Ranking The Mainline Assassin’s Creed Games

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is Ubisoft’s flagship franchise and has released dozens of games under the banner. While there have been lots of spin-offs, we’re only going to take a look at the mainline entries in the franchise. As a disclaimer, this is my personal opinion on each game, and as such, I am neither right nor wrong on this, it’s just my belief.

 

12.) Assassin’s Creed III

Let’s start off with what I consider to be the worst and most boring game in the series, I will say there is some good in this game, even with it being the worst. Haythem Kenway, who starts off as the main protagonist and then becomes somewhat of an antagonist, is a very intriguing character who has lots of complexity and is quite sarcastic and funny. Furthermore, the addition of naval combat was a good side activity to do and added more fun to the game.

However, now we have to talk about what didn’t work. The story itself was horrible, featuring boring side characters with very little personality who added almost nothing to it. The side activities seemed to copy that of previous games with no changes to make them unique. Then you have the main character himself, Connor Kenway, who has no personality at all and has some very awkward exchanges with so many of the characters throughout. Furthermore, he seems to possess no intelligence and rushes into everything, resulting in his and others’ detriment. The gameplay is basically the same as the past games with very little innovation, and the game world has little verticality and climbable surfaces, mainly consisting of large, open expanses that don’t work with the franchise’s core concepts. Finally, none of the DLC for the game helped, with The Tyranny of King Washington being a confusing mess with superpowers, alternate history, and a piece of Eden that made the game worse than it already was.  

Assassin’s Creed III was worse for the franchise and pushed fans further away from the series that the Ezio trilogy had built up. Haytham Kenway has become a beloved character; however, all other characters and the entirety of the game ruin everything the series had.

 

11.) Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

Now, this game stands above AC3 only because of its story and characters, that is all that separates it. Aside from that, it is a lackluster cash-grab that looked like a copy and paste of the previous game. The character Shay Patrick Cormac is charming, charismatic and all around a pretty good person. The story, while shorter than your average game, was pretty mature for the series and changed from the normal structure to put you in the shoes of the Templars. Adding in the return of Haytham Kenway and the conclusion to the so-called North America Saga, it’s an altogether darker side of the series.

However, going off of that, the story feels all too much as though it’s just the Assassins acting like the Templars and the Templars acting like Assassins that sometimes undermines it. Again, going into it, the game is a copy of Black Flag in a colder environment, and both the gameplay and naval combat have close to zero changes at all. While there are changes in naval combat to traverse the cold of the Atlantic, it is not nearly enough to justify a full game. Furthermore, we’re introduced to several characters in the game who were never seen or heard of in previous games set around the time period, which creates big inconsistencies, namley characters such as Master Gist or Master Weeks. The game adds so little to the franchise as a whole, and its epilogue, which plays right into Assassin’s Creed: Unity, was just a big plotline that never came up again. 

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue may have many flaws, but unlike Assassin’s Creed III, it actually has some redeeming qualities that make it easier to play through. Had Rogue contained a longer story, some improvements over the combat of Black Flag, and a more refined ending to the North America Saga, it would be ranked much higher. 

 

10.) Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Surprised it isn’t last? Assassin’s Creed: Unity may have launched with the horrible bugs and glitches it is known for, but when it is in a stable state, Unity has some pretty solid things going for it. For one, the city of Paris is quite beautiful and very well designed, boasting some pretty good graphics for a game from 2014 when the PS4 just released. Furthermore, its customization system was revolutionary at the time, and while later games like Valhalla and Odyssey would implement it more, Unity was the first. Finally, the amount of large-scale crowds they had with up to hundreds of NPCs on the screen at once was an achievement, assuming it ran correctly. 

However, all their graphical achievements are barely recognized because of how unstable the game is, even to this day, with dozens of bugs and glitches persisting. Even though it was fixed, it still isn’t stable. Furthermore, the story, which was basically an Assassin’s Creed version of Romeo and Juliet, was mediocre at best, and the main character, Arno, played out too similarly to most other main characters in the franchise. Arno has personality towards the beginning of the game, but as it progresses, he becomes more and more boring to the point where it is hard to watch. He isn’t even a good Assassin, only going about defeating Templars to seek justice for the death of the father of his love interest. Furthermore, why would they include the father’s death at the beginning, only for him to never hunt the killer or even show any emotions or anything about it? Finally, the main map was so clustered with icons that you could barely find where you were throughout the game. 

Had Unity not released with the bugs and glitches it is known for, it still would only be a mediocre game. This game would still have not been anything special for the franchise, but it would at least have done some good. 

 

9.) Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

If we looked solely at the story of Revelations, this would be one of the best Assassin’s Creed games to date; the story was a beautiful way of ending Ezio and Altair’s story all in one game. We get to see the events that happened after the first game and what became of Altair, the first character we were ever introduced to. Seeing his entire story and Ezio exploring this and finding a way to finish his mission all wrapped together is a real tissue-grabber of an ending. Furthermore, the side character Yusuf Tarizim was one of the few dazzling characters who was an aide to Ezio in the story and added a lighter side to the story as both a funny but strong warrior. Finally, some of the set pieces in the game were quite great and, honestly, the best in the series so far. 

Sadly though, Revelations finds itself falling short in many other departments. The gameplay and feel of the game was too familiar, playing just like the previous games with no improvements except for the hook blade. The new side activities that were added were considered inferior by many, and overall, Revelations had nothing that changed the game drastically. Furthermore, we had little side characters that were that interesting to meet, and the villain himself was one of the most boring in the series and his death likewise. The main villain himself wasn’t even killed by Ezio, making Revelations the only game where you don’t even get the choice to kill them yourself. 

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, while an exciting and thrilling adventure in its cutscenes, could not replicate that greatness in everything else. This was the first game to begin a cycle of fatigue for the franchise in the years to come.

 

8.) Assassin’s Creed

It’s hard to rank the first game in the series as without it, none of the other games, good or bad, could have happened, and the core concepts would never have come out. Even after about fourteen years since its release, the game still holds up pretty well, and it laid the foundation for future games. The climbing mechanics, gameplay, and all the things Assassin’s Creed is associated with were introduced here. Also, how many games take place during the Third Crusade? Since then, the franchise has expanded, picking many rich and original settings for their games.

Now, however, there are some downsides. The game’s missions become repetitive after a while, often leading to you repeating the same tasks and goals before assassinating a target. Furthermore, the voice actor for Altair did not give as much enthusiasm throughout, and as such, his character can come off as one-sided. Much of the game is very outdated compared to recent entries, and why in God’s name does Altair not know how to swim? Furthermore, the modern day story was introduced, and while it wasn’t bad, the story that started there would never get any better. Every following the game’s modern day story was almost an afterthought, and as such, they’re barely even mentioned or talked about.  

Assassin’s Creed was a starting point for the franchise and showed promise for fans, but some of its worst features, sadly, and the evolution of the series’ later games have made the first game lesser in many people’s eyes.   

 

7.) Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

Now, I believe Syndicate is very underrated by many fans, but coming off of Unity, it was hard for many fans to see good in an Assassin’s Creed game. However, Syndicate offers some great things for the franchise. First off, the main characters, Jacob and Evie, were pretty entertaining and quite good foil characters. Furthermore, we saw the first playable female character since the spin-off Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. Jacob was arrogant and cocky throughout, but towards the end, he started to show his true emotions, especially towards his father. Evie was both witty, smart, and persistent, always doing the right thing and helping others, but she had a problem with allowing herself to have emotions. They complemented each other well, and the side characters added both humor and emotions to them. Next was the setting of the Industrial Revolution, which was very well done, and the grappling hook was a nice addition for industrial travel. Overall, they did a good job in making sure there were a plethora of weapon options so that the game did not become an average third-person shooter. The game ran smoothly, with lots to explore and do, and featured a pretty well written story that really developed Evie and Jacob. 

Going off of this, Syndicate was still not perfect in a lot of ways. First of,f the villains themselves were very forgettable, and the main villain didn’t stand out among the many out there. While Crawford Starrick has some interesting lines, he doesn’t stand out among the other main antagonists in the series, like Haytham Kenway or Rodrigo Borgia. There were also many different ways they could have shown Evie’s growth without a romance. Finally, the game itself just can’t stand out among the games that would follow. It doesn’t have many things about it that are above and beyond what we had already had in previous games, also the gameplay was very similar to the past couple games.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was really sort of an average game but one that was further dampened by Unity. Given some more time though, Syndicate could have definitely become one of the top games in the franchise.  

 

6.) Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

The most recent Assassin’s Creed game is definitely a quality game that both excites me and makes me question why I got it. For starters, the story and characters were pretty well done. Eivor was interesting whether as the male or female version, and many of the characters you meet throughout added to the game. The story following two brothers forging their destiny in England was very thoughtful and provided some more emotional moments. The combat, while similar to Odyssey’s, was still fun to play through, and it provided some fun and interesting moments. The world map made it so players had to explore on their own to find hidden mysteries throughout. The world itself was one of the best created with lots of detail, amazing graphics, and so much to do outside of the main story. Valhalla had a lot to offer and saw connections to various games throughout the series.

However, even for a quality game, there are some flaws. The gameplay, while fun, feels a bit stale and overdone as it doesn’t have much innovation from before. Like the previous game, Valhalla uses the concept of seeing through your pet bird’s point of view to replace Eagle Vision; however, while the game gives you Eagle Vision, it otherwise makes your pet raven useless. Some of the side characters were very simple, and for some reason throughout the game, half the NPCs sound exactly the same. Valhalla’s modern day story was also a complete miss. For one, it barely shows up, and two, it doesn’t really feature anything that substantial or earth-shattering. The biggest thing was that hunting the Templars, or the Order of the Ancients as they were known then, felt like a side quest. You had to do a special mission to unlock the menu to hunt them, and close to none of them were all that prominent throughout the main story. This made the game not even feel like the series it was a part of. 

Valhalla is a solid Viking game that offers a lot; however, for true fans of Assassin’s Creed, it is too much of a break from tradition for many to embrace it fully.  

 

5.) Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood stands as one of the best games in the series to this day. While it does have some flaws, the game itself is one that many fans love. Let’s start off with the story. While very similar to the second game’s, it introduces one of the best villains in the franchise: Caesar Borgia. He’s an arrogant, self-obsessed, power hungry villain. Ezio and his various returning allies lend to the game in adding dozens of side missions, exploring both Ezio’s personality and that of his friends as well. The city of Rome was beautiful and allowed players to explore one of the most well known cities of all time. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, even after so many years, still holds up today pretty well on many platforms. Going back to its story, it was similar to the second game’s, but it showed even more of Ezio’s true personality and his selflessness. He went from an arrogant and cocky teenager to a wise, humble, selfless and deadly adult who is still the greatest character in Assassin’s Creed. Finally, Brotherhood introduced us to Assassin’s Creed multiplayer, one of its very well received additions and one of the best things to come out of the game.

Even with all its good qualities, for some the game was altogether too similar to the second game. The gameplay had very little innovation in it, and the story still focused around the same Apple of Eden and Ezio going on a revenge quest. Another thing was that fans wanted and were expecting a true sequel to come out, instead they got another game with Ezio, and while the character is great, many fans wanted something different. 

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was a strong sequel that improved upon the franchise as a whole, though it was also a little too familiar for some fans. Brotherhood excites in many ways and takes Ezio on a maturing journey that really shows him as one of the best characters in the series.

 

4.) Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

This entry was definitely one of the best entries in the series and offers so much, but it is lost in some of its rougher edges. First off, its story was moving with a message on family and with the main character, either Alexios or Kassandra, tracking their family across Greece to reunite them all and stop an ancient cult. It was a wonderful story, helped by the full embrace into the RPG style where you can make some of the most critical choices to determine your path. Kassandra is one of the more well liked characters as she has such charisma and personality to her when she speaks. What also helps is the gameplay, which is the most fluid and fun in the series, with special abilities players could use mid-battle, such as lighting your weapon on fire or using a “Spartan kick”. The world was massive with so much to do that you could spend hours and not even get close to completing it. Furthermore, in the Greek world, every city state is either with Sparta or Athens, but a player can enter one, destabilize it and lead another nation to victory in that area. The possibilities are endless with Odyssey, and with the RPG style of gameplay, players actually get to choose whether the game has a good or bad ending. Finally, the villain being the character you didn’t choose adds a very nice touch, and who doesn’t want to play as Leonidas during the Battle of 300?

However, Odyssey’s world is a bit too much, not much feeling so much like the series it is supposed to be a part of. Furthermore, only the ending and DLC actually connected to the rest of the series’ lore. Besides that, the game wasn’t even really an Assassin’s Creed game. However, both DLCs just don’t do enough for the franchise to make the purchases worth it.

On its own, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey could have been a wonderful adventure game/RPG set in ancient Greece that would be top of its class, but because it has Assassin’s Creed in the title, its lack of connection to the rest of said series somewhat lowers its placement on this list. With more of a connection to the lore of the franchise, it would have been in the top three. 

 

3.) Assassin’s Creed II

The top three games were so close that it was hard to choose where to place each game in the list, and while Assassin’s Creed II is wondrous, it falls at third. Assassins’ Creed II’s story was by far one of the best in the series, introducing us to Ezio Auditore, the greatest protagonist in the series who had so much personality. The story was wondrous for showing us Ezio’s journey, his triumphs, failures, and his motivations all culminating in an amazing finale. Furthermore, Rodrigo Borgia was a well crafted villain one who was a perfect foil for Ezio and one who would live on to feature in the next game. The game also had lots of fun downloadable content and side activities to play through, which provided more fun things for players to do outside of the main story. Furthermore, unlike the previous game, it allowed seamless exploration of multiple Italian cities, including Venice, Florence, Monteriggioni, and Forli. Assassin’s Creed II was also the first game to incorporate a skill tree of sorts, allowing players to unlock different ways to assassinate people and new ranged weapons. And for the first time in the series, the game featured a level of customization to it; not at the levels of future games but more in the color of the character’s robes, for example. Finally, the number of side characters that each were fleshed out and made for some fun moments of dialogue was outstanding. 

Assassin’s Creed II was an amazing game that improved upon everything the previous game had done. It made great changes that sent it high above, and the games following it improved on what it introduced in so many ways. Assassin’s Creed II may have been great at its release and for years after remained at the top, but now looking back, it doesn’t sit as high anymore.

Assassin’s Creed II is an amazing game, one that really made the franchise super popular, and more than a decade after its release, it will still hold a place in fans’ hearts.  

 

2.) Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

This game is one of the most fun games I have ever played and features a pirate’s tale that is both a tearjerker and a joyful ride. Starting off with the game’s story and characters, the story was a beautiful tale of self-redemption showing Edward Kenway going from a self-obsessed man hell-bent on his own fortune to someone who could care about others and humanity. Edward himself was a charming and funny character who, along with Ezio, Bayek, and Kassandra, is one of the better characters of the franchise. Many of the side characters, such as Adewale, James Kidd, Blackbeard, and Stede Bonnet, were all exciting to witness. Going off that, the world was enormous with so many side narratives to explore and many hidden mysteries as you roam the seas. As stated previously, this is a pirate adventure, and players will own a pirate ship that they must maintain and upgrade to fight off British, Spanish, Portuguese, and pirate hunter ships that also share the seas. Black Flag’s naval combat was fun and easy to learn, and it offered exciting adventures in it. Another thing was the number of locations on the map, with a large chunk of the Caribbean containing regions like Havana, Kingston, Nassau, and others, never making for a dull moment. The villains of the game were also quite memorable; not necessarily the main villain, but the side ones such as Ben Hornigold, a pirate who turned on his brethren, or Bartholemow Roberts, one of the most cunning and insane characters in the game, were real standouts. All this lends to a wonderful game.

Even with all of this, Black Flag’s gameplay was quite simply very similar to the third games, and as such, it felt repetitive. Furthermore, the tailing missions in the game made me want to quit the franchise as they were so annoying to do. Finally, the DLC Freedom Cry was an interesting part to play through, but it didn’t offer too much new to warrant purchasing it.  

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was a stellar game and one that was nearly perfect all around. If not for the one or two negative aspects I mentioned before, it would be first on this list, which is why the next game stays as number one because it is the best the franchise offers.  

 

1.) Assassin’s Creed: Origins

The best this franchise has to offer, Assassin’s Creed: Origins was one of the most innovative games in the series, taking the stale franchise and finally bringing it back up. There are so many great things about this game that make it positively the best. First off, the main character, Bayek of Siwa, was one of the best to come into the series as he was loving, kind, funny, and so full of personality, becoming a close second to Ezio as one of the best protagonists. Its story is similar to the revenge plots of past games; however, it adds a mystical thrill to it that invigorates the idea. Furthermore, some of the side characters, such as Apollodorus, Cleopatra, and Bayek’s wife, Aya, make for memorable moments that really flesh out the game. Going off that are the changes to the combat. It was a full 360 degree move from the usual parrying-based combat to the RPG style like that of Witcher 3, which is regarded as one of the greatest games in the RPG genre. Secondly, the setting was magnificent and very well done, with each region feeling different from the rest, and Egypt, a desert land full of dunes, felt so much more alive than most other games. Finally, the number of side quests and activities to do, such as chariot races, gladiatorial fights, powerful side bosses, and more, never made for a dull moment. The game’s DLC were also great and opened up new lands to explore, and each offered different unique abilities, weapons, and bosses that made them worth the purchase.  

Origins was a breath of fresh air for the franchise that allowed it to develop into what we have today with Odyssey and Valhalla, laying down the groundwork for the future. With an interesting character, thrilling story, innovative gameplay, a massive open world, and the best designed setting of any game in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is hands down the best game the series has to offer. 

Now, these are not all the games as there are various spin-off games that were released, but they never were very well received and could not gain the star recognition most of the series has gained. Everyone has their own personal opinions on where to rank these games, but when I think of the best Assassin’s Creed games, this list is what comes to mind.  

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