Best Assassin's Creed games — all 16 entries ranked from best to worst

What is the best Assassin's Creed game? We've ranked every game from AC1 in 2007 on PS3 all the way until the latest entry, Assassin's Creed Mirage, for PS5.

Best Assassin's Creed games — all 16 entries ranked from best to worst
Kes Eylers-Stephenson

Kes Eylers-Stephenson

Published

What is the best Assassin's Creed game? Well, we've got the Assassin's Creed games ranked for you from the 2007 original to the latest, Assassin's Creed Mirage on PS4 and PS5. That is sixteen entries in total on PlayStation consoles, including spin-offs and ignoring expansions. So, take a look below and find out why we think Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag is the best Assassin's Creed game!

Best Assassin's Creed games ranked to the worst

Ubisoft heralded the new heights open-world games could reach the moment Altaïr found himself stealthily moving and parkouring through Jerusalem in 2007 in one of the best PS3 games. Since then, the games have taken us to Renaissance Italy, the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy, Middle Ages England, and so many more places while keeping an eye on a sci-fi modern-day story.

Born out of an idea for a Prince of Persia game, the original entry established a gaming formula that would shift and change just like the sands of time. The series started out by showing us open-world cities with a reasonably linear mission structure between 2007's original and 2010's Assassin's Creed Revelations. We would follow characters with established connections to an order of killers working in the shadows — these were stealth games with occasional bouts of action and plenty of parkour for navigation.
From 2011, the series moved into frontier wildernesses in New World America as the Brotherhood tried to rebuild. In 2013 and 2014 we then had two more straightforward city entries in Unity and Syndicate, before we entered the massive, sprawling action-RPG period from 2017 with Origins until Valhalla in 2020. For the latest entry, Assassin's Creed Mirage, the series used the RPG engine to power a return to cityscapes and parkour.

Because of these diverse periods, the different phases of the Assassin's Creed series have become a contentious issue. However, I am a firm believer in the old motto "Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted," and Staff Writer Lee and I (Editor Kes) have put forth our own opinions for you to agree or disagree openly. This is a marker of our taste as a TrueTrophies news team and there is plenty of fun to be had answering what order you would put these games in.

So, with that in mind, here is our ranking of the best Assassin's Creed games!

Kes

16. Assassin's Creed Bloodlines

  • Platform(s): PSP
  • Is it on PS Plus?: No
  • Setting: Cyprus (1191 AD)
Assassin's Creed Bloodlines is the worst game in the Assassin's Creed series. I do feel a bit sorry for it, though. It's a PSP game from 2009 and a spin-off to Assassin's Creed, so it is fighting the mainline games on the bigger PlayStation consoles. Following Altair on Cyprus after the events of the original 2007 game, it is a paired-down version of that game in every way. The story is interesting with the pairing of Assassin Altair and Templar Maria Thorpe forming a kind of prototype version of Assassin's Creed Unity's entanglement of Assassin Arno and Templar Elise.

Ultimately, it is a weaker game with decent combat but lacking in pretty much every other department. It looks good for a PSP game but struggles to wrangle any story-telling nous through poor voice acting and low-quality cutscenes. It's simply the worst entry the series has ever seen, but a decent curio for PSP owners!

Lee

15. Assassin's Creed Chronicles

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS Vita
  • Is it on PS Plus?: No
  • Setting: China (1526 AD), India (1841 AD), Russia (1918 AD)
The triplet of Assassin's Creed Chronicles China, India, and Russia was inevitably going to take the spin-off trilogy to the bottom of our list — these hard-as-nails Assassin's Creed Chronicles trilogy trophies can't get away with sympathy like the rubbish Assassin's Creed Bloodlines above. Sadly, even if they were exceptionally good 2.5D platformers, the Chronicles games would look like odd ducks on a list of some of gaming's biggest, boldest 3D adventure titles.

The concept for Chronicles is very charming. It's a series of Assassin's Creed titles that play like Jordan Mechner's original Prince of Persia, which is an old Apple II game that would later be rebooted as Prince of Persia The Sands of Time. The success of the reboot would see its director (Patrice Désilets) increase the scale and complexity of the world and make the first Assassin's Creed game.

Having now successfully written around the subject of what these games play like for two paragraphs, hopefully I've impressed upon you just how uninteresting the Chronicles games are. They're fine as time-wasters, although the thought of us not getting to visit historical China, Russia, or India just because the Chronicles series already got to them makes me want to take back even the nice things I said about the charm of these games.

14. Assassin's Creed Odyssey

  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Peloponnesian War, Ancient Greece (431-404 BC)
Editor Kes here. I am bringing out the big guns for this Greek voyage because it's so controversial Lee and I both needed a say. I have all the Assassin's Creed Odyssey trophies and Lee has played plenty. I wrote the Assassin's Creed Odyssey review for the site.
Lee: Assassin's Creed Odyssey felt bespoke; like a game designed only for me. On paper, the game sounds wonderful with its stunning ancient Grecian setting, its ambitious Witcher 3 Wild Hunt-esque narrative choice system, and its mercilessly thrifty take on Shadow of Mordor's nemesis system. Once I learned that Odyssey would not only bring back full-fledged ship combat, but it would also let me sail to Mykonos — a place I had sailed in real life, and perhaps my favorite spot on Earth — I simply could not resist the siren song of Odyssey's video game tourism.

However, upon playing, I crashed swiftly against the rocks of the late Assassin's Creed bloat. From there I could not stop having a bad time. Odyssey's crushingly big-yet-paper-thin sandbox sucked all the fun I had out of going anywhere in it, even by boat. The missions ranged from tedious fetch quests to tedious fort infiltrations, many of which felt like playing a bad Metal Gear Solid 5 parody. The game's strict RPG leveling system only served to highlight how shallow Odyssey's Witcher-for-babies combat was. It is so uninvolved and lacking that it made taking on any mercenary in the world just two levels stronger than you a long-winded snore-fest. I could go on, but I have to leave something for Editor Kes to write about.

Assassin's Creed DLCAssassin's Creed Odyssey just isn't that interesting

Kes: Malaka. I find this game, as Lee indicates above, so shallow. I know that quite a few in the AC community highlight the issues as this not being an 'Assassin's Creed' game. I think the core issue is much worse — it is an Assassin's Creed game. Lore is fantastic in the right context, but Odyssey just isn't it. The whole Kassandra or Alexios character arcs are not only dull storytelling but are also frighteningly unaware of what made any Assassin's Creed continuity interesting — a complex ideology melded with a sense of historical place and time, made more compelling by its reflection on the present.

As the first formation of any resemblance of a Creed, it could have been interesting. Instead, it takes the mickey out of the Assassin's Creed parts of Assassin's Creed, but it doesn't do it to strengthen its narrative weight like a Black Flag or a Unity does. It does it to say — "Nah, we can't be bothered to elaborate and deepen what is to come." If we separate from that heritage series stuff, I personally think it fails as a turn-off-your-brain romp too. It would be serviceable if it weren't for the tedium of the cut-and-paste open world that feels like you are on a treadmill, not actually exploring.

ACOAssassin's Creed Oddysey is not our cup of wine

If it was a good story, it would be better written and not full of shortcuts to make sure its dual protagonist story worked with its 'different endings.' I have all the Odyssey trophies and I've messed around with the ending during that playthrough — nothing this game does main story-wise holds attention or feels remotely interesting or human. It doesn't hold a candle to Ezio's personal fight against the Borgia or Edward Kenway's riveting dual battle between selfishness vs greater good and pirate life vs Assassin brotherhood. The superpowers of Odyssey, likewise, make everything so boring... just let us be humans in our history, please! The side content, though, has a habit of being genuinely funny.

I think Lee and I are both well aware that this game is AAA in scope and will have plenty of appeal to many out there. It's not a bad game, even. We just find it so uninteresting and bland compared to the rest of the series that we can't recommend it above even Liberation with its really cool main protagonist. If you want the expansive RPG this initially promises to be — we think Valhalla is better. If you want something tighter and more gorgeous that balances old and new Assassin's Creed, then Origins is for you. But for us, Odyssey is just Malaka.

Lee

13. Assassin's Creed Liberation

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS Vita
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: New Orleans, United States (1765 - 1777 AD)
Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation's greatest crime is that many of its best ideas, and its wonderful protagonist, would have been a lot more fun had they been given the same budget and room to breathe as the title's fussier, even-handed big brother — Assassin's Creed III.

Aveline de Grandpré is, as far as I'm concerned, the most interesting protagonist the series has yet produced. Born into a life of relative wealth, Aveline joins the lower-class Assassin's faction because of her heroic impulse to free slaves. It's a choice that puts her at odds with almost everyone in her life, most of whom benefit from the riches and power that the Templars possess. It's a compelling story made great by its proxy to the alternating poise and rage of Aveline.

Gamifying Aveline's class divide by having her use costumes to blend into the various tiers of society is a concept that has a lot of potential, although unfortunately in Liberation it doesn't feel fun to mess around with at all. The world of Liberation feels small for Assassin's Creed, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so muddy and crammed full of boring architecture. Plus, Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation trophies forced us to interact with its weird, hands-off online mode on PS Vita, and that's definitely going to cost the game some kudos.

Lee

12. Assassin's Creed

  • Platform(s): PS3
  • Is it on PS Plus?: No
  • Setting: Third Crusade, Holy Land (1191 AD)
I know what you're thinking — without trophies, this game may as well not exist. I completely understand. I held off playing the original game for 13 years due to this particular slight. However, having now played the original, it must be said that Assassin's Creed is surprisingly more interesting to play now that the franchise is a juggernaut than it might have been even at the time. Now we can see every germ of good game design the series ever allowed to fester can be readily found somewhere in the original game.

Assassin's Creed even has some of the problems of the later games, like a map that is too big and dull to make traveling over it fun. It includes weirdly excessive game mechanics — does anyone remember the 'rubber hands' button? If you didn't want to draw attention moving through a crowd of pot carriers, you would hold a button that would make Altaïr's hands go all rubbery as he tried to ease himself through a sea of backs, shoulders, and synchronized pot-carrying squads. I say it's high time we brought back the rubber hands mechanic — or at least port this classic game with trophies, Ubisoft. Come on, guys, it's been over fifteen years.

Kes

11. Assassin's Creed Rogue

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS3
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Seven Year War, North Atlantic | River Valley (fictional) | New York, United States (1752 - 1776 AD)
Spending the time to platinum the Assassin's Creed Rogue Remastered trophies on PS4 showed me that it got the short end of the stick on its in 2014 next to Unity. The Assassin's Creed community is a little more bullish about recognizing it as a great entry nowadays. The USP of this particular title is that you play as an Assassin-turned-Templar called Shay McCormac during the Seven Year War. This puts you in the thick of a beloved story arc that starts with Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag and ends with... well, that would be a spoiler!

The overarching story is very, very cool, and small moments really pay off big time. This gives the whole game a really unique perspective, hence its reasonable position as the 11th-best Assassin's Creed game. You have probably heard that this is constantly being cited as the 'underrated one.' That's fair, but it's gone a touch far for our liking. It's the definition of middling. The actual moment-to-moment of the story is really sloppy and shallow even if the big-picture context is gripping and keeps you playing.

AC RogueAssassin's Creed Rogue is the 11th-best game in the series

The reason that Shay becomes a Templar is not because of any interesting moral conundrum — it doesn't make you think about free will and human purpose like even the original game managed. It's because two alpha males are too stubborn to bother explaining what happened in a church in Lisbon. That means the game is almost constantly at war with its own themes because there is no sense of complexity, just that Shay and the returning Achilles from Assassin's Creed III should kiss and make up.

The world occasionally follows this shallowness with repeated side missions and bigness-for-bigness sake. There was more game planned than was actually released and you can really feel it in big empty spaces and towns. However, locations like Albany are amazing along with the icy seas, ship combat is as great as ever, and the Shay is delightfully quippy. The story missions are similarly fun, with some great side objectives if you want those Rogue trophies. A short runtime keeps its ideas fresh (though it could have been trimmed further) — a worthy 11th-place finish.

Kes

10. Assassin's Creed Valhalla

  • Platform(s): PS5, PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: No
  • Setting: Viking Invasions, England | Ireland | Paris, France | Vinland (872 - 878 AD)
Justifying this high of a finish for the unwieldy time we spent collecting Assassin's Creed Valhalla trophies after our Odyssey critiques is going to make for a few unhappy readers, we know. Let's get the major negative out of the way as we extensively discussed in our Assassin's Creed Valhalla review — everything bad about Valhalla can be put down to its absurd size. The map is so big it ceases to become remotely enjoyable; the story missions lose total comprehensibility for hours at a time; the narrative repeats over and over to fill time with repeated sub-plots in every English Kingdom, and the side content to fill the gaps if often petty and stupid.

The combat is good... but not after 50 hours — let alone 150 hours. If you are going for completion, then that is the hour mark you can expect to finish with the base game playing naturally. For some people, this will offer value, especially with all of the free and paid DLC expansions. Frankly, though, we just don't think it respects your time in any way, shape, or form.

I'm sorry, Ubisoft. You want me to spend ten hours in Norway for a prologue, conquer most of England, go to Vinland, explore two Norse realms both the size of Assassin's Creed II... then have the gall to make me do more England and Norway still? If Ubisoft thinks any of the unlying mechanics support that timesink appropriately, it must be deluded.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

The reason those failures are so rage-inducing is that often Valhalla presents moments of unrivaled beauty in the series. Sailing through a river and watching as the sun dips and the cold draws in as you pull into Jorvic just works, especially with the godly score by Sarah Schachner and Jesper Kyd. You earn your travel in the early game. Some of the stories are really intriguing, especially those with King Alfred. Raids are splendid fun the first few times around, as is sneaking around a city on an actual stealth mission. The sci-fi elements woven with myth end up — though the journey there is patchy — really intriguing.

A lot of the shallowness bubbles up constantly — especially with climbing — but we think it is generally much better handled than its Greek cousin when it comes to gear, story, and theme. I also prefer some of the more grounded combat, as well as medieval England. Eivor is a bit bland, but that is made up for with some really interesting leading characters that you will spend time with within your Ravensthorpe homestead. Personal taste will play a factor in where you place Valhalla, but for me, it goes in the lower-middle of the crowd. If restraint was shown and 80 hours were cut out, it might have been much higher.

Kes

9. Assassin's Creed Mirage

  • Platform(s): PS5, PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: No
  • Setting: Islamic Golden Age, Baghdad, Iraq (850 AD)
The latest entry into the series is Assassin's Creed Mirage, making it the 13th mainline game. Following protagonist Basim on his journey from street thief to Master Assassin, this is a return to the 'old'-style for the series with Baghdad providing a splendidly dense cityscape to parkour through. Ultimately, I think it falls a little short of being a genuine return to the style of yore as I noted in my Assassin's Creed Mirage review, though I appreciate the attempt after years of bloated RPGs.

You can feel Valhalla screaming to be heard in the background of Mirage. Aside from adding more parkour animations to help regain the old feel, this is blatantly just the RPG mechanics disguised in a retro jacket. The result has some of the cool factors of Syndicate and Unity, but none of the technical feeling. The story animations feel in-engine and RPG-ish, lacking the love cutscenes had in those old games. The menus all look identical to the RPGs, which makes for a counterintuitive vibe. Open combat feels like the developers have designed a 'limited' version of Valhalla to make it seem like the old games. The list goes on.

Assassin's Creed MirageAssassin's Creed Mirage is the 9th best Assassin's Creed game

In a continuing Ubisoft trend, I think some of the dialogue and story is truly bad even if the actual narrative concepts are cool. Basim's 'emotional arc' is weirdly devoid of any actual emotion because you don't spend time with any other character outside of Roshan (easily the best character in the game). Enemies and allies just show up with no real character-building when the game thinks you know more about them than it gives you.

Mirage does manage to overcome most of the classic pitfalls — or just about. I don't think we've had a more beautiful game world since Paris. The streets of Baghdad are colorful with stunning architecture and streets that feel full of life. The black box missions are a nice attempt at what Syndicate and Unity offered, even if they don't quite make the mark. Stealth is the direction the series should go from now till the end of time — it just works. Some characters like Ali do manage to overcome the threadbare writing, as do the smaller 'Tales of Baghdad' missions which are small episodes taking place in the city.

If you are going to get all the Assassin's Creed Mirage trophies, then the 30 hours you spend here is pretty much dead on the length the game should be and really helps mitigate a lot of the issues. Ultimately, Mirage is a bizarre entry for Assassin's Creed, but one that I think is superior to the two bloated RPGs proceeding it by a long margin.

Lee

8. Assassin's Creed Syndicate

  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Victorian Period, London (1868 AD)
Collecting those Assassin's Creed Syndicate trophies marked the last outing of the classic Assassin's Creed formula before Origins hit the reset button — something that makes Syndicate worthy of your time. While foundations are strong, it fails as it introduces half-finished game mechanics and makes a weird series of missteps that feel utterly needless in the grand scheme of things. A few readers on TrueTrophies, though, have convinced us that Syndicate is deeply underrated.

Syndicate interestingly sneaks into the RPG leveling system that has restricted recent AC titles. Though without the massive overhauls to the combat Origins later brings, it feels less satisfying than even Odyssey to 'master.' The game introduced one-off mechanics like dual protagonists, wagon riding, and grappling hooks that utterly invalidated the series' classic climbing mechanics. A lot of Syndicate just feels like Ubisoft throwing game design at a wall to see what sticks with players — and if some of it does, then it's a success. It's not like the one-off gameplay additions in Syndicate feel boring — rather, they feel weird, desperate, and poorly thought out.

The stealth works well, but the dual protagonist thing makes us wish Jacob Fry missed the hay bale on the way down and hit solid concrete. Industrial Revolution London is a magnificent setting for an Assassin's Creed game, there is a fun smorgasbord of activities to enjoy, and the game places many of the stylish combat and movement enhancements that Unity borked on launch back onto the table. Plus, grappling around London is genuinely a good time, even if it does feel massively at odds with the core values of Assassin's Creed.

Lee

7. Assassin's Creed III

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS3
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: American Revolution, North Atlantic Frontier | New York | Boston, United States (1754-1783 AD)
Assassin's Creed III honestly gets a bad rap. It was always going to be a challenge to transition from as big a personality as Ezio. There was also roughly a 90% chance that wherever the developers selected for their next historical destination, it was not likely to be either as fascinatingly dramatic or as sweepingly beautiful as Ezio's three-game-long tour of Italy.

Landing on the American Revolution in an attempt to narratively and visually pull players as far from Rome as possible was genuinely a smart move — it's likely the most well-known pre-modern war going. Plus, players clambering to see what Assassin's Creed plays like with guns could finally get their fill without the series going all Modern Warfare on us. Also, Assassin's Creed 3 trophies aside, the Revolution-themed multiplayer was great!

It just so happens that earlier games, and a handful of later titles, did more interesting things with the series' template. For all the good ideas Assassin's Creed III had — ships, a good split character narrative, side hustles — games like Black Flag and Origins did them better, deeper, or at least with a touch more flavor. Assassin's Creed III ultimately represents the series in its most neutrally alluring state, which is rather fitting for the seventh-highest entry in a list of 16 titles.

Kes

6. Assassin's Creed Revelations

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS3
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Ottoman Civil War, Constantinople, Turkey (1511-1512 AD)
Here we are! The top half of the list begins with the end of the Ezio trilogy that gave birth to one of the most passionately debated series in gaming. If you do decide to grab all the Assassin's Creed Revelations trophies, you'll find that the game wraps up Ezio Auditore's story really well with a final chapter that is the most enthralling and well-told one-game narrative of the series. It often gets critiqued for some of the unessential gameplay additions and ropey performances, but we think it actually just suffered from being at the tail end of a yearly release cycle when critics and fans were overloaded.

Revelations' rendition of the Constantinople setting blossoms along with a few of the characters (especially love interest Sofia Sartor). Ezio himself is really well written given his shift in experience levels since Brotherhood — don't forget to watch the animated epilogue Embers, by the way! The city is nice and dense with some great tombs for climbing, improved combat tools with bombs and the like, along with small changes to parkour that help extend your capabilities literally with a climbing hook.

The send-off Ezio and Altair get from Desmond Miles is incredibly emotional, if not always helped by the modern-day gameplay. The Revelations trophies are a jaunt, taking you through the whole game, and the multiplayer mode remains totally unique and fabulous. We really like Revelations, so into sixth place it goes as one of the most easily likable entries.

Lee

5. Assassin's Creed Unity

  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: French Revolution, Paris, France (1776-1800 AD)
Despite what its disastrous, bug-filled launch might tell you, having platinumed and finished all the Assassin's Creed Unity trophies, the seventh Assassin's Creed is actually a little overbaked. With the template of the series firmly nailed down by its steady father Assassin's Creed 3 and with its trailblazing mother Black Flag experimentally injecting the series with a touch of swashbuckling too much critical aplomb, the framework for a successful Assassin's Creed game was established well before Unity arrived.

So, like any child might do when tasked with following up the legacy of the refined and the daring, Unity decided the only way to stand out was to go bigger and louder. Smoother animations, new combat finesse, next-gen graphics, new engine, bombastic new time-warping campaign, massive crowds, la Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris painstakingly rendered in pristine detail — oh, don't forget four-player online co-op! It works coherently and often with style, panache, and genuinely head-turning story themes.

Had Unity only been planned by cooler heads, perhaps more resources could have been poured into its engine's stability, rather than needlessly dense crowd numbers for the time, though. Had the developers been content to first attempt a two-player campaign before jumping straight to four-player, perhaps we would still be feeling Unity's impact on modern narrative games today. Instead, Ubisoft tried too hard to achieve too much with this one. While it does play very well today, it will always have missed its window and always failed to live up to its potential. That being said, for what it did attempt and succeed with, we love it enough to put it in fifth and call it the most underrated Assassin's Creed game.

Kes

4. Assassin's Creed Origins

  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Ptolemaic Period, Egypt (49-43 BC)
Assassin's Creed Origins isn't just the best in the new RPG trilogy — it's a hidden blade in the neck of the gluttonous open worlds of the two games that succeeded it. As we described in our Assassin's Creed Origins review, the tale of Bayek and Aya in ancient Egypt makes a beautiful emotional core for a gripping game that won't let you go. Origins' gorgeous recreation of Egypt under siege by the Romans in an era when the powerful legacy of old had begun to crumble is stunning, with the desert whipping with sand trails and the sun looming overhead. Some of the cities and towns are visually masterful and crammed with stuff to do, even if it doesn't always succeed at letting go of the past.

The combat might be simpler than both Valhalla and Odyssey, but it knows what it is and works perfectly given the trim length of the game. You have a cool array of weaponry and the story is much more tightly woven than in the later games. Bayek and Aya have lost a son to a hidden organization and set out for revenge in two different ways. Simple concept, sure, but told with complexity and gravitas.

This is the gut-wrenching reality that buoys the rest of the game well. There are still issues. Aya should have been the protagonist, even though Bayek is incredibly well-acted by Aboubakar Salim. It also often fails to unite the 'Origins' stands of the Assassin's Creed history as it promises meaningfully, almost like it is scared of that weight. Don't let that detract, though; no game in the series has this strong of a human story.

The Assassin's Creed Origins trophies are well-measured, just like the pace and length of the game itself. This measured approach to a then-new genre for the series makes it superior to its RPG brethren, but also a game that outclasses a lot of its ancestors with a unique spin on the series. Assassin's Creed Origins comes fourth in our rankings of the best Assassin's Creed games.

Kes

3. Assassin's Creed II

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS3
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Italian Renaissance, Florence | Venice | Monteriggioni | San Gimignano | Forlì, Italy (1476-1499 AD)
Going back to get those Assassin's Creed II trophies reveals an incredible game that deserves every ounce of popularity it earned in 2008. Introducing us to Ezio Auditore in Renaissance Italy was a bold move, but it paid off in spades. The story grounds it — a tale of revenge after a young man loses his father and brother to a Borgia dictatorship. It's affecting not because of the incident, but how well it is written throughout the game.

Moreover, it is incorporated so fluidly into the shadowy Assassin's Brotherhood that it keeps you enticed throughout. This game just oozes cool because of that. You believe in what you are seeing and the band of stealthy killers trying to end a tyrannical reign is totally grounded in reality and interesting moral philosophy. The past and present collide spectacularly well and — let's be honest — Florence, Venice, and Tuscany will not be topped. They are gorgeous and the perfect playground for parkour and hidden blade stealth kills.

Assassin's Creed IIAssassin's Creed II

Speaking of, we think this is the game that solidified how important sneaking and hoods are to the franchise because the game embodies what Assassin's Creed means. The complexity of the parkour is fantastic, too. Some of the climbs to the top of towers to unveil the map are breathtaking and complex ordeals that were removed in future games.

Ultimately, this game is in third because it is showing its age with some jankyness, slightly broken combat, and some poor mission design. The soundtrack by Jesper Kyd is outright legendary stuff and the title track (Ezio's Family) brings tears to the eyes. This is masterful Assassin's Creed and elite gaming — a bronze medal for the title that really started it all!

Kes

2. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

  • Platform(s): PS4, PS3
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Italian Renaissance, Rome, Italy (1499 - 1507 AD)
A platinum run of the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood trophies proves it manages to pip its predecessor to the post for being a perfect version of Assassin's Creed and a masterful continuation of the story. Even the one entry ahead of Brotherhood doesn't have the same kind of energy that this does — so personal preference is absolutely in play.

The stealth is better than in AC II, the story continues to be exceptional, and Rome as a location is not only stunning, but it is better constructed as a playground for the wonderful Ezio Auditore. You will have moments in this game — in creepy tombs with technical challenges, climbing the Colosseum, or in the story — that will blow you over in a way that is irreplicable. Everything good about Assassin's Creed II is back in force in Brotherhood, then.

Assassin's Creed BrotherhoodAssassin's Creed Brotherhood

However, it also manages to make small changes to combat and parkour that make it easier to play without frustration. The returning cast of characters, like Leonardo da Vinci, are wonderfully deepened, broadened, and heightened while you are introduced to a new cast of characters. With superb narrative stakes underlining it all, Brotherhood really works narratively.

It's the Brotherhood feature though — where you can build a collection of Assassins, rank them up, send them on missions, and use them in combat — that we cannot believe hasn't made a comeback. It works as a metagame, as a way to improve Ezio's box of tricks in combat, and it narratively builds out his climb to the top of the politicking Brotherhood. Seeing one of the lads take out the guard you needed to get rid of so you can sneak by is an unrivaled experience — we love it.

The introduction of multiplayer was a stroke of genius because it is fun and enticing — as well as absurdly competitive. In short, it's a perfection of the formula of the more traditional games. This is a worthy second-place finish for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, one that deserves its beloved status and is a massive part of what makes this series legendary.

Kes

1. Assassin's Creed Black Flag

  • Platform(s): PS4
  • Is it on PS Plus?: PS Plus Extra
  • Setting: Golden Age of Piracy, Havana | Nassau | Kingston, Caribbean (1715 to 1722 AD)
Ahoy matey — are you here, with the wind billowing in the sails and sea roughly churning around us, to tell us this ain't the truth? Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is the best game in the Assassin's Creed series... on guard! Let’s circle a bit, touch cutlasses, and pull out our four pistols over it. The pirate life isn’t the setting you thought you’d get the perfect Assassin experience in, but somehow, with the swaggering protagonist Edward Kenway at the stern, it gave us exactly that.

The sea is the real charmer here, distinguishing the unique Caribbean setting from the rest of the series. From island to island, you travel in the Jackdaw; an upgradeable ship that you will shelter in for many a fine ship battle before coming home to your residence in Nassau.

The story is on point, with Edward going through a redemption arc that, for our doubloons, rivals even that of Ezio. He starts as a rogue only wearing the robe for personal gain, but — as he grows his attachments to historical figures like Blackbeard, Charles Vane, Anne Bonny, and crew — he begins to change his values.

Assassin's Creed IV Black FlagAssassin's Creed IV Black Flag

This fantastic setting and story are matched by Assassin’s Creed staples. The open world is restrained, meaning the activities are way more focused and compelling than in later titles (looking at you, Unity). Even the stealth is in good form here, even with slightly less hidden blade action than an AC II.

With the Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag trophies requiring story mastery, you will run into the major hurdle of dated main mission design, but you can shrug off that particular nuisance because of a few spectacular set pieces.

Parkour through the palm trees, sails of a ship, or across ruins, and shanty town roof-tops might not be at the level of an Assassin's Creed Unity or Brotherhood, but it is still a much cleaner rendition of nature-based parkour than AC III. Even with more open spaces, traditional cities like Kingston and Jamaica have some fantastic climbing and running action.

Assassin's Creed IIV Black FlagAssassin's Creed IV Black Flag

The fact we haven't mentioned the soundtrack by Brian Tyler is outrageous, given it's complete with sea chanties and straight-up drunken swagger. Key figures in Edwards' life, like first mate Adewale (who features in the elite-level DLC Freedom Cry), will make an impact on you and even the modern-day stuff is narratively compelling. So, let us keep our cutlasses raised for a fun fight, you and I, but give a rum-soaked toast to the best game in the Assassin's Creed series — Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag.

Thank you for reading! More Assassin's Creed is on the way for you so check out our list of the upcoming Assassin's Creed games. In the meantime get in the comments section for some healthy debate! Any disagreements with our list? Is anything sticking out to you? Let us know!
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and Sony news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like Horizon, God of War, and Death Stranding 2 using a wealth of experience from playing PlayStation games over the years. He also covers PS Plus and trophy news, as well as his favorite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and some indie gems — before an evening swim.
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