This past weekend Johannesburg hosted the rAge expo where games from all over the country came to play the upcoming games for 2017 and beyond. One of these games on display was none other than the anticipated Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which is no doubt one of my must play games of the year.
I have always been a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series and while I was playing the demo on display it got me thinking. What has been the worst and the best games in the series so far?
Well, it was then when I decided to rank them against each other to see which one will come out on top.
10. Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines
Back in the PSP days, every developer wanted to jump on board the hardware. It was powerful, and it was portable, something that was able to showcase their vision that was not on a TV. Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines was meant to be the portable Assassin’s experience but unfortunately the PSP, being awesome, was just not enough to produce the vision fully
The game was a sequel to the original title and bridged the gap between the two games, but in the end, fans were left disappointed by the experience as a whole. The game had boring missions, bland combat, the lack of a second analogue stick gave Altair a slower response, and parkour was just not ideal at all. Brotherhood was not what we expected, but Ubisoft tried again a few years later on the PS Vita with the next game in the series, Liberation.
9. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
As the debut game for the new generation of hardware, Ubisoft worked tirelessly on a brand new engine that would usher in a new generation of Assassin’s Creed. Unity was a stunning game visually, but it came at the cost of its performance. Terrible framerates, bugs, and new in-game “time saver” microtransactions made Unity a disaster.
It took Ubisoft weeks before they actually fixed the issues on the game and feedback was so bad that they ended up releasing upcoming DLC for the game for free as an apology for the mess. Gamers, like myself, were unhappy with the state of the game, and it brought down the experience as a whole. Ubisoft has since listened to the issues and have not rushed to release games as fast as they did Unity.
8. Assassin’s Creed: Liberation
I won’t lie, I had high hopes for this game. Better hardware, two analogues, and a badass female assassin to control in a setting never touched on before in the series. Liberation was not bad, but it was not good either. Half the problem was that the game decided to release alongside Assassin’s Creed 3 so flew under the radar.
One of the biggest issues with the game was the lack of player and character connection that the game simply failed to create. Aveline was a slave who becomes an Assassin but the backstory of her life, which was vital to building her character, was never truly realized. Overall the game was an improvement over the past portable game and finally offered a decent on-the-go experience.
7. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Ubisoft milked the Assassin’s Creed II series dry and by the time Revelations came long there was nothing new to it other than a few improvements here and there. Other than the story, which saw an end to Ezio in his old age, the game felt like DLC release that was not warranted at all.
Even the gameplay elements felt unchanged for a whole new release. The hookblade let you jump a bit higher, yes, even if Ezio was a much older man, and there was a tower defence mode that gave players a little bit of variety. Still, it was not enough and after Brotherhood we just wanted a new setting and protagonist to control.
6. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Seen as Assassin’s Creed II was such a huge success and ultimately the best in the series, Ubisoft decided to release a follow up to the game set in Italy and starring our dear friend Ezio again. The game was the first in the series to offer a PvP multiplayer mode and it was good and refreshing. You need to remember that we were in the age of every game having multiplayer even if it was not warranted, but Brotherhood did it well.
The new enhancements to the game included an advanced building system where you would have to own specific parts of a city to improve them, and the Brotherhood system let you send followers on missions across the globe to kill Templar leaders and bring back money and other goods. It was the first time in the series where we felt like we were actually leaders of something, and that helped bring a new layer of detail into the series.
5. Assassin’s Creed III
After the Ezio trilogy came to an end, finally, the series needed a strong new direction to go in with a protagonist that would hopefully live up to the Ezio name. Assassin’s Creed III, as much as it tried, was just not that. It was the first time and last time in the series where players would head to the United States during the American Revolution. Players took the role of Connor Kenway who set out for revenge after his tribe was attacked by the Templars.
Assassin’s Creed III just failed to deliver something refreshing. Instead of it being a climatic close to the original trilogy, the modern day story was a complete mess, and Connor was a dull and uninteresting character to play and learn about.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
If you did not own a PS4 or Xbox One and could not play Unity in all its gorgeous glory, then you at least got Rogue.
Some people say that Rogue was perhaps a better entry than Unity and I won’t deny it either. No more multiplayer, and for the first time in the series you were able to play as a Templar – cue the betrayal music.
Shay Patrick Cormac wielded new weapons like an air rifle and grenade launcher, and instead of being a ruthless Assassin he would intercept enemies to help grow the Templar’s control in the region.
The best part about the game was the ability to see and experience the game from the other side of the fence and taking on Assassins and trying to bring the Brotherhood down.
3. Assasin’s Creed: Syndicate
After Unity’s hot mess Ubisoft worked very hard to make sure their 2015 game Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was better than ever, and they succeeded. Taking place in London during the industrial revolution, Syndicate followed the story of Jacob and Evie Frye, siblings who set forth to try and free London from the control of the Templars.
These dastardly people have managed to spread their influence into the royal palace, and other parts of the UK government while at the same time they basically control the city. The game was great without the need for multiplayer, any complicated modern-day stories, and focused just on the great characters and strong story that we all loved from the series.
2. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
After the bumpy release of Assassin’s Creed III Ubisoft brought their game back with the next instalment in the series, Black Flag. Following the story of Edward Kenway, yes, the grandfather of Connor from AC: III, the game’s main attraction was the naval system and how Edward charted the Caribbean in search for treasure which ultimately led him to the discovery of the conflict between the Assassin’s and the Templars.
The game’s massive open world which was all seamless as you control your pirate ship, and its great visuals, combat system, and of course Edward’s powerful role in the game, gave Black Flag a thumbs up from many fans of the series. You can ask anyone and they will tell you how great the game was.
1. Assassin’s Creed II
Today Assassin’s Creed II stands as the best in the series mainly because of its jump in content and features over the original game. AC: II came along and ushered in a new protagonist that we all loved, and took us to one of the best eras in history, the Renaissance in Italy during the 1400s.
Ezio was a character that grew with us across the game and his struggle and sudden birth into the Brotherhood was strong enough that it made us care about him and his family. There was no stronger character in the series and gameplay elements like a dedicated gear system and villa that let you upgrade your homestead with new additions that further improved your character, was refreshing new take on the game. Assassin’s Creed II is still the best today and I hope one day a new entry comes along that is better.