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Thread: "Good game, but not a good sequel"

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    cheesesteak's Avatar
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    Default "Good game, but not a good sequel"

    So I've been watching a lot of video essays recently on some of my favorite video game franchises. I've heard Dragon Age Inquisition and BioShock Infinite both referred to as good games, but not good sequels. I'm sure this isn't the first time those games have been called that. And I definitely agree w/ Inquisition, tho I'd say Infinite still holds true to SOME of its predecessors' themes and sensibilities.

    Anyway, it got me wondering, what other games fall in this category? First ones that come to my mind are Doom 3, Dead Space 2 and MAYBE FEAR2 (debatable if it's truly a top-quality game or just decent)? I suppose Guilty Gear Strive, too. Again, hard to think about GOOD games that are "BAD sequels", while not considering actual just average or subpar games (i.e. Mass Effect Andromeda, apparently).

    What do y'all think about these types of games? Do you think they're "bad games", just b/c they stray from the games before them, or can you acknowledge that they're good games, just not good sequels? Do you generally care to compare games w/ the other games in their respective series, or just hold each game to its own merit? What games would you add to this list?
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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Final Fantasy X-2 comes to mind.

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    Metal Gear Solid 4 would be an amazing game if it didn't ruin the story, characters and themes of every MGS game before it.

    Metal Gear Rising if only because it's so far removed from what Metal Gear is while still being perfectly fine on its own merits.

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    WarZidane's Avatar
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    Breath of the Wild. Great game, sure, but as a Zelda game it was severely underwhelming to me.

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    Feel the Bern Administrator Del Murder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    Final Fantasy X-2 comes to mind.
    Great example. The ATB, job system, and mission-based events were really cool but I didn't think FFX really needed a sequel.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I'd add FFIV: The After Years. Solid gameplay with lots of replay value, doesn't do anything for the plot or characters.

    Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, feels like a DLC expansion that got stretched into a full game. Outside of the usual Ubisoft bugs, it's a fun game, but really feels like a footnote in the AC franchise, especially compared to AC2 and Revelations.

    Another obvious one is Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. A few neat ideas for sure, but hardly as groundbreaking as SMB3 or the US version of SMB2. Still a solid game though.

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    FEAR 2 was a game I had a lot of fun playing when I first played it back for Halloween 2013 not too long after joining this site, but I realize now that it's not a good sequel, and usually the rule is a lot of franchises second or third entry isn't as good as the original. Though that may be more true for movies than video games. FEAR 2 only really had one good scare scene and the main villain whole motivation is basically "Get laid, make a baby."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Del Murder View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    Final Fantasy X-2 comes to mind.
    Great example. The ATB, job system, and mission-based events were really cool but I didn't think FFX really needed a sequel.
    Heh, I'm actually pretty excited to finally play FFX-2. It's probably...5-10 backlog games away, but I'm still excited for it. And now know a little bit more on what to expect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Example View Post
    Metal Gear Solid 4 would be an amazing game if it didn't ruin the story, characters and themes of every MGS game before it.

    Metal Gear Rising if only because it's so far removed from what Metal Gear is while still being perfectly fine on its own merits.
    Heh, I was actually thinking of the MGS series when posting this. I'd say MGR:R is an exception, since it's a clear spinoff title - it's fine to stray from its parent series themes and sensibilities. But yes, I kept thinking "how does MGS4 hold up as a MGS game?" Great game, but it never stood out to me as a great MGS game. But at the time of the OP, I just couldn't really get a proper hold of my memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by WarZidane View Post
    Breath of the Wild. Great game, sure, but as a Zelda game it was severely underwhelming to me.
    An actual excellent example. I should have thought of this. It actually makes me think of other series that shifted genres mid-series. Darksiders III? Went from zeldalike hack-n-slash to soulslike MV hack-n-slash. But I never played Darksiders 3, so I don't really have an insightful opinion.
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    Resident Evil 4 is right there with Breath of the Wild as being a good game on its own, but doing irreparable damage to the franchise's future just to hit that mainstream love

    But to avoid just listing genre-shifting games, and speaking of Dark Souls, I think Dark Souls 2 is a good example. Once people got over how drastically different the game was, it eventually started to get appreciated by its strengths. But even people who enjoy it and those that prefer it would agree it wasn't designed as a good follow-up

    And one that's close to me personally is Saints Row. A lot of people feel like the 3rd and 4th games crapped on the entire legacy set up by the first two. But I don't think anyone would say they are badly designed games. And are in fact extremely fun. But aren't very good "Boys in the Hood" gang life simulators the way the first two were



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    Quote Originally Posted by Example View Post
    Metal Gear Solid 4 would be an amazing game if it didn't ruin the story, characters and themes of every MGS game before it.
    And MGSV, doubly so! Really fantastically detailed game mechanics that weren't quite MGS-y in the way I always loved and the less said about any of the story/character elements the better. And dropping Hayter as Snake almost felt like they were rubbing your nose in it that this wasn't a 'proper' MGS game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    But to avoid just listing genre-shifting games
    Yes, I do want to clarify, I wasn't thinking of sequels that shift genres. In fact, a genre-shift may be great for the series while still keeping the series identity (see Yakuza 7, imo). It's just that the mention BotW made me think of the correlation of genre-shifting to being "not a good sequel". And, yes, technically some games I listed (BioShock Infinite, Doom 3) did some shifting in sub-/genres. But...speaking of...

    Another game (or games) that I thought of are Fallout 3 and Fallout 4. BUT not b/c they strayed from the traditional CRPG formula. But b/c they just didn't quite have the RP elements/features/progression as FO1+2 (dialog not as good, different types of skill checks, everything is scaled, etc). Now, them being "good Fallout games" is actually debatable, imo, as it depends on who you ask. Since "what does Fallout mean to you?", a question posed by a series retrospective by NeverKnowsBest, can be answered differently by fans of FO1 and FO2, since even those 2 games were different in a variety of ways. Coincidentally, even tho I did state spinoffs shouldn't count, FO:NV is actually a GREAT Fallout game, even by old school fans' standards, while still being a real-time FP game.

    I'd also say, maybe AC: Origins (again, another sub-genre shift...just by coincidence!) can be thrown in there. The AC series was already gradually going from pure stealth/assassination games to more open-world RPG w/ stealth/assassination elements, but Origins was full-blown leap, and I know some fans were a bit disappointed. Hell, I'd say Valhalla is even "worse" in this regard as not making any sense as an AC game.

    I think I thought of another one yesterday, but I either forgot, or it was just Fallout or AC and I didn't realize it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    I think Dark Souls 2 is a good example.
    I'm not a fan of the soulslike genre and have never played a Soulsborne game, but yeah, even I'm aware of plenty of fans not liking DS2, while still being considered a good game.

    However, as a side note, I have been more and more tempted to play the Souls games. Sekiro is the only FromSoft game I've played and I loved it (I don't count it as Soulsborne, since it has neither "Souls" nor "borne" in its title ). I'm well aware of the differences between Sekiro and traditional soulslike games (which is why I gave Sekiro a chance), but the lore and world-building was so fantastic. And my friends who are Souls fans say the same for the Souls series. So, I'm super intrigued to play the DS games just for the lore. But...I think I'll just wait for Elden Ring lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    Resident Evil 4 is right there with Breath of the Wild as being a good game on its own, but doing irreparable damage to the franchise's future just to hit that mainstream love
    If this is our metric the answer is Final Fantasy 7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesesteak View Post
    Anyway, it got me wondering, what other games fall in this category? First ones that come to my mind are Doom 3, Dead Space 2...
    These two are the first ones that came to mind when I read the thread title!

    I'd just finished Dead Space 1 for the first time a couple months ago and adored it. I jumped into 2 right after though, and while the jump in quality can't be denied, the atmosphere from the first game is just gone. I'm not sure if it's entirely "fair" to compare them though, since the only way you could get that atmosphere again is to tell the same story twice, and that would probably make it a considerably worse sequel than it already is.

    More could've been done to preserve the tone of Dead Space 1, though, in my opinion. I think the biggest thing in 2 that pulled me out of it was Isaac having dialog all of a sudden. At first, I didn't think it would affect the experience that much, but it really is harder to immerse yourself in some of the scenes when a previously silent protagonist is engaging in his own dialog consistently.

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    GO! use leech seed! qwertysaur's Avatar
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    Zelda 2 is probably the biggest example of this for me. I respect they tried something new but it was not for me

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    Feel the Bern Administrator Del Murder's Avatar
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    Oh, Zelda 2 is the perfect example. Definitely fun but not the Zelda formula you love.

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