It is hard to believe that it was all the way back in 2008 that we were first introduced to the ongoing story of the war between the Assassins and Templars and, while the franchise has evolved a lot since then, and got somewhat confusing in its narrative, it is still going strong with the latest entry, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla proving to be another success for Ubisoft.
With the latest game now on consoles, we thought it would be fun to look back at the franchise and see where we would place the games that have been released so far. While these are just the main AAA games listed here, there are many other Assassin’s Creed games that are still part of the canon and, while we have not included them here, they are worth playing; even if the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles series is a very different beast to the sort of games that we are used to.
So, here is how we would rank the main games in the series- with the Viking centric Valhalla now added into the mix. If you want to know when that and all other future games are due for release, check out our video game release schedule.
Assassin’s Creed games ranked
1. Assassin’s Creed 2
It is a testament to just how beloved Assassin’s Creed 2 is that, despite looking dated, it remains a game that tops many a list of best games in the franchise. There is a good reason for that as the second game took the foundations of the first, realised what was not working, and elevated it to a whole new level. Ezio is who many think of when they hear the words Assassin’s Creed and watching his relatively carefree existence turn into something far darker following a series of tragedies makes him a lot more relatable than the, still great, Altair.
The franchise opened up a lot more here. Gone was the repetitive mission structure of assassinations and now we had them each woven into a tight story that continually upped the ante as things went on. Exploring Renaissance Italy’s Florence, Venice, Tuscany and Forlì were breathtaking at the time and the scale seemed huge in comparison to its predecessor. And there was so much fun to be had from meeting famous characters from the time and heading off on one of many side missions that they opened up for you.
While it may be the second game, it is this one that drew many people to the series and it remains a solid place to start if you are looking to fall in love with all that Assassin’s Creed has to offer.
Buy now for £7.99 on Amazon
2. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a game that seems to benefit massively from who you choose to play as. On our first play-through as cover star, Alexios, the game is fine and enjoyable, but it feels like it ls laking something in the narrative that takes away from the overall experience. Playing as Kassandra though makes everything click. Odyssey feels like her story and that becomes apparent extremely quickly. It does stand out as an odd choice to have Alexios on the cover when he fits the villainous role he gets when you play as his sister so much better.
The XP system that prevents you from undertaking certain missions and fighting certain enemies does not feel as problematic here as it did in Origins, mainly because Kassandra’s story is simply told and it is easy to remember where you were at before being hit with one of those roadblocks. She is a fun character with a brilliant sense of humour, despite all she has been through, and any mission, main or side, is a huge amount of fun to play – it does not feel like a chore to have to work through them to progress the story. Ancient Greece is beautifully realised and easily the most stunning looking of the games to date, and the enormity of the map means you will have to sink a hell of a lot of time into this before you have done and seen everything. Special mention too to the DLC as, the Atlantis one, in particular, is some of the best from the franchise yet.
And no matter how many times you are asked to charge into a conquest battle, it remains exciting – so much so that a version of this will continue into the upcoming Valhalla.
Buy now for £21.16 on Amazon
3. Assassin’s Creed Black Flag
One of the most successful additions to Assassin’s Creed 3 was naval battles and, knowing how much players loved them, they went onto be a key part of the pirate-themed Black Flag. This is the most fun the series had been since the second game and Edward Kenway (voiced by Matt Ryan of Constantine fame) was a “hero” full of swagger and confidence – a much-needed sort of character following the relative disappointment of playing as Connor in the last adventure.
And the game looks gorgeous, even now. We may have had time on the oceans before, but Black Flag really took advantage of it and it was just as much fun to sail the map and take in all the locations as it was to play the main story. Assassin’s Creed felt invigorated with this game with the open-world structure never feeling so open, the surroundings you encounter never feeling so alive and, frankly, the series had never so enjoyable to play. It is disappointing then that just one year later, things went downhill for the Creed games because this was, and remains, one of the high points.
Buy now for £19.99 at Game
4. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
The most violent and bloody game in the saga to date, Valhalla took the long-awaited inclusion of Vikings to the franchise and ran with it, giving us a game with huge scope and a compelling story and antagonist. And it was quite the change too with several notable differences, including how you find the now obscure side quests and activities that are littered around the map.
It isn’t perfect. Despite the game looking better than ever, the England setting never comes to life in quite the same way that we are used to, while the overly complicated skill tree and levelling system do feel restrictive and tedious. But on the whole, this is another win in the long-running gaming series and, perhaps surprisingly given the subject matter, one of the most comical to date with some great English references to find on your travels with homages to the likes of Robin Hood and even Winnie the Pooh!
5. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
Whereas all other games in the Assassin’s Creed series have focused on a new character in each instalment, Ezio proved to be so popular that his story continued for two more games and, while the third did not reach the same creative heights, Brotherhood was a worthy follow up to his first outing. Picking up the story where Assassin’s Creed 2 left off, Brotherhood wastes little time in showing us that Ezio’s relatively happy ending was short-lived.
Not breaking the mould from the last game, Brotherhood simply builds on it and revisits several locations and faces we have met before. It did change things up though and a welcome addition was other assassin’s, recruited by Ezio and moved up through the ranks – able to jump into battle and help him at the click of a button. Brotherhood was also the first game in the series to feature online multiplayer and while it had its fans, it says it all that it was dropped entirely after Black Flag just three games later.
Get Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood as part of The Ezio Collection for £17,27 on Amazon
6. Assassin’s Creed Origins
Following Syndicate, which we will get to in a moment, fans and developers felt like the series needed a break and a refresh- and we got just that. Despite keeping the essence of what Assassin’s Creed is about, Origins feels like a new start and, at times, like you are stepping into a different franchise altogether.
Exploring ancient Egypt as Bayek, a protagonist who perhaps was not the most charismatic of choices to lead us into this new era, Origins quite literally changed the game and that is apparent from the stunning visuals that you are greeted with as soon as the game loads up. Gameplay was changed so that combat felt new and, despite being challenging, it did not feel like it was tougher just for the sake of it. And missions too were refreshed with a lean away from the more cumbersome aspects of previous games, namely the stay undetected aspects of certain missions that almost always felt tedious.
But there were issues, namely, the way XP now works. Story missions were locked off until you reached a certain level and there are enemies that you stand no chance in defeating until you have levelled up enough to beat them. Whilst this did not feel as problematic in Odyssey, here it harmed the story as, despite there being a lot to like about Bayek’s tale, it was a bit dull in places and there were points where you would have to wait so long to take on the next part of the main narrative that it became easy to forget just what was going on. Origins was a good refresh and a great set up for future games, even if it had not quite nailed the right way to do things.
Buy now for £12.49 at CdKeys
7. Assassin’s Creed 3
Poor old Connor. Following the legendary Ezio was never going to be an easy task and while he had his work cut out for him when it came to impressing fans, it did not help his cause that Connor was a fairly dull hero – bland and largely lifeless. So it was helpful that the world that was built around him was so much fun to explore. Set before, during and after the American Revolution from 1754 to 1783, this was such a different landscape to play in, with fresh additions to crafting and hunting that provided players with hours upon hours of things to do; even after completing the main story.
And that story is compelling too. Connor may be a dud but the tale he was involved in was far from it, with plenty of twists and a great set up for the conflict with the main villain Connor’s evil and brutal Templar father. This was also the point that the modern-day story began to struggle under the weight of its complexities. The final adventure for Desmond, who had been a part of the series from the start, was a bit of a convoluted mess and it was little surprise that this aspect of the series was notably dialled down in the future instalments.
Buy now for £22.74 at Amazon
8. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a game that is a victim of what came before it. It would be easy to believe that this was a bad game as it led to the first year without a new entry since the franchise began, but that was mostly down to fans losing faith following the disastrous Unity. The London based Syndicate is in itself a decent game, with Victorian London being a fascinating place to explore and Jacob and Evie, the two protagonists you can switch between in a series first, were fun leads.
There was a real buzz to exploring the London streets and climbing landmarks such as Big Ben, and the story itself was infinitely more enjoyable than anything Unity put on the table. The problem though, other than the game that it followed, was that by this point the franchise was starting to feel stale. There were some changes to gameplay and they did help make the game feel a little fresher than it otherwise could have but even with those, it was clear that the spark had left the games somewhat and a refresh was sorely needed. And they went and did just that with the follow-up.
Buy now for £12.99 at Game
9. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
For how beloved Ezio is, it is a shame that his final game lacked the punch of his previous two. Moving the gameplay from Italy to Constantinople should have been a breath of fresh air but there was something quite dull about the location that failed to make the game come to life. The first half is a bit of a slog and while it was fascinating to play as an aged Ezio, new additions to the game such as Tower Defence fell flat- and were quickly dropped from all future games.
Things picked up in the second half and, while we do not think the first game is as worthy a play-through as the ones that came after, it helps to be familiar with it as not only does Revelations tie-up Ezio’s story (mostly), it also gives us the end for Altair and the two conclusions dovetail into a powerful and spellbinding conclusion. Revelations is a game that those who have played the previous entries will get the most from and while it is far from perfect, it does succeed at that aspect.
As for Ezio’s end, he got one more adventure in the form of a twenty-minute movie called Embers which shows what life was like for an elderly Ezio – taking us up to his low-key, but fitting, end. Well worth a watch for fans of the character.
Get Assassin’s Creed Revelations as part of The Ezio Collection for £16.32 on Amazon
10. Assassin’s Creed Unity
Bursting onto next-generation consoles with a sea of expectation was Assassin’s Creed Unity. Its stunning trailer and beautiful recreation of Paris during the french revolution had players ready to take on what looked to be the best game in the franchise to date. Things did not go to plan. The much-hyped co-op mode failed to realise its premise and instead felt like a tacked-on addition while the story itself was largely dull in places – with Arno not being the most engaging of the assassin’s the games have seen – particularly following Edward in Black Flag.
A change in gaming style took away from the fun of combat with enemies much tougher than they were before – to the point that one single guard could, on occasion, leave you frustratedly staring at the death screen. Realistic? Sure, but it doesn’t make for a fun game. And then there are the technical issues. Whilst a lot of these have been rectified since the game was released, this was the buggiest game so far and by the time the patches came in, many had already turned their back on the game with little or no desire to revisit it.
We have since revisited it and it has improved enough to jump up the list ever so slightly, but it still feels like a game that is far more frustrating than it has any need to be.
Buy now for £2.99 at CdKeys
11. Assassin’s Creed Rogue
It is funny that Rogue, a sort of token game for players from the previous generation of consoles who were unable to play Unity, ended up being better received than Unity itself at launch. That isn’t to say that it is a particularly great game, it certainly does feel like one large DLC from Black Flag, but for what it is, there is a lot to like about Rogue, even if it offers little new for players to sink their teeth into.
Its appeal comes from the story that takes what we are used to and switches it on its head. Rather than playing as an assassin, here you are Shay, a templar. Taking control of the enemy is a neat twist on the formula and it is interesting to see a narrative led by the other side. But once the novelty of that wears off, it soon becomes clear that there is not a huge amount of difference and things quickly feel same-y. This is really just Black Flag with ice. The colder time of year adds new things to your ship and there are slight tweaks to naval battles, and while the tie into Assassin’s Creed 3 is welcome, Rogue ends up feeling like a giant afterthought. Shay is a likeable protagonist though – despite his templar status.
Buy now for £24.99 at Game
12. Assassin’s Creed
Whilst the first Assassin’s Creed game does have its fans, and there are certain things to like about it, it suffers from being the first entry in a series that had not quite worked out what it wanted to be. Its mission structure was exciting at first but it becomes apparent quite quickly that it does repeat the same missions over and over. Whilst future games would mix things up with taking out the various targets with your trusty hidden blade, there was a rinse and repeat formula to this that makes Assassin’s Creed a bit of a chore to play after the halfway mark. Which is a shame as Altair is a hero to remember and the opening hour or so is a thrill ride that even 12 years later is awe-inspiring.
Unfortunately, things soon go downhill from that action-packed start and despite featuring things fans loved (stealth blending into crowds for one, that is coming back in Valhalla), it failed to take full advantage of its premise and it’s probably one of the least re-playable games in the franchise. It is telling that this is, so far, the only game from the older consoles that has not been given the remaster treatment- as of yet anyway. While Unity may have been a mess, it at least varied the gameplay enough for things to stay engaging and that is something the first game struggled to do.
Buy now for £8.99 at Amazon
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