What series has let you down with its sequel?

TylerTheHistorian
I've been playing a lot of Path of Exile, which always makes me think about why Diablo III let me down. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is easily up there in my most hours logged into a game category, and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody told me it was the game I spent the most time on.

Diablo III was fun, but oversimplified things. I feel like when they went to design it they said, "Look, maybe only 10% of the players ever crafted a rune word and nobody likes re-rolling their character to respec." While both of those statements are true, they also were the main things that kept me playing the game for something like 6 years after it was released. After I binged on Diablo III and Reaper of Souls, I kind of just fell off.

Path of Exile leaned into all that complexity in a way which is hard to penetrate for new players, but has me absolutely hooked on the end game.

This seems to be the case with games I like which get the "AAA treatment." For instance, I like the new Fallout games, but they also kind of bum me out because they're nothing like the originals. I'm able to let that one go, though, because the new games are good in their own way, and Brian Fargo is back at it with the Wasteland series.

Does anybody else have a sequel that make them feel this way?
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  • 17 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Link_of_Skyloft
    GT Editor
    Definitely the Paper Mario series with its two most recent entries, Sticker Star and Color Splash. The first two games are magical experiences -- some of the best turn-based RPGs I've ever played. I would even consider The Thousand-Year Door my favorite game of all time. While the gameplay of Super Paper Mario was unconventional for the series, it still had an incredibly strong story with great writing and hilarious, lovable characters.

    The general outcry from fans regarding Super Paper Mario was the lack of the action-command turn-based battle system from the previous two games, and Nintendo heard that loud and clear...except for Sticker Star, they forgot to bring back partners, a story, good writing, skill-based gameplay, experience points and level progression -- you know, just everything that made the first two games the masterpieces they are. All that's just too perfect, you know? They also had the brilliant idea to make your attacks consumable items that you are able to run out of. Who on Earth signed off on that idea? It's a huge design flaw and makes every single battle, aside from required minibosses and bosses, not only pointless, but actually a detriment to the player thanks to their only purpose being to drain the player of resources. Not that having a lot of stickers actually matters for the boss fights either, since you just need to find the right Thing sticker to use to absolutely trivialize the whold ordeal. So you're indirectly encouraged to avoid as many battles as possible, which makes up about half the game, and forced to sit through the...puzzle solving(?) of the rest of the game, which is mostly made up of finding the right Thing sticker in order to proceed. These puzzles can be very obtuse and frustrating, because they mostly boil down to trial and error -- which is an awful way to design a puzzle.

    Color Splash is slightly better, but still suffers from many of the same design flaws -- attacks being a consumable resource that you can run out of and a story that is weak at best and nonexistent at worst. It's made slightly better by the fact that battles actually do serve the purpose of increasing your paint meter, which is used for both battling and overworld exploration, so you're actually going to want to battle enemies, but that's a double-edged sword, since you might end up wasting some of your really good cards on cannon fodder because you're stuck in the middle of the stage and running low on cards. While the traditional Paper Mario humor is more present in this installment, the writing still pales in comparison to the first three games. At least both installments greatly improve on the paper aesthetic (they really pulled out all the stops to make the game look and feel like a living diorama, and the art direction is amazing as a result), and their soundtracks, while featuring some forgettable songs, are still both quite good. If we could get a Thousand-Year Door remake on the Switch with an improved version of Color Splash's engine, I can die happy.
  • JCC
    GT Member
    Ultima 8 and 9 (shudder - no need for details)

    Thief 3 (good, not great) and Thief (2014) - which was an ok stealth/action game but shouldn't have been called Thief as it failed as a Thief sequel or remake.

    Mass Effect 3 was fine as a game, but the abominable abortion of an ending can never be forgiven. Mass Effect Andromeda was a game I enjoyed, but definitely falls into the category of disappointing sequel.

    Dragon Age 2 - good game, but pales in comparison to the first magnificent Dragon Age Origins. Dragon Age 3 was much better, but feels even less like the first game - it almost should be a separate series other than keeping the lore.

    Metroid Other M. The only "core" Metroid game I actively hated. Way to make a beloved protagonist into a (literal) whiny bitch. Oh and the game basically sucked too. Please never let Team Ninja near any Nintendo franchise ever again....

    Zelda Skyward Sword - I never thought I could hate a Zelda game so much. Even without the horrifically bad controls, they ratcheted up the fetch quest bullshit to such an extreme (even for a ZELDA game) that I just couldn't take it. Even worse than the DS games with their hand crippling touch screen controls and those damned rage inducing dungeons.

    Zelda II - Not a terrible game, but definitely an oddity in the series. And fucking hard.
  • TylerTheHistorian
    GT Editor
    Ultima... right in the feels.
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    Definitely Dragon Age 2. I loved the first game, but the second felt so confining. I stopped playing about 10 hours in, disappointed in the setting and the combat. By comparison, I spent about 60 hours in the first title.
  • TylerTheHistorian
    GT Editor
    Oh yeah, I think The Thousand Year Door was one of my favorite experiences on the Gamecube. I wasn't really fond of Super Paper Mario, but saw it as more of a spin off. Since they never really went back, I haven't kept up on the series. I feel like they must have decided that the Mario & Luigi games filled that space and decided to take Paper Mario in a different direction.

    I actually feel similarly about the mainline Mario games, too. Every game after Sunshine they really have gone for a more focused level design and abandoned that sense of exploration. They're all still really excellent games, but when they announced Odyssey and showed this slide:
    iTAPckh.jpg

    It gave me hope for the future.
  • Mr. Feral
    GT Editor
    I am very aware of how deeply I am in the minority on this one, but Mass Effect. And not just 3 or Andromeda. I still think Mass Effect 1 was the best in the series. Mechanically they may have improved by leaps and bounds, but narratively I found nothing to hold onto in the second. The first was this grand political epic, pulling everyone towards a common goal and implying an undeniable sense of doom. Then the second blew up the ship, main character, and with some soft retcons much of the universe. Its story meandered around from one vignette to another, telling a tale that seemed designed to go nowhere. The end of ME2 was essentially the end of ME1: Oh...the Reapers are coming. Except now we agree with you. There was fun to be had, and some of the best characters in the series, but as a game as a whole I felt it didn't hold together as well.

    With the unalterable travesty that was 3's ending, so bad that it leaked forward and helped contribute to the downfall of the series as a whole, it makes me miss that universe deeply, and mourn for its lost potential. Damn it they even had an ending in mind that they didn't go with. We were robbed, and no amount of DLC cutscenes can make up for that.
  • Lordnine
    GT Member
    Dawn of War 3 is the biggest recent offender. It wasn’t an awful game but compared to the first two it was such a drop in quality and change in gameplay that it’s hard not to be disappointed. I have over 2,000 hours in DoW2 and less than 40 in DoW3, a number I don’t see increasing much.
  • EngineNo9
    GT Member
    Crackdown 2...not horrible but not a great follow up that both came too late and was also rushed in development.

    Interstate '82 was a severe disappointment, not only in gameplay but also the theme and style of it was a huge step backwards from I'76.

    Diablo III was definitely a disappointment between the game, loot, auction house, online issues...just not great at all at first.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    EngineNo9 wrote: »
    Crackdown 2...not horrible but not a great follow up that both came too late and was also rushed in development.

    Interstate '82 was a severe disappointment, not only in gameplay but also the theme and style of it was a huge step backwards from I'76.

    Diablo III was definitely a disappointment between the game, loot, auction house, online issues...just not great at all at first.

    I agree with those. Took me through most of Crackdown 2 before the honeymoon period was over. Fact is, it was too much the same. Plus the zombie thing was decidedly meh and the really cool weapons were harder to use (spiderweb-like-mines, for instance).
  • Purge
    GT Member edited September 28
    Star Wars: Force Unleashed II - absolute shit from a control / execution perspective.
    Star Wars: X-Wing vs Tie Fighter - Not nearly as compelling as both the Xwing and Tie Fighter roots.

    Assassin's Creed: Revelations - Brotherhood was so much better. AssCrud3 continued on the spiral downward, if I recall correctly. Or maybe it was the one after that.

    Ultima VIII - Did not live up to both parts of VII. Not even a little, and it was janky as hell.
    Ultima IX - Yeah. Fuck you. Maybe today's hardware can finally run that shit without it being jittery and tearing etc, but I had a beefy system back in the day and really, the perspective shift didn't make it better.
  • uxFOOL
    GT Manager
    Purge wrote: »
    Star Wars: Force Awakens II - absolute shit from a control / execution perspective.

    When did this come out? For that matter, when did the first one? Trying to figure out how I missed a Star Wars game...

    Mike Dunn
    Executive Producer & Editor-at-Large
    GAMING TREND

  • Bullwinkle
    GT Member
    uxFOOL wrote: »
    Purge wrote: »
    Star Wars: Force Awakens II - absolute shit from a control / execution perspective.

    When did this come out? For that matter, when did the first one? Trying to figure out how I missed a Star Wars game...

    I think he's talking about Force Unleashed.
  • Blackjack
    GT Member edited September 27
    I'm in the minority among Diablo junkies but I was far more addicted to the early 1997 original Diablo (some weekends I probably spent like 16 hours + playing, and my brother would complain my phone was busy all day long as I played co-op via dial-up connection :)).

    I loved Diablo II but the addiction wasn't quite the same nor lasted as long for me (maybe 2000 into late 2001). For me that's in part because of the pacing. You couldn't run away in Diablo 1; you got into a mess, then you had to figure a way to fight out of it. Take one turn into a dungeon of 'vomit dogs,' and you were probably dead. I felt often in D2 I could simply run away from trouble, and in some ways that made it a bit less compelling to me in combat. Sometimes I felt like I was doing more Monty Python running away than fighting.

    Also a lot of skills I loved early on in D2 like Amazon's Strafe were nerfed into blandness as Blizzard North kept patching the game to death to try to make every single skill equally compelling instead of letting us focus on what we loved using.

    I think the DIablo III levels were largely too simplistic and not as well crafted or interesting as Diablo II's. That's probably no surprise given the departure of the Schaefer brothers and David Brevik; D3 just didn't have the earlier games' developers' heart and soul anymore.

    Also like many players I loved developing different builds for Diablo II. Had multiple Amazons at high levels, multiple Barbarians, multiple paladins, since you had to commit up the skills tree one way or the other. Since D3 lets you essentially willy-nilly switch between all of a class's skills trees any time (which seemed like a great convenience when I first read about it), for me it eliminated any point in developing alternate builds.

    I'm also completely lost in some of the Seasons and Portals and whatever in D3. After I left the game and returned years later, I couldn't even understand a lot of these new features, and had trouble finding any plain English descriptions of them. I revisited D3 just weeks ago, and it just didn't have any addictive hold on me anymore.
    ===============

    As far as sequels, back in the day Doom II seemed pretty disappointing to me in retrospect -- added a double barrel shotgun and new maps, maybe an enemy or two? It seemed more like an expansion at the time.

    I loved Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and found its expansions by different dev teams disappointing, and its WWII Airborne followup ultimately disappointing too.

    I think with many game sequels, if a first title is successful, the dev team tends to want to break up and form other developers, or work on different projects instead of a followup. So it seems pretty often that a sequel lacks a first game's charm simply because it's no longer got the same dev team in place anymore.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    uxFOOL wrote: »
    Purge wrote: »
    Star Wars: Force Awakens II - absolute shit from a control / execution perspective.

    When did this come out? For that matter, when did the first one? Trying to figure out how I missed a Star Wars game...

    For some reason when I looked up the title, there was so much Awakens stuff I saw unleashed and STILL typed Awakens. #facepalm

    Corrected above.
  • Travis
    GT Member
    I suppose mine are pretty much the same...Ultima 8 and 9. Dragon Age 2. I also completed but didn't care much for Bioshock:Infinite. I didn't like the new setting and departure from the first two. I also thought the ending was forced.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    Travis wrote: »
    I suppose mine are pretty much the same...Ultima 8 and 9. Dragon Age 2. I also completed but didn't care much for Bioshock:Infinite. I didn't like the new setting and departure from the first two. I also thought the ending was forced.

    So was the star wars game.... #badum #tish
  • Rumpy
    GT Member
    Can this be any sequel going forward? Loved Uncharted 2, but was quite disappointed in Uncharted 3. It seemed that with the right ingredients, it could have been just as good as 2, but I felt they had made some fumbles. The story while interesting wasn't as good and some of the threads just went nowhere. The villain who reminded me of Helen Mirren was interesting but way underused and ultimately the ending was rather unsatisfying. Speaking of endings, I was expecting to put up quite a fight and quite enjoyed the boss battle at the end of 2, but the fact that the ending was mostly a series of QTEs, felt like it went out more with a fizzle than a bang and I couldn't believe it was over so quickly after all the build up.
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