Assassins sure get around. Ubisoft’s seemingly endless series of Assassin Creed games have taken our wrist-bladed haystack-divers all over the world: Italy, France, Spain, America, the Caribbean, Ancient Greece and Egypt, just to name a few—and in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla we’ll be headed to ninth-century England to Viking-stomp the Saxons.
Putting aside which Assassin’s Creed game is the best—we’ve already got that covered—today let’s just focus on the location each game takes us. Which Assassin’s Creed game has the best setting? And I’m not talking about ray tracing and SSAO/HBAO.
We’ve got answers from the PC Gamer writers and a few from our forums below! Feel free to cast your own vote in the comments.
Phil Savage: Ubisoft’s lavish restoration of historical places has always been the highlight of the series for me. I have no idea if any particular re-creation is historically accurate, but I appreciate the effort of trying to give context and atmosphere to a specific point and time. It’s Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Egypt that stands out for me, in part because it feels the most distinct. I’ve been to Rome, and there are still snapshots of the Renaissance period throughout. I’ve played countless games based on Ancient Greece, and am familiar with its mythologies and architectures. Egypt, in contrast, felt different—new and exciting for how old and unfamiliar it seemed—and Ubisoft did a great job at highlighting the influence of different cultures at that time. It’s lively and varied and feels like an earnest attempt to give texture to a time period that you can now only experience through the glass of a museum display.
Andy Kelly: Gonna have to agree with Phil here. I think it was very smart of Ubisoft to resist setting Origins when Ancient Egypt was at its most powerful, instead showing us its culture being slowly dismantled by the arrival of the Greeks and other cultural invaders. There are enough traces of Ancient Egypt’s glory left to let you enjoy the classic image of the period, but it’s also quite sad seeing their grand temples and distinctive ways of life fading away. All that aside, it’s just really beautiful to look at. Odyssey was gorgeous too, but they leaned a little too heavily into the mythology stuff for my liking. Origins is rooted in enough history that it still feels like a real, if exaggerated, place.
Fraser Brown: Aside from Revolutionary America, I love every Assassin’s Creed setting, but with Ptolemaic Egypt Ubisoft really worked some magic. I still have vivid memories of reaching the crest of a dune and seeing the Temple of Sekhmet for the first time—before that I’d just been pottering around the starting town and the desert—and being utterly blown away. I must have spent 20 minutes just finding good angles for screenshots before I even set foot inside the settlement of Yamu, where the temple was located. Like Phil mentioned, I think part of the magic is that it’s less familiar than some of the other settings. We’ve borrowed so much from the Romans and Greeks that you can even see buildings that resemble those ancient temples as far away as Scotland, hence why Edinburgh has the nickname Athens of the North. And if you like that sort of thing, there’s still plenty of it in Origins. There are whole areas dedicated to Roman and Greek architecture and culture. It’s a big ol’ melting pot where one minute you’re cruising down the Nile gasping at temples from the New Kingdom and then next you’re chilling out in a wee house with erotic art, gauche red walls and lion-skin rugs that just scream “a Roman lives here.” The real treat was being able to retrace my trip to modern Egypt and see all these places, or pretty great approximations of them at least, before they became tourist hot spots. The pyramids have lost a bit of their magic now that they’re within spitting distance of a huge modern city.
I’d still love to see the main series go somewhere where there’s no Western influence at all. The first game, Origins and India are all set further afield, but you’ve still got European crusaders, Greeks and Romans, and the East India Company. I think China is the only one that was largely focused on one non-European culture. I’m pumped for Valhalla and think it’s the perfect setting for an Assassin’s Creed, but we’re already saturated in Vikings.
Chris Livingston: Yeah! Egypt!
Robin Valentine: I really think Ubisoft achieved something incredible with Odyssey’s world—and I feel like it’s pretty underappreciated. It might not have been their most evocative setting, but the sheer scale and detail of what they built is really amazing. I set myself a rule early on of no fast travel, and it really brought home how vast that world is. As I travelled, gradually, to some far off destination for the next story quest, I’d run into a hundred fascinating little details along the way—so many fantastic, hand-crafted places and moments. It’s a technical and artistic marvel.
Jacob Ridley: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood may have introduced the sprawling mega-city concept with Rome, but Assassin’s Creed: Revelations perfected it with Constantinople. The city felt like a culmination of years of superb level-building: the freerunning verticality from the first few games, distinct and varied districts, and markets bustling with people from all walks of life and four corners of the globe. It felt like an authentic snapshot of a truly transcontinental city under Ottoman rule.
James Davenport: Assassin’s Creed 3 ain’t great, but the setting is something special. I also don’t like how it pivots so quickly away from showing us Indigenous American life during colonial times braided in with the Revolutionary War, I’m just so, so, so ready for pop culture to truly embrace and acknowledge indigenous history and presence. New England’s dense forests and rolling hills aren’t the most dramatic landscape—wow, a lotta caveats with my answer, uh—but the ways in which all that empty, peaceful space is violently cut through by homesteaders and townships make for a omnipresent tension and sense of loss that kept me playing even if the characters and narrative failed to stack up.
Mknott: Greece, hands down. They really brought the whole classical world to life in an amazing way and setting sail in Odyssey was a pleasure. Egypt was fantastic though, it’s a period of time that everyone knows about but not many know things about which made it real fun to explore.
Frindis: I enjoyed the pirate theme and ship combat in Black Flag a lot, but as my favorite, I have to say Odyssey. While I have not gotten that far in the game, I have fallen in love with the breathtaking visuals. I love exploring in any game and when it is as good looking as this, it makes me feel like I am right there. Oh, and I have been told that the DLC: Fate of Atlantis will be amazing, so I am very much looking forward to that!
LCarlson: I loved Odyssey as well, but they also did a fantastic job on Origins (Egypt). The writing team was consistently brilliant and on point, with well-researched storylines and progress throughout. In Egypt, they really struck the right tone to portray a magnificent and complex civilization within a crumbling empire. I loved the Medjay so much that I named my new horse after him.
Both Odyssey and Origins had stunning visuals. Absolutely gorgeous.
Alm: I never tried Odyssey but Origins’ setting was awesome. I love ancient egypt anyway but it was awe inspiring to run around the pyramids and other huge ancient structures.