How Assassin’s Creed Games Changed from 2007 to 2021

I spend a lot of time talking about the Assassin’s Creed Games. Mostly about which games I like more than others. I see so many comments ranging from, should I play the older games if I like the new ones? The new Assassin’s Creed is trash. How could anyone like these games? No matter what you think. We can all agree on one thing. Assassin’s Creed Games has changed. Here’s my no spoilers guide to how the series evolved from 2007 to 2021.

Assassin’s Creed 01 (2007)

AC game 1 is entirely unique to me. You play as a bartender kidnapped by an evil corporation forced to relive your ancestors’ memories. In the simulation, you play as Altair, who belongs to an ancient line of freedom fighters, equipped with the skills to assassinate targets across the holy land in an open-world setting.

Assassin's Creed 1
Assassin’s Creed 1

Assassin’s Creed 01 Gameplay

The gameplay focuses on stealth action. It involves platforming rooftops to navigate the world, blending in crowds to avoid detection, and pursuing investigations, which lead to each target.

Combat is challenging but fair. Letting you counter enemies but rewarding stealthy play. Following the Creed is the top priority, and gameplay supports that both focus and restrictions.

Assassin’s Creed 02 (2009)

AC game 2 feels different enough to be a refresh. You play as Desmond, still evading Abstergo, but now we experience Ezio’s memories in the Italian renaissance.

Assassin's Creed 2
Assassin’s Creed 2

Instead of just hunting targets and following the creed Ezio’s origin story is the main focus and his revenge plot is at the heart of this game.

Italy feels like a playground filled with fun things to do. Ezio is masterful at climbing and killing. Dual hidden blades make gameplay a lot more arcade and move like the high jump evolve parkour further.

The story expands the plot much further to include an ancient civilization responsible for these ancient relics.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010)

Brotherhood is a true sequel. it takes most things AC 2 does and either expand on the ideas or copy-pastes them. This time you’re in Rome, and Ezio is a master assassin. Able to recruit new members to fight the templars.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Gameplay

The gameplay supports that fantasy. I am letting you sick assassins on enemies. Ezio is a murder machine, and the old-school counter-kill combat is on most entire display here.

You’re also rebuilding Rome and recruiting allies along the way. The modern-day story progresses with Desmond hunting more relics. A new end of the world plotline emerges in the overall narrative.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2011)

Revelations tie up this trilogy. It builds on two and brotherhood but feels more focused in scope. Ezio is older and reflective.

Assassin’s Creed Revelation Gameplay

It plays like a meditation on his journey, which manages to link all four Assassin’s Creed games together beautifully. Ezio is still recruiting, killing, and climbing in mostly the same ways, but now he’s fighting to contain the templar influence in Constantinople.

The introduction of bombs and tower defense mixes up gameplay. Presently, Desmond is trapped in the hate, but he learns more about himself and the impending doomsday.

Assassin’s Creed 03 (2012)

AC 3 is simultaneously a refresh and an ending. As Conor, we experience the American Revolution through the eyes of a native American fighting back the British-backed templars.

Assassin's Creed 3
Assassin’s Creed 3

The game has a lengthy prologue but rewards your patience. The engine is noticeably overhauled, offering new ways to climb a brutal new combat system and a homestead that supports the frontier fantasy.

Meanwhile, Desmond’s story ends and effectively finishes up the plot point that has been building for four games.

Assassin’s Creed 04 – Black Flag (2013)

The black flag is yet another refresh. You play Edward, a pirate in search of fortune in the 1700s.

Assassin's Creed 04 Black Flag
Assassin’s Creed 04 Black Flag

His journey to become an assassin is unique, and it takes us through great heights and great depths. The engine feels similar to the three, but it throws many new ideas that truly depart from the formula.

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag Gameplay

The gameplay still sticks to its roots but introduces sailing and ship battles. The massive open-world supports less free running but rewards exploration lots of side activities support the fantasy era. Present-day creates a new storyline about an ancient being who is trying to be resurrected.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue (2014)

Rogue is an in-between game. It fills in story gaps from 3 and black flags incorporating existing characters while also setting up for the next round.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Assassin’s Creed Rogue

In this way, many mechanics and story elements just feel borrowed.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue Gameplay

For the first time, you play as a templar named shea. It plays around with mechanics like the air rifle and letting ships travel along rivers instead of just oceans.

The modern-day expands on the overarching templars assassin’s conflict. It feels like a skippable game for some, but many hardcore fans say this is a must-play this Assassin’s Creed games.

Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)

Unity is the most significant refresh up to this point. It modernizes the series with overhauled graphics, gameplay, and details. Present-day takes a backseat to the French revolution and our nose origin story as an assassin.

Assassin's Creed Unity
Assassin’s Creed Unity

Free running feels brand new, focusing on style and animation with a ton of depth for those who explore it.

Stealth feels expanded with a dedicated crouch button and some fun new tools. Revolutionary France is dense with immaculately decorated buildings and enormous crowds of people.

Combat is slower and asks more of the player. The game launched with bugs that were fixed very quickly but damaged the series reputation beyond repair.

Unity also has a fully-featured co-op mode that lets you play with up to three other assassins. But it didn’t continue after this game.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (2015)

Syndicate builds off of unity in unique ways. We play as twin assassins Evie and Jacob. as they fight templars in Victorian-era London. The most modern setting to date.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The present-day builds on plots created by unity but just isn’t a focus.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Gameplay

The gameplay offers hand-to-hand combat with Jacob and more stealthy options with Eevee. Enemies take longer to defeat, and the world is much larger. But it still maintains incredible detail. The rope launcher and carriages offer quicker navigation methods but at the cost of undercutting core elements like parkour.

Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017)

Origins reboot the series from top to bottom. Ubisoft took a year off and decided to swap genres from action-adventure to action RPG.

Assassin's Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed Origins

Series staples like stealth parkour and combat are overhauled or omitted in favor of leveling looting and a massive beautiful open world environment.

The overall experience is lengthened by far more optional content.

Assassin’s Creed Origin Gameplay

The story focuses on Bayek and Aya. The founders of the Assassin’s Creed games. They get revenge while protecting the people against tyranny in Ptolemaic Egypt. it features light mystical elements.

The modern-day introduces a new protagonist in Layla and a new doomsday scenario.

The fundamental shift in identity feels like a welcome change to some but a violent departure for others. It also begins a cycle of live service elements selling in-game items in exchange for real-world money.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018)

Odyssey feels like a sequel to origins. But in many ways, it reformulates the franchise again. You choose to play as a Greek mercenary Alexius or Cassandra guiding conversations with dialogue options.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

There’s more loot, more stats, more locations to explore, just more games to consume. The world of ancient Greece is massive, and it’s gorgeous.

Odyssey trades more iconic series elements such as the hood and the hidden blade for a magical spear to support the Greek warrior fantasy.

It brings back ship gameplay with combat and sailing across the Mediterranean.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gameplay

The game’s story focuses on the personal journey of Cassandra or Alexius. But also on stopping a power-hungry cult. It leans heavily into the mythological side of the Assassin’s Creed games.

Present-day continues with Laila learning more about the apocalypse. It introduces heavier microtransactions and more frequent game updates to lengthen the overall experience.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (2020)

Valhalla feels like a mix of origins and odyssey. You play as male or female aver. You are choosing dialogue as you secure a home for your Viking clan in dark ages England. The plot connects the overarching story across most games in the series.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Valhalla brings back classic elements like the hood, social stealth, and the hidden blade but limits their overall impact.

Longships and ratings stand as core elements to project the Viking fantasy. Combat focuses on weighty brutal animations and chooses your own playstyle approaches. RPG elements exist but are dialed back from odyssey.

It continues the trend of weaving mythology into the recent games. By most standards, it’s a massive game with plenty to do, with the longest story in the series.

Microtransactions also continue, and this game plans to have the longest tale of any in the series.

There it is 12 full-length video games released over just 13 years. While a lot of things have changed, one thing hasn’t. Assassin’s Creed games has always been at its core about history. It takes pivotal times in history, rewrites them, and bends reality to support stories. It is filled with conspiracy and revenge. Set in some of the most intriguing periods of humanity. I have my preferences, but I’ll always appreciate the historical element which connects this series, how it captures my imagination and immerses me in its worlds. What do you think about each game in the series in the comments below. 

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