I recently rambled about how there aren’t any original ideas in games anymore, and it’s a sentiment that I stand by. If something works, why throw it all by the wayside? People gravitate towards sequels because they’re assured that they can slip into something comfortable, while still experiencing something fresh.
That’s why I think it kind of sucks when quality franchises go dormant for a while, or when games don’t get the sequel that they deserve. As much as I like to take chances on new IP such as Shadows of the Damned and Catherine, it’s comforting to know what you’re getting into for your sixty bucks.
With that in mind, here are just a few sequels that I’d love to see.
The Legend of Dragoon
Let’s kick it off with what is arguably the most polarizing game on this list. Despite mixed critical reception, The Legend of Dragoon was a commercial success, selling nearly 1 million copies in North America and over 280,000 copies in Japan.
Despite playing video games since 1993, RPGs aren’t a genre that I got into until I got a PS1 a few years later. The game that got me hooked wasn’t Final Fantasy VII like so many others, but The Legend of Dragoon. It wasn’t even the full game — it was a demo on one of those PlayStation Underground Jampack discs.
(Remember those? When people were willing to $4.99 for a disc chock full of demos and trailers because the idea of piping that stuff through the internet wasn’t even remotely imaginable? Crap, now I feel old. Moving on.)
The game certainly had its problems — there were far too many random encounters, the combat system was a bit awkward, and the soundtrack was unremarkable — it had great visuals and an engaging enough story to win players over. Even today, there are plenty of gamers clamoring for a sequel, and a modern hi-def game could address the problems that kept the original from being a true classic.
Oh man, maybe I was wrong about The Legend of Dragoon being the most polarizing game on this list. After a bitter rivalry in the early parts of the 2000s with EA Sports’ Madden franchise, 2K Sports lost a bidding war for the exclusive rights to publish NFL games. Now NFL 2K is but a warm, distant memory.
Like the 16-bit wars 10 years prior, the rivalry wasn’t just between EA Sports and 2K Sports (formerly Sega Sports). This was something that extended to each respective fanbase, with both sides yelling at each other about how great their favorite game was and how dumb someone would have to be to like the other.
With its inclusion on this list, you can guess which side of the fence I was on. In my particular case, I wasn’t even on the bandwagon for long before it fell apart. I loved Madden 2003, but switched over for NFL 2K4 and was ecstatic that NFL 2K5 sold for just $20 right out of the gate. Something about the way the games played just felt better, and they even had the advantage of a slick ESPN presentation.
A few years ago, 2K Sports tried their hand at making a football game without the NFL license with All-Pro Football 2K8, hoping that licensing the likenesses of NFL legends and spreading them across a bunch of generic teams would be enough. Alas, it was not enough. Defying all logic, playing in a stadium at the foot of a volcano just wasn’t as good as playing at good ol’ Lambeau Field. Worse yet, 2K Games didn’t even bother with recording new play-by-play commentary for the game, recycling the same lines found in NFL 2K5. Coupled with the lack of an NFL or ESPN license, it actually felt like a major downgrade from the PS2/Xbox game that preceded it just three years before.
Of course, there’s nothing that can be done to get a proper NFL 2K release until at least 2013, when EA Sports’ exclusivity contract runs out. EA is intent on renewing it when it expires, but hopefully we can return to a world where there are two football games feverishly competing for our affections.
Hot Shots Golf Out of Bounds
This is kind of a weird entry because there are plenty of Hot Shots Golf games being pumped out. However, those games are all on the PSP, and the newest HSG is being readied for the PS Vita (although I’m still very, very excited for it). Unfortunately, there’s only been one Hot Shots game on the PS3, 2008’s excellent Out of Bounds.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the two Open Tee games that have released on the PSP — I’ve played many a round during lunch breaks, and in the bathroom after said lunch breaks. Out of Bounds brought plenty to the table that the Open Tee games did not, some more obvious than others. HD is a nice upgrade for sure, and online play is smoother on the PS3 than any PSP game could ever hope to be. There was also a great new swing mechanic introduced in OoB that was mysteriously absent from Open Tee 2, which released several months later.
As fun and addictive as the game was when it was new, there are some glaring flaws that a new release could fix. The biggest, weirdest flaw is the way that the game handled patches and updates to accommodate new DLC. Rather than detecting, downloading, and installing a patch as you first boot it up, you have to initiate the process from the game’s online menu. That’s fine, but this process took forever. People are (justifiably) complaining about updates in Resistance 3, but it’s nothing compared to the ridiculous amount of updating you had to do if you wanted to download a single new character for Out of Bounds.
Hmm, that might actually be my only problem with Out of Bounds. Well, besides its utter lack of trophies. And the fact that it came out three and a half years ago. C’mon already!