All Assassin’s Creed Games, Reviewed: Origins, Black Flag, AC II, And More

Assassin’s Creed Through The Ages

It’s hard to believe, but Ubisoft has released 20 Assassin’s Creed games in the span of a decade, and we’re already primed for a new one this year with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. In the years since the franchise’s 2007 debut, we’ve received a wealth of fantastic games that have each managed to refine the series’ classic open-world formula, while at times pushing it in exciting new directions.

Of course, not every Assassin’s Creed game has met fan expectations, but the franchise is still packed with a ton of thrilling adventures that are well-worth experiencing and even revisiting today. It all began with the first Assassin’s Creed, a flawed game that showed great promise with its innovative climbing mechanics and sci-fi/historical drama narrative. This potential was eventually realized with Assassin’s Creed II, which proved a remarkable improvement thanks to more varied design and a historical setting that stood out from other open-world games of the time. Its follow-up, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, remains a satisfying sequel that refined much of what we loved about AC II while giving us new combat and exploration mechanics to engage with.

The next major highlight in the franchise came from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, a pirate-themed adventure telling the redemption tale of Edward Kenway, an errant thief soon to be made an Assassin. The game’s naval combat and exploration brought new life to the series’ increasingly stale urban environments. Rounding out the series’ most noteworthy entries are Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Assassin’s Creed Origins. Syndicate brought hope back to the series after one of its most debilitating lows, but Origins completely revitalized the franchise while transforming it into an action-RPG series.

You can experience the highs and lows of Assassin’s Creed by checking out our reviews of nearly every single game in the franchise in the slides ahead. It’s worth noting that we do not have reviews of lesser-known games in the series: Assassin’s Creed: Pirates and Assassin’s Creed identity. Though, if you’re interested in the deeper cuts of the franchise and want an in-depth look at Assassin’s Creed in all of its ups and downs, be sure to watch the video above discussing the franchise’s history and its impact on the gaming industry.

In the meantime, which Assassin’s Creed games do you love the most? Which games disappointed you the most? Feel free to discuss all your thoughts in the comments below.

Assassin’s Creed — 9/10

“Assassin’s Creed will stay with you long after you finish it. Here is one of the most unique gameworlds ever created: beautiful, memorable, and alive. Every crack and crevasse is filled with gorgeous, subtle details, from astounding visual flourishes to overheard cries for help. But it’s more than just a world–it’s a fun and exciting action game with a ton of stuff to do and places to explore, rounded out with silky-smooth controls and a complex story that will slowly grab you the more you play. Make no mistake: Assassin’s Creed is one of the best efforts of the year and a must-own game.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles — 6/10

“You could finish Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles in around four hours, but even the promise of a harder difficulty level won’t likely lure you back for a second play-through. It’s hardly a bad game; in fact, the final hour mixes the various elements together nicely and hits a smooth stride as a result. Nevertheless, the game offers few surprises, and some sloppy execution problems get in the way far too often to make it outright recommendable.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines — 5/10

“Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines doesn’t get it. On the surface, it offers many of the features you’d want from an Assassin’s Creed game on the PSP. It puts you in control of Altair, the first game’s nimble protagonist, and sends you on a mission to assassinate your Templar enemies, who are equally eager to plunge their swords into you. If you delve a little deeper, however, you’ll find that Bloodlines skimps on what makes the console games so special. The joy of rooftop running has been diminished by flawed platforming and smaller environments, bustling cities have been replaced by barren districts on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, and AI problems render the stealthy approach all but irrelevant. Bloodlines still delivers the brief bloody thrills you get from a well-timed counterattack, but on the whole, it is a neutered and unsatisfying adventure.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed II — 9/10

“At first, Assassin’s Creed II might seem as if it has added more than its foundation was meant to handle, but once all the new features are completely introduced, it develops that magic that so few games can cast. This is the rare sequel that offers fans of the original the basics they would expect, while adding and changing so many other aspects that even those who didn’t appreciate the first should take the plunge, without hesitation. A few more contrivances notwithstanding, Assassin’s Creed II is a better game than its forebear and is a beautiful and memorable experience on its own terms. But it’s more than just a game–it’s an escape to a place and a time that feel so welcoming, you’ll be making return trips even after your initial adventure is over.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery — 7/10

“In spite of its flaws, Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery does a good job of bringing the Assassin’s Creed vibe to a handheld platform. The scope is condensed but the spirit remains, thanks to fluid combat animations, familiar sound effects, and little touches, like cowering citizens, that pay homage to the vibrant cities of the console games. It’s got its share of quirks, but Discovery is the first right step toward fitting a world of secret assassins and crazy conspiracies in your pocket.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood — 8.5/10

“Almost every aspect of the series has seen enhancements in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, from travel (you can whistle for a horse and ride it almost anywhere) to value (you can now replay any completed memory). There is joy in leaping across the Roman rooftops, taking in the grand sights in front of you and realizing that it is all your own playground. Stealing a combatant’s spear from him and impaling him on it is a brutal pleasure. And the little touches–the way Claudia meets Ezio’s stare with one of her own, or the fluid animations that characterize your agile maneuvers–are constant reminders of what makes these games so enchanting. This may not be Assassin’s Creed III, but like Ezio’s smirk, Brotherhood is too irresistible to ignore.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations — 8/10

“Even the greatest heroes can’t live forever. And so it goes for Ezio Auditore di Firenze, who finally steps aside to make room for new champions in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. This is another quality entry in a quality series, and it unleashes you in a visually stunning re-creation of 16th-century Constantinople. Additions to the movement mechanics make exploring the city a joyous exercise in high-flying parkour, with you as Ezio leaping across rooftops and flinging yourself up exterior walls like a Renaissance superhero. Like many sequels, Revelations giveth, and Revelations taketh away, so you lose certain elements (horses) in favor of a slew of new ones (bomb crafting). Lots and lots of new ones. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is sometimes a lumpy Frankenstein’s monster of a game, half-formed appendages stitched into place regardless of whether they belong there or not. Thankfully, when Revelations remembers to be an Assassin’s Creed game, it soars into the Turkish skies, reminding fans why they fell in love with this freewheeling series.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed III — 8.5/10

“Assassin’s Creed III is a big game that gives you a lot to do, some of which is fleshed out relatively well, and some of which isn’t. It is not, however, content to rest on the series’ laurels. It takes chances with its opening, with its story, and with its characters. It expands the series’ gameplay in enjoyable and sensible ways. As with many ambitious games, not every arrow fired hits the bull’s-eye, yet this big, narratively rich sequel is easy to get invested in. Other games stimulate emotion with manipulative music and teary monologues; Assassin’s Creed III rouses your mind and your heart by giving you a glimpse into its characters’ souls and letting you judge them on their own merits.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation — 6.5/10

“Though Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation toys around with intriguing concepts and centers its story around a character you desperately want to know more about, none of it comes together especially well. Liberation often excels, but it stumbles just as much. The result is a game that fails to bear the standard of quality that has defined this series for years.” [Read the review]

— Shaun McInnis

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag — 9/10

“Black Flag presents a world full of adventure and opportunity, where treasures scavenged in a remote jungle can be used to turn the tide in a massive naval battle against mighty Spanish warships. It’s a game where you can sail the seas for hours at a time, either hunting great white sharks or simply listening to your crew sing one infectious sea shanty after the next. There’s an incredible scope to what you can do in Black Flag, with a level of harmony between its component parts that encourages you to try it all, and a story that keeps you invested throughout the whole thing. If there was ever any question that Assassin’s Creed needed something ambitious to get the series back on track, Black Flag is that game and then some.” [Read the review]

— Shaun McInnis

Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry — 6/10

“With the strongest ensemble cast in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag wasn’t short of assassins and pirates worthy of their own playable tales, DLC or otherwise. Freedom Cry is more than just another Assassin’s Creed IV chapter with a reskinned protagonist, but its troubled handling of dark themes makes this a turbulent voyage.” [Read the review]

— Miguel Concepcion

Assassin’s Creed Unity — 7/10

“Not all of Unity’s more progressive touches are for the best then, but you might spend more time noticing what’s old than what’s new. The terrific city atmosphere of Paris, the focus on parkour, and the incentives for performing stealthy assassinations, all these things hint at a game that’s trying to return to its roots after branching out so wildly in its past two iterations. Yes, Unity is the most ACII-like of the series since, well, ACII, and while it never really hits the dizzying heights of Ezio’s jaunt through 15th century Italy, Unity’s similarities are comforting enough to take the edge off its less-than-successful changes. But is it the next-gen Assassin’s Creed game we’ve all been waiting for? Not quite. It’s very good, maybe even great in places, but the story’s smaller focus has come at the expense of its exquisitely rendered backdrop. The grandness and spectacle that so often graces the finest Assassin’s Creeds is sadly sorely lacking here.” [Read the review]

— Mark Walton

Assassin’s Creed Rogue — 6/10

“Outside of a few additions like an air rifle and grenade launcher (which is used exactly one for mission), there’s next to nothing in Rogue that moves the franchise forward. And even if you simply wanted more of Black Flag, that the missions are so sparse makes it difficult to want to drag yourself across the vast expanse of Rogue’s oceans. Instead of a rich, fleshed-out game, Rogue is a short, mildly entertaining adventure that’s thin on core content, but thick with information. It’s intriguing information though, particularly if you’re a series fan, just don’t expect the best of adventures while you’re taking it all in.” [Read the review]

— Mark Walton

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China — 6/10

“Assassin Shao Jun really wants a box. Apparently, the box holds a precious artifact left from the time of the First Civilization, but it is simply the ultimate in MacGuffins; it’s the Maltese Falcon, the briefcase from Pulp Fiction, and the Ark of the Covenant. What it does is irrelevant and never elaborated upon, at least not in this story, for its purpose is to kick an adventure into action–in this case, a beautiful and ultimately boring trek that cribs from Mark of the Ninja but can’t capture the earlier game’s cleverness or excitement. It’s tempting to praise Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China for squeezing the series’ signature elements into two-and-a-half dimensions, and for making stealth gameplay more vital than it has been in an Assassin’s Creed game for years. But Chronicles rests on being pretty, adding new mechanics over time but flattening the pace and allowing exploits and glitches to suck out the rising tension.” [Read the review]

— Kevin VanOrd

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate — 9/10

“[Assassin’s Creed Syndicate] is a triumphant return to form for the franchise, and presents a beautifully structured tale with heart and soul to spare. Ziplining through London is thrilling, and the game allows you to organically discover missions and leaves you open-ended solutions lets you to create a meaningful, personal experience within its world. Coupled with strong, loveable leads and a seemingly endless procession of ways to leave your (fictional) mark on London’s history, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a shining example of gameplay and storytelling.” [Read the review]

— Alexa Ray Corriea

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India — 7/10

“For the mainline Assassin’s Creed games, the history and characters are the bones holding the gameplay upright. For the Chronicles series, the curiosities presented by the setting act as a thin veneer that only momentarily distracts from the flaws beneath. Like Arbaaz himself, these great moments have a bad habit of vanishing into thin air when you least want them to, bit there is still a lot of fun to be had in this Indian adventure.” [Read the review]

— Justin Clark

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia — 5/10

“[Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia’s] art style is ultimately indicative of the problems with the series, in that, even at its most colorful or active, it falls flat. We’re given few reasons to care about the story or characters, and gameplay doesn’t escalate in a way that make sticking around for the complete three-game journey worthwhile. Newcomers may still find fleeting joy in one of the games for being a bite sized portion of Prince of Persia-style journeys through an exotic land. But the idea of sticking around for seconds or thirds has been proven to be a fool’s errand, and that single portion turning out to be Russia would give a lackluster impression of the rest. Chronicles ends not with a bang or a whimper, but a shrug.” [Read the review]

— Justin Clark

Assassin’s Creed Origins — 7/10

“While Assassin’s Creed Origins reaches great heights in this new setting, it routinely runs into issues that bog down the overall experience. Technical issues make for an inconsistent experience and its new gameplay pillars wobble under the weight of its systems. But despite this, the world of Origins remains fresh and exciting to explore, which is a testament to the remarkable setting and compelling story. Assassin’s Creed has undergone many changes in its long and storied history, and Origins feels like the first step in the start of a new journey. It has its fair share of problems, but the vision for its future is one worth pursuing.” [Read the review]

— Alessandro Fillari, Editor

Recommended Reading