One of my favourite things about the Assassin's Creed franchise is that it's taken us to so many places over the years. From Ancient Egypt to Victorian London, Ubisoft has offered up a multitude of beautifully realised open worlds for us to go adventuring in.
Not every Assassin's Creed open world is equal, though. Some haven't aged very well. Others have the benefit of more recent technology and lessons learned from previous games. Others still just aren't as exciting, or in some case too big. Come on a journey with me, dear reader, as we assess the open worlds of Assassin's Creed from worst to best.
I've got nothing but love and respect for the original Assassin's Creed. Ubisoft introduced the world to a new kind of adventure game, back in 2011, offering up a sprawling realm to explore that's rooted in real-world history. Adventuring through the Holy Land with Altair is a memory I'll always hold dear, but I think it's fair to say this first open world is also the weakest of the entire franchise. Time hasn't been entirely kind in this instance, and Ubisoft's once groundbreaking open-world formula really shows its age here.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations might not have the biggest or most interesting open world, but it wins bonus points for letting us explore as both Altair and Ezio across two different centuries. Players can take in a range of sights, including the Assassin stronghold in Maysaf, and the four districts of Constantinople. An underground city controlled by the Templars is a definite highlight.
Assassin's Creed III is arguably the weakest entry in the series in many respects, but its open world is a real sight to behold. Set in 18th century America in the throes of a revolution, Ubisoft gave players a vast land to explore that combined lush green forests with cities like New York and Boston. A great way to learn about such a turbulent and pivotal time in history.
I've said before that Assassin's Creed should absolutely have set a game in Ancient Rome by now. Still, getting to play as Ezio and explore the Italian capital in the 16th century in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was an absolute treat.
Rome is an absolute sight to behold in this game, a city at the height of its powers and brimming with art, culture, and beautiful architecture. If you're missing holidays as much as the rest of us, you could do a lot worse than booting up this one for a quick runaround.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is bigger than I ever expected any game could be. Ubisoft arguably went a little too far this time, giving us pretty much the whole of Ancient Greece to travel around.
From the gleaming might of Sparta to the crystal-clear waters of Paros Harbour, Odyssey is a pleasure to uncover - up to a point. Repetitive quests and points of interest will render seeing the whole world a dull and pointless task, but I guarantee there are dozens of hours of fun to be had before that feeling sets in.
I have my problems with Assassin's Creed Syndicate, but not a single one of them can be levelled at the game's stunning recreation of Victorian London. Focusing the map down from a country or entire region to one city allowed for an incredible amount of detail. Syndicate boasts a denser, richer open world with some of the best parkour we've ever seen from the series.
Much like Syndicate, the strength of Assassin's Creed Unity's open world lies in the fact Ubisoft put all its efforts into rebuilding one city. 18th century Paris is a sight to behold: From Luxembourg Palace to Notre Dame, the city's biggest landmarks were rebuilt in exquisite detail. This one is still a genuine treat to explore.
Assassin's Creed II is often considered the absolute best the series has to offer, and it's hard to disagree. Ezio is one of gaming's greatest protagonists, and the gameplay improved on its predecessor in every conceivable way.
The game's open-world Italy was a mindblowing achievement at the time, and still has a tangible charm that helps it hold up to this day. That indefinable appeal brings Assassin's Creed II's world a long way, but it's still not quite enough for it to match up to some of the more recent open worlds the series has offered up.
As far as capturing the raw spirit of exploration and adventure is concerned, I'm not sure Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has ever been bettered.
Exploring the high seas with Edward Kenway and his motley crew is a joy. Uncovering ancient ruins, raiding enemy bases, and scouring even the tiniest islands for loot to upgrade your ship and become the scourge of the West Indies is Assassin's Creed at its most rewarding, with an intoxicating gameplay loop that keeps you exploring, upgrading, and fighting. Sublime stuff.
I'm aware Assassin's Creed Valhalla has a few open-world areas, but for the sake of this ranking I'm solely factoring in England, which is very much where players will be spending most of their time.
Maybe I'm biased, having grown up in the Midlands, but there's something thrilling about exploring these familiar regions in a video game for the first time. I can tell you now I never thought I'd see Nottingham in a AAA game, and while ye olde Snottingham is a markedly different beast, it's still a treat to see. Add to this the fact that Valhalla's rolling green fields, and sun-kissed rivers are utterly gorgeous, and you've an open world that's a dream to lose yourself in.
Assassin's Creed Origins was a huge departure for the franchise in many ways, but its open-world recreation of Ancient Egypt was a smart and stunning continuation of what had come before.
The world of Assassin's Creed Origins was remarkable upon release; all golden dunes, tropical oases, and towering monuments to the gods. Raiding ancient tombs and storming enemy camps in between riding across vast deserts and sailing across the Nile, Origins was packed with content without ever going overboard or feeling overly repetitive. For my money, it remains the best open world in the entire series. I'm sure you disagree and have your own idea of which is best, of course, but that's all part of what makes Assassin's Creed so special.
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