For over 11 years, Ubisoft has been bringing gamers across history’s fictional battle between the Order of Assassins and the Knights Templar, or simply the Templars. Whether your flavor is Victorian England, Renaissance Italy, the American Revolution or even ancient Egypt, the Assassin’s Creed series has you covered.
However, like every game series, not all are created equal, and some of the Assassin’s Creed games are more worth your time and money than others.
With that in mind, here is our list of the Assassin’s Creed games ranked from Worst to Best. For this, only mainline games that made the move to home consoles and PC will be part of the list, so the Chronicles games and the DS & mobile spin-offs will not be included.
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (2012)
Originally a PS Vita exclusive and later ported to the PS4, Xbox One and PC in HD form, Liberation suffered from it’s original handheld concept. It doesn’t flow as well as the other games in the series, and despite having an interesting female protagonist and the recreation of New Orleans looking fantastic on the handheld, it just didn’t quite feel the same as a full bodied release.
That’s not to say it isn’t worth playing. If you enjoyed Assassin’s Creed 3, you’d get a good kick out of the story, and like almost all of the Assassin’s Creed games, the soundtrack is a stunner. It’s also still a competent game, so if you enjoyed Assassin’s Creed as a series, there is plenty of activities to get your teeth into.
But as stated, it just feels a little lackluster in comparison to the full console releases. It also doesn’t help that the HD release on consoles could have been much better as it was mostly just an upscaled version of the Vita version and is also the shortest of the games with less than ten hours to complete on a standard play through. It’s a fair adventure, but better ones lay ahead.
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
The original game back in 2007 was a breath of fresh air. The premise that you are an Assassin and your primary role was to assassinate people was a cool idea in concept, something that lost its way a little as the series has gone on.
But like many good concepts, it simply wasn’t fleshed out enough to be considered a great game. The game suffered from repetition quickly was the first game on Ubisoft’s Scimitar engine and showed quite a few bugs on release and had enemy AI that was probably the worst in the series.
It didn’t help that 2007 saw games that did most of its elements better. Did you want an action adventure? Uncharted was available. A game with satisfying combat set in a previous time? God of War II had you covered. Prefer your games with a sci-fi twist, with RPG elements? Well, look no further than Mass Effect. Perhaps unfortunate to be compared to these games, but all of them are excellent, and when they are competing for gamers time and money, it’s difficult to recommend something that does bits of each but worse than all of them.
This is probably the only Assassin’s Creed game that isn’t worth going back to if you’ve played any previously due to its age and repetition, but for the time of release, the parkour and intriguing story that would eventually evolve and span most of the series were an excellent example of what originality can offer.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue (2014)
Rogue has a curious history. As the then next generation of games consoles were just hitting their stride after releasing in 2013, Ubisoft brought about its second offering on PS4 and Xbox One in Assassin’s Creed Unity, while simultaneously releasing Assassin’s Creed Rogue. For Xbox 360 and PS3 only. In 2014.
They did eventually port the game to the current systems by a Remastered version, but it was a rather strange decision that ultimately did the reception and sales of the game no good.
However, Rogue wasn’t a bad game. It showed a lot of improvements over previous iterations with combat, mission design and a story that is unique from many other games in the series saw you take on the role of a Templar throughout.
It was also plagued with bugs and suffered from issues with pacing, which in turn lead to some repetitiveness as the game went on. It also lacked a multiplayer mode, which had been seeing gradual improvements over time and had become a great part of the series up to this point.
It is however available at a discounted price, so like Liberation, if you enjoy the series during the American Revolution era, it’s still worth your time.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011)
The conclusion of Ezio’s trilogy, Revelations was a good game but was also the first sign that the yearly schedule of Assassin’s Creed games was beginning to affect the quality of the product. After Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood in the last two years, Ezio’s final game had only a year’s worth of development, and it seemed to show with the beautiful but repetitive looking Constantinople setting and the use of the hook blade which came off as a gimmick rather than a genuine addition.
It also began to see the decline in the overarching story of main Assassin’s Creed protagonist Desmond Miles as it grew increasingly absurd in an attempt to meld the main game’s history with the current setting plot. As it began to make matters more convoluted, the game starts unraveling.
Like the previous titles on this list, there is still a lot worth exploring here. The soundtrack, which is already excellent across all of the game, is one of the best in the series. Ezio’s chapter which is bisected with unseen parts of the story from the original Assassin’s Creed with the main protagonist of the first game Altaïr, is interesting enough for those following his saga and finishes just before it outstays its welcome. The multiplayer is also a highlight and demonstrates that when played with a group of players properly, it can be an excellent experience.
As it is though, it’s the worst of the Ezio Trilogy and should only be considered playing if you have played II and Brotherhood and would like to finish Ezio’s tale.
Assassin’s Creed III (2012)
Considered by many to be the black sheep of the franchise, Assassin’s Creed III saw Ubisoft bring in a new and upgraded engine, a fresh setting during the American Revolution and a new protagonist to the series with roots in Native Americas in Connor Kenway after three years in Renaissance Italy.
New mechanics kept the action fresher, with more fluid parkour (which included tree running) and hunting animals for skinning, allowing more materials for selling and upgrades. It also introduced the first time in playing a character from the Templars, albeit for the first chapter of the game only as Connor’s father, Haytham. It was a refreshing take from the action seen only from the Assassin’s point of view and offered the chance to see the motives and attitudes from the perspective of the side generally painted as the enemies.
This is a shame because it becomes clear very quickly that Haytham as a character is far more interesting and has a more curious backstory than Connor. Assassin’s Creed has never been shy of diversity as a series, but Haytham’s story is built very well, very quickly, while it takes some time to become sympathetic to Connor’s character.
It has other problems too. With the new engine, the cities that you travel to all look fantastic, especially Boston, but the architecture is a step down in beauty from the likes of Venice, Florence, and Rome that the previous games offer and is less suited to the free-running nature a the root of the series. It was also plagued by bugs, including issues with clipping and missing textures, and the combat system was largely the same as before despite needing reworking. The addition of guns was welcome, but their use was redundant when it was just as quick to run and slash your way around.
Despite this, it’s certainly not a bad game, and it improves in the second half enough that it’s worth persevering with, and once again comes with a stunning soundtrack to accompany it. With the Remaster recently released for PS4 and Xbox One and soon on Nintendo Switch, now is a good time to give it a try.
Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)
The first Assassin’s Creed game developed specifically with the new consoles in mind, Assassin’s Creed Unity received attention on release for all the wrong reasons.
If you use any kind of social media, Unity was almost made out to be a joke due to the level of bugginess that it launched with. Some were completely outrageous, with character models and assets either going missing or textures disappearing, usually during the game’s cutscenes, leading to some rather scary looking results (see below). Other bugs were game-breaking, from issues with the parkour to regular enemies that simply could not be killed. It was so bad that you’d be forgiven for thinking that Ubisoft forgot to give the game to their playtesting team and released it unfinished.
The first impression is the one that sticks, which is a shame because after Ubisoft eradicated the bugs, it was obvious Unity was an excellent game and a worthy addition to the franchise.
A huge leap forward graphically with the new AnvilNext 2.0 engine, the game’s recreation of Paris was beautifully realized backed by much longer draw distances with the extra power, while the animation and new movement and parkour system was much improved over previous generation games.
The plot, beginning on the eve of the French Revolution, is also very good, helped by voice acting that was more consistent in quality compared to many of the last generation’s releases.
It did have its issue beyond the bugs. The lead character Arno was one of the weaker of the series, especially notable after the excellent Edward Kenway in its predecessor, while the AI issues and mission variety, which had been an issue for most of the series, were still evident here.
While the Assassin’s Creed games have always maintained that their games have a layer of fiction on top of its level of historical accuracy, criticism was also aimed at the game’s handling of some historical figures, such as Maximilien Robespierre and Marie Antoinette.
Recently, with the tragic burning of the Notre Dame cathedral, the game was offered for free to PC gamers as a way of supporting the French monument while also providing €500,000 for its repair and redevelopment. Ubisoft also offered the game’s design and model of the building to help with it’s build. While the game’s legacy might be that of memes from its numerous bugs, this recent event does go to show that sometimes the time put into a game is worth it for more than just gamers.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (2015)
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was the last game to be released before Ubisoft announced the series would finally be taking a year off. Series fatigue had hit an all-time high, and there was a need for a big overhaul.
But that didn’t stop Ubisoft from delivering a good Assassin’s Creed game in the form of Syndicate. A very good game in fact, as the Victorian England setting, one that had been a popular fan requested period, is fantastically recreated, and the new ways to travel around the city via zip lines are welcoming, cutting down on unnecessary short distance traveling on foot, especially so when with the questionable carriage riding.
It also has two main characters to play from, twins Jacob and Evie Frye, both interesting in their rights with individual capabilities depending on your play style, and with the narrative offering some excellent main stories to tell. At the time, it was the first opportunity to play a female protagonist in a series that has, for the most part, treated women as more of the damsel-in-distress type than that of the hero.
It also offered up a change to the combat system with a more fluid approach to taking out the bad guys. It wasn’t a complete overhaul that we would later see in the reboot Origins, but it at least served as a stop-gap improvement to one of the systems that most desperately needed some attention.
It doesn’t shake the feeling that the series up to this point had stagnated as evidenced by the continuing poor AI and still repetitive mission design, but it was a slight improvement over Unity and showed that a fascinating setting and a cool cast can still make for a good game despite its need for a break.
Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
The game that launched the series into stardom, Assassin’s Creed II was fantastic and expanded on the ideas of the original game further than most gamers would have imagined. It improved nearly everything that came from the first game and laid foundations for the sequels to come.
Much improved climbing, improved combat, a far higher variety of mission types when compared to the first game, multiple cities around Italy that all looked fantastic and the main protagonist that was pragmatic, charismatic and fun to follow as he deals with family and politics.
It was a breath of fresh air and a game that stood out in a year full of strong releases. Competing with the likes of Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dragon Age: Origins, it snuck its way to many Game of the Year Awards.
So why is the game 5th in this list? It’s difficult to describe in words, but it felt like the precursor to something bigger. The majority of the early missions centered around Ezio’s family and survival as his father and brother were hung for treason (wrongly), as the rest of the game unraveled more about the Order of the Assassins. However, while Ezio was fun as a laid back guy, he wasn’t the deep, complicated character he came to be in Brotherhood and Revelations and as a result, it’s harder to feel sympathetic to him.
The mechanics have also aged worse compared to later games. It was much better than the original, but if you’ve played the game recently, perhaps with the PS4/Xbox One Ezio Trilogy release, it’s easy to see how far things like the AI and combat have come since then.
That said, Ezio’s first adventure was without a doubt a fantastic addition to the series, and while it’s the only 5th, it’s probably more a testament to the level of quality the series has produced than a slight on this game. If you’ve never played an Assassin’s Creed game, this is the place to start.
Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017)
The release of Syndicate in 2015 was the breaking point for the series, and Ubisoft finally decided to give the series the break that it needed. No new Assassin’s Creed game for 2016. The franchise had stagnated, and the time away would allow both gamers and developers a chance to breathe and reflect. The Assassin’s Creed movie filled the void for the year, and Ubisoft used this opportunity to go back to the drawing board and take their long-standing, successful IP in a new direction.
With the team behind the series best games behind it, Assassin’s Creed Origins was made, and it was by far the biggest revamp to the formula thus far. Rebuilt almost from the ground up, Ubisoft left no stone unturned without taking it too far away from what made it so successful to begin with.
Acting as a soft reboot for the series with Desmond Miles and his memories gone, the game is set in a wonderfully constructed Ancient Egypt, giant pyramids included. The biggest change though comes in the form of a brand new combat system and RPG elements that seek to add a layer of depth to a formula that had seen little change in almost ten years. The combat switched from the more premeditated system of old to a more unpredictable hitbox one, allowing for players to target specific areas of enemies while also dodging attacks completely rather than parrying or countering.
The extra year also meant an additional year to work on content. While the game has no multiplayer like Syndicate before it, it’s got far more meat on its bones than its predecessor.
It was still not without its problems. Assassin’s Creed releases are not genuine if they don’t come with technical issues, and Origins was no different, mostly through the combat’s collision detection and graphical glitches born from the new foundations of the game. There are also complaints that while Egypt is vast, it wasn’t bustling, with pockets where it feels a bit lifeless.
As a franchise, however, Origins took a big stride forward for the series, and the game felt the freshest it had done for years. Whether it was the extra time given to develop it, or simply not to see a new iteration for a year, the game is well worth your time, and if you’ve felt that the series had lost its way before, Origins would be a great time to give it another try.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018)
Going back to a yearly release, you’d be forgiven for being skeptical that Odyssey might see the game slip back into old habits. After all, for years some too many mechanics were being carried by the best parts of each game, and it would have been easy for Ubisoft’s team to create this 2018 follow-up by simply recycling the freshened up formula.
Thankfully, they didn’t. Not only that, but they took the hard work put into Origins and expanded it in almost every way. This time set during the Greek Peloponnesian War, Odyssey takes the series away from it’s more action adventure roots and expands on the RPG elements that were a welcome difference in its predecessor.
Expanded combat options and skills, combined with more player choice with the story brings a game with much higher depth and variety than previous games that relied on gadgets and gimmicks that usually only lasted one game (see Revelations hook blade or III’s skinning). The amount of content is that of an RPG too, with tons of side quests that add to the main story and can keep you busy for longer than some JRPGs out there.
It still has some of its familiar series traits, including the good with its sense of exploration and excellent music and voice acting. The bad with bugs on launch and still some questionable enemy AI, but the grand scale of the project since Origins is one that is now well worth investing in, especially if you’ve been a fan of the series in the past.
With Ubisoft confirming that it will not be releasing an Assassin’s Creed game in 2019, we hope that another year off can propel this rebooted series even further.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
Ezio’s greatest hour and one of the best releases on the Xbox 360 and PS3, Brotherhood released only a year after ACII and yet the job done by Ubisoft in that time to produce a game of this quality was nothing short of magnificent.
What sets Brotherhood apart from the second game is that almost everything, be it mechanics, level of detail, narrative and storytelling were an evolutionary step forward — being able to focus on just recreating Rome rather than four smaller cities meant that the game had a stronger focus on the growing influence of both the Assassins and the Templars, as well as tighter storytelling that highlighted the fascinating history of one of the most controversial Pope’s in the church’s history in the form of Pope Alexander VI (or Rodrigo Borga).
Ezio’s character shows more development here, as he goes for happy-go-lucky and laid back to an ultimately more mature character that thrives on the responsibility, all without losing his trademark charm and charisma. The growth feels natural too, something that games even outside of the Assassin’s Creed series finds challenging to do well.
The game also has better pacing than ACII. Where the fractured city structure meant that you sometimes had to keep switching between cities to finish main story missions in ACII, Brotherhood scaled its questing across Rome without feeling detached from the root of its story. Side missions that you could choose to take on through its assortment of wonderful characters (especially Leonardo Da Vinci) added to the game without feeling like padded content.
The introduction of a surprisingly good multiplayer mode, which saw Assassins and Templars assigned with taking each other out in secret, was also a welcome addition even if it felt more like a proof of concept than a fully realized game mode.
Customary bugs were present at the launch of the game and Desmond’s sections were still by far the worst parts of the game, but it’s hard to look past Brotherhood as the best game in the series because it really was that good. It would almost certainly be the best game in the series, at least, it would be if it weren’t for…
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)
If you asked Assassin’s Creed fans which game was their favorite, we believe that majority would say this fantastic adventure is the pinnacle of the franchise, one that prides itself on exploration of stunning vistas, a tale full of interesting characters with quality voice acting, and gameplay that brings out the best of its setting.
It doesn’t take long to see what makes the game great. The scale of the map that you have available to explore and plunder, the quality of the storytelling as Edward Kenway and the Assassins slowly take over the Carribean before the events of Assassin’s Creed III. The treasure and secret hunting that felt far more rewarding than in previous game as there was a place for it all rather than collectible being randomly sprawled across the cities, therefore, rewarding deep exploration, the integration of pirateering so seamlessly into the Assassin’s Creed foundation.
Graphically, the game was vibrant and detailed. The combat was as refined as it had ever been up to this point, and the addition of the wonderful naval combat and improved and refined multiplayer options improved the games longevity to almost no end.
It’s a game that is better than the sum of its parts, where the impact of each of these things is small, but it all comes together so well that the game is elevated as a package and becomes a true adventure as a result.
Even after the years of stagnation (of which hints were still present such as with enemy AI and some bugs), simply not surrounded by similar looking architecture, by the same mission types of following people on rooftops and striking enemies on foot, the game’s backdrop allowed a fresh approach that transcended the game’s previous flaws.
Simply put, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the best Assassin’s Creed game (and probably the best pirate game too!).