Ya in the story they talk about Altair like he was a god or legend or something like that. And I also think the reason for Ezio being an assassin is better and more interesting then how Altair had to regain his lost title and status. Makes Ezio seem bad***. Cause it's a more personal reason for his targets.
Altair seems to have more experience in the field of Sword and Dagger combat, but Ezio seems to be in a better "shape"(physically), being able to swim, the leaping jumps, and his hand-to-hand unarmed combat skill. In my opinion, a "mid-game" Altair and a "mid-game" Ezio, Altair would win. But by the end of the game, based on the gadgets Ezio has(and you have to remember that Altair is in his late 30s, maybe even in his 40s and already a master assassin), I'm gonna go with Ezio to win in a fight.
Well, considering nostalgia of the first AC ever, people are going to say Altair is the better assassin.
Personnaly, i like both for different reasons. And let's not start saying who is more skilled, since AC1 took place in one year, whereas AC2 takes place over thirty. So Ezio definitly has earned his skill, kthxbye.
Altair had the better costume and equpiment, IMO. I love leather sheaths, and every aspect of Altair's look was cool. Also, He felt light, yet heavily armed, wich was a good balance.
As for Ezio, well, he reeks awesomeness. His cape, his renaissance outfit is awesome. With plated armor, he does look a bit overkill, but with the leather one, it's perfect. I also love that he is portrayed has someone with a personnality, when Altair had none.
And don't start saying that cold assassin's are cool, because then you'd be looking at a blank sheet of paper and calling it cool - it would be the same.