Disclaimer: This is just my personal opinion and ranking of the Assassin’s Creed games. If you disagree, then that’s completely fine. Plot spoilers will also be presented.
I don’t pretend to be an expert in game design or storytelling, but I have played my fair share of video games. Amongst those is the Assassin’s Creed series, and like anyone, I have my opinion on which are the best and which are the worst. Today, I will put together a comprehensive list of all the games in the series. This ranking will also include Assassin’s Creed Rogue, as I consider it important enough to be included in the main storyline of the series. With all of the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get into it.
11. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Not too controversial for the first pick; a lot of people probably agree with my ranking of this as the worst Assassin’s Creed game. My problem with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is not that it breaks Assassin’s Creed lore, because I never really cared about the overarching story of the series, only the stories of the individual games. No, my problem is that it’s simply not fun to play. The gameplay is boring, the story is boring and it just doesn’t feel like an Assassin’s Creed game. That might be due to the fact that the story takes place before the founding of the Assassin Brotherhood, which brings up the question of why it’s called Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in the first place. The modern-day story was awful, but that whole plotline died way back in Assassin’s Creed 3. But we’ll get to that later.
10. Assassin’s Creed Origins
This is where I think I’m gonna lose a few people. Assassin’s Creed Origins was widely considered to be a return to form after the franchise had floundered with the past few entries and went on a 2-year hiatus. But, why do I have it so low in my ranking of the Assassin’s Creed games? Well, I just don’t like this new direction for the Assassin’s Creed games. It’s just turned into an RPG and that is not what I want from the Assassin’s Creed games. Assassin’s Creed was never a full RPG, it was an action-adventure with RPG elements. Bayek was a compelling character for sure, but I just didn’t like the gameplay. It is a shame because the story was honestly not bad, apart from the modern-day stuff. The core of why I don’t like Assassin’s Creed Origins is just the fact that it’s an RPG and I’m not a big RPG fan.
9. Assassin’s Creed
Put your pitchforks away and let me explain why this Assassin’s Creed is rather low on my ranking. From here on, I like all of these games and would be more than happy to play through them again. I obviously respect this game for starting the whole series and introducing us to the Assassin’s Creed universe. I do have to cut it some slack as it is an old game by now and it was the first, so the developers didn’t have it all figured out at the time. All of that being said, it’s really not that great. The main problem is the gameplay loop. It is very repetitive and gets boring quite quickly. The entire game you go somewhere to assassinate someone and then you repeat that, a lot.
I’m gonna have to throw out a hot take disclaimer here because I’m about to discuss the main character. Is everyone strapped in and ready? Yes? Good, then let’s get into it. I find Altaïr to be an incredibly bland character. He is the vanilla template of an Assassin, especially in this game. Yes, he does kill an innocent civilian at the beginning. but that’s just an excuse to take away all of his accolades and equipment to make the player start at zero and work their way up the ladder. He gets more character development in Assassin’s Creed Revelations, but in the original Assassin’s Creed, he is just lifeless. The combat system itself was actually pretty decent as well as quite challenging. I died more than a few times because I messed up the counters and got swarmed. All in all, it’s a decent game and a good introduction into the Assassin’s Creed universe.
8. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
The weakest of the Ezio trilogy in my opinion, but nonetheless a good game. Assassin’s Creed Revelations feels a little unnecessary. For me, Ezio’s story came to a satisfying conclusion with Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and didn’t need more elaboration. Altaïr does get a lot more character development in this game, which is good because it turns him into an actual character. The segments with Altaïr were among my favourite moments in the game, especially when he is seen at an older age and he’s turned into a wise old man who mentors the young assassins and teaches them the way of the Creed. It is also cool to see Ezio at an older age. He has clearly become a lot wiser since the events of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and realizes that his career as an active assassin is coming to an end, but he has one more thing he needs to do before he settles down for good.
Some new mechanics like the hook blade, which allows you to climb structures faster as well as use ziplines found around the map, are pretty neat, and the new tower defense mini-game is also fun the first few times you do it. The combat is pretty easy, but some of the animations are fun to look at and the harder enemies, introduced later, add some much-needed challenge. The modern-day storyline is alright, certainly nothing extraordinary but it doesn’t have to be. On the whole, Assassin’s Creed Revelations was a good conclusion to Ezio’s character and a worthy entry to the franchise, but not good enough to be higher in my ranking of the Assassin’s Creed games.
7. Assassin’s Creed 2
A favourite for many players, though not for me. I would like to clarify that I’m not being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian, but that this is my honest opinion. Assassin’s Creed 2 is a very good game, but it’s starting to show its age. Graphics are not the most important part of a game for me, however some moments are here are seriously questionable. But that’s beside the point. It is time for me to talk about Ezio. I never understood the hype behind his character. I still think he is a great character, but he’s not the best in the series if you ask me. He falls a little too much into the suave ladies man archetype for me. His character does develop a great deal over the trilogy and it is fascinating to watch.
This game focuses on the themes of revenge. Ezio is driven by his desire to get revenge on the people that wronged him and his family, but he also learns to let go of his grudges and move on. The combat system, however, feels very clunky and worse than Assassin’s Creeds. The modern-day is pretty good, nothing exciting, but it gets the job done as to explaining what’s going on. In summary, Assassin’s Creed 2 is rightfully considered a classic by many, but its clunky mechanics hold it back from being truly great for me and ranking it any higher among the Assassin’s Creed games.
6. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
The best of the Ezio trilogy in my opinion. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood does almost everything right. The gameplay is engaging and enjoyable, the story is compelling and the characters are very well written. The main villain of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Cesare Borgia, is one of the best in the series. You hate this guy from the moment you first see him when he kills your uncle Mario, who you learned to love during the events of Assassin’s Creed 2.
The new Brotherhood feature, where you recruit people to become assassins and then send them on missions, is a neat little activity on the side. Your assassins can also be called in to help you in fights and they’re actually helpful. The only problem is that you will only rarely have to call them in because the enemies don’t present much of a challenge. But that’s just a little nitpick that doesn’t detract from the experience much. The story takes you to Rome after your home got destroyed at the start of the game. You have to build up your Assassin Brotherhood all over again in a new city and track down the templars behind the attack at the beginning of the game. Overall, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is a very enjoyable game and a more than worthy addition to the series.
5. Assassin’s Creed Unity
Yes, Assassin’s Creed Unity is in my top 5 of the Assassin’s Creed games; higher than most would rank it. A lot of you might disagree, but I think that Assassin’s Creed Unity is massively underrated. That is probably due to the bugs and glitches that plagued the game at launch, but playing it now, 6 years after its release, I didn’t notice any glaring problems. Sure, there was the occasional dodgy texture pop-in, but nothing that affected gameplay. The main reason I like Assassin’s Creed Unity is actually the protagonist, Arno Dorian. Arno was seen by many as a discount Ezio and while yes, he fits the role of the suave ladies man, he is also very charismatic and likeable.
His love interest, Élise De La Serre, is decent enough. I never really cared much for her character, but at least she didn’t annoy me. The setting of the French Revolution is also great and the gameplay is some of the best in the series. The stealth system is a lot more refined than in previous games and the combat is quite challenging and tricky to get the hang of. The story is whatever, the classic revenge story we all know, but it’s serviceable. In conclusion, I love Assassin’s Creed Unity and I encourage anyone who was turned off by the bugs and glitches to give it another try.
4. Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Oh boy, how am I going to explain this one? Well, Assassin’s Creed Rogue is a game that I’ve played through at least 5 times by now and I can’t quite pinpoint why. The switch of perspective from the Assassins to the Templars is not as dramatic as you would think gameplay-wise. You basically act as an Assassin for the Templars, killing Assassins and taking over Assassin Strongholds. The naval combat is a lot like Assassin’s Creed 4, but since that gameplay is awesome, I don’t really mind. The main thing I love about this game is the story and characters. The protagonist, Shay Patrick Cormac, is a very compelling character. He is an Assassin that has become disillusioned with what the Creed stands for and the final straw for him is when he is betrayed by the people he trusted most.
It is an interesting take on the whole conflict between the Assassins and the Templars since, until now, we only saw it from the perspective of the Assassins. The Assassins in this story are really dismissive of Shay and his concerns, which culminates in them causing an earthquake that kills thousands of innocent civilians. A few characters return from Assassin’s Creed 3 including Haytham Kenway, the Templar Grandmaster, and Achilles Davenport, leader of the Colonial Brotherhood. The story focuses on Shay hunting down the Assassins and stopping them from causing even more catastrophes that would claim the lives of more innocents. He only joins the Templars because they provide him with the means to track down his former friends. The ending also ties in nicely with the beginning of Assassin’s Creed Unity, as it turns out Shay was the person that killed Arnos’ father. This game was a bit of an outlier and played second fiddle to the big release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, but it is a very good game nonetheless.
3. Assassin’s Creed 3
This game had a mixed reception at launch, but I think it’s one of the best in the series and ranks very highly amongst my opinion of the Assassin’s Creed series. First off, I like Connor. It’s true that he doesn’t show very much emotion or investment, but there’s just something about him that I like which I can’t pinpoint. The story is good and the setting of the American Revolution is interesting, but this game features, in my opinion, are the best modern-day storyline. This was Desmonds’ last game as our protagonist in the modern-day and after this game, the modern-day turned into a bunch of faceless schmucks or characters that are the definition of bland. The missions with Desmond were fun and while I still have no idea what’s going on with the overarching plot, it was at least enjoyable to play through.
Naval combat also made its debut in Assassin’s Creed 3, and it’s fun. It provides some much-needed variety to break up the routine. The combat system, while quite easy, feels great. The animations look amazing and Connor is clearly an acrobat with the kind of stunts he pulls in the middle of battle. The whole package of Assassin’s Creed 3 is just great and I’d be more than happy to play through it again.
2. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
This is not where most would place this game, but I love it. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is just plain old fun. Most of that is due to one of the protagonists, Jacob Frye. A lot of people find him really annoying and complain that he doesn’t take his role as an Assassin seriously, but that’s where I disagree. I love Jacob, he is funny and I like that he doesn’t take things too seriously. He constantly cracks one-liners and while some might miss, a lot of them hit. He also fits my playstyle very well since he is more of the brawler type who gets stuck into the action. His sister, Evie Frye, is a bit too uptight and follows the Creed to a T. She does learn to relax a bit more as the game goes on, which makes her a lot more likeable in my eyes, though I always preferred Jacob.
One thing I love about Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the style of it. Victorian Era London has always been fascinating to me and some of the levels look beautiful. A really big part of the style is that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate doesn’t take itself too seriously. Some of the characters feel a little cartoon-y and out there, like Maxwell Roth who is pretty much a Victorian Era Joker, but that’s great because I love when things get a bit weird and wacky.
1. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
You all knew it was coming, my number one pick is Assassin’s Creed 4. This game has everything. A great story, great characters, great gameplay, a likeable protagonist and I could go on. Edward Kenway is my favourite main character in the series. In the beginning, he is brash and immature, but over the course of the game, he grows so much as a person. The supporting characters are also great and it hits you hard when they get killed off. All of this is topped off with an amazing ending, which I have already talked at length about in my Assassin’s Creed 4 ending piece.
The scenery and setting are stunning. The Caribbean islands with the sandy beaches and crystal clear oceans look amazing, even more so if you take into consideration that this game was designed to run on ancient hardware like the Xbox 360 or PS3. The naval combat really came into its own in this game and your ship, the Jackdaw, becomes your home away from home over the course of the game. The boarding of enemy ships is also a lot of fun as you take on the crew of the ship and claim it as your own. The pirate theme is perfect in this game—this is what I think of when someone mentions pirates.
Well, this has certainly been a wild ride through the Assassin’s Creed series and I hope you enjoyed reading me rant on about it endlessly. If you disagree, then feel free to tell me what you think. This list is, after all, just my opinion.