Ah, Assassin's Creed. The success of Ubisoft's massively popular open world series is partly responsible for pushing the publisher up near the very top of the industry food chain, where it now sits alongside the likes of EA and Activision. But as is the case with any long standing franchise, Creed has had its ups and downs. Some of its games have been huge, genre-defining hits, which others have done little more than stain the series' name. As such, we've taken the time to rank each main Assassin's Creed instalment from best to worst.
An admirable but ultimately futile attempt at bringing Ubisoft’s stealth action series to the PlayStation Portable, 2009’s Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines picks up directly after the events of the first game, with protagonist Altaïr travelling to Cyprus in pursuit of the property’s MacGuffin mystical apple. While the game impressively captures the open world atmosphere of the original PS3 release, it’s an undeniably diluted experience that even the most ardent Creed supporter can feel comfortable skipping.
Originally something of a tight fit on the PS Vita, Liberation starred the series' first female lead: Aveline. Despite its handheld origins, the title stuck to the property's open world formula reasonably well, but it suffered from a confusing overarching plot and an array of convoluted gameplay mechanics which it often failed to properly explain. Still, for a portable Assassin's Creed outing it couldn't be faulted for its ambition, even if it did end up feeling rather basic compared to its home console brethren by the time it was ported to the PS3.
The launch of a new intellectual property – particularly one as exciting and original as Assassin’s Creed – is always cause for celebration, and Altaïr’s inaugural adventure came with huge expectations attached when it released over a decade ago in 2007. The game ultimately failed to live up to its ambition, delivering an unprecedented historical sandbox with very little to do in it. Ubisoft would eventually improve upon the original’s core ideas to create the brand we know and love today, and the first game will always carry some authority for “starting it all” as it were.
The packed streets of Paris were the backdrop to Assassin's Creed Unity, the series' first current-gen exclusive venture. Utilising the increased power of the PS4, Unity was able to stuff its virtual French city with massive crowds, creating an impressive atmosphere. However, its ambition came at a cost. At launch and for a while after, Unity was a shambles of a release, plagued by crashing, awful frame rate issues, and countless bugs. Ubisoft did eventually patch things up -- at least to some degree -- and we were left with a decent Assassin's Creed game.
Assassin's Creed III finally dropped established protagonist Ezio, but it made the mistake of replacing him with a wholly unremarkable lead in Connor -- a comparatively boring and dreary hero who unfortunately failed to stand out in a rather boring and dreary game. Okay, that's perhaps a little harsh. Assassin's Creed III did a lot right, and its American Revolution backdrop presented some intriguing historical storylines, but a tediously lengthy opening act set the title's dull tone, and overall, the game just didn't quite live up to the expectations that came courtesy of the fresh start that Ubisoft had promised.
Released during that strange transition period between the PS3 and PS4, 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Rogue released alongside Assassin’s Creed Unity on last-gen hardware, acting as a sequel to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in the franchise’s increasingly headache-inducing timeline. While it recycled a lot of the systems from its piratical predecessor, the game is perhaps best known for arming you with the hidden blade of a Templar. With a heavy dose of naval combat and a surprisingly mature narrative set against the backdrop of the Seven Years’ War, Rogue was perhaps the best Assassin’s Creed that very few people had actually played. Good job it eventually got a PS4 remaster, then.
Birthed as an expansion to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Freedom Cry starred Adewale, Edward Kenway's second in command. After the events of the main game, Adewale finds himself tangled up in a war between scheming Templars, eager Assassins, and cruel slave traders. As a standalone release, Freedom Cry is a relatively short escapade, but it boasts a good story and some well designed missions. An easy recommendation for those who enjoyed the fantastic Black Flag and want more of the same.