Like other forms of media, video games often rely on a sequel to evolve the plot and stitch together things that failed to be explained in the pilot. And that can work wonders, providing your name is J.R.R Tolkien, and that your series is built to span several volumes and whatnot. But what doesn’t work is when, say a video game, forces itself to push into unnecessary sequels, when in reality the whole plot could’ve been tied up in a single serving. Now that’s when we tend to question the developer and their purpose.
Sequels have always been a hit and miss sort of deal. On one hand, they can provide context to underlying issues that missed the mark the first time around. But on the other, they can lead to even more routes, effectively piling in filler for the sake of rounding up a twenty-minute conclusion. Just take these five sequels, for example. As relevant as they might have seemed at the time, they really were just sinking ships waiting to hit sea level. Truth be told, the devs should’ve just stopped after the original. But let’s see where you stand. Here are five sequels that ruined their respected franchise, from our point of view.
5. BioShock 2
Speaking of hitting sea level, BioShock 2 was one of those unfortunate examples of doing such a thing with its Rapture rehash. Now, if for whatever reason you decided to skip the original and dive straight into the sequel, then sure — BioShock 2 is killer. But you probably didn’t do that. You played through the first, you loved every moment of it — and then you questioned whether or not BioShock 2 was even a sequel at all, or just a poor excuse to squeeze more money from the first vein.
While BioShock 2 is a great game in a nutshell, it doesn’t in any way shape or form live up to the hype of the original. Mechanics are basically the same, as are the dystopian landmarks and character designs. Levels follow a pretty familiar pattern, and everything that occurs just gives you one of those déjà vu feelings, like you’ve seen it all unfold before. Say, in BioShock, for example. Truth be told, 2K should’ve just shot straight for Infinite.
4. Duke Nukem Forever
For many, many years, Duke Nukem creators believed they were in possession of one of the greatest shooters of all time, oblivious to the fact that their decaying franchise was really a ticking time bomb waiting to blow. And yet, they continued as if no explosion could scathe them, under the impression that their rebooted Forever chapter would completely resurrect the Nukem name.
Long story short — it didn’t resurrect it. It destroyed it, along with everything the brand once stood for. After fifteen years in development and multiple studio hands tampering with it, Duke Nukem Forever finally released in 2011. And as expected, it was appalling. In fact, it was so bad, that anyone would have assumed it was a bad joke, strewn from a 1996 design itself. Tut tut, Duke. As they say: you peaked in high school, kid.
3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a perfect example of how a nostalgic series can spiral into a sour tasting note after getting a little too greedy. But, rather than bidding the iconic series farewell and leaving it where it rightfully belonged, Activision instead made the regrettable decision to revive it and give it a fresh spin. Unfortunately for them, and to the absolute dismay of OG fans of the franchise — it bombed — and it bombed hard.
Glance back over the Pro Skater series prior to the fifth instalment and you’ll recall the groundbreaking mechanics, mind-bending environments and near-perfect soundtracks. Scratch the surface on Pro Skater 5, and you’ll quickly spot the flaws waiting to unfold. From the sloppy controls to the game breaking bugs — Activision practically flumped it without a care in the world, praying on a quick buck from old school fans to reignite their fires.
2. Dead Space 3
After churning coal and producing two absolute diamonds, Visceral Games soon begun to get a little too cocky for our liking with their beloved Dead Space franchise. Rather than sticking to its terrifying roots and best-selling formula for one final ride to close the trilogy, the third chapter instead made a last-ditched effort to reroute the genre. Right at the last minute, survival horror was out — and cover-to-cover action adventure was in. Sort of like Mass Effect, only with slightly more unusual enemies.
While some would argue that Dead Space 3 was the best in the series to date, the majority would slate it for being the complete opposite of what made the first two games adored. And, after Dead Space 2, which is still regarded as one of the greatest survival horror games ever made — Dead Space 3 just sort of turned out to be a major disappointment. So, Visceral — stick with what you know in future. You had it right the first time.
1. Dynasty Warriors 9
It’s true, after retelling the same story eight times over (not including the dozens of spin-offs), it was only natural for Omega Force to seek new ways to captivate the returning audience. But turning a full-fledged hack and slash series into a bland open world one? Yeah — not great. But while we did admire the ambition to evolve the already booming series, completely transforming the elements really didn’t do the platform any favours.
Although sticking to the same Romance of Three Kingdoms narrative, Dynasty Warriors 9 pretty much destroyed everything else that made the preceding entries respected. Gone were the exciting levels with the risks that bolstered them — in were the mundane textures, vast open wastelands and uninspiring side quests. Basically a brand new game. A game that, despite its best efforts, really wasn’t all that great.