We understand that it’s fun to complain about how there are too many sequels flood store shelves nowadays, and it’s tough to argue when so many of this holiday’s biggest titles are safe and successful franchises — Call of Duty: Black Ops, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Gran Turismo 5 immediately come to mind. Then we look at critical darlings such as Bayonetta that flopped at retail and it makes us wonder who exactly is at fault.
Thus we’re flooded with sequels, which at this point seem inevitable. While the above franchises are always welcomed by millions, there are plenty of others that, quite frankly, no one ever asked for. The games aren’t always necessarily bad, they just inspire a simple question: “Why?”
Check out some of the examples below.
I hate having to write this entry. Not because I hated the game; quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. While it didn’t have the megaton twist of its predecessor, I think it did a fine job of expanding on Rapture’s origins. It also gave you something that the original didn’t – a reason to care about someone else in the game, in this case your Little Sister.
However, did we really need BioShock 2? After all, the first game stood perfectly well on its own. In fact, many scoffed at the idea of a sequel, me included. When it finally came out, people seemed to act on this sentiment by largely ignoring the game.
I still wholeheartedly recommend the game as the story does great by franchise superfans such as myself, with the encounters against the Big Sisters still being one of the more “HOLY CRAP”-inducing moments in gaming. For everyone else, though, it’s a safe to pass and wait for BioShock Infinite in 2012.
Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days
This game was a mess. Kane and Lynch themselves were utterly unlikeable, it was too short, and the game simply played as well as a game of Twister with a group of drunken amputees. Wait, this sounds familiar. Oh, that’s because we wrote about this just last week.
Not only was it a crappy sequel to an equally crappy game, it somehow fooled people into thinking that the second go ‘round might be different. Hell, I even wrote a whole feature about savior sequels based on that potential alone. In which case, maybe the game wasn’t so bad after all. Well played, Kane & Lynch.
Dead Rising 2
The concept behind Dead Rising should be infinitely fun. After all, you’re in a mall full of zombies that quickly becomes a playground filled with infinite undead-murdering possibilities. The original had some problems that kept the game from reaching the status of a classic – the 72-hour time limit was an odd design choice, Otis was herpes personified, and the save system was horrific.
Dead Rising 2 went ahead and fixed some of what was wrong with the original (though the 72-hour clock remains), but it didn’t do so without adding a couple of quirks of its own. As we mentioned in our review of the game, the custom weapons should have been a brilliant addition. Instead, players are forced to find a maintenance room to combine items, and their durability leaves a lot to be desired. Not to mention that the boss fights can come seemingly out of nowhere and many times feel cheap.
I could easily have written this off as zombie fatigue, but with the success of Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare and even AMC’s The Walking Dead, it’s clear that Dead Rising 2 simply missed the mark. If you can’t make a game more fun than the flawed original, why bother?
The original Crackdown had a lot of great things going for it – great gunplay, a massive open-world city, addictive collectables, and seamless co-op made it well worth playing, even for those that bought it simply for the Halo 3 beta invite. A sequel to a game with that formula was a no-brainer.
When Crackdown 2 was announced at last year’s E3, fans were extremely excited, though it seemed odd that start-up Ruffian Games would be handling the development and not Realtime Worlds. However, the game ended up underwhelming after it released in May this year.
Where did Crackdown 2 go wrong? It took everything that worked in the first game … and did nothing. Seriously. It felt like a massive copy/paste job by Ruffian as you were right back in Pacific City, only this time you were shooting zombies instead of gangbangers while a few buildings and landmarks were made to look run-down. Sometimes, more of the same can be a great thing – God of War comes to mind. However, Kratos isn’t fighting through the exact same locations in every game.