Stas Pogorsky answers.
Since the release of the first part in 2007, Assassin’s Creed has turned into a giant mega-franchise: there are 11 (excluding Valhalla) games in the main series, and besides them there are 21 spin-offs, dozens of books, comics and even a movie (which is better not to remember) … If you have avoided the episode so far and now decided to check it out (for example, because you were intrigued by Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla), we will help you choose the best entry point based on your preferences.
Assassin’s Creed – for those with a lot of time and desires
Of course, if possible, it makes sense to start a full-fledged marathon from the very first game. After so many years, it looks a little dull, and its content saturation is very far from the later parts of the series, but there are also good features: at least the charismatic protagonist Altair and a good antagonist, successfully showing the “gray morality” loved by marketers. Fans often believe that the first part had the most interesting script.
By the way, this is also a relatively small game – you can complete it in 20 hours and clean up 100% in 30 hours. But there is no point in doing the tedious search for collectible flags – this rule applies to other games in the series.
Assassin’s Creed 2 – for those who want to experience the best classic “Assassin”
Renaissance Italy, starring Ezio Auditore de Firenze, appears to be the series’ most popular protagonist. The game tells an emotional and personal story of revenge and the fight against the Templars. Along the way, you will meet several historical figures, and Leonardo da Vinci himself will give the hero a couple of useful gadgets of his own invention. The game looks better than the first part, it is made more well, taking into account all the mistakes of its predecessor.
In addition, Ezio’s story is the most complete in the series – if you like the second part, then feel free to go through Brotherhood and Revelations. They fully show the life of an Italian assassin.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag – if you love ships and seas
The penultimate game in the series with the classic gameplay formula and scale, but with one important innovation: the player owns his own ship with his crew. The ship can be upgraded in detail and customizable, and then sent on a sea voyage. There you have to participate in quite arcade sea battles, hunt whales, discover new islands and shores. This big mechanic greatly changed the perception of the game and pleased gamers so much that Ubisoft even launched the development of a separate sea game, Skull and Bones – it is, however, now in “production hell”.
On land, Black Flag is the same as the previous installments: two-button battles, many collectibles, towers.
Assassin’s Creed Unity is the most controversial and beautiful part of the series
With the release of the PS4 and Xbox One consoles, Ubisoft has embarked on a true next-gen sequel in the setting of the French Revolution – obviously crucial for the French gaming company. The main twist of Unity in comparison with the previous installments: the buildings in the game were recreated in full size for the first time. And with such ambitions Ubisoft made a significant part of the territory of Paris in the 18th century: incredibly beautiful, insanely detailed, with huge crowds of townspeople in the streets and squares and, of course, the giant Notre Dame Cathedral.
When the promising game came out, it became obvious that it was being made in a terrible rush. The performance of the console versions before a lot of patches sagged greatly due to those very crowds, players complained about countless bugs – and talk about the technical shortcomings of the game practically crossed out the discussion of its merits. Co-op missions for 4 people were also added in Unity, but they also worked far from perfect.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – for those who want one big adventure as close as possible to Valhalla
“Odyssey”, like the name, is simply huge – its map includes almost all any important parts of Ancient Greece. Here Assassin’s Creed finally turned from an action game into an RPG: the character needs to collect suitable items and weapons in all equipment slots, level up (otherwise enemies cannot be killed) and complete hundreds of quests. The game is so different from the previous parts that you can safely remove Assassin’s Creed from the name – some fans think that it was worth doing so. Of course, the level of the game scenario is far from “The Witcher 3”, but there are interesting tasks and chains: somewhere you help historical figures, somewhere you take part in hostilities, and somewhere you even fight mythical creatures from ancient mythology.
But, again, the main quality of the Odyssey is that it is menacingly huge. For a working person, it will probably take more than one month: 40 hours are required only for the plot, and 100% of the map can be cleaned somewhere in 150 hours. At the same time, the game has no less large-scale plot additions, in places continuing the main plot – in total, they will take you under a hundred hours to complete.
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Of course, if you just want to play Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, you can safely start your acquaintance with the series with it – this way the game will produce a greater effect of the conditional freshness of mechanics and ideas. The games are connected with each other only by the plot in the present tense, outside the simulation, but it will not be easy to understand what is happening there, and it is not critical.