In my opinion, it would be better to play the game if you can.
The problem with Renaissance is that it tries to cram the whole of Assassin's Creed 2'sIn my opinion, it would be better to play the game if you can.
The problem with Renaissance is that it tries to cram the whole of Assassin's Creed 2's plot, characters and events into a single novel. And there's a lot of plot to work through, enough to fill two such books comfortably.
But then, Oliver Bowden also crammed an optional plotline from AC: Revelations into it (which, chronologically, takes place in AC2's timeframe, but was used to look back at Ezio Auditore's past regrets and rash actions, as he is nearing the end of his career as an assassin).
While it doesn't stray too much from the game's events, there are some subtle differences in how Ezio performed his assassinations, which were retconned to be more in-line with the game's canon in later novels. Ah, and Ezio's facial scar is put in the wrong place...
But the biggest problem comes from how very little the novel does trying to build its world. Where the game can draw you in by showing you the old, renaissance-era architecture and dresses, the book rarely points them out, or describes them. It retells the game's script, but leaves out its time-piece atmosphere and classical glamour.
Thankfully, however, the book cuts out the whole present-day plotline from the games completely. Even where in the game, it would end up addressing the present-day protagonist, it targets the reader instead. As such, I am glad, since the present-day plotline made little enough sense anyway, and is being led ad absurdum since at least AC Brotherhood's end.
The book, sadly, is a very condensed account of the events, which does not add anything that franchise fans wouldn't already be aware of. It has its moments, and is not a bad read, but a lot of the time suffers from being adapted from a game based around action and many, many assassination targets.
As such, for many readers it will likely feel repetitive halfway through the book. While the game can balance things out due to its open world design, giving the player room to explore between missions, the page count of a book is sadly too constrained to depict how a player might tease soldiers with poisoned darts or climbing puzzles.
I'd recommend the game over the book. Spend those 20-something hours playing it, and experience Ezio Auditore's character growth first hand. There's a reason why his character arc is the most popular in the franchise.
If you do not have a platform capable of running the game smoothly, I'd almost recommend watching a story-walkthrough online anyway, just to experience how well the game delivers the protagonist's experience.
But if you are looking for a relatively easy read, maybe to refresh your memory on the series, or experiencing your favorite scenes a little differently, it might be worth the read....more
An excellent prequel novel to both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, featuring many familiar faces. It does a fantastic job weaving the story of Rapture, takinAn excellent prequel novel to both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, featuring many familiar faces. It does a fantastic job weaving the story of Rapture, taking game mechanics and collectibles into account, dropping hints here and there, and overall managing to show us Rapture before its fall, and during it.
While the main Rapture plotline, including those of Andrew Ryan, Atlas and Sofia Lamb, are deliberately left open to be explored in the games, Rapture managed to come to a satisfying conclusion for me, by focusing the story on Bill McDonagh and his family. Bill's involvement in the war for Rapture is framed by audio diaries in the game, which gives a decent enough view of his character and key points in the pre-game history of the city under the sea. However, the book does a far better job showing us exactly who he is, including his origins, his family, his hopes and doubts - and his trust in Andrew Ryan.
While many different characters are depicted in Rapture, the novel is undoubtedly that of the city itself, Andrew Ryan's descent into paranoia and Bill McDonagh, who may be considered Ryan's conscience throughout the book. I found it very easy to sympathize with McDonagh, which made the book a success to me. In general I thought the character setup worked nicely, especially in context to their eventual roles in the games, and they all acted more or less like you would expect them to, considering their characteristics and circumstances.
Even though it does not conclude the overall Rapture story arc, being a prequel and all, it ended on the right note for this particular storyline, and I think that, even without playing the games first, this is a scifi novel that may very well appeal to fans of the genre as a whole. For fans of the Bioshock games, picking this book up should be a no-brainer, and I'll recommend it wholeheartedly....more
I honestly did not expect to enjoy JAM as much as I did. Sure, I was entertained by Mogworld, but it somehow felt lacking in certain aspects, and moveI honestly did not expect to enjoy JAM as much as I did. Sure, I was entertained by Mogworld, but it somehow felt lacking in certain aspects, and moved around too much for my taste. JAM, however, managed to capture my interest all the way through, and made me chuckle.
The structure of the book was more appealing, the locations obviously more relatable due to being set in a real city rather than a stereotypical fantasy world, the character interaction was stronger due to a less random cast and the wit and bite felt just as refreshing as last time.
Overall I feel that a lot of issues I had with Mogworld in the narrative department have been absent in JAM. So at the end of the day, I'm looking forward to Yahtzee's next novel, whatever it may end up being about.