I have just jumped from the roof of a building having stalked my prey across the rooftops. As I land, the blade shoots out of my arm like a bullet from a gun and lodges itself in the neck of my prey. I quickly remove it and check my surroundings.
With adrenaline soaring through my veins, I scale the nearest wall at breakneck speed before one more vertigo-inducing leap into a very well placed hay cart. I stay hidden beneath the hay as guards pass, completely unaware of my presence. I can only be playing one game: Assassin’s Creed.
In this, the final article of Assassin’s Creed month, I will rank the main console games. So, sheath your blades, lower your hoods and avoid hay carts…at least for the duration of this ranking.
8. Assassin’s Creed Revelations: One word comes to mind when I think of Revelations: forgettable. Even though it tied up loose ends surrounding the Altair and Ezio story arc, it never really inspired me. It came at the tail end of the Ezio trilogy when even the great man was becoming boring. Players were eager to move on, and Revelations just felt like a stopgap. In fact, looking back, I cannot remember the main antagonist or much of the plot. Constantinople was also the least inspiring cities of the city based games. And don’t get me started on tower defence!
7. Assassin’s Creed: The first Assassin’s Creed game is looked back on with fondness by fans, after all, this was Genesis, the game that started it all. Unfortunately, it had its problems. The missions were heavily repetitive–eavesdrop – bribe – assassinate – repeat–and the combat was less refined. However, it introduced the much-vaunted parkour system, both horizontally and vertically, as well as a historical setting that few games venture into: The Crusades. It also happens to be the time-period where, historically, the Templars actually existed. So points for that.
6. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: While it introduced some new movement mechanics, namely the rope launcher, and two playable protagonists, including a female, Syndicate came at the point in the series where many players hade switched off. It was the lowest selling in series history and one of the worst reviewed, simply due to oversaturation. As a game though, it was not that bad. Evie and Jacob were interesting, and the setting was enjoyable. It just didn’t do enough. It felt like Unity only in a different period.
5. Assassin’s Creed Unity: The first next-gen Assassin’s Creed game will be forever associated with bugs. However, when you strip away the issues, you have a solid if not totally inspiring story. Paris is a bustling and exciting city, and the backdrop of the French Revolution is well represented by historical figures like Napoleon himself. It also, to this day, is the best looking game in the series. The game is slightly let down by characters, most of which we have seen before–read Arno as Altair or Connor– but, overall, a better game than it gets credit for.
4. Assassin’s Creed 3: I have no doubt in my mind that assassins creed three is let down by its pacing and its main character. While you have empathy for Connor, his downbeat and serious characterisation grates after a while. The reason it is 4th on my list though is that it introduced the most engaging and well-written antagonist of the series. Hatham Kenway, a name that can only be muttered with an old English accent. Without him, the game would be close to the bottom, but he and the story overall added to a game that suffered by being rushed out the door.
3. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: The most enjoyable thing with brotherhood was Rome. Having been teased at the end of AC 2 Rome is a fascinating city to explore, and the sheer scale of the Colosseum was something to behold on the PS3. Taking over the city bit by bit felt like you were retaking your city for your people. What sets this game apart, however, is the idea of controlling a team of assassins that can help you out in various situations. I constantly found myself micromanaging my best recruits to form a team I could depend on. I also found myself enjoying lifting my arm in the air hearing the eagle scream and seeing my recruits eliminate some guards, leaving the path open for me. It also receives marks for introducing the inventive multiplayer to the series.
2. Assassin’s Creed 2: For many people, the best Assassins Creed game. The story is breathtaking and groundbreaking, you have to kill the pope for crying out loud! Moreover, in Ezio, we have a character that we can empathise with, and the enjoyment of watching him grow throughout the game is its true pleasure. The three main cities are just different enough to keep it interesting and the antagonist, Rodrigo Borgia, is one, which, for most of the game, felt too good to catch so the payoff at the end is somewhat satisfying. The best thing about this game is it takes all the good from Assassin’s Creed and makes it better, but it also removes all the bad to create, almost, the perfect Assassins Creed game.
1. Assassin’s Creed Black Flag: FUN. The best thing I can say about Blag Flag is that I have not had as much fun with an Assassin’s Creed game ever. It takes the fantastic ship mechanics introduced in AC 3 and expands them to the point where ship to ship or ship to fortress battles were intense, pacey and truly satisfying. The golden age of the Piracy setting is a refreshing tone change from the rest of the series, and in Edward Kenway we have the perfect character to exploit that. It should also be noted that Edward is also my favourite Assassin. Where the main story is largely forgettable, running around and exploring as a pirate was intoxicating and that is why it is my favourite game. It’s just too much fun to ignore.