Considering my last Assassin’s Creed related ranking went over so well with everyone, I thought I would try my hand at ranking all of the Assassin’s Creed protagonists. Over its long and storied history, Assassin’s Creed has featured a lot of protagonists, some good and some not so good. But who will rise above the others to claim the title of the best Assassin’s Creed protagonist? This, and many more curious things, you will find out in today’s article.
One more last-minute disclaimer: This is all just my opinion, so if you disagree then, that’s completely fine. Some plot spoilers will also be discussed.
Yes, I am lumping these two together since they are fundamentally the exact same character. These two undoubtedly rank at the very bottom when talking about Assassin’s Creed protagonists. My opinion of Kassandra and Alexios might be tainted by my disdain for the game they are in, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but that is by no means the only reason I don’t like them.
One of the best things about the protagonists in Assassin’s Creed games is that they feel like actual characters with their own motivations and worldview. Due to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s branching dialogue system, their characters are anything but consistent. They can pull a complete 180 in terms of character whenever the opportunity arises and the switch is always jarring and completely breaks immersion. In conclusion, the main problem with these two is a lack of consistency in characterization and motivation.
9. Evie Frye
Let me clarify something here. From this point on, I like every one of these Assassin’s Creed protagonists. Evie is quite boring if you ask me. She is the textbook example of an Assassin and lacks flexibility. Next to her more boisterous and out there brother, she really seems like a buzzkill. Nevertheless, she is not without her redeeming qualities.
Her relationship with Jacob can get quite heated at times and in those moments you can see the wittier side of her. Her more reserved personality might appeal to players who just want Jacob to shut up whenever they play as him. In closing, I can say that she has her moments where her fiery and passionate side shines through, and those moments make her enjoyable as a character.
8. Connor Kenway
A lot of players don’t like Connor and I can understand why. The main problem keeping me from truly loving Connor as a character is that he doesn’t change very much over the course of the game. He starts off as a naive kid and he grows up to become a naive man. His blind devotion to the Assassins also gets called out by his father, Haytham Kenway, later in the game. Connor is quite emotionally distant from everyone else and doesn’t really form many attachments with others throughout the game.
This emotional distancing is nevertheless quite understandable, considering he saw his mother die in front of him when he was just a child. He closes himself off because he doesn’t want to see someone he cares about be hurt again and this makes him a much more nuanced character than a lot of people give him credit for. These nuances definitely make him more compelling and perhaps relatable, it’s just that the execution wasn’t always perfect. If they had given him a sequel then we would perhaps be calling him one of the best Assassin’s Creed protagonists, but one can only fantasize about what could have been.
7. Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad
Get your pitchforks out, everybody. Altaïr is interesting because, on one hand, he’s incredibly bland, but on the other, he also shows a lot of passion for what he does and who he is. His undying devotion to the Assassin Brotherhood and their way of thinking conflicts with his tendency to question what he is told.
In his younger years, he is also quite brash and arrogant which leads to his downfall after a failed mission. He is forced to re-evaluate his behavior and change his ways, turning into a wiser and more experienced man by the end of the first game. He eventually becomes the mentor of the Assassin Brotherhood and develops new and improved technology for them to use. Altaïr is a good character and he has a good arc in the first game, so he at least doesn’t remain stagnant. But he could have been more. For what it’s worth, he was a good vessel for exploring the world of Assassin’s Creed.
6. Bayek of Siwa
This is going to annoy a lot of people. Bayek is a very good character and I like him a lot, but I just prefer other Assassin’s Creed protagonists. The story of him helping found the Assassin Brotherhood is quite compelling and he has good motivations as well. He is sympathetic and likeable. The main reason for this placement on my ranking of all Assassin’s Creed games is probably just the game he is in.
I just don’t like Assassin’s Creed Origins, and that is most likely why I can’t connect with Bayek on the same level as other protagonists in the series. Nevertheless, Bayek still deserved a sequel to flesh out his character even more and get players invested in his story after Assassin’s Creed Origins.
5. Arno Dorian
Considered a discount Ezio by many, but I think Arno is still a good Assassin’s Creed protagonist in his own right. Arno isn’t your traditional hero. Yes, he is charismatic, but he is not a leader that seeks to change the world. His motivations are mostly selfish. He seeks revenge on the ones that killed his adoptive father and he does get his revenge in the end. This makes him different from other protagonists in the series.
They eventually get over their desire for revenge and look towards something bigger. All this makes Arno very relatable and human. We want to take revenge on the ones who wronged us and it is difficult to rise above this desire. Arno, therefore, reflects what most of us would do in such a situation. He is flawed and he lets his feelings cloud his judgment. I’m pretty sure we can all identify with Arno in some way and that’s what makes him a great character.
4. Shay Patrick Cormac
Ah yes, the Assassin turned Templar. Shay’s conversion from Assassin to Templar is very believable and if you were in his shoes, you would most likely do the same. Relatability is key to Shay as a character. He feels betrayed and he seeks revenge; however, he still has a moral compass and doesn’t desire to hurt innocents. He strives to do what’s right, and in his eyes, that is stopping the Assassins from causing more harm than they already have.
I don’t believe that Shay is very convinced of the Templar ideology when he first joins them. He simply sees them as a means to an end. They both have a common enemy, the Assassins, and he works together with them to hunt them down. Over the course of the game, he comes to understand the Templar ideology and finds that he agrees with a lot of what they say. Shay develops so much as a character that by the end, he is a completely changed man. Shay is a very human protagonist and I think everyone can relate to him on some level. Assassin’s Creed has a habit of not giving its interesting protagonists sequels when they should, and I think Shay’s story should have been fleshed out more.
3. Jacob Frye
I already poured my heart out about Jacob in my piece on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, so if you want an in-depth analysis of him then please go and read that. Nevertheless, I will try to summarise the main points here. Jacob is a joker. That is his character. He doesn’t take things very seriously and he favours a more guns-blazing approach when it comes to dealing with his problems. This is what makes me love him as a character. Granted, not all of his jokes land, but some of them really crack me up. I wouldn’t say he makes a mockery of the series, but I can understand how some may perceive it that way.
His light-hearted and fun-loving nature really adds to the somewhat absurd story of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. He definitely fits a lot more into the world than his sister, Evie. There’s never a dull moment with Jacob and I found that he still possesses a lot of heart when he needs to. He might be reckless, however he is not without a moral code. He might bend the rules quite often, though it is always for a good reason. His unorthodox approach is undeniably effective and just a lot more fun than Evie’s more methodical tactics. He is a lot of things, but he is definitely not a bland Assassin’s Creed protagonist. On the whole, Jacob is a blast to play and be around.
2. Ezio Auditore
A classic for this one. Ezio is certainly the most fleshed-out of all Assassin’s Creed protagonists. You follow him over the course of three games and see him develop from a brash and reckless young man to a wise, old mentor figure. Ezio is incredibly charismatic and sympathetic. You just can’t resist his charm. He also genuinely cares for the ones close to him and it really hits you hard when you see them get hurt or killed. Ezio suffered through so much loss in his life yet, he kept going in his quest to rid the world of those who seek to enslave it.
Ezio is a remarkably nuanced character and he never stops developing further. On the whole, what makes him great is hard to put into words and I’m struggling to explain it to you. In conclusion, his story and character just do such a great job at getting you invested in the games of his trilogy.
1. Edward Kenway
Alas, we have reached the end. This is the best protagonist in the Assassin’s Creed games, in my opinion. Edward goes through such a character change over the course of Assassin’s Creed 4 and it’s fascinating to witness. When you first meet Edward, he is irresponsible and immature, he always runs away from any kind of responsibility. He has no interest in getting involved in the war between the Assassins and Templars, his only desire in life is wealth. As he meets more and more characters, his perspective starts to change, however. He realizes that he can’t keep on doing nothing and going nowhere in life.
He has to pick a side eventually, and he chooses the Assassins. This symbolizes him finally accepting responsibility and pledging himself to a greater cause than himself. Edward’s story probably sounds quite familiar to most, apart from the whole Assassin vs.Templar thing. We all need to learn to accept responsibility at some point and, like Edward, most of us tend to avoid it. His story is then topped off with an amazing ending, which I already gushed about in an article about the ending of Assassin’s Creed 4.
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? I don’t consider myself to be the ultimate authority on what is good and bad, but I wanted to just put my opinion out there. I hope you enjoyed reading me ramble on about Assassin’s Creed protagonists, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments. I can imagine some of my opinions aren’t necessarily the most popular.