Saturday, 25 May 2013

Top 10 Worst Sequels

Sometimes when a franchise goes on for long enough, there's usually an eventual sequel that just doesn't live up to the franchise standards, or in worst case utterly destroys a franchise. Since we've looked at the top 10 best sequels, it is now time to deal with the worst, the ones that failed in my opinion. Here are some of my least favourite sequels. Keep in mind these are not necessarily bad games (with a few exceptions) but just failed to deliver a good sequel that could live up to the predecessor.

And no, I refuse to put Duke Nukem Forever on this list for 3 reasons:
1. I had fun with it
2. It actually felt like a sequel to Duke 3D, carrying over everything I loved about it
3. This is my list and I can put whatever I want on it.

10. Quake 2

When you compare Quake 2 to the original Quake, it's really hard to see it as a true sequel. Let's be honest, Quake 1 didn't have much of a story but it did have a setting, taking a lot of inspiration from HP Lovecraft and creating probably id's darkest horror setting to this date. The manual taunts you that the final boss will be Quake himself, and that Quake might just be a codename. Who knows, maybe it's one of the elder gods himself! However instead of fighting him, the final boss is just a giant slimy bitch who gives birth to the monsters you've fought and you kill her, leaving the real enemy still out there. The game didn't feel like it had any real closure and not even the mission packs helped add any to it. I was looking forward to beating Quake's ass in the sequel, Quake 2. So I put it in and what do I see? AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GAME ALTOGETHER!!! While Doom 2 might have felt a tad bit too similar to Doom 1, Quake 2 has the polar opposite problem, it's way too different from Quake to even REMOTELY be considered a sequel! The name Quake 2 is incredibly misleading in this regard and from what I understand, originally it was supposed to be a new IP and they just, well, couldn't find a name that wasn't licensed and stuck with Quake 2. While I'll admit Quake 2 isn't a bad game, and it's a hell of a lot of fun, especially in multiplayer, it's impossible to see it as a good sequel. And for that, it deserves a place on this list.

9. Fallout 3

While Fallout 3 isn't a bad game per se, it's simply too average and too tame to feel like a good sequel to Fallout 2, one of the most over the top and out there RPG's I've ever played. For crying out loud, I became a pornstar and fucked a guy to the point where he exploded! There was so much fun to be had in Fallout 2, the guns felt immensely satisfying, and you could turn on bloody mess from the beginning! It was an amazing game and how do Bethesda follow it up? They make a dumbed down semi FPS RPG that doesn't even bother finding a new setting, just badly ripping off the setting in the first game, throwing in a bland uninteresting story of "bad guys" vs "good guys" and leaves little to no room for actual roleplaying. That and the graphics haven't at all aged well. With mods, the game is slightly more tolerable but no mods can make the core experience any less disappointing. Overall I was really disappointed in Fallout 3 as it had so much potential to be a great RPG but they threw it out the window for one of the most overrated games this generation.

8. Deus Ex: Invisible War 

Again, in of itself, Invisible War is not a BAD game, it's just way too simplified and dumbed down when compared to the original Deus Ex. The story is also a bit all over the place and in some weird way makes all 3 of the different Deus Ex endings canonical. It's hard to explain how they did it but it sure left me a bit confused. As a shooter it works just fine and you can have a lot of fun being an asshole who just shoots everyone, but I wouldn't recommend this if you want an experience like the first Deus Ex gave you.

7. Bubsy 3D

Now, it's not like the first two Bubsy games were any kind of masterpieces so it's kinda weird that this game got made in the first place. While I'll admit Bubsy 1 and 2 had their charm on SNES and Mega Drive, there is no charm to be found in this game. Just look at the above screenshot and tell me if you can believe it's a PS1 game. Yeah, looks more like an early 90's experimental ALPHA of a game, doesn't it? It controls bad, it has zero to no redeeming values, the graphics are atrocious and it's hard to believe Accolade even released this game in such a state back then.

6. Ultima IX

To call Ultima IX anything but a giant middle finger to the fans of the Ultima series and anyone who actually cared about the characters and storyline in the games, considering it has so many inconsistencies and just outright WRONG things about it that makes it immensely out of canon with any of the other games, would be to lie. Not only that but to get this game working on any modern PC requires so many patches that it's just not worth the hassle. It's easily one of the worst games EA have ever published and makes Mass Effect 3 seem like a masterpiece in comparison.

5. Diablo 3
One thing is to release a sequel to one of most popular hack'n'slash RPG's of all time, Diablo 2, and stuff it with needless MMO elements and microtransactions. Another is to force you to be always online, even for the single player, and then having your servers rendering players unable to sign in. On top of that, Blizzard have treated the players like crap if they complained about this game and some have even lost the chance to even play it. It's one of the most notorious examples of forced online DRM in recent memory and should be setting an example no other companies should follow. I would much rather play any of the two Torchlight games since they are actually made by the people who worked on Diablo 1 and 2.

4. Metroid: Other M

While the gameplay in Other M is pretty good, it is very hard to ignore the bland emotionless voice acting from the heroine herself, Samus. Expected to be the game where we would finally see her express herself and find out more about her, instead we are treated to one of the worst acting performances ever in game history. The other characters don't do a better job either and the story is pretty bad to add to the pain of it. Other M is easily one of the worst sequels in history due to its utter failure to deliver upon its promises.

3. Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

The Banjo Kazooie games are some of the most revered on the N64. While I am absolutely not a fan of them myself I can see how Nuts & Bolts utterly failed as a sequel. Originally meant to be the long awaited sequel Banjo Threeie, Nuts & Bolts instead tries to combine building cars and riding such cars with the platforming of Banjo Kazooie. Who thought this was a good idea? Microsoft sure did...

2.Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness

Supposed to be a reboot of the entire franchise, Angel of Darkness failed to deliver on pretty much everything. Forcing in RPG elements that didn't need to be there and just all around having terrible controls and gameplay compared to earlier titles, Angel of Darkness stands as the worst entry in this legendary franchise. The only saving grace is that Lara looks damn good in this game as usual, but not even she can save the disastrous gameplay.

1. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

It's hard for me to talk about Dreamfall because I loved The Longest Journey so much. I had really high hopes for the sequel and it seemed to be such a wonderful game when I saw the initial trailers. The graphics were breath taking and I had all these expectations. Well, Dreamfall made sure to quickly blow all my expectations out of the water... The game is loaded to the brim with inconsistencies that made me wanna throw the game out the window, the characters had incredibly bland voice actors, the story was atrocious and characters from the first game were used with little to no understanding for their deeper desires and what drove them in the first game. April Ryan had turned from an optimistic charming girl into a passive emo bitch who didn't care about anything! I wanted to just slap her so hard she'd start giving a fuck! Charlie, for some reason, was running the Fringe café, EVEN IF HE STATED IN THE FIRST GAME IT WASN'T A GODDAMN FULLTIME JOB AND JUST SO HE COULD GET OUT OF THAT PLACE! Emma claimed she believed April in the first game WHEN SHE CONSTANTLY QUESTIONED HER SANITY AND APRIL BARELY EVEN MENTIONED IT TO THEM! Charlie claimed to be skeptical when he ALWAYS BELIEVED APRIL! Also, what the HELL was up with that Ring girl? Why even throw all those references in there? Seriously, this game is one of the worst sequels I've ever played and to this day the ONLY game in my collection I actually sold. It makes me physically ill talking about this game, makes me on the verge of crying, because this game DESTROYED any hopes I had for The Longest Journey to become a franchise. It was such a horrible sequel that it just utterly VAPORIZED the franchise. Now Ragnar Tørnquist wants to make an episodic sequel called Dreamfall Chapters but I think it's safe to say he lost me with Dreamfall for good...

- Alyxx

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Top 10 Best Sequels

Top 10 Best Sequels
by Alyxx

When an IP becomes a hit, usually that means a sequel. Both in the movie business and gaming world, sequels can either make or break a franchise and here we're going to look at 10 of my personal favourites.

It takes a lot to improve on a game like Mass Effect, and in some ways, I still prefer Mass Effect since I see Mass Effect 2 as less of a RPG and more as an action/adventure game. However, as a sequel, Mass Effect 2 does improve on Mass Effect 1 in a lot of ways as well as continuing the story in a nifty way. The cover system is improved, you now have ammunition to worry about which gives you more reason to use multiple weapons instead of sticking to one weapon constantly since you had basically unlimited ammo in ME1, graphics are much improved as well, conversations feel more alive and overall, the game feels better and controls more fluidly. While Mass Effect 3 is also a stellar title, I still think Mass Effect 2 is slightly better.

How do you make a sequel to Doom? Easy, you give people more Doom! Doom 2 is essentially a retail expansion to Doom as the improvements are extremely subtle and it's really similar to Doom in most ways. However this is not necessarily a bad thing and the level designs feel better, the new double barelled shotgun is a kickass addition and the new enemies pack a punch too. A classic shooter made more classic! And John Romero is the final boss...

Speaking of classics, do you remember Duke Nukem 1? No? How about Duke Nukem 2? Not that either huh? Well... what about Duke Nukem 3D? I'm sure you have because Duke 3D is one of those sequels that was so good that it pretty much put the earlier titles to shame, something that is not easy to do mind you. While it's technically a remake of the first game with a new storyline and enemies, it's a great sequel as well and in my opinion one of the best shooters of all time. This is the game where Duke got his attitude, his one-liners, and his legendary status among gamers. Hell, it's so good that even today, people are still making mods for it.

Borderlands 2 is yet another example of a perfect sequel. It removes the annoying elements from the first game and improves on the rest. The story is better, the characters are more memorable, the guns are better, the loot is better. Overall, Borderlands 2 is actually so good that it retroactively makes the first game better as well since it makes you care more about the story and characters in it! That's not easy to pull off, mind you! It also has one of the best villains of all time, and teaches us the age old lesson that in order to care about your enemy, you have to know him, and Jack's constant teasing throughout the game and messing with you and your friends really makes you want to see him pay in the end, and the ending of this game is a thousand times more satisfying than the one from the first game.

It's sort of a hard task making a sequel to Tomb Raider. After all, the first game was such a stellar success that it would be hard to pull off in no shorter than a year after it. While Tomb Raider 2 is technically similar to the first game, a lot of it updated and it does feel better to play as well as having a more interesting story. It also has some of the most memorable levels from the entire franchise, including the sunken Maria Doria ship which is one enormous level that feels like it has a story to tell and first time playing this game, exploring everything was a wonderful feeling. It truly is a magnificent sequel and highly recommended to all action/adventure fans.

Making a Call of Duty sequel these days must be a task of pretty much colossal proportions. The franchise is the highest selling in gaming history and Treyarch had a lot on their shoulders when making this game. I was glad to see that Black Ops 2 is easily the best Call of Duty made and I can see myself playing it for years ahead. It also helps that it's the most PC friendly CoD I've played and they've really went that extra mile to make it inviting to new players as well. Everything about it is an improvement over any previous titles and I am happy to call myself a Call of Duty fan because of this game.

We all know the reason people got a Nintendo back in the 80's. Mario. The first Super Mario game was an amazing success that proved to people what games were capable of and Super Mario Bros. 2 also was a great game, even if it was a reskinned Doki Doki Panic. But Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of the sequels that just outclasses both of them. It is easily considered one of the best games of all time, if not one of the best NES games of all time. The amount of detail, passion and just outright fun put into this game is mindboggling from an 8bit console and it stands as one of the best titles Nintendo has ever produced, and also one of the most challenging.

Let's face it, the first Mega Man game wasn't really impressive. The difficulty was way too high even if the graphics and music was pretty good. However, Mega Man 2 improves on pretty much everything, delivering an experience that surpassed the original by lightyears. The music is arguably the most memorable on the NES, up there with titles like Zelda, Metroid and Super Mario, and it's just all around the best Mega Man game in the series for me.

Where Mario was the reason most people got a Nintendo, Sonic was the mascot for Sega and while the first Sonic game was a big reason most people got a Mega Drive, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 arguably is more memorable as it introduced multiplayer with the cute foxy sidekick Tails. Still keeping up the level design which centered around high speed as well as intricate platforming, Sonic 2 delivered more of the great stuff from the first game, but with a ton of more fun to it. Also helped that Michael Jackson was involved with the music...

While some may argue that Super Metroid is the best 2D Metroid, my personal favourite will always be Fusion. Not only does it have more of a story to it, it's also more streamlined and easier to play for me at least. The music is great, the sound effects are incredibly atmospheric and it's the only 2D Metroid that comes close to really making me feel frightened. Whenever the SA-X comes walking, my skin crawls for real and I get goosebumps, especially when playing with headphones on. It's easily the best GBA game I know and the best Metroid sequel in my opinion.