Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is right near release, and whilst we patiently wait its arrival, we take a look back at all the main games in the series and make a definitive list of the best and worst Assassin’s Creed games!
11. Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)
Assassin’s Creed Unity was supposed to bring the hidden blade to a new generation. Whilst it succeeded in some areas, it failed in many more! This title struggled to captivate its audience! We all remember the myriad of complaints surrounding his and many other characters’ English accents, despite being French. In a Ubisoft blog post that has since been taken down by the publisher, Ubisoft claimed this is because “the Animus is translating everything into the language you are playing in” so it would make no sense for the character to “[try] to address you in accented English.” Oh, how quickly they moved away from that theology for later titles! Unity attempted to reinvent the combat system, moving away from the quick counter kills and disarm kills. Instead attempting to implement some of the challenges from the first instalment, but with more fluidity and finesse.
The revamped climbing mechanics, which enabled players to quickly ascend and descend buildings with ease, were also welcomed. No longer would we have those awkward moments where we would attempt to climb a wall only to have our trained assassin decide to just turn around and jump off. It would seem however, that Ubisoft put some strong springs into Arno’s boots, because oh boy could he jump. I know this isn’t the place to mention realism, but it is too ridiculous not to mention how far out this mechanic goes!
What ultimately ruined this game is the sea of bugs that Ubisoft seemed to be unable to fix. At least not for a fair while. Add to this the poor performance! Occasionally the game would run at a snails pace, or freeze entirely! The story also felt largely laborious to play through! All this together gives you one of the biggest mixed bags that the Assassin’s Creed series has to offer. Oh, and there is that multiplayer aspect which did not seem to be optimised for teams to take on, often being way to easy or down right broken!
10. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (2015)
Syndicate would definitely have to go down as one of the biggest overlooked titles in the series! After the massive disappointment that was Unity, many fans boycotted this title! Most did not expect this it to be any good. Buuut….. It actually was! Syndicate drops players head first into the peak of the London’s Industrial Revolution, and it looks absolutely gorgeous! Not to mention the fascinating leading duo in Jacob and Evie Fry, of which were much preferred the latter! The combat system gets revamped yet again for this one! Now the focus is more on brawling with fists and small weapons, aside from duo’s stunning Cane-Sword which is as deadly as it is classy! So why is this game so high up the list then? Well simply because it becomes very repetitive after only a few hours. Also, it does drag on a little too long!
9. Assassin’s Creed (2007)
What is there to say about the game that started this whole franchise. It was a good game, however it had its issues, that are even more obvious when you play it today. Like the character model for Lucy or the really janky climbing mechanics that constantly send you in a different direction than you wanted. Or even trying to jump on boats or get away from enemies. The game play mechanics just seemed to constantly let you down.
However, even though the game had its flaws and got my blood pressure to dangerously high levels, there were definitely some positives! The story and the level of intrigue for this, at the time, new title was enough to keep us playing. This, however, doesn’t stop the game feeling more like a beta! Its main focus seems to be to give you more background on the Assassins and the Templars. It is a relatively short game. Unfortunately, when a game has quite a few problems and is brief, it is hard to focus on the good. In saying this though there is one good that can come from this game that overrides everything. It started one of the greatest gaming franchises ever.
8. Assassin’s Creed: Origins (2017)
Origins is an interesting one. It is the first game that took Assassin’s Creed in a new direction! Even though it didn’t hit all marks there were some good changes. Firstly I loved seeing all the historic Ancient Egypt sights and I am sure I’m not the only one. Secondly the controls were completely different meaning that if you had played all Assassin’s Creed games up to that point there was going to be a steep learning curve for you.
They also built on having the freedom to explore a massive map, and I mean massive. It almost seems like they have competitions on how big they can make the map. This game bordered on making the map a little too big. At least with odyssey most of the map is water. However they also added my favourite part of the new Assassin’s Creed games and that is the mythology aspect. They added little teaser missions on Egyptian mythology and then just built off that for Odyssey.
7. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011)
The final entry in the Ezio Auditore trilogy goes out with a bang! Following the legendary Assassin to Constantinople to find the secret library of Altaïr Ibn-LaʼAhad! New challenges await in Istanbul with new enemy types that, if your not careful will get the one up on you! This title does well to wrap up Ezio’s adventures, with a solid narrative. It definitely is not the strongest in the series! However, it does give more insight to not only Ezio, but into Altaïr, who still remained somewhat of an enigma after Assassin’s Creed!
A new hidden blade modification, known as the hook blade also creates some intrigue here. Being vital in assisting with climbing those tough-to-reach places as well as in combat to pull enemies out of guard, this blade was a really fascinating addition to the franchise. It is unfortunate that the blade was not implemented in later games! The combat here was definitely the pinnacle of the Ezio series! It felt smooth whilst still creating a challenge, as many enemies could no longer be instantly counter killed! It forces players to attempt a more tactical approach to combat! Add in an interesting tower defence mode which puts Ezio in charge of a new brotherhood to defend against the onslaught of the Byzantine/Ottoman soldiers, and you get some really fascinating and challenging encounters!
6. Assassin’s Creed III (2012) + Liberation (2012)
Assassin’s Creed III is definitely one that many would not think would be this high up on the list. Many struggled with the stale voice acting and personality of Connor Kenway AKA Ratonhnhaké:ton (If you can pronounce that!). Whilst Connor’s story in itself is average at best, following the generic fight for freedom plotline, this title definitely shows its innovation in the combat and gameplay. Implementing new environments for climbing (FINALLY GETTING TO CLIMB THOSE DAMN TREES!) and having useful vantage points for players to find to gain maximum advantage in battle have really elevated the tactics in this title to new heights. Having an array of new gadgets as well as an awesome looking bow, really gives that incredible feeling of picking of your enemies one by one.
Combat gets yet another revamp in Assassin’s Creed III, with a dedicated counter button that opens up options for you to decide how to deal with each of your enemies. Plus, who doesn’t love dual wielding a hatchet and knife to get that extra edge on every opponent! The game’s setting is also another of its high points! There was so much to draw from the American Revolution, and Assassin’s Creed III seemed to only scratch the top of the iceberg! This game is definitely one that is still very enjoyable! Despite the lack of a strong narrative direction with regards to Connor, it does introduce us to the Kenway family! And after playing 4, how can we not like that!!
5. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
With the success of Assassin’s Creed II it was no surprise that they went back and continued Ezio’s story in the next game in order to try and flesh it out. Although the Ezio story is widely considered as the best story it did feel more like an expansion on Assassin’s Creed II rather than it’s own game. A lot of it was eerily similar with a few minor changes. The biggest of which was the ability to recruit random people as assassin’s in order to help you. There were also a few tweaks to the controls, which were very good and the ability to ride a horse anywhere which was definitely something missing from the previous game. Now let’s be honest after how good Assassin’s Creed II was, it was going to be a tough order for Brotherhood to match it.
4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013) + Freedom Cry (2013)
The very first thing that is apparent about Black Flag is the open world exploration. Giving you a ship to traverse the map and having the setting in the Caribbean was an excellent idea. It gave us our first look at ship combat which was good, and gave us new little collectibles and gathering missions to do, like fishing. The story itself was ok (Wasn’t to the Ezio standard) but the main point, both in and out of the Animus, was exploring the world around you. Black Flag tried new things and even though they may not have all hit the mark. Some were very good.
Freedom Cry on the other hand was the inverse to Black Flag. Where Black Flag had great exploration giving you freedom to go where you want but had an ok story. Freedom Cry had a great story but with very little exploration and freedom. A little ironic considering the name.
3. Assassin’s Creed Rogue (2014)
Assassin’s Creed Rogue is arguably the most adventurous Assassin’s Creed title in terms of its narrative! It puts players in the boots of Shay Cormack, an Assassin turned Templar. Releasing in the same year as Unity, this is yet another largely overlooked title. It is easily one of the best games that the series has to offer, as it shows the other side of this ongoing war between the Assassins and Templars. Rogue takes full advantage of the updated combat system used in Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag! As Shay’s, you are tasked with hunting down his old Assassin associates to bring them to justice for all the misdeeds that they have done! This is an absolute must play for all Assassin’s Creed fans, and it is definitely one of our personal favourites! Plus it ties into Unity in a very interesting manner.
2. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018)
Now I know this may be a little controversial, but this game is one the greatest Assassin’s Creed games to date. The gameplay is fantastic and improved upon everything that was set in Origins. Not to mention that it is set in one of my favourite time periods ever. So when I heard that it was gonna be in Ancient Greece I immediately knew this was going to be one my favourites.
Let’s be honest, it had crisp and precise game mechanics and an awesome story, plus the mythology missions were epic. And now we are getting a new Assassin’s Creed game with Vikings. However I am not so ignorant that I am blind to the big blemish on the game that a lot of fans were not happy with and that led them to argue it is not an Assassin’s Creed game, The missing Hidden Blade. HOWEVER!! they did add a DLC called Legacy of the First Blade, in order to fix this blemish. So even if you agree that it should have been a part of the game in the first place, you have to admit that the rest of the game is just too brilliant to ignore.
1. Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
Assassin’s Creed II is truly the title that pulled attention to the series. Moving away from the slightly clunky gameplay of its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed II made you truly feel like a highly trained Assassin. Which is ironic really, seeing as you take control of Ezio, a young, charismatic Assassin, who has not had much training in the field. Nevertheless, this is the title that paved the way for the future of the franchise with its intuitive combat and free running mechanics, as well as showcasing a narrative that will have you hooked right till the end.
Ezio is heralded by many as the best Assassin from this series. And it is easy to see why! He is a quick-witted smart-mouth that is always getting himself into trouble. Featuring a story that implements heavy themes such as loss, revenge, family, greed and corruption, Assassin’s Creed II stands to be the most interesting and well crafted game in the whole series, and we love it!
Do you agree with our list? Let us know your favourite Assassin’s Creed game in the comments below!