Best Assassin’s Creed games ranked, from AC1 to Valhalla

Assassin's Creed gamesUbisoft

The Assassin’s Creed franchise shows no signs of slowing down, but not every game in the series is celebrated like some others are. Here’s every Assassin’s Creed game ranked from worst to best.

With all the excitement around this year’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage, game – not to mention the mysterious Japanese adventure codenamed Red, we felt it was time to take a look back at the series and rank the mainline entries from best to worst. While Assassin’s Creed is a hugely successful and popular franchise, it’s not exactly been consistent when it comes to quality.

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Some Assassin’s Creed games have been considered groundbreaking classics, while others deserve to be forgotten by history. So, what’s the best AC game? And which ones should stay buried forever like a lost Apple of Eden?

10. Assassin’s Creed

Assassin's CreedUbisoft
The original Assassin’s Creed was a disappointment.

While it may be the first game in a classic series, and released to a ton of hype early in the PS3’s life cycle, the original Assassin’s Creed was a painfully dull experience. The story took inspiration from the novel Alamut by author Vladimir Bartol, which itself was based on the historical Hashashins who were active during the Third Crusade, but the gameplay just didn’t match the awesome setting.

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Exploring the Holy Land during this era was interesting enough, as was the parkour and the social stealth aspects of AC. Sadly though, the game’s repetitive missions, combat, and boring assassination quests (which were janky, glorified boss fights) let it down. Luckily, the sequel fixed these issues and turned the game into the mega-franchise it is today.

9. Assassin’s Creed Unity

Assassin's Creed UnityUbisoft
Assassin’s Creed Unity really was a wasted opportunity.

AC Unity wasted its incredible setting, making the French Revolution an afterthought in another silly quest for magic apples containing messages from a long-dead civilization. We were honestly never clear about who’s side the Assassins or Templars were even on when it came to The Terror, and other significant historical events, such as the storming of the Bastille.

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Assassin’s Creed Unity is mostly remembered for its many, often game-breaking or hilarious, glitches. This is a shame, because when it worked well, AC Unity looked absolutely lush on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. While the previous game, AC4 Black Flag, was also released for that gen, it was largely a port of an older game. Unity was made for the hardware and it should have been a classic.

8. Assassin’s Creed 3

Assassin's Creed 3Ubisoft
Assassin’s Creed 3 introduced some fun new gameplay elements.

After spending three games with the lovable rogue that was Ezio, Connor Kenway was a bore by comparison. Assassin’s Creed 3 had some great ideas, and the combat was better than ever, but AC3 failed to live up to its predecessor.

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The game told a compelling story, set during the American Revolution as the Assassins and Templars picked their sides, and the family melodrama between Connor and his father, Haythem, was especially well told. In many ways, Haythem was more likable than Connor, so it was fun for the series to give us a sympathetic antagonist for the first time.

The real problem with AC3 was its modern-day story/gameplay sections. These broke up the action and became increasingly nonsensical, with the ending killing the series’ momentum. This meant Ubisoft needed to think long and hard about the future of the series, and what would become the next entry. Thankfully, they nailed it.

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7. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Assassin's Creed SyndicateUbisoft
Assassin’s Creed wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t special.

There’s nothing especially wrong with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, it just doesn’t sparkle, and is a rather forgettable entry in the long-running series. While it had some bugs at launch, Ubisoft mostly resolved many of the problems that plagued Unity, and exploring Victorian London with gadgets that let us zip up buildings quickly could be thrilling.

Playing as two different protagonists, a brother and sister duo who take over the seedy underworld of London, while assassinating notable Templars, was also a novel idea. Sadly though, the formula had gone stale and the stealth elements from earlier games had mostly vanished, leaving a mediocre action experience.

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6. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed ValhallaUbisoft
On paper, playing as a Viking sounds fun, but Valhalla felt a bit mediocre at times.

Everyone loves Vikings, right? After God of War, that awesome History Channel show, and a revived cultural appreciation for all things Nordic, an Assassin’s Creed game set during this era was bound to be a hit. And Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is great, it’s just not as good as many of the other entries.

Sailing around the fjords looking for enemy settlements to raid is fantastic fun, but like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, we felt a tinge of fatigue when playing Valhalla. We appreciated the setting, but the game felt far too similar to AC Odyssey, which did many of the same things – only better.

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Valhalla may not be the best Assassin’s Creed game, but it was the first to release on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, therefore it’s a great entry point for those looking to jump into the series.

5. Assassin’s Creed Rogue

Assassin's Creed RogueUbisoft
Playing as a Templar who kills Assassins was a fresh take on AC.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue was released around the same time as Unity, but for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It was intended to give AC fans who hadn’t yet upgraded to next-gen something to play. It’s since been ported to modern platforms, but the game is actually remembered far more fondly than Unity.

Rogue lets players control a former Assassin who’s been recruited by the Templars and now assassinates his former colleagues, giving players a chance to experience the conflict from the other side. As far as gameplay goes, Rogue plays a lot like AC: Black Flag, but lets players sail around the North Atlantic rather than the Caribbean.

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It also serves as a sequel to Black Flag, a prequel to AC3, and sets the scene for AC Unity, providing some connecting tissue to all three of those games. Not bad for a title that was accused of being glorified DLC.

4. Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed OriginsUbisoft
Set in Egypt, Origins was exactly what the AC series needed.

Assassin’s Creed Origins was exactly what the series needed after AC Syndicate – that, and a break. Ubisoft decided to stop the annual (sometimes double) release of Assassin’s Creed, putting the games through a longer development cycle. The results were most welcome, as AC Origins was a breath of fresh desert air.

The game overhauled nearly every aspect of the series, improving the combat, the environments, the parkour, and the narrative structure. Origins also added some nice RPG elements, and at times, felt more like a Witcher title than an AC game.

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The setting was ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic Wars and unlike earlier entries, it took full advantage of this backdrop in terms of gameplay and story. The game also deemphasized the now tiresome modern-day segments and even managed to make the Templars versus Assassin’s story interesting again.

3. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed OdysseyUbisoft
AC Odyssey improved on Origins in every way.

Odyssey took the template created by AC Origins and expanded on it, this time adding the celebrated naval elements from AC: Black Flag but without the cannon fire, due to the game being set in ancient Greece. It also used the definitive conflict between Athens and Sparta, which in history would see the former rise as the dominant power.

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However, most of the game is set hunting down the sinister precursors to the Templars, and while players can enjoy the refined combat system, AC Odyssey made playing as a stealthy assassin a worthwhile playstyle once again.

2. Assassin’s Creed 2

Assassin's Creed 2Ubisoft
Ezio is still the coolest Assassin in the entire series.

Assassin’s Creed 2 and its two stand-alone sequels, Brotherhood and Revelations, are collectively known as the Ezio collection. They are also seen as a high point in the series, and the games that helped establish Assassin’s Creed as the legendary brand it is today.

AC2 is set during Renaissance Italy, particularly Venice, Florence, and Rome, and stars young nobleman Ezio Auditore da Firenze as he becomes embroiled in the war between the Assassins and Templars. Ezio is a joy to control as a character, and AC has struggled to match his popularity ever since.

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Although, what really makes AC2 great is that it delivered on all the promises AC1 failed to keep. It was nearly the best Assassin’s Creed game ever – but one other managed to beat it for the top spot.

1. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed 4 Black FlagUbisoft
Black Flag is still the most fun we’ve ever had in an AC game.

What makes Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag the best Assassin’s Creed game isn’t the fantastic naval gameplay or the fact that you get to explore the Caribbean by sea, nor was it because it was the first AC game to appear on PS4 and Xbox One. No, what makes AC4 the best Assassin’s Creed game is the freedom it entrusts to the player.

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The ridiculous Assassin’s versus Templar story eventually catches up to pirate Edward Kenway, who, like the player, spends most of the game sailing away from it – content to just enjoy life and be a pirate. And that is what AC4 lets players do.

AC4 marries the best parts of Assassin’s Creed, and so much more, then lets players just have fun in the world they’ve created. By the point that it does become time to get serious and assassinate some Templars, you won’t mind, because you’ve already plundered the entire Caribbean and have become the most feared buccaneer to ever sail the Seven Seas!

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So there you have it, the best Assassin’s Creed games ranked. For more gaming guides and lists, check out more gaming content below:

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