I’m a lover of all things Assassin’s Creed. It’s a lesser known fact around here at n3rdabl3 and I think it’s mainly because I don’t talk about it that much… Pssshhh, yeah right! Assassin’s Creed for me isn’t just about the games, it’s about the whole franchise and all the cool and unusual stuff that’s available out there. I’ve been very lucky and Titan Books have sent out their two newest books for me to share my opinion on. We have “The Art of Assassin’s Creed Unity” which we will be coming to first. And then we have “Assassin’s Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment Employee Handbook” Which we will be taking a look at late on in the Assassin’s Creed packed post!
So firstly, the art book. I’ve said it once, and I’ll continue to say it, I love a good art book, especially if it involves AC. This years book accompanies Assassin’s Creed Unity and in the book there are so many area covered from Arno to the depths of Paris and a whole bunch of things in between it truly is a must have if you want that detailed look of how Ubisoft made Assassin’s Creed Unity as beautiful as it is.
The book is authored by Paul Davies who has past experience with Assassin’s Creed and other Ubisoft titles. Davies authored “The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag”, which I obviously own, as well as “The Art of Watch_Dogs”. Paul Davies has managed to get just the right amount of writing so that your grabbed by the art throughout the book but still get important information about how elements of the art pictured would influence and make it’s way into the finished game.
Liberty. Equality. Fraternity or Death.
Arno Dorian, the protagonist and newest Assassin in the franchise is obviously mentioned throughout the book. He is the first chapter on this journey of art but for me it was one of the more interesting ones, specifically the outfits. Customisation is a very big thing in Assassin’s Creed Unity and has been a big talking point for fans of the game. “What’s your favourite armor? Mines…” or “I wish you could have this armor but with this armors stats”. Sadly, not everyone can be pleased, but there was definitely a lot of choice! Early in the book we get a look at different outfits and armors that appear in the game and where they took their inspiration from. Beautifully detailed and brilliantly detailed it was great being able to see items you own in the game appear in the book. One quote that stood out in the book when they spoke about Arno was “Broad-shouldered and with a certain elegance, Arno’s persona as portrayed by his Assassin’s wardrobe is as distinct from the rear as in front”. For me that is one of the best summaries of Arno I’ve read yet.
Another interesting area within the art book are the three Time Anomaly sections. Covering Belle Époque, World War Two, and Medieval. I liked seeing how Ubisoft managed to recreate Paris, whilst still making sure we knew we were in Assassin’s Creed still, but that we knew that it was a different time. It didn’t feel like a re-hash or that they just gave Paris electricity and some lights. You can tell from the art in the book, what they wanted to achieve and when you play through the game, you realise just how spot on it was.
“The Art of Assassin’s Creed Unity” is a brilliant book, put together beautifully and perfect for that Assassin’s Creed fan who likes to know that little bit more on how the went from idea to final product and how it was influenced along the way. A book like this wouldn’t look out of place on a coffee table for anyone to thumb over and I bet they would still appreciate it. Would I recommend getting a copy for yourself or for someone you know will love it? Certainly. You couldn’t go wrong.
Now, our second book of this post, Assassin’s Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment Employee Handbook”.
Since it was introduced in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, the modern day aspect of the Assassin’s Creed games have had fans truly sitting on the fence. Some really enjoy finding out secrets and learning more about Abstergo, whilst others just want to play the game. This book is going to be perfect for some people, and just not some peoples cup of tea. And that’s fine, one thing that I want to say is to just have a try reading it. It was absolutely brilliant from start to finish!
The book is set up as if it was handed to you, as if you were starting a new job. It’s the companies mission statement, what it expects from it’s employees, what they’ll be doing, and a little company history. All very standard and normal stuff. That is of course until you start getting deeper and deeper into the handbook. It becomes clear rather quickly that it isn’t about “Abstergo Entertainment” and more to with Templar’s vs. Assassin’s.
The Author, Christie Golden has succeeded in making one of the most interesting books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s written so well, there was times where I actually felt like I was reading confidential company letters. There’s bit of paper stuffed inside that you can take out and need to unfold, little post-it notes with notices from other Abstergo employees and there are even QR Codes! But more on them later! Christie Golden, has managed to achieve this hook that drags you in that you normally find it a good novel. But this Handbook is like nothing I personally have come across before and the fact that it’s Assassin’s Creed makes it a hundred times better!
The books is split into several different “Case Files” which basically act as chapters in the book. You have: Welcome to Abstergo, Childhood Through Imprisonment, Improvement Through Apprenticeship, Arno: Enemies and Allies, and lastly the secretively titles Eyes Only. Each chapter looks into Arno Dorian and his involvement with the Assassin’s. Throughout the book the Assassin’s are pictured as the evil ones, and there are points throughout the book where you see the Abstergo mask slip and the Templar hatred for Assassin’s shines through.
Now on to one of the coolest things, in my opinion, that this book has to offer. The QR Codes. We’ve all seen them, we all know what they are but when they’re in a book it gets a bit more interesting. The timeless paper format croosses paths with technology and provide us with a glorious addition to an already glorious book. Not to spoil where the code actually takes you, but trust me it’s amazing. It paints certain Assassin’s in a whole new light, as it urges you to come round to the Abstergo way of thinking.
The “Assassin’s Creed Unity Abstergo Entertainment: Employee Handbook” is absolutely brilliant, I’d recommned it to each and everyone one of you. Not only does it give even more realism to the franchise it’s chocked full of information and secrets that you may not even know! Like I said previously, if you’re a fan of the modern day story line in the likes of Black Flag and the newer Assassin’s Creed Rogue, you’ll love this book. If the modern day stuff bored you a bit, I would still genuinely recommend you give it a go. It’s easy reading and stays true to Assassin’s Creed.
For me the Employee Handbook, wins out of the two. It’s hard to compare them as theya re so different but the Employee Handbook was definitely more fun to read. That isn’t to say the Art Book wasn’t fun, I just think that just how unusual the Handbook is allows it toe other to the post.
Have you managed to pick up these tow amazing Assassin’s Creed Unity books from TitanBooks? If so let us know what you think of them in the comments section below! If you haven’t got them, would you consider getting them and if so which one do you think you would enjoy the most?