I knew when an Assassin's Creed II toy was on our list of reviews for the month that I had to grab it. When the first game came out, it became a hit, and the sequel improved upon all aspects of the original. I was completely taken with the character of Ezio and his quest, and knew I wanted to review him.
I wanted a figure that would remind me of what I loved about the game, one that would have the same style and feel, and capture the attitude of Ezio himself. That's the most important part. Is this character the same person he was in the game? It seems like a strange question but the attitude of a figure can mean so much when it comes to its success.
They often say that the hardest critic to please is the true fan. Being a true fan of this series, I had high expectations of Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Ezio. Would he live up to my standards? Would his outfit be just as intricate as in the game? Would he even be able to strike poses that were in the game play itself? I learned all this and more while reviewing the figure, so hit the jump to find out whether or not Ezio lived up to expectations!
Figure Name: Assassin's Creed II Play Arts Kai Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Ezio comes packaged in a very nice Play Arts Kai box, with slashes around the plastic making it look like he's already gotten into some trouble! ...Or killed a bunch of people very recently. Either way, the window box type is always my favorite since I like a nice view of what I'll potentially purchase before I get it. Ezio's packaged pose is so Assassin's Creed II it hurts, and it's awesome.
The back of the box comes with some very nice images of Ezio. And guess the shocker? All of these poses are actually capable with this figurine! That's right: no Photoshop, no invisible figurine stands, nothing fake of any kind. Now that's the kind of back-of-the-box art I like! Realism!
I believe the interior of the box (once the figure is removed) is also worth mentioning. Look at that detail! Small intricacies are the name of the game with this figure. The aforementioned sword slashes are on the front, but the interior also has a very nice marble/stone texture with the Assassin's Creed II symbol. It's just a nice touch that not every company would think to do.
Ezio comes with very simple instructions on how to switch out his interchangeable hands (fists and open fingers) as well as where to put his weapons in his belt. Luckily, all of his changeable parts are very easy to switch with little to no resistance at all.
Now, on to the good stuff! Ezio comes very securely packaged, so for any collectors looking to keep their figure in mint condition, this is perfect. The figure and all of his pieces can't even move at all. As you can see, Ezio comes with one extra set of hands, two of his hidden assassin's blades, a sword, and his short broad dagger. That's a nice armament!
Ezio is full of mystery and intrigue, but his figure is also really, really accurate! From the pose of his angst-filled hands to the coloring on his tunic and the small (non-removable) daggers in his belt, everything about this figure screams authenticity. Even the angle at which Ezio's legs naturally pose is exactly like his stance in the game.
Ezio's shadowy hood reveals just enough of his face to make him look like a total bad*ss, and ready to lurk in any alley to take out plenty of enemies. Even the nice layering of his costume as actual "layers" of plastic rather than being all melded together is a nice touch, giving the clothing a real lifelike appearance.
Remember how I said I needed this figure to evoke the feeling of the true Ezio in the game? Well look at this. LOOK AT IT. This is so angry and dark and brooding, exactly the mindset of a man with a murdered family and a quest for vengeance. Also, check out his hands. There's just so much emotion in them. You can also see the joint in one of Ezio's arms. This is one of the few visible joints on the entire figure, and they're not at all ugly. In fact, most of the joints are well hidden by the layers of Ezio's clothing and armor, with his elbows and knees being the only really exposed parts.
Ezio's obviously a figure made for epic poses, and he does this quite well in most cases. He's capable of standing without assistance (though sometimes you have to mess around to get his legs in just the right load bearing positions), and his arms, torso, knees, feet, all move as well. However, one of my only small complaints with this figure is that his joints are a tad on the loose side, making some poses more difficult to achieve than others without some coaxing. This upward reach, for instance, took a few moments of adjustments to get it to want to stay. Though as you'll notice, Ezio's not a bad looking figure from the back either.
Speaking of the backside of this figure, here you go! You can see that the same level of detail was given to the back as to the front, with the same level of nice sculpting and layered clothing. The nice shoulder sash also works well and has a natural looking flow to it. I also noticed that Square Enix opted for the darker colored armor and cloth color as opposed to Ezio's default lighter colors. I think it was a good choice, given that by the end of the game I, too, wanted to look more awesome with Ezio's dark dyed wardrobe.
On to weapons! Ezio comes with his two hidden assassin's blades, including the traditional one and the one specially built by Leonardo da Vinci in the game. The blade in the left of the picture slips up into Ezio's cuff with ease and the other on the right snaps into place, replacing the unequipped version of the cuff.
Ezio's long sword and large dagger fit nicely into his utility belt of sorts, with designated slots for each. The belt has a nice give to it as well, and can move a slight bit as it is not molded onto the body, which I appreciated. Also, here you can see where I mentioned the traditional assassin's blade snaps into place. You can also see the cuff without the blade in its "retracted" state.
Ezio comes with a nice set of replaceable fists, which fit easily on a small joint at the wrist. While the regular hand doesn't grip anything (it merely punches people to death), the metal gloved hand is slightly open, allowing Ezio to hold whatever weapon you'd like him to have. Luckily both hands pop on very easily, unlike the fiasco I endured with my last review piece.
Ezio's wide dagger of sorts is great looking, with a metallic appearance and good handle. It's also completely accurate to the game, and makes Ezio look that much more awesome. In this picture, you can also notice some of the details on the face, and if you look closely, you'll even see the scar on Ezio's lip that he gained early in the game. That's attention to detail!
Here, Ezio holds his formidable looking sword. It too has wonderful detail, even down to the hilt. It fits nicely in Ezio's hand, without the grip being too tight, causing you have to have to force the weapon into his hand. Instead, the sword is easily removable and look awesome. It may seem lengthy, but the sword never proves awkward for the figurine to hold.
I feel like I keep mentioning details, and that's for good reason. While I already loved the attitude and feel of Ezio, I was thrown over the edge of amazement with the delicate care Square Enix took regarding the little things. Look at the little eyelets in the lace of Ezio's undershirt, the worn metal of the assassin's blade mechanism and the small buckles on the leather cuff. Other figures may have skimped in this area, but not Ezio.
The detailed etching on the armored chest plate adds a level of realness that I don't often see in figures in this price range. Ezio's belt is also covered in metallic looking leaves and the assassin's symbol, along with several throwing daggers, which as I mentioned don't detach but still look great.
This shoulder pauldron just takes the cake. It practically looks like it came from a blacksmith's hands, and I feel like for a US$50 figure, you can't do much better. Sometimes I don't even see this kind of quality in designer work or even collectible statues. This is the level of quality that I really appreciated with Ezio.
I just couldn't resist taking one last shot. Not often do you pose a figure lying down, but Ezio's grasping hands just begged me to do so, and the pose reminded me of all those times in the game when I'd just underestimate a jump too much and end up dead on the ground, have desynchronized from my memories.
I've been so pleased with this figure that I give him my full recommendation and highly suggest you go to the Square Enix Shop and purchase him now. He'll be a great addition to any collection.
[Thanks to Square Enix for providing the review sample!]
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