Did anyone ask for a complete ranking of all the major Assassin’s Creed titles? With Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the horizon, we thought we’d take a look back at the series and muse on which Assassin’s Creed game was actually the best one. We’re only going to look at the core titles in the series, excluding spin-offs and handheld titles in an effort to get the fairest results.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has now been included in this ranking.
To be honest, it’s hard to imagine a video game landscape without Assassin’s Creed. There has been eleven main releases in the series so far and countless pieces of spin-off media. Hell, we even got a movie in 2016! Sure, it could have been better… But there aren’t many video game adaptations out there that are as big-budget and blockbuster-y. Anyway…
Below, we’re going to lay out a definitive ( maybe definitive) ranking of every Assassin’s Creed main series release. Graphics aren’t going to be touched on a whole lot, as the difference between the original game and Odyssey is going to be massive. However, almost everything else will be on the playing field. We’ll also be adding in the critic’s opinions in an effort to make this list a little less bias, but sales figures aren’t important. We all know Assassin’s Creed games do pretty well in that regard!
Complete Assassin’s Creed Ranking From Worst To Best
12. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
AC: Revelations is the third and final instalment in the Ezio Trilogy AC games. It is Desmond Miles’ last outing as Ezio Auditore and follows his search for the secrets in Altair’s vault. I know it’s hard to say this is the worst Assassin’s Creed game, but it just doesn’t do a whole lot more. Where AC II and Brotherhood both add a lot to their predecessor, Revelations doesn’t. It is a fine conclusion to the stories of Ezio and Altair, but it’s hard to compare this game’s individual narrative to that of it’s predecessors. Metacritic gave it a respectable 80, too. Nothing too outlandish, but still proving that it is a great game. It’s just up against tough competition.
11. Assassin’s Creed
It almost feels like a crime to rate the original Assassin’s Creed so low on this list, given that the whole title is a game-changer for the industry. However, the other games in the series are simply better. Assassin’s Creed suffered from repetitive segments, buggy gameplay and ultimately poor AI. Also, Altair isn’t the greatest protagonist to come out of the series. In fact, he is arguably the worst. Sadly, this matters a lot as a bad protagonist can taint the whole experience. Metacritic did give the 2007 title an 81, marginally better than Revelations but nothing high enough to warrant a place higher up the list.
10. Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Rogue is one of those games that falls painfully short, despite it’s promise and “unique” take. It’s the only Assassin’s Creed title where you can play as a Templar, with Shay Patrick Cormac being a pretty interesting protagonist. It also includes another iteration of the now-popular naval gameplay, which everyone loves. Right? Playing from the other side of the hidden blade was, and is, fun, but it just lacks that certain something. Metacritic gave Rogue a Metascore of 74, too… So, maybe they know what it is.
9. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Syndicate is the title that took the Assassin’s Creed series to Victorian London. I know I wasn’t going to mention graphics too much, but it looks great. It’s the one thing the series never fails on, in truth. The environmental design throughout Ubisoft’s series is brilliant. However, Syndicate is particularly nice. You also have the dual protagonists, Jacob and Evie. This is the first game in the series to feature a female protagonist, something that the players had been wanting for a while, and both Evie and Jacob are incredibly likeable. There are a few things it lacks though, which it’s great narrative design can’t quite save. It suffered from a similar problem to the original game: it was repetitive and ultimately a little lacklustre. Again, it is a fantastic game, but it doesn’t quite make it any further up the list. Metacritic matched Rogue‘s Metascore with a 74, which seems fair.
8. Assassin’s Creed III
If we’re picking personal favourites, then I would rate Assassin’s Creed III a lot higher. It’s set throughout the American Revolution, and beyond, featuring one of the more interesting protagonists in the series: Ratonhnhake:ton, or Connor. It featured a newly-developed game engine and it shows. It’s smoother than its’ predecessors and sports improvements in both scale and scope. It’s narrative is one of the more compelling stories in the series, however this can’t save it from a mid-table ranking. Critics slate it’s unevenly developed mechanics and despite it’s innovative additions, it doesn’t quite nail the formula. The Metascore is 80, though, so it isn’t the worst-rated game out there.
7. Assassin’s Creed II
Okay. This is the one I’m going to get the most flak for. I know it. We all love Assassin’s Creed II. It gives us Ezio Auditore, arguably the best protagonist in the series. It also did a lot for the series, utilising a new game engine to really bring all the good ideas from the first title to fruition. If we’re talking about the difference between this game and it’s predecessor, it’s undoubtedly the biggest and best jump between games. However… There are simply better Assassin’s Creed games out there. I hate to say it, but when you look back… It’s just a little average. It was a fantastic jumping-off point for the series, but it wasn’t that ahead of it’s time to remain one of the best. Metacritic gave it an 86, though, with many thinking it as one of the best video games ever made. So… Perhaps I should replay it…
6. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood takes everything right with Assassin’s Creed II and improves on it. Ezio continues to be one of the better protagonists in the series and it introduces a fantastic cast of antagonistic characters in the form of the Borgias. It also features a more-aggressive AI build that makes combat much more exciting than it’s predecessor. The game also introduces a number of additional features that add spectacle and excitement to series’ gameplay. Also, the Brotherhood system is fantastic. Metacritic critics gave the game a Metascore of 88, the highest on the list so-far. I’d say it’s earnt it’s place as fifth-best.
5. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the latest entry in the series and takes place in sunny Ancient Greece. It features the option to choose a male or a female protagonist who replace one another, rather than exist simultaneously like Jacob and Evie in Syndicate. It features a modern action-adventure gear system and boasts clean gameplay and an exciting narrative that has the player dancing on both sides of the Peloponnesian War. It completely blows the other titles in the series out of the water when it comes to scope, however… It doesn’t quite brings anything drastically new to the series. Origins was a gamechanger, and Odyssey embraces the action-adventure-RPG hybrid format perfectly… But, it isn’t quite Assassin-y enough. For one, it doesn’t feature a hidden blade. You can still assassinate people, but it doesn’t quite have the same charm. Metacritic has it listed with a Metascore of 86, which places it at the higher end of their list. It’s beautiful and fun, but not-quite the best Assassin’s Creed game.
4. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Edward Kenway’s Caribbean adventures are hard to forget. Black Flag is undoubtedly one of the more memorable games in the series, boasting a fantastic protagonist and the addition of several major features and improvements. Free-running is a bit stilted, at times, but it’s an improvement on Assassin’s Creed III. The most exciting aspects of Black Flag, which justify it’s place on this list, are the expansive Naval combat and expansive open world. It marries ship-based gameplay with traditional Assassin’s Creed mechanics well-enough to mark it as an exciting stepping stone in the series. Metacritic also have it listed with a respectable Metascore of 84. I’d argue it deserves a little higher than that, but… That’s why this list is here, I guess.
3. Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed Origins, as the name suggests, is a soft-reboot of the Assassin’s Creed series. It marks the start of the series’ development into an action-RPG feature, as opposed to a stealth-based title. Narratively it also serves as a prequel to the entire series, exploring the initial conflicts between the Order of Assassins and the Knights of Templar. While the core mechanics remain similar, they feel fresher and cleaner than previous entries. It also, once again, brought a new level of scope to the series. Let’s be honest, Assassin’s Creed Origins is great. It’s portrayal of Ancient Egypt is a true joy and it’s evolved combat system make it much more fluid. Much like the other Assassin‘s Creed games, Origins hits a Metascore of 84 on Metacritic. The change in format for Assassin’s Creed titles, mainly moving away from a full focus on being an assassin, drew a lot of criticism from fans. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is one of the best games in the series.
2. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
If we’re talking about Open-World Assassin’s Creed titles being the next step in evolving the gameplay, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the best of the three currently out. It follows Eivor, a Vikingyr from Norway, on a journey through self-discovering and pillaging as she plunders through 11th Century England. It may not break much new ground regarding the RPG-styled gear and equipment system; however, it has a fluid levelling system that provides smaller advancements frequently. The story itself is on-par with the rest, but there’s a few additional gameplay features that really help set it apart from Odyssey and Origins. The Raid system and settlement mechanics are by far the stand-out two amongst the lot. Metacritic has Valhalla reaching the middling 80s across platforms, a solid-enough rating that seems in-line with the current trend of reviews.
1. Assassin’s Creed Unity
Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s Paris is perhaps the best of it’s settings and is just one factor that contributes to this title’s place on the list. Unity introduced a new free-running system to the franchise which undoubtedly improves the way you navigate. There’s the introduction of building interiors, a number of additional weapon classes and a fantastic degree of customisation options. It may not be completely revolutionary in the way that Origins was, but Unity provides the quintessential assassin experience. It’s launch was sadly marred by numerous bugs and glitches, but on the whole it marked an evolution in gameplay which facilitates smooth combat and smoother traversal. Metacritic lists Unity as one of the lower titles in the series, with a Metascore of 70. However, a lot of these reviews focus fully on the technical issues the game faced at launch and don’t do it’s final product justice.
Assassin’s Creed Unity is the best Assassin’s Creed title to-date. While Origins is more impressive in scope and technical soundness, it’s diversion away from the traditional gameplay stylings of the series make it, if anything, much more than an Assassin’s Creed title. For now, the series is still dominated by titles that focus much more on stealth and subterfuge than sprawling landscapes and open-ended combat scenarios.
Do you agree? Or do you disagree, as I expect a lot of you will? Let us know in the comments below!