When looking at all twelve mainline entries in the Assassin’s Creed saga, here’s what we at DualShockers consider to be the best of the best in the franchise.
As it approaches its fifteenth anniversary, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been just about all over the place. From Renaissance Italy, to Ancient Greece, and even the American Revolution, the Assassin’s Creed saga has taken us on many different adventures all of varying quality.
Now, with Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla set to come out later this year on current and next-gen platforms, we figured now would be as good of a time as any to take inventory of the franchise and see which games rank above the rest. So that’s exactly what we did just recently. In a group comprised of Michael Ruiz, Mario Rivera, Logan Moore, and Cameron Hawkins, we here at DualShockers decided to rank every mainline entry in the AC series and determine once and for all which games in this series rule, and which ones aren’t so good.
If you want to hear how we came to the decisions found in this article, you’re more than welcome to listen to our over two-hour-long debate in the video below. Otherwise, feel free to yell at us in the comments and tell us about how wrong we are, if you feel so inclined.
12. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Assassin’s Creed: Unity legitimately hurt the AC series for a span of years. Filled with a litany of bugs at launch that kept many from taking the game seriously, Unity showed that Ubisoft’s annualized trotting out of this franchise had finally caught up to them and was in dire need of a break. While lambasted on its own, the damage that Unity caused the Assassin’s Creed series reverberated for years to come, and even led to Syndicate having lower sales the following year upon its release.
Bugs and launch issues aside, Unity also just struggles to stand out in the larger franchise. It’s devoid of any interesting characters, a meaningful story, or memorable gameplay moments. From top to bottom, Unity easily stands as the worst installment in the series and that’s not a stretch to claim whatsoever. – Logan Moore
11. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
If you’re wondering why Assassin’s Creed: Liberation is very low on the list, it’s because no one on our board has really played this entry. Originally released on the Vita, yet still considered a mainline title for the series, it is one that fell under the radar for many.
So, why is it below Assassin’s Creed III? Well, since it is somewhat of an extension of III, it seemed reasonable to kind of pack it in with its contemporary. It is above Unity because, as mentioned, Arno’s adventure left a huge stain on the franchise enough for us to consider it the worst in the series despite having never spent much time with Liberation. – Michael Ruiz
10. Assassin’s Creed III
It cannot be understated how much of a letdown Assassin’s Creed III was when it released. After years of narrative build-up with Desmond across the Ezio trilogy, what was meant to be the franchise’s crescendo ended up being a completely botched finale in nearly every way. Not only was the conclusion of Desmond’s story a convoluted mess, but it actively soured everything that came before it, too.
And even when it comes to the actual assassin gameplay, the American Revolution setting, and the new protagonist of Connor Kenway, everything just felt like a disappointment compared to what we had before. Following the charismatic Ezio, Connor is perhaps the blandest character in the entire saga. Gameplay-wise, much of what was shown here felt worse on a mechanical level compared to titles like ACII and the American setting that the game finds itself in is much emptier and less exciting than you would initially expect. Assassin’s Creed III should have been far better than what we got and it’s still a bummer to this day. – Logan Moore
9. Assassin’s Creed
The original Assassin’s Creed launched back in 2007 with story and gameplay that would influence many future Ubisoft titles. It is a solid proof of concept that was then perfected in its sequel, Assassin’s Creed II.
So, why is Assassin’s Creed near the bottom of our list? Well, it really is dull, even by past standards. While it introduced us to the ridiculous time-hopping tale of Desmond Miles, the Assassin’s Brotherhood, and the “evil” Templars, the gameplay is just somewhat bland and features the blank slate of an assassin known as Altair. It may have been a solid first entry for the time, but it feels so antiquated now, with many of the series’ future titles improving on this foundation tremendously. – Michael Ruiz
8. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
In Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, we see the end of Ezio’s story. We see a more mature version of the charismatic hero make his way to Constantinople trying to find information about the Brotherhood during the time of Altair in the 12th century. While it brought back Altair in a coo,l significant way that ultimately made the original Assassin’s Creed more important narratively, it didn’t feel like it needed to be a full-length title. Getting to learn more about Desmond’s past before Abstergo and the modern-day Brotherhood was fascinating and shed more light on the main protagonist. Outside of that, however, Revelations is a rather unmemorable experience. – Cameron Hawkins
7. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a good game that released at a low point for the series. Launching just a year after the disastrous Assassin’s Creed: Unity, it presented some really cool ideas within the then-current formula. Jacob and Evie Frye were both solid protagonists for the franchise, especially after playing as Arno. The train hideout and zipline were also really cool features that Syndicate brought to the table.
However, despite its efforts, Syndicate just never really stood out as a landmark title for the Assassin’s Creed series. Especially after Unity, some huge improvements would have had to be made for this one to stand out. And while it did everything better than its predecessor, it wasn’t enough. – Michael Ruiz
6. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is the dark horse of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Originally released as a last-generation exclusive, a lot of people missed out or skipped this entry when in reality it is one of the best in the series. Rogue is a prequel to the lackluster Assassin’s Creed III, but with all the great gameplay and features from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Playing as an assassin gone templar after being betrayed by the creed creates a compelling narrative because it is the first time in the franchise where it puts the brotherhood in a new light as the antagonists. The only crime that Rogue commits is ending with a major cliffhanger that unfortunately has not been (and likely never will be) resolved. – Cameron Hawkins
5. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
The most recent entry in the Assassin’s Creed series and the first game chronologically, Odyssey feels way less like an AC game and more like a full-blown action RPG. This is both good and bad as what’s included here is a ton of fun to play, even though aspects like stealth seem to have far less of an importance than ever before.
Amongst new additions like special combat moves, dialogue trees, and the return of naval warfare, Odyssey also includes a variety of exceptional pieces of side content that will keep you coming back time and time again. With a gripping story to boot that ties into the larger franchise in some interesting ways, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey mostly iterates and improves on many elements that were introduced in Origins, even if it can feel overwhelming to play due to how much content is packed within. – Logan Moore
4. Assassin’s Creed II
Assassin’s Creed II is the game that put the franchise on the map and led to Ubisoft annualizing the series for years to follow. It improves on everything the original introduced while introducing other great new features including the iconic double hidden blades. Getting to explore different areas of Renaissance Italy, teaming up with Leonardo da Vinci, and taking down the templars made it such a unique experience for its time. Ezio Auditore goes through a compelling development from a ladies man to an assassin whose sole objective is to get revenge on those who killed his family. It is a very memorable adventure that still holds up to this day. – Cameron Hawkins
3. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Pound for pound, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag might be the most enjoyable entry in the entire series. While it spurns much of the franchise’s roots when it comes to the focus on the Brotherhood, and the modern-day sequences with Abstergo are an absolute drag, Black Flag’s final result still makes for one of the best pirate video games ever made.
The gameplay loop of sailing around the high seas, upgrading your ship, and doing battle with other pirate captains is almost always a complete joy. With sea shanties, shark hunting, underwater exploration, and a litany of other exciting tasks spread throughout, the world of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will more than keep you busy for quite some time and allows you to finally live out your sea dog dreams. – Logan Moore
2. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is the pinnacle of what the franchise literally represents. After losing his home and yes, his family, Ezio migrates to Rome where he builds a new life which includes renovating the city and creating a true Brotherhood of assassins. We get to experience Ezio accept his role and destiny as the leader of the creed. Being able to call in your brothers to take down enemies is a feature that you can only find in Brotherhood, making you truly feel like the leader of the pack. Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed II are very similar to each other, but the improvements of gameplay, as well as the powerful narrative moments that this successor brings, just slightly pushes it to a higher mantle. Also, the multiplayer was surprisingly fun. – Cameron Hawkins
1. Assassin’s Creed Origins
This was a pretty hard choice, but as a group, we decided Assassin’s Creed: Origins was the best game in the series.
In a time where Assassin’s Creed: Unity left somewhat of a stain on the franchise, fans started to think maybe Ubisoft’s annualized series run its course. Next was Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which is a fine game by all accounts, but the reverberations of Unity’s poor reception carried over. It was time for a change.
Ubisoft did something unprecedented for the triple-a franchise and took a year off. In 2017, a new era of Assassin’s Creed began, and it all started with Origins. Unlike its predecessors, this entry featured more traditional open-world RPG mechanics along with revamped combat. It was the breath of fresh air the series needed and is now the template that Assassin’s Creed games are based on moving forward.
Along with its improved gameplay was a story, character, and environment that all worked together to keep the player engaged. Bayek, the playable “assassin” this time around, is debatably the best protagonist in an Assassin’s Creed game only second to the iconic Ezio Auditore. He is compelling and multi-faceted, which is more than what you could say about Connor, Edward, Arno, and just about every assassin before him. His story of revenge is one that kept me glued to my couch for hours. The Ancient Egypt setting only complemented its strengths, with awesome landmarks to visit and interesting areas to explore.
Origins is so comprehensive compared to its predecessors. It changed the series in a way both newcomers and seasoned players could enjoy. It also set the tone for Assassin’s Creed’s future in such a profound way, which is why it takes the number one spot on our list. – Michael Ruiz