Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft’s iconic stealth-action franchise, has gone through an interesting journey over the last decade and a half. From a story featuring a millennia-long secret war between two factions to a series incorporating mythology and giving players the abilities of the gods, the series evolved and changed over its dozen mainline entries.
The Assassin’s Creed series can be broken down into distinct eras. From the early days of Ezio to the Kenway and the American Revolution to the French and Industrial revolution to Ancient Egypt and Greece to Valhalla. Over its many entries, some of the titles have been a disappointment, however, some of them have been the best the series has to offer. With that being said, let’s take a look at the following entries.
What are the Best Assassin’s Creed games of all time?
The Assassin’s Creed titles have been quite distinct over the years. While some players prefer the older titles, others quite enjoy the newer entries. The following list might feature story spoilers for the following titles,
- Black Flag
1. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is arguably the best Assassin’s Creed title, and one of the best entries for new players to get invested in. The title follows Edward Kenway, who travels to the Caribbean in search of money but joins the Pirate Life in hope of providing a better future for his wife back home.
The title is unlike any Assassin’s Creed story before. In fact, Edward doesn’t become an official member of the brotherhood until the end. Rather, the story follows Edward through his journey, where in his pursuit for gold, he loses everything. The epilogue scene where Edward envisions all his friends sitting together and having a good time as Anne Bonny sings The Parting Glass is truly heart-touching.
From a gameplay perspective, Black Flag refines the counter-based combat of III with the addition of fluid combat animations, dual-wielding weapons, and more tools that can be used in combat without breaking the flow. The biggest addition to Black Flag is undoubtedly the open seas of the Caribbean with the ship's combat and traversal in it. From sailing in the vast peaceful ocean, listening to the crew singing shanties like Leave Her Johnny or Drunken Sailor to fighting two man-o-wars as the sea rages with a hurricane storm, the player is presented with an amazing journey that’s worth experiencing.
2. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010)
Ezio Auditore Da Firenze, a name anyone familiar with Assassin’s Creed knows. From Assassin’s Creed II to Revelations, fans of the series witnessed Ezio's journey from a young boy living a good life with his brother to an old mentor traveling to Constantinople in search of Altair’s library and the truth behind the Creed and its principle. While the three titles are best experienced together, if one has to choose the best amongst the three, the Brotherhood will edge out albeit by a narrow margin over II.
Brotherhood picks up right where the story of II ended, in the vault beneath the Vatican with Ezio just learning about the Isu from Minerva. After returning to Monterigionni with Mario, they are attacked by Cesare Borgia and his army. Mario loses his life and Ezio barely escapes with his life. After this, the story follows Ezio's journey to reform the Brotherhood and truly become a mentor.
From a gameplay perspective, Brotherhood carries the DNA of II but refines it to bring a more smooth yet familiar gameplay experience. The biggest addition is the brotherhood mechanics, where Ezio can not only recruit new assassins and send them to missions, but also call in support during a fight, where the assassins can take out an enemy from the shadows or rain down arrows. Brotherhood builds the lore of Assassin’s Creed, as the story follows Ezio's journey to become the mentor, and players truly understand what the game means by….
We Work In The Dark To Serve The Light. Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted. We Are the Assassins.
3. Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)
Assassin’s Creed Unity is the biggest 'What If?' story of the franchise. It is either an unfinished buggy mess of disappointment or the most underrated entry of the franchise and a true masterpiece, depending on whom you ask.
Developed to be the next generation of 'Assassin’s Creed' and released alongside Rogue, Unity had a lot of faults. From the introduction of microtransactions in a single-player experience in the form of the infamous Helix credit to being launched in an unfinished state, Unity had a lot of faults. So what is it doing in a list of Best Assassin’s Creed games of all time? It is because, under all these faults, Assassin’s Creed Unity is truly one of the best titles in this decade and a half long series.
\The story follows Arno Dorian, son of an assassin, raised by a templer. Throughout the story, Arno is stuck between his love for Elise and his hunt for the truth while honoring his duty to the creed. While the story does feature some memorable characters, it leaves a lot to be desired. However, from a gameplay perspective, it is quite different. Moving away from the III-Black Flag-Rogue era combat, the developers chose to go with a combat style more affected by types of weapons and their level.
If not for the story or gameplay, players should definitely play Unity to experience the beautiful city of Paris. From the beautifully recreated Notre Dame Cathedral to the crowded streets, unity presents players with a bright yet dirty city that exhibits a similar character.
4. Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017)
Assassin’s Creed Origins was the most recent and drastic shift in the series’ formula. From the Victorian London set during the Industrial Revolution, the series went back to Ancient Ptolemaic Egypt, where the player comes across iconic historic rulers like Cleopatra and Ceaser.
The story of Bayak starts off as a traditional revenge story, but it soon expands into something more. It, along with The Hidden Ones DLC, tells the story of the formation of the Assassin’s Brotherhood that everyone is familiar with. Bayak is quite different from the charming protagonists fans of the series are familiar with. In fact, from time to time, Bayak is quite a serious protagonist, and while that might seem a bit out of place, it actually is the opposite. Bayak is a tragic protagonist. Over the course of the game, he loses everything. He gets betrayed by those he pledges his loyalty to, and such a serious personality fits perfectly with this darker story.
From a gameplay perspective, Origin has the biggest jump in the series. Moving away from the modern-era city, Origins takes the series to a vast open world. The title also moves away from counter-based combat to more hitbox-based combat, where the distance from the enemy matters in the fight. The quest system has also been reworked so that Bayak can pick up and leave any quest at any time and have multiple active quests at once. Origins is a perfect entry for a new player to understand the origin of the Creed.
5. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (2020)
Valhalla’s entry in the list of 'Best Assassin’s Creed games of all time' is certainly going to be divisive. While its similarity to Odyssey and many egregious faults, like unrealistically downright greedy monetization, is critical for its faults, underneath all that, there is a really good game.
Valhalla brings back a lot of mechanics fans of the older generation are familiar with, such as one-hit assassinations and social stealth (albeit in a limited status), and yet retains some of the mechanics new players are familiar with. While Valhalla also features abilities, none of them are as unrealistic and lore-breaking as in Odyssey. Furthermore, after multiple updates, Valhalla has an in-depth difficulty option where the game can be as fair or painstakingly grindy as the player wants.
While the mythological sections of the story featuring the Nordic deities are nothing special, the political turmoil of the different sections of Great Britain is quite intriguing. Riding on the vast grasslands of England while the sun sets is quite peaceful. Eivor's character is quite monotonous, but it is elevated by the other interesting side cast. Valhalla is a drastic improvement over its predecessor and is certainly worth experiencing as one of the best titles in the series.