Assassin's Creed has long been an important pawn on the stealth and open-world front, with chapters dating all the way back to 2007 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Of course, the days have long gone since historical accuracy was Ubisoft's main selling point for the franchise. But with that said, the series, as a whole, is still very much booming with fictional works left, right and centre. And, weirdly enough, ever since accuracy was thrown from the table, Assassin's Creed has opened up to some pretty remarkable tales.
We've seen assassins come and go over the last fourteen years, with many of the leading roles falling flat at the first few hurdles. But that's not what we're here to talk about. At least not today, anyway. Instead, we're looking at the very storylines that laced the brotherhood and the assassin law. From the origins of the Creed to the modern-day turmoil with the Templar order, here's what we think ranks the highest from the timeline as a whole. So, heads up Valhalla — because you're about to be shamed.
5. Assassin's Creed 3
It's true, Assassin's Creed 3 did receive its fair share of hate after launch, though a lot of its negative reception, of course, did stem from it being a standalone chapter, in which the familiar Ezio Auditore was no longer glued to the spotlight. Instead, we were given a new lead, with the previous tales with our beloved Italian finally phasing out to new ideas. And as bold as it was to remove the elite assassin from the roster, Assassin's Creed 3 was, in all fairness, still a refreshing continuation of the Desmond story arc.
Putting the American Revolution at the forefront of the experience was a huge move for Ubisoft, and, quite frankly, one they executed remarkably well. Both Haytham Kenway, the leader of the Colonial Templars, and Connor, the rookie Mohawk assassin, were fantastic additions to the playable roster, and two powerful units that both shared a network of intriguing backstories. All in all, traversing the Boston frontier and playing cat and mouse with the Templar order truly did make up for a genuinely compelling narrative, and, to be honest, it's something we would proudly enrol in again.
4. Assassin's Creed
With all of history to play and tamper with, Ubisoft truly did hold the keys to something phenomenal back in '07, with enough winding pathways to compose an endless timeline of mesmerizing journeys. And thankfully, Assassin's Creed was the result of that newfound goal, with enough source material to bridge gaps for all eternity. But of course, it all had to start somewhere, and the Third Crusade, being the most historically accurate time period for the brotherhood, was the perfect starting point for such a timeline.
Although relatively simple in terms of structure, Assassin's Creed had perhaps one of the most immersive storylines ever produced for the franchise. Altair and his quest for redemption with the brotherhood made up for some truly fascinating gameplay, with a non-fictional spin to keep players both engaged and stocked up on knowledge from beginning to end. Although lacking the charm that later followed with Ezio and friends, Masyaf was still a fantastic tale overall, and one that paved the way to much braver tales in later years.
3. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
While you could argue that the Frye twins weren't the most likeable assassins on the roster, you could also say that their London story arc and overall chemistry was a worthy consolation prize. Of course, being so rich and full of history, London rolled out as one of the best cities in the history of the series, with plenty of historical figures to mesh with. Like, Queen Victoria, for example. And let's not forget Jack the Ripper, which even came with an exclusive DLC story arc. But that's a story for another time.
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, being one of the first modernized chapters in the timeline, meant we had a much wider arsenal at our disposal, with an even bigger cityscape to bolster it. London, with all its Blighter-infested boroughs and Templar controlled districts, gave us so much genuine gameplay to chew through that we couldn't help but sweep the board of all its content. Story-wise, not a great deal changed in regards to the Piece of Eden, though it did come with a secondary objective, which we could quite simply flick between as we pleased. And honestly, Ubisoft did a pretty nifty job with embellishing both sides.
2. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Although not strictly focusing on the assassin brotherhood for a large portion of the journey, Black Flag still boasted one of the greatest adventures in the Assassin's Creed franchise to date. Of course, we can pin most of its success on the enticing naval combat and luscious landscapes that dotted around the ocean blue. But on top of that, Edward Kenway's wondrous voyage from rags to riches was still one of the most fascinating to date, with enough content to compile an anthology of stories.
Assassin's Creed: Black Flag was pretty much the turning point for the series, where Desmond no longer carried the torch for the modern story arc. Instead, we were left with a watered-down present-day side plot and a much more fleshed out Animus expedition, with Edward Kenway being the frontrunner to the pioneering chapter. But then, having the pirate lords acting as the leading roles for the tale, we couldn't exactly raise a complaint over the newfound style. Assassin-based or not, Black Flag was a groundbreaking entry to the series, with pockets of treasure buried in almost every nook and cranny of its vast open world.
1. Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection
Rather than filling three spots with Assassin's Creed 2, Brotherhood and Revelations, with nine alternatives left to fight for the final two spaces, it seems only right that we bundle in the trilogy as a whole, with the gold effortlessly hovering over its overall prominence. Because the fact is, Ezio Auditore's story arc that spanned nearly half a century was, and still very much is, the best storyline Ubisoft has ever written. Period.
From the moment we sunk into the boots of the teenage rebel, we immediately fell in love with the world and lore that weaved with the family tree. Ezio Auditore, along with Desmond Miles, both meshed together to compile one epic tale packed full of wonder, with each chapter stacking up to form the ultimate crescendo. From Florence to Rome, Rhodes to Masyaf, we watched the bereaved teen rise to the elite assassin, with every passing crossroad nestled with emotion and power. And that's something Ubisoft will never be able to recreate. Like, ever.
Do you agree with our list? Which Assassin's Creed chapter did you enjoy the most? Let us know over on our social handle here. Or, if you're sticking around, why not take a look at our other Assassin's Creed lists?