- The Past
- Best Assassin’s Creed Games Ranked In Chronological Order
- The Future
“Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction, but I have seen the face of time and I can tell you they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am and why I say this; sit down and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard.” – The Prince of Persia
You’d think that I would despise Assassin’s Creed seeing as it is now and as it was born from the carcass of my favorite video game series, the Prince of Persia. A monstrosity yet a shell of its former self.
But as the years have rolled on and we’ve seen a masterful mix of time and lore interwoven so that our titular characters can be believable in these settings, I have come to appreciate the beauty of it.
Just why ranking Assassin’s Creed games is tough, with a T.
Similar to the great Jordan Mechner’s vision for what he wanted the Prince to be, each Assassin’s story is a tale that goes beyond the conventional. This is the history of a series that defined open-world stealth gaming for well over a decade.
Here are the 17 best Assassin’s Creed games, ranked in chronological order plus a lot lot more!
Beginning life as a prototype spinoff game that Ubisoft was trying to build when they had the vision of building a universe around the Prince of Persia series, Ubisoft thought ahead.
The Prince got a reboot (magical in its own right) and the world got to see what is now Assassin’s Creed.
It was everything fans had hoped for. They could play some really influential fictional figures, and interact with some fictionalized historical figures.
Along with that came stealth, assassination (obviously), fantastic traversal systems, stories and an interesting albeit confusing overarching narrative.
To describe the leaps and bounds that the series has seen can be described in one word; scale. Assassin’s Creed looked barely like a tech demo when the first snippets of gameplay were shared with the world, but what it proposed sounded out of this world.
A historically-semi-accurate setting? A badass character with a cool name? Hidden blades and parkour?
While the audience was drooling over a historical edgelord, there was another thing everyone missed. The world-building. Ubisoft are masters of storytelling when they want to be, and the first game was but a taste of things to come.
Altair Ibn La’-Ahad was a good first attempt at a new protagonist; betrayed, shamed and exiled, he was ripe for a redemption story that made a home in fans’ hearts.
Although it was not quite what Mechner would have had in mind, it became a quick bestseller for both PC and console platforms.
The mechanics were strong, the story of redemption hit home. A great starting point.
Assassin’s Creed II
If somebody asks me what the best Assassin’s Creed game is, I can point them straight to this.
While Altair was a great character, he was deemed too stiff and emotionless by the larger audience. Hence, Ubisoft went to work, and what they came out with was absolutely sublime.
We fell in love the first time we saw the gameplay of Assassin’s Creed II. And not just because of the Renaissance setting or the sprawling open world or the revamped gameplay.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze, one of the best protagonists in all of gaming, was introduced to the world.
With famous characters such as Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci intertwined into the story, there was but only one way that this series was going, much like the makeshift helicopter you use in the game, up.
The game saw two other sequels apart from the numbered series. Brotherhood continued Ezio’s journey to reclaim his pride and fortune and continue his tireless work for the Assassin Brotherhood.
Revelations ended his journey (for the time being) on a heartwarming yet powerful note.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
The massive popularity of Ezio as one of the best protagonists of all time not only earned him one, but two sequels. Brotherhood was the first of these two.
Picking up right after the events of Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood followed the journey of Ezio as he fought to take back control of the Piece of Eden.
With several new gadgets received via the great Leonardo da Vinci, Ezio can infiltrate faster, fight better and climb more efficiently,
A few changes to the AI made Brotherhood’s combat even better than in the last game. More aggressive enemies made split-second decisions a prerequisite, improving the overall enjoyment of the game, and some much-needed difficulty to it.
This was also the introduction of the Brotherhood system, where Ezio could train Initiates into the journey of being an Assassin. Players could also customize these Initiates, making them feel like they were making an army to take over the Papal towers.
With a better protagonist, new likable characters, much-improved gameplay and more nuanced political themes, there was little not to like about Brotherhood.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
The final chapter in Ezio’s incredible saga, Revelations followed the Italian Master Assassin as his search for answers took him far away from home and into Istanbul, right as the Byzantine Empire was coming to an end.
Constantinople looked faithfully and beautifully recreated as Ezio discovered the secrets of Altair’s clan. This connection between the two legendary Assassins was what the series needed at the time for the formula to not go stale.
Either way, Ezio’s entire story was a huge hit with both the fans and the critics, praising the efforts towards improving the combat system and the strategy sections of the game.
It was a fun time when games could have stories without padded sections and downloadable content.
An older Ezio, a final ride into the sunset, a final enemy to beat. Revelations was the perfect conclusion. Requeiscat in pace, Assassino.
Assassin’s Creed III
After the first two games saw unprecedented success, Ubisoft was at a crossroads; where next?
We had already established that the technical prowess and the creativity around story and design was an industry, and they needed to keep entertaining hungry masses worldwide.
What we got was initially underwhelming. American Independence had rarely been talked about in video games up until that point. And Ubisoft, as always, made a faithful yet charming game at its core.
The underwhelming part was on the technical side, as bugs and glitches that became synonymous with the Ubisoft name started rearing their ugly heads, largely due to the new engine that powered it.
The game, and its protagonist Connor, would forever be marked by not the story they were trying to present, but by the failure of reproducing the same kind of magic that came before them.
This also marked a shift in the engine for the games being developed by Ubisoft, as they pushed for a formula popularized in another series, gaining many audiences, Far Cry.
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation
Veering off of the beaten path, the DLC for Assassin’s Creed III introduced a playable female protagonist for the first time in the series. But what Aveline de Grandpre lacks in sheer strength, she makes up for in guile, agility and leadership.
Fun fact, Liberation was one of the few games released exclusively for the PS Vita a day ahead of its platform-wide release.
Running concurrently with the events of Assassin’s Creed III, Liberation follows the journey of Aveline as she operates the New Orleans Brotherhood of the Assassins,
With the city in turmoil over the Franco-Spanish war, Aveline must discover a sinister plan to control the state of Louisiana.
Does that make you want to jump in and live her story? Well, the reality is a little different.
At best, Liberation was an absolute mess. Everything from bugs to the unstable framerate to the lifeless world was very fittingly criticized, and the few good things the game did went under.
However, Ubisoft were at least on the same page with the fans, who wanted more content. It would just need the same love and attention as a mainline entry.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
By now, Ubisoft had learnt most of the lessons that they needed to make a great Assassin’s Creed game.
The combat should be interesting, the character lithe and agile, the traversal industry standard, and the story heroic and moving.
And then came Black Flag. Starting off the story of the Kenways, this told the story of Connor’s grandfather and seafaring Assassin, Edward Kenway.
Edward was the breath of fresh air that the series needed. Injecting a calm, quirky, quick-witted yet determined character who cared for his loved ones was a drastic shift from the silent, reserved Connor.
The fleshed-out ship warfare as well as a technical improvement, as the devs got more familiar with the Anvil Engine, was another plus.
Black Flag was a huge seller, but the French publisher had even bigger dreams that they wanted to show the world.
Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry
Brotherhood was the industry standard. Liberation was a failed prototype. The mainline entry was one of the best-selling in the series. What next?
Next, we got Adewale. A slave laborer freed by the enigmatic Edward Kenway, Adewale served as the 1st Officer of Edward’s pirate ship, the Jackdaw.
Out on his own after his adventures with Edward, Adewale joined the Assassins after witnessing the plight of his people under slave owners.
While it shares most of its design similarities with Black Flag, Freedom Cry is very much its own game.
It does, however, introduce a new recruitment mode via freedom granted to slaves.
The subject of slavery is still extremely touchy today, and the fact that Ubisoft found a way to bend the rules, show the atrocities and yet find a champion for the cause is admirable.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
Soldier. Tinker. Sailor. Traitor. Shay Cormac was the antithesis to everything we had been used to from the beginning of the first game.
Rogue explored the gray nature of real life portrayed through the conflict for control between Assassins and Templars.
Disgruntled by the superiority yet dastardly actions of the Assassins around him, Shay Patrick Cormac, a young Assassin, challenges the Order and betrays them to defect to the other side.
Shay is a representation of the rational man in the battle between godly entities and man’s thirst for power.
He is introspective, self-aware, ambitious, pragmatic and yet, righteous. Having immense potential and ability as a master strategist and Assassin, Shay uses these abilities to hunt down the Assassins responsible for some deep, personal trauma given to him.
With Adewale making a return, a younger, bolder, fitter Achilles Davenport and the charming as ever Haytham Kenway, there was the perfect formula for the loyal yet misguided semi-antagonist, megalomaniac antagonist, and cool, calculating mentor respectively.
Rogue was fun in all the right places, despite the engine starting to show its age.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Boy, were we excited for this one. Unity represents the peak and the beginning of the end of what is now considered ‘old Assassin’s Creed’.
When the trailers were released, we saw the French Revolution, an era filled with rebellion, heroism, love and the birth of modern democracy.
The Notre Dame, in all its glory, had been hand-designed by a single artist over several months. The parkour was the best in any video game ever released. The story was brilliant as always.
The hard work behind the game was clear for anyone to see. But what we got instead, was a buggy, technically atrocious game that became a meme on the internet for ages to come, and is still noted as an example of exactly what not to do when releasing a game.
Yet underneath all of that, lay a game that would be cherished long after its time. What will remain is the representation of the best movement system ever designed for a video game.
Arno deserved better.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China
The start of a unique series of spin-offs containing stories of Assassins from around the world, AC Chronicles: China was a 2.5D side-scroller instead of a full-fledged 3D game.
The game chronicled the journey of young Shao Jun, the last of the Chinese Brotherhood as she sought answers and purpose in her homeland after talking to and training with Ezio himself in the short film Assassin’s Creed Embers.
The game, much like the series, offers very little when we talk about the grander scale of the previous entries. The Chronicles series is wholly level-based. You must complete a few objectives and avoid guards to reach the end of the level.
Not much to write home about, this episode of Chronicles was pretty good as filler content as we geared up for the arrival of the next mainline entry. Solid, tight gameplay and the innovative usage of the 2.5D plane were the only takeaways here.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India
Anyone who has played Syndicate will know Mr. Henry Green, ally extraordinaire to the Frye twins and later Evie Frye’s husband. Better known by his real name, Jayadeep Mir was the son of Arbaaz Mir, the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India.
India was an unexplored avenue until then, and a 2.5D plane seemed like the best playground to introduce the Sikh Empire during a conflict with the East India Company, under which the Templars have already spread their roots.
Arbaaz is an extremely talented, ruthless and determined Indian Assassin, whose journey takes him from the streets of Amritsar to the oasis city of Herat and back, to stop the British Templars from abusing the Koh-i-Noor, which has been presented as a Precursor artifact.
Much like China, the game is level-based and gives you a ranking based on how stealthily Arbaaz goes about his business. Not much else to say here.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia
The last of the trilogy was Russia. Russia was much the same, with the notable and obvious difference being the setting and the protagonist of the game, Nikolai Orelov.
Set against the backdrop of the October Revolution, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia follows Orelov for his supposed last mission with the Brotherhood in Russia, which eventually becomes way more complicated than he was prepared for.
Showing a more experienced and weary Assassin might not be relatable to everyone, but it was important to show the dark side of a life dedicated to the cause as well.
Nikolai is a less troubled and more cautious and balanced character, who just wants to get his family out of the bloodshed and into greener pastures.
Interestingly, and rather ominously, this marked the sad end of the best era of Ubisoft.
They were once the only publisher who would go to lengths no one else would, to make experimental games with unique themes.
Now, they’re an MNC whose primary focus would be churning out the same formulaic release one after the other.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
I personally never bothered with Syndicate when it was released. After putting all my eggs in one basket with Unity, I guess the cynicism was understandable.
But when I revisited it for this opinion piece, I found the groundwork for the modern trilogy of Assassin’s Creed.
The two-protagonist system is an all-or-nothing kind of design. Either both of the characters carry their equal weight and identity in terms of design, profile, abilities and choices, or they are both generic copies of each other introduced with little effort.
Well, I’m happy to say that Jacob and Evie Frye are the former kind. With a unique moveset and cadence for each, you get to play both twins who share their own unique dynamic.
And although initially, I was careful not to be burned twice, Syndicate showed immense promise for the future and had a great recreation of London in the 1800s.
With the same traversal system introduced in Unity, it is a crying shame that Syndicate couldn’t climb the same heights as some of the more flagship entries in the series.
I played through, twice!
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Origins. While it is accurate to speculate that we went back to the roots of the series with this one, it was actually a newer, more modern shift of the franchise to an RPG model that divided fans.
So the name could not be more ironic when it came to its meta-history.
Some really like the approach, with the visual fidelity having increased ten times and a great combat system in tandem with the classic exploration and connecting overarching narrative.
But others criticized the slow, character-level-based map section lockout, and the story veering in unexpected directions with twist after twist.
Ultimately though, I loved Bayek’s journey to become a flagpole for the Brotherhood.
His quest for vengeance was supplemented by a strong moral code, and his friendly nature was conjoined with the ruthlessness of a Medjai warrior.
All in all, the success of Origins would decide the direction that Ubisoft wanted to take the series, and at the end of the day, this new system did win over the fans.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
This was what Origins had led up to. It is a first in the series in many avenues, including the selection of the main character’s gender. AND the Ancient Greek setting – Odyssey took the new formula of the series to even newer levels.
Now, admittedly, I was still sticking to the fact that I personally wanted a tight, connected open-world with seamless parkour and a more grounded character with gray morals. But Kassandra/Alexios made me and millions of others think again.
I have said it time and again, great character and storytelling are always at the heart of a good game.
Despite its shortcomings in just how big the map was and the emptiness in some places, Odyssey was teeming with life.
The combat system introduced in Origins was carefully tied into a Nemesis system (much like Shadow of Mordor) and the division of the map into islands helped create moments of relief between the giant-statue climbing, mystery uncovering and assassinating.
Odyssey was brilliant in places, but sadly also an omen of what would come next.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Now, Ubisoft has had a bit of history of shooting themselves in the foot. Failing to recognize that a million-hour campaign does not make a good game, is what led to the underperformance of Valhalla with critics.
And it was not the fact that it simply was the bloated, boring and endless nature of the game that contributed to it, but Eivor’s story was just not that convincing.
Mixing gods and demons with political and historical themes has always been Assassin’s Creed’s own thing. But they took it a little too far with this one.
Adding to Odyssey however, the game made several positive changes such as a new skill system and the ability to select Eivor’s gender instead of making separate characters for either gender.
As it stands, Valhalla is still one of the best-selling games that the series has ever seen, proving that it still has the potential to make it to greater heights.
But will Ubisoft raise the bar like they have done countless times in the past, or just lower the ceiling to fit performance targets?
What Does The Future Have In Store?
Well, Mirage is just around the corner, and Ubisoft are promising a valiant return to the roots of the series.
This was lost over time to a more RPG-style gameplay in the modern trilogy of Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla.
They are aware of the bloated nature of these video games, most among them Valhalla.
Ubisoft are planning a tighter story, more emphasis on parkour, and the traditional Assassin garb for all characters involved with the Brotherhood.
With Mirage, we explore the rise of Basim, an Assassin from the Baghdad brotherhood, who has had quite a journey since coming into the picture back in Valhalla.
No matter what the story might be, over and over again the people at Ubisoft have shown us that they can make memorable stories out there when they are involved with a project.
Want to know more? Check out our detailed review of Odyssey, one of the finest experiences in the series. For the ultimate