Assassin’s Creed, being one of the most prolific video game franchises on the planet, has a myriad of alternate timelines, spin-offs, and DLC. And while one could quite easily argue that its mainline entries are the beating heart of the saga, it’s the treasure trove of add-ons that keep its blood circulating with each passing instalment.
If there’s one thing we know about Ubisoft, it’s that they love to keep certain ships afloat. Specifically, the flagship vessels that produce enough gold to constitute a second, or maybe even a third voyage. Question is, which of the many vessels that have left the dock have provided the most memorable adventures? Well, here’s how we see it. Here are, in our opinion, the five best spin-offs to ever release under the Assassin’s Creed banner.
5. Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles
Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles was Ubisoft’s first real swing at making a spin-off to the up-and-coming saga. Serving as a prequel to the first game, players take on the role of Altaïr during the Third Crusade. With Jerusalem on the brink of collapse, ravaged by two warring factions, the Master Assassin is forced to uncover the Chalice, an ancient artefact that bears the power to unify the land.
Altaïr’s Chronicles went on to receive commercial success following its 2008 debut, primarily on the Nintendo DS. This newfound reputation then eventually went on to lay the foundations for the next generation of Assassin’s Creed titles. To this day, it is still regarded as one of Ubisoft’s better spin-offs, in spite of it being removed from the App Store and Play Store sometime in 2013.
4. Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery
Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery is a side-scrolling spin-off that launched on iOS and Nintendo DS back in 2009. Set in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition, players once again assume control of Ezio Auditore. This time, however, the Templar’s influence has invaded Barcelona. And, like before, it’s up to the master assassin to unite the brotherhood and eliminate the threat.
Discovery launched to a sea of positive reviews, with the vast majority praising it for its improvements over Altaïr’s Chronicles. Fleshed out with a fluid combat system and a nexus of visually appealing levels, the spin-off garnered quite the reputation. Unfortunately, it was somewhat short-lived, as the game was removed from the App Store just a few years later. It was later succeeded by Liberation, a spin-off that would become the leading torchbearer for the franchise.
Ubisoft spent the best part of 2015 developing new ways to flesh out the Assassin’s Creed franchise without having to resort to the same open world formula. The result of this was, of course, the Chronicles saga, a triple pack of 2D side-scrolling spin-offs that took players across China, India, and Russia.
Chronicles brought some of the most breathtakingly beautiful settings to a trio of well-orchestrated storylines. Similar to its mainline chapters, each plot revolved around a feud between the brotherhood and the Templar Order. In this collection, though, the focus was more or less on the combat, with the odd boss battle to boot. And in all honesty, this short-lived series was enough to redeem the god-awful Unity instalment that released one year prior. Bite-sized, and yet surprisingly filling, you could say.
2. Freedom Cry
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag set a new benchmark for open world video games, utilizing the golden age of piracy to flesh out a dyanmic ocean playground rife with open-ended possibilities. Thanks to Ubisoft pioneering this newfound biome, its standalone spin-off, Freedom Cry, was able to reap all the same rewards without having to develop any additional foundations.
Freedom Cry puts players in the boots of ex-slave turned assassin Adéwalé roughly fifteen years after the events of Black Flag. Now a trained assassin and on the prowl for revenge against the Templars, the shotgun-wielding pirate looks to form a new crew and unravel the Order’s plans to dominate the local monopoly. With a new body of water to roam around in, this four-hour campaign brings a second helping of Black Flag to the shore. It’s relatively short, but absolutely chock-full of content, both in and outside of the water.
In spite of Ubisoft’s best efforts to reignite the fires of its former successes, Assassin’s Creed III just didn’t quite attain the same level of quality as Assassin’s Creed II. It was only months after its release, of course, that the mainline entry found some level of acclaim, mainly through its standalone spin-off, Liberation.
Assassin’s Creed Liberation was the first game in the saga to introduce a female protagonist to the roster, a character whom gracefully brought a wide range of skills and old school assassin techniques to the table. As the center piece in a New Orleans feud between the assassins and the Templars, the French rebel was able to forge a whole new arc for the franchise. With a stunning open world playground and a fluid combat system to boot, the handheld chapter went on to win the fans’ vote in record-breaking time.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any Assassin’s Creed spin-offs you’d recommend? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.