Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is among the best entries in Ubisoft’s franchise, but which games in the series are the most important?
With that said, there is a huge universe of lore to explore and uncover as the series has found its way into novels, comics, spin-offs, and twelve major installments in the series. It can be somewhat overwhelming to dive into the franchise if someone wanted to understand both the modern-day and historical story arcs. So let’s rank the Assassin’s Creed games based on their importance in terms of storylines, setting, and characters.
10/10 Assassin’s Creed Unity
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is the fifth numbered entry in the series and was the first title in the series that was meant to showcase what the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One were capable of. Unfortunately, the game was far too ambitious for its own good and released with a ton of bugs at launch.
Thankfully, the game is in a much better state today for a bargain. This is great news for fans of the series because not only will they be able to experience a surprisingly solid entry with some of the best combat in the series but they can enjoy a narrative that focuses more on the historical setting of the French Revolution.
9/10 Assassin’s Creed
Released in 2007 for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, the very first Assassin’s Creed game was an instant hit. While it was pretty unpolished in several areas, Assassin’s Creed did a fantastic job of building a brand new gaming universe and a stunning historical setting for fans to lose themselves in.
It’s the first game in the series and it’s still very important as far as character building for its modern-day protagonist Desmond Miles. Interestingly, the developers at Ubisoft have optimized Assassin’s Creed for the Xbox One X, making it a much smoother and prettier experience.
8/10 Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Released in 2015, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was set during the Victorian era in London and featured two interchangeable protagonists the Jacob and Evie Frye. This time the centuries-long war between the Assassins and the Templars has spilled out onto the streets of London which Jacob and Evie have to take back by force.
The game’s story ties into Black Flag as it’s revealed that Edward Kenway had kept the Shroud of Eden hidden away. The shroud also ties into the series’ modern-day storyline as it is revealed that Templars plan to use its healing properties to try and create a living Precursor human.
7/10 Assassin’s Creed III
Released in 2012 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii U, Assassin’s Creed III was the direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and the final episode in Desmond’s story arc. It’s also the first episode in the Kenway saga which stars Connor, Haytham, and Edward Kenway.
Assassin’s Creed III was also the first game in the series to include naval combat and featured one of the best and most empowering combat systems in the series to date. The game was remastered and released alongside a remaster of the PSP title Assassin’s Creed: Liberation for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
6/10 Assassin’s Creed: IV Black Flag
Despite being the fourth mainline title in the series, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a prequel starring Edward Kenway, the grandfather of Assassin Creed III’s main protagonist Connor Kenway. The game’s setting is based in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy and features prominent historical characters like Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, Mary Read, Charles Vane, and Bartholomew Roberts.
Black Flag does not feature Desmond as the modern-day protagonist, instead, the story unfolds through the eyes of “the player” as the Sage tries to resurrect Juno, one of the Precursor humans.
5/10 Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue was essentially a spin-off that put players in the shoes of an Assassin-turned Templar Shay Cormac. Not only does it heavily connect with the events of Assassin’s Creed III but it feels like a sequel to Black Flag and leads directly into the events of Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
It’s an important title because it not only shows the player a brand new perspective through the eyes of a Templar but added an interesting gameplay dynamic where Shay is both the hunter and the hunted as he randomly fends off assassination attempts from his former comrades in arms.
4/10 Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Released in 2017, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is both a prequel and a soft reboot for the long-running action-adventure franchise. This time, the series features a brand new modern-day protagonist called Layla Hassan, a scientist that has created her own way of connecting to the past with her own modified version of the Animus.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins has an important place in the franchise’s history because it dates even further back than the original game, with it being set in Ancient Egypt. It also explores the origins of the Creed with the Hidden Ones and how they began by fighting against The Order of the Ancients, who were the forerunners to the Templar Order.
3/10 Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
With a Historical Greek setting, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey dates back even further than Origins, and its events are based around the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. It features appearances from historical characters like King Leonidas, Pericles, Xerxes, and more.
The game also continues Layla Hassan’s modern-day storyline as her narrative intertwines with the events of the past. It’s an important episode in the franchise and has a huge and beautiful Greek setting for gamers to explore.
2/10 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Released in 2020 on current and next-gen consoles, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is set during the Viking Expansion of Europe. It puts players in the shoes of Eivor, a Viking warrior whose destiny becomes intertwined with the Brotherhood of Assassins and The Templar Order.
Even though Valhalla is still set quite some time before the events of the first game, its medieval setting and the familiarity of The Brotherhood of Assassins makes it feel like the franchise has come full circle. Layla also meets a character who has been very important to the overall narrative of the series.
1/10 Assassin’s Creed 2 Trilogy
The second game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise replaced its predecessor’s stoic and uncharismatic lead, Altair, with the incredibly endearing Ezio. The historical setting also changed from The Holy Land to Renaissance Italy.
Ezio’s personal journey is a very compelling one and has some of the best character development in the series. In addition, the Ezio Trilogy –Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations –manages to make the modern-day sequences intriguing by building on the plot of the Precursor humans known as the Isu who posed as various god throughout time. There are just so many big plot-reveals wrapped up in Ezio’s story that these games set a precedence for all the future titles that followed.