Assassin’s Creed Origins will mark the tenth major Assassin’s Creed game to release since the series’ inception in 2007. In preparation of its launch in October, we’ve decided to rank the current entries in the franchise. For the purpose of keeping this list concise, spin-off titles and mobile games will not be included, so that nixes the Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles series (Russia, India, and China) and games like Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines.
9.) Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)
Assassin’s Creed Unity was a series low point for sure. The first Assassin’s Creed game to be developed for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Unity suffered all sorts of problems, the least of which were technical. It seems that in the quest to create a populated Paris during the French Revolution, the narrative and its characters were neglected. Not only was the modern day storyline inconsequential and practically non-existent, Arno’s story was entirely forgettable, much like Connor’s in Assassin’s Creed III. Though it had numerous glaring faults, it did mercifully add a parkour down mechanic, possibly the best part about Unity.
8.) Assassin’s Creed (2007)
It was hard to put Assassin’s Creed so far down on the list considering it started it all, but truthfully, the series has gotten astoundingly better since its first outing. Assassin’s Creed was mired by repetitive gameplay and clunky free running mechanics. This really acted as a proof of concept, something that showed potential but didn’t capitalize on it, whether that was from hardware limitations or otherwise. Still, Altair’s importance in the series can’t be understated as he laid much of the groundwork for future generations of Assassins.
7.) Assassin’s Creed III (2012)
What was supposed to be Desmond’s big moment ended with a dull whimper. While seemingly retconning previous events (Desmond’s feelings surrounding Lucy’s death) and confusing the hell out of anyone who didn’t play The Lost Archive DLC for Revelations, Assassin’s Creed III also stumbled to tell a meaningful story with Connor, who is likely most people’s least favorite Assassin. The ability to climb trees and explore the frontier was a nice change of pace, but the cities of Boston and New York were incredibly boring and lifeless. Assassin’s Creed III dropped the ball in a multitude of ways.
6.) Assassin’s Creed Rogue (2014)
Ubisoft has continually tried to paint the Assassin/Templar conflict as shades of gray instead of good vs. evil with varying levels of success. Assassin’s Creed Rogue may be the developer’s best attempt in that regard, finally letting players control a Templar for a majority of the game (Sorry, Haytham!). Shay’s journey from questioning Assassin to loyal Templar allowed players to view the other side of the conflict in ways previously unexplored. However, the naval mechanic returned from Black Flag along with redesigned cities from Assassin’s Creed III, New York and Boston, making Rogue feel a bit cheap with no uniqueness. Though its themes were mature and fascinating, Rogue otherwise felt like a poor attempt at placating fans on older systems like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
5.) Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011)
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was a fitting end to Ezio’s adventure, even if it felt like more of the same in terms of its gameplay. Constantinople was beautiful and traversal was made easier by ziplines and the hookblade. Not all new additions were welcome, however. The Den Defense system was a terribly implemented and tedious feature that no one wanted or enjoyed. If you can look past the gameplay elements that just didn’t work, Altair and Ezio’s intertwining journeys, both physical and emotional, certainly helped its appeal.
4.) Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood had all of the signs of a cheap cash grab. One year separated its release from Assassin’s Creed II, it continued Ezio’s narrative, and it brought players to Rome after briefly appearing at the end of AC II. Instead of feeling like an expansion or Assassin’s Creed 2.5, Brotherhood surprisingly defied the odds. A shorter campaign was packed full of content, interesting characters, and it tied up loose ends from AC II while offering new quests and locations to explore. For the first time, players could actually build their own Brotherhood (hence the name) and recruit civilians to the Assassin cause. The game concluded in such a jaw dropping moment that it’s still one of the most stunning things to happen in the series to date.
3.) Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (2015)
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was both lucky and cursed to follow Unity. Lucky because it wouldn’t be hard at all to be the better game, and cursed because the Assassin’s Creed name was tarnished as a result of its predecessor. Players were rightfully hesitant to get hyped after being burned by Unity the previous year. What was eventually delivered in Syndicate was a huge improvement. Having two main Assassins, Jacob and Evie, added a lightness to the game with their sibling rivalry, and it just ended up being more fun because of it. London was recreated in all of its dingy glory during the Industrial Revolution, and the rope launcher and carriages made it a breeze to explore. Longtime fans also received an important modern day story again, though it was sadly unplayable. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate brought back an energy that the series desperately needed.
2.) Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)
After the rather disappointing Assassin’s Creed III, a lot was riding on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. For the first time in the series, players would not be in control of Desmond. Instead we were a walking tablet in Abstergo. Not a highlight of the series, but the present day’s mysteries and intrigue were still there. Going back to the Golden Age of Piracy was a bold choice, especially considering it could have easily turned into “Pirate’s Creed.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen. On top of a beautiful, lush open world set in the Caribbean, Edward and his pirate acquaintances’ were perfect conduits for a refreshing take on the Assassin/Templar war. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag somehow took an unpopular feature (naval gameplay) and made it fun and exciting, letting players set sail on the high seas in one of the series’ best outings.
1.) Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
Though the original Assassin’s Creed started it all off, Assassin’s Creed II elevated the franchise to the heights of greatness, and arguably created the series we love and see today. Ezio was substantially more compelling and charming than Altair, and his quest for revenge was a sympathetic journey that everyone couldn’t help but get lost in. It impressively capitalized on the potential of the first game in every way that was achievable at that time. Not only were the historical parts fantastic, but the modern day plot truly started to get interesting with the introduction of the First Civilization. Complete with dozens of new mechanics and a memorable story, Assassin’s Creed II set the standard for what this series could, and should, be.
Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017)
So where will the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Origins fit into all of this? From the generous amount of gameplay videos and interviews that came out of E3, we know Origins will heavily lean on role-playing mechanics and will be more of an ARPG as opposed to an action-adventure game like previous titles. Egypt is a setting filled with rich history and cities that can be beautifully recreated thanks to current technology. Time will tell whether the story and its characters are compelling, but everything looks promising. The series may see its biggest shake up yet.