. It’s pretty large, matte black, with relief ornaments and the logo of the game.
On the back is a high contrast, black and white artwork of Ezio Auditore’s hooded head, accompanied by the line ‘Live by the Creed’.
But it is when you fold open the front of this collector’s edition that you really see how beautifully made it is. The paper lid that folds over two sides of the box is very elegantly held shut with a magnet.
When you pull it open, a figure of Ezio Auditore is revealed. On the inside of the lid you can see a wonderful artwork of Piazza San Marco in the orange glow of the evening sun. In continuation of this, beneath Ezio’s feet you can see a depiction of the square’s tiles. It is this kind of attention to detail that I can really appreciate. Also, the figure is being held in place by a piece of foam above his head, so it won’t fall over.
What is very nice about this presentation, is that you don’t have to actually take the figure out to be able to look at it. In fact, the box is made in such a way that you want to keep it in there. Ubisoft has created a sort of panorama box of Ezio walking down the piazza, and the fact that the box has not one but two windows (one on each side) only adds to this.
Aside from this, the figure is actually surprisingly well made for a pack-in with a collector’s edition. It is detailed and colorful, with multiple layers in armor and clothing. It also shows Ezio frozen in a dynamic pose, arms wide with the hidden blade ready, his red ribbons dangling in the wind.
The box can also be opened from the top to access the rest of the contents. First of all, there is obviously the game itself. The Black Edition comes with some bonus content: three additional missions taking place in Florence and Venice.
Then there is a small but nice art book. The drawings it contains are beautiful as is to be expected, especially those of the various picturesque environments. What is also cool about this book is not only that it’s hardcover, but that it’s coated in some kind of rubber, with the logo of the game engraved in.
This edition also comes with a bonus disc, held by a separate paper sleeve the size of a dvd case. This disc contains some behind the scenes footage as well as the game’s soundtrack (which, by the way, is awesome).
All in all, this is a major improvement over the collector’s edition of the first Assassin’s Creed game, and one of the best collector’s editions I have seen in general. Not only do you get a lot of content, but there was also some though put into the presentation, with the magnet-held fold out Piazza San Marco and Ezio figure being the highlight. It all looks very luxurious and classy, and I think this should be seen as a prime example of a good collector’s edition.