We Rank the Assassin’s Creed Series

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is one of my all-time favourites, its open world antics and frantic stealth gameplay makes it stand out in gaming as something incredibly different. Whether it be free running past the pyramids of Giza or sailing around the oceans, the franchise has an incredibly large scope. But now ten games in (excluding the handheld spin-offs and side-scrolling jaunts) I think it’s finally time to give a solid ranking of what we’ve had so far. This is, of course, all personal opinion and I’ve taken into account multiple different things when ranking these (i.e. state of release on launch, release date) but here is my definitive list of every Assassins Creed game so far.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

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Let’s be honest this comes as a surprise to no one, When Unity first came out it was a disaster. Filled with awful bugs and game breaking glitches it’s clear that Unity was rushed out for the new console generation. Set in the instantly forgettable location of Paris, the map was filled with never-ending collectables and little more than a few average to below side quests. Not only that but the tacked on multiplayer co-op mode was executed incredibly poorly, taking away the core aspects of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and replacing them with a full-on action fest. Unity’s story couldn’t really pull it back either, the idea of an Assassin’s Creed game set in the French revolution was on paper a great idea, but in reality, it probably should have stayed on paper. There’s not a lot I can actually say about this game that is actually good, it suffers the mostly from franchise fatigue and severe lack of effort from its developers.

Assassin’s Creed 3

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Now I don’t want to carry on being incredibly negative about the Assassin’s Creed franchise because it is one of my favourites but I can’t help but slaughter Assassin’s Creed 3. With an overblown intro that took way too long to get going and a lead character that took me way too long to become invested in Assassin’s Creed 3 fell where most games in the franchise tend not to, its story. As much as I wanted to care about Connor; I just couldn’t, the over-reliance on flashbacks and linear missions was just boring to me. The characters I was playing as didn’t interest me which is a serious problem in a very long game like Assassin’s Creed 3. Its world, while good looking, was just as uninteresting as its characters and it remains to this day the only Assassin’s Creed game I’m yet to finish. Its lack of new mechanics also really shocked me upon release and it really did give me franchise fatigue, so much so that I actually missed out on Unity until a much later date (Which in reality turned out to be a good thing). Both this and Unity are the only two bad games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise both of which suffer from severe lack of innovation, something that hindered them greatly in the grand scheme of things.

 

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

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2014 saw the release of not one, but two AC games. With Ubisoft primed to release the first fully-fledged Assassin’s Creed game with Unity, it was refreshing to see a title make its way to the PS3 and Xbox 360 systems. The game was essentially Black Flag 2, placing a huge emphasis on the naval combat and buccaneering themes from the previous pirate adventure. The result? A game which was, in many ways, superior to Unity, giving players another dose of the fun, tongue-in cheek gameplay which they had become accustomed to. Rogue told a compelling tale of Shay Patrick Cormac as he made his way from being an assassin to jumping ship and joining the Templars. Albany, Sleepy Hollow and the icy North Atlantic all feature, giving Rogue a grand sense of scope and freedom. Compared to the bug-filled world of Unity, Rogue was positively problem-free, shining an unwanted light on the shiny new consoles and Ubisoft itself. Ultimately, your enjoyment of Rogue will rest purely on how you felt about Black Flag as the games are near indistinguishable gameplay wise. For me though, the game was another opportunity to jump back into a world which I had thoroughly enjoyed, one which was not dragged down by the convoluted plot and technical issues of some of its predecessors.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

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Despite Unity being awful and Black flag being brilliant Ubisoft decided they were going to stop with the incredibly well-received change in formula and continue with the basic concepts. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate does bring with it a great setting and slightly revamped combat system but what it doesn’t do is supply us with any long-lasting impressions. The idea of two leads was different but the core gameplay remained the same. All of the main missions ended up being very similar to previous entries and despite an apparent effort to mix up the formula it just comes across as a pretty underwhelming game. The map though is what saves Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, sneaking round 18th century London is incredibly fun. The use of machinery plays a big part in the Syndicate world and it’s a very welcome change when compared to what we are used to exploring. But why did I put Syndicate so low down on the list? Well, its ending. Without going into spoilers Assassin’s Creed Syndicate brings with it the worst ending to an Assassin’s Creed game to date one that left a vile taste in my mouth that I won’t be forgetting for quite some time. It’s an ending so bad that it severely altered its place on the list.
Assassin’s Creed 2

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This is going to be a controversial one because I imagine this would be most peoples number 1 entry, fabled by fans of the franchise as the pinnacle of Assassin’s Creed, I came into Assassin’s Creed 2 with very high expectations. I also came in 7 years after its release which is probably why it’s not higher up. I can appreciate why Assassin’s Creed 2 is so acclaimed, it’s a brilliant step up from the original. It feels more involved, there actually things to do in the world your exploring and the story feels significantly richer than the first. Not only that it’s the first game we get to play as Ezio which admittedly in the grand scheme of the whole series is a great thing but I can’t help feel that he grates on me a little bit here. Unlike Altair, he’s a bit more in your face and extravagant which is something you have to get used to, but then again this may just be because I played It after Brotherhood and Revelations. The idea of multiple settings across Italy is a great idea but I have to admit most places I was visiting were pretty samey and as a whole pretty forgettable. These are all pretty negative comments on the game but the reason for that is because the negative parts are the only ones that stand out. Nothing screams out to me as brilliant in this game it’s just another entry to the franchise that blends in pretty well.  is not a bad game, it’s just not a great one either. While it may not stand out as being perfect, to me it is the perfect middle ground in the franchise and one that I did have a lot of fun playing.

Assassin’s Creed

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The original Assassin’s Creed is where I became obsessed, now before I go into it I will admit that it hasn’t aged well and playing it again now can really tarnish the experience I once had upon its initial release but I also can’t help but praise Assassin’s Creed. Its story and gameplay are revolutionary, it redefined the open world genre and deservedly so. For its time the original Assassin’s Creed game was unlike anything I’d seen or played before. It was the first game that got me truly invested in stealth and the way it did so was brilliant. Exploring the world with its free running mechanics was like playing an open world mirrors edge (something that I thought would be a good idea…) it brought new and exciting ways on how to approach situations and caused you to think outside the box. This is also the first time we’re introduced to Desmond and it’s a really different turn of events, even though he becomes over saturated in the later games I always found it to be really exciting whenever I got switched over to him. Assassin’s Creed, however, is but a foundation for the brilliance that is to come. It’s a stepping stone for games like Origins and Black flag, without it they wouldn’t have been able to develop the franchise at all. It may not hold up now but it needs to be recognised for what it did upon release and what it left us with long afterwards.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

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Now, this is an unpopular opinion but to me, the best addition to the Assassin’s Creed franchise as a whole was and always will be PvP multiplayer. I’ve been a big champion of this mode since it was introduced here in Brotherhood. The idea of hiding and attempting to find friends in a rather demented game of hide and seek followed by an intense chase through a map never gets old. Me and my group of mates have had countless hours of fun sprinting through market stalls, palaces and barns, it’s a stunning mode that never got the recognition that I feel it deserved. That’s a huge reason as to why Brotherhood is so high on the list but it’s also not it’s the only reason. A great map and a surprisingly interesting story continue the Ezio trilogy , moving it forward to an even better ending. The gameplay mechanics introduced here were also brilliant, the idea of building up a brotherhood of Assassin’s was executed really well and the overarching plot develops that mechanic very nicely. This was to me the first time I became truly infatuated with the franchise’s story and world but it was by no means the last.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

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Coming straight back at it with another controversial opinion, Revelations has the best story in an Assassin’s Creed game to date. The tension in both worlds riveted me. It took me back to my days of excitement with the first game by letting me play as Altair again and even more so concluded, very satisfyingly, a brilliantly made trilogy. Now Assassin’s Creed Revelations didn’t reinvent the wheel at all, but it instead took all of what made previous games worked and refined them into a perfect Assassin’s Creed game. This to me is where Assassin’s Creed reached its peak. By staying with the same formula there is only so much they can do and this exercised everything they had to offer. The world is rich and filled with well-placed collectables. The story is both silly and enthralling to make it one of the series best and the gameplay is refined to a tee. If I want to play an Assassin’s Creed game this is what I want, not only that the brilliant multiplayer of brotherhood makes a return and the improvements it made only furthered my love for the game. The question of why this isn’t number 1 with praise like that is because the two games above it aren’t really Assassin’s Creed games, they’re such a leap from the main formula of the franchise that they might as well not have the Assassin’s Creed name attached to them at all and it just so happens that when this happens the franchise shines

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag

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Black flag was always going to be an odd game for me, I’ve never been that interested in pirates as a whole so while I can certainly see the mass appeal this would bring in it never really applied to me. That is until I played it and realised that all I wanted to be my entire life was a pirate. It’s the first time in years that Assassin’s Creed felt like something new, it’s the first time that they really mixed up the formulae from the basic assassin’s creed template and I’ve rarely been so impressed by a change in direction. I have spent hours searching islands for hidden treasure or sailing around the sea fighting pirates. It’s the ultimate pirate adventure and not only that there’s sick free running involved in it as well ( You find me a person who doesn’t want to play a game with a free running pirate). As far as story goes it’s also the first time I felt that bringing in real representations of characters has actually worked really well. I loved seeing Blackbeard a lot more than I did being in tanks with Davinci, there was less filler content and more actual pirating, if I want to play a game set in ancient history this is exactly what I want. Also, it would be unfair to not mention how incredibly beautiful Black flag is, the blue oceans and tropical islands really stand out as even today rival some of the best-looking games out now.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

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How do you cure franchise fatigue? You change the franchise completely, is evidently the answer to that question because that’s exactly what Assassin’s Creed Origins did and because of it created not only the best Assassin’s Creed game to date but it also created one of the best RPG’s I’ve ever played. The gorgeous sands of Egypt and staggeringly huge map are a joy to explore. The main story is the first game in years that has truly captivated me and even 60 hours into the game I’m finding side quests which are just as developed as any main mission. The idea to strip the franchise down to its bare bones and reinvent the combat system and quest system was a genius.  I’m so much more inclined to take part in side quests now I know I’m improving as an Assassin and the idea of being able to work your way up from a nobody to a self-proclaimed Assassin is something that really works in making you feel powerful. The idea of animals playing a bigger part in the world works fantastically and brings everything to life. The combat system actually feels like it has weight and requires more than just timed button prompts. The bow and arrow also brings a whole new way to approach assassinations and the removal of the boring follow and hide missions is so refreshing. I never imagined for the life of me that I wanted to see a flock of flamingos fly past me in 4k but boy am I glad they did. Origins is a jaw dropingly beautiful game and its rich and dense open world certainly helps that. The dramatic change of location and effort it takes to stand apart from previous games is something I really admire. I can see myself sinking hundreds of hours more into Bayek’s colourful and eventful world which is something I never thought id say about an Assassin’s Creed game. But I think that’s because it’s basically not an Assassin’s Creed game and neither is Black flag. They’re so different from there predecessors that they stand out as their own entities and to me it makes them even better games because of that.

So there we have it, all of the main games in the Assassin’s Creed series ranked. Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments.

Dawson Roberts

Written by: Dawson Roberts

Self-taught critic who loves nothing more than a good argument over a controversial topic. Whether it is games, films or music Dawson can't help but love a good opinion piece. Also obsessed with anything at all related to the film LA LA Land...

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