Assassin’s Creed is one of my favorite franchises of all time, and despite all the hate it gets for its yearly releases, there truly isn’t an actual bad game in the series. Each game has high production values, large open worlds, fantastic visuals, and the only bad thing is that it may not be as good as its predecessor or core components are just lacking. Assassin’s Creed is always held to incredibly high standards by the gaming industry because of what the first game achieved. It was a revolutionary game that completely took advantage of next-generation hardware and created a fantastic immersive experience that no other game had done before. Ubisoft rode this success a little too hard and the game’s quality varied wildly over the years, but in the end, they are all quite playable and somewhat enjoyable. I’m going to go all the way back to 2007 to today and rank the Assassin’s Creed games from worst to best.
NOTE: Mobile games will be excluded (Pirates, Identity, Rebellion, Towers, etc.) as none of them are good and I can’t even count them as the main games in the series. Portable entries will be included, however.
14. Assassin’s Creed Unity – 2014
This is probably the lowest point in the entire series so let’s come out swinging. Unity was highly anticipated as it was the first entry in the series to use next-generation consoles and technology with an entirely new engine. The four-player co-op experience got people excited and man did it look gorgeous. Fast-forward to launch day and you have one of the buggiest and ugly launches in gaming history. The entire game was completely broken with glitches, crashes, entire consoles being corrupted, save data lost, servers crashing, you name it.
Get back into the game today and most of the issues have been patched out, while still full of bugs and problems, the game just wasn’t that interesting. The main character was boring, the French Revolution setting rode too hard on Assassin’s Creed III’s coattails. The combat was pretty much the same, and the bloated activities were ever-present and even copied from previous games. Chase these song notes, collect all the chests, collect all these medals, etc. It was tiring and overwhelming and not satisfying anymore. Then on top of that include a crowded UI, irritating side missions, and “investigations” as an excuse to use Eagle Vision more, and you have Unity. It’s still very much enjoyable, but the fatigue was really high with this game and it makes it the worst in the entire series.
13. Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles – China, Russia, India – 2015-2016
Assassin’s Creed had dabbled in the 2.5D realm before with the very first mobile entry and Discovery for DS. While they weren’t awful, it took away what made Assassin’s Creed grand in scale and only concentrated on half-baked combat and stealth. The problem here is that Chronicles didn’t have anything interesting going for it. The gameplay was solid and felt like an Assassin’s Creed game, but the story, characters, and the world were void of anything fun or interesting. Not to mention the game was riddled with bugs, had performance issues on portable systems, and was squeezed into a release window right at the peak of the Assassin’s Creed fatigue, so basically it was a game no one wanted or cared about.
12. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue – 2014
Rogue isn’t a bad game at all, in fact, it uses one of the most interesting characters in the series, but the gameplay, design, and overall feeling were right at the lowest point of the series and no one cared about this game. It was released the same day as Unity and felt completely unnecessary as it was more of an expansion to Black Flag. So it felt dated compared to Unity’s newer features. The game focused more on the pirate stuff and was a literal copy and paste of Black Flag, so you had a slightly interesting world with varied locales, and a better story than Unity, but so much dated content including the visuals as it was using the previous generation engine instead of Unity’s. It’s a very playable game, but it feels the most generic of the entire series.
11. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – 2015
Less than a year after Rogue and Unity we got an entirely new game in a new setting so it was a little promising, yet still, no one cared anymore. Not to mention, the Chronicles games were still being released so it was just so bloated and tiring at this point. Syndicate only ranks higher as it’s slightly more interesting with better main characters and a more interesting setting. The gameplay pretty much remains the same as Unity with slight tweaks, but it’s not enough to save the series from the staleness. The game looks fantastic and isn’t nearly as buggy as Unity, but at this point everyone wanted the series to die. You had an entire formula of collect-a-thon nonsense, the same Assassination scenarios, co-op that most people didn’t play, and controls and combat that had been used to death. This was the turning point in the series.
Being the one and only Assassin’s Creed on PSP, and never ported to other systems, people were excited to go back to Altair was we never really saw him again. This game actually had a fantastic story and rode that more than gameplay. The game itself was really flawed with small little areas rather than an open world, clumsy controls, and dated gameplay, but it looked good doing it. Bloodlines gave us closer to Altair’s story and sadly most fans of the series never played this one.
Riding off the success of Assassin’s Creed III, Liberation was a portable spin-off for Vita and gained a lot of steam and momentum of being a true Assassin’s Creed game in portable form. We got one of the best protagonists in the series, and a decent-sized world in an entirely new setting. New Orleans was great to play in, and despite being short, Liberation pleased many fans. Now, it was maybe too similar to III on consoles and was stripped down of some features that the game had, but it was just right for a portable form and looked amazing on the Vita.
Revelations was a surprisingly excellent game and gave us a satisfying conclusion to Ezio’s story. Revelations felt like a “best-of” up to that point with smaller open areas rather than a big world and were short and sweet at a steady pace. The game was honest with itself and did what other games in the series, later on, should have done. It felt like a short story or a small expansion to Brotherhood rather than being a bloated monster that no one cared about. The new gameplay ideas were fun, and it was just a solid game despite being so short. It also marked the end of the first-generation Assassin’s Creed games and would go on to be segmented from the rest.
The original should be at the top right? Not necessarily. The game had a split divide on whether you love it or hate it. This game, if you play it today, has the core Assassin’s Creed elements and nothing else. Stealth assassinations, parkour, and an open world. There were no side quests or anything to do except collect feathers and flags. It was a revolutionary game for its time with a game engine like no one had ever seen, and a fantastic protagonist and art style. The game is great as the sum of its parts rather than when you break it down. It feels pretty stiff and dated today, but in 2007 Ubisoft was one of the few companies that took a plunge and created a revolutionary game.
Brotherhood was only the third game in the series, but fatigue was starting to show, however, Brotherhood did what future games should have done, and that just gives everyone the world they love while expanding on a great character and giving more content and new ideas. Brotherhood had enough ideas to create a new branch, but instead, they expanded Italy, added a great multiplayer suite, and threw in assassination crews to help during stealth gameplay, some small strategy elements, and a great side quest to collect some ancient armor. Brotherhood was incredibly fun and didn’t feel bloated or overdone. It was just right and rode the success of its predecessor correctly. Sadly, this was the only time that was ever done, but Brotherhood remains most fans’ favorite.
This was the first turning point in the series marking Revelations and back as the first-generation Assassin’s Creed and the end of Ezio’s journey. III was divided as it didn’t feature a rich story and characters but focused solely on exploration. III was the first game to have an organic open world rather than just plucking you in a large city full of buildings. There was a wilderness, mountains, the ocean, and everything could be explored. It was amazing and felt great, but fans missed the good story and characters. While the American Revolution was perfect for the series, and Boston is actually one of the best worlds in the series to explore, the reasons behind it were lacking. The gameplay was also improved with before parkour animations, controls, but the combat had not changed much and there was more collect-a-thon stuff that the rest of the series took and ran with.
Considered the best game in the entire series, Assassin’s Creed II is also the reason why the series took such a steep decline. They literally perfected the first game to the point of not needing more perfection. It expanded on the first game so much that it blew people’s minds away. Animations, character, story, content, weapon and armor upgrades, a larger open world, dual assassination takedowns, ranged weapons, etc. This all seems silly now, but that’s a lot to add to a game and then make it a staple for the series even to this day. This game is both beautiful and terrible as how could a game be so perfect? It’s one of the highest-rated games of all time for a reason.
3. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – 2013
Considered by most to the most wholesome and fun game in the series, Black Flag took out what everyone hated in III and added some of the best characters and stories in the series, game everyone the amazing marine battles, and a giant open world with wilderness just like III. It was the first game to feel truly bloated with mode-side stuff that you can shake a stick at, but it also had the best feeling of exploration and discovery. Large empty caves and chasms, derelict ships, and a wide variety of environments to explore made Black Flag the end of the second generation of Assassin’s Creed game and probably the peak of the entire franchise.
2. Assassin’s Creed Origins – 2017
Origins marks the beginning of the third generation of games and the latest turning point in the series. Origins were set in an entirely new era, environment, and added and changed so much it has started to turn into more of an RPG than an action/adventure game. The game is using the next-generation engine from Ubisoft and adds more RPG elements such as equipping armor and weapons on every part of the body, and making it visible, but also giving the player levels and stats. The world also feels more organic and focuses less on traditional elements in the series like Towers, collecting, and faction stuff. Instead, the world is more explorable with question marks riddling the map for you to explore at your own pace and keeping the world a mystery. The world feels more like an actual world and not just cities with some open areas to funnel you to the next city. There are actual activities and life in-between large areas and the combat is immensely improved. The entire control scheme changed with less of a parry/counter-attack fest and more on skill and execution. Timing is key, enemies have levels, and different weapon types mean more in this game. Origins is just a whole new beast and so drastically different from the last ones it can be an entirely new series on its own.
1. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – 2018
While the game was just released, and from only playing a few hours, you can tell this is the best the series has to offer. It takes everything from Origins and does what Brotherhood did for II. The world of Greece is the most organic world in the series and the largest with the series going into more of the RPG territory than ever before. Dialog options, better horseback riding, and less hand-holding encourages exploration and discovery. The game is also just stunningly beautiful with so much detail crammed into every nook and cranny, it’s mind-boggling. The animations are uncanny, the combat has been improved to include abilities and passive stats, but the skill tree is also improved upon Origins. Odyssey is moving the series in the right direction, but let’s hope it doesn’t repeat the problems of the last 10 years.