Many of Assassin’s Creed‘s protagonists are considered iconic, and for good reason. Leads like the charming Ezio Auditore de Firenze have to pull the magic trick of representing the time and place they come from while remaining relatable enough for players to connect with them. In certain cases, characters pull this stunt off and earn stellar reputations, but in others, Assassin’s Creed protagonists are merely given their accolades and become overrated.


To be more precise, some of the Assassin’s Creed protagonists are considered great only because of the titles they appear in. The characters themselves might be shallow, apathetic, or boring. The gameplay and narratives that bring them to life overshadow their mundanity, allowing them to gain acclaim they do not deserve. The clearest way to see this in effect is by looking at the inverse: when a bad Assassin’s Creed entry like Unity or AC3 overshadows a good character. Leads like Connor Kenway and Arno Dorian both have interesting personalities and motivations, but Assassin‘s Creed 3‘s stilted story and Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s unfortunate glitches bring everything down with them.

Related: Assassin’s Creed Can Bring Back Three Protagonists In One Game

Portraits of 14 different Assassin's Creed protagonists, spliced together behind the series' logo.

The five most overrated Assassin’s Creed protagonists are also some of the most popular. The characters below have gained admiration overtime for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because they are the earliest leads, they come from memorable series entries, or they have gimmicks that make them unique. In any case, this admiration tends to be rooted more in nostalgia than actual merit, leading to these protagonists being overrated.

#5 – Ezio Is One Of Assassin’s Creed’s Best Protagonists, But He’s Not Always The Most Compelling

Ezio walks down a crowded street in Assassin’s Creed 2, brandishing both of his hidden blades.

Ezio is often considered the Assassin’s Creed series’ best protagonist alongside Kassandra from Odyssey, but this level of praise may be overrating Ezio. He is certainly a strong lead – his growth from the cocky young man of Assassin’s Creed 2 to the Mentor of Assassin’s Creed Revelations is one of the highlights of the franchise. But in the process of becoming the Master of the Brotherhood in Renaissance Italy, Ezio loses some of his most interesting flaws.

Ezio is remembered as fondly as he is due to his shortcomings in Assassin’s Creed 2. For most of that game, he’s an immature, womanizing man who lacks the composure one would expect of an Assassin. This lands him into trouble or makes him act in ways that are more relatable. However, Ezio’s story in Assassin’s Creed spans four decades, over which time he matures a lot. The consequence of this is that for two games – Brotherhood and Revelations – Ezio has outgrown the humanizing flaws he once had, making him less intriguing to follow (even if his growth is rewarding).

#4 – Shay Cormac Is Only As Interesting As His Gimmick In Assassin’s Creed Rogue

Shay Cormac from Assassin's Creed Rogue, holding a flintlock rifle.

Shay Cormac of Assassin’s Creed Rogue is often remembered as one of the series’ more interesting protagonists, but this is solely because of a gimmick. Shay is the only lead (other than Haytham Kenway’s brief stint in AC3‘s prologue) to portray the perspective of the Knight’s Templar. This alone makes him an intriguing lead, but it’s also the only interesting thing about Shay as a character and has made him entirely overrated.

Related: The Coolest Assassin’s Creed Weapon Isn’t The Hidden Blade

Ultimately, Shay’s turn to the Knights Templar in Assassin’s Creed Rogue is based on shaky ground. While on the surface Shay’s moral judgment of the Brotherhood’s violence makes sense, his critique of the Creed is in part directed at the former slave Adéwalé for liberating the slave colony Port-au-Prince in Haiti. This questionable reasoning makes Shay’s desertion of the Brotherhood feel hollow and highlights just how overrated he has become because of a simple gimmick that isn’t even performed well in Assassin’s Creed Rogue.

#3 – Jacob Frye Is Too Foolhardy And Aggressive In Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Jacob Frye sits on a bench, smirking under his top hat, in Assassin's Creed Syndicate.

Jacob Frye is often lauded as the better protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but this is a title unearned. Jacob is much more pugnacious and ill-tempered than his sister Evie; consequently, his storyline features many more exciting brawls than hers. But its these brawls that point out why Jacob is overrated in comparison to his sister: he is superficial.

Compared to Evie in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Jacob is little more than a bellicose brute. Where Evie is focused on the tenets of the Assassin’s Creed and the Pieces of Eden, Jacob has more interest in The Rooks and fighting for fighting’s sake. His constant brawling makes him fun to play, but the lack of depth in his motivations makes his actions feel vapid, especially next to Evie. He’s consequently an overrated protagonist in his own game, let alone the series as a whole.

#2 – Edward Kenway Is Less Interesting Than He Seems In Assassin’s Creed Black Flag

Edward Kenway from Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, holding two enemies at bay on either side of him by pointing a flintlock pistol at one and a saber at the other.

Edward Kenway is often held in high regard, much like the game he appears in, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. He’s a smarmy, charming pirate who forms genuine connections with those he meets. He can often seem like one of the series’ best main characters for these reasons – but the truth is that he can be rather shallow.

Related: AC Black Flag’s Potential Was Squandered For Skull And Bones

Edward has a lack of depth that becomes apparent when comparing him to other characters and historical figures in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. Edward is less connected to the actual duties or philosophies of the Assassin’s Creed than his shipmate Adéwalé, whose entire backstory has a deep resonance with the Brotherhood’s mission. Consequently, Edward’s story can feel lacking in consequence for the series as whole (even though he becomes the father of Haytham).

#1 – Altaïr Is The Most Overrated Assassin’s Creed Protagonist

Altair assassinates a target in the middle of a startled crowd in the original Assassin's Creed.

Of all the Assassin’s Creed protagonists, Altaïr is the most overrated. He’s remembered fondly as the series’ first lead, and his attire is among the slickest in the Brotherhood’s history, but beyond nostalgia and appearances, Altaïr has little to offer.

His personality is near non-existent. There are hints of one at the beginning of the game, when his arrogance lands him in trouble. However, after this moment, he becomes a cold, distant character who is simply carrying out killings and investigating a mystery. Considering how colorful Ezio is in Assassin’s Creed 2, showing problems Ubisoft overcame from the original, Altaïr is too uninteresting to be considered one of the Assassin’s Creed series’ best protagonists as many often believe him to be.

More: It’s Weird That Assassin’s Creed Never Repeated Its Best Ezio Trick

Sources: Ubisoft North America/YouTube


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