Sometimes, videogame sequels fail to capitalise on the excellent work begun by their elder brethren, be it a change of developer, a shift in focus or a bizarre and not required change of style. Here are some that failed to match their predecessors. If you have your own, add them in the comments below.
10. Unreal Championship 2
The original Unreal Championship was a console-only triumph, a quick blast multiplayer FPS that captured the excitement of Unreal Tournament and then dished it out in Xbox-sized nuggets of fun. The sequel complicated things with third person sections and melee combat that felt ever so slightly forced. It was much prettier, and better than a lot of games out there, but the first Championship was that much better, that even a slightly lesser sequel pales in comparison. The story mode feels confused, the Egyptian styling is ever so slightly Stargate, and the twitch gameplay just isn’t as fast as the original. Not a tragedy, but where Unreal Championship 2 succeeds is in making you want to play the original.
9. Knight Of The Old Republic 2: The Sith LordsKnight Of The Old Republic is a masterpiece, a perfect blend of Star Wars mythology and Bioware’s storytelling genius. An epic tale of revenge and betrayal played out against the backdrop of a massive intergalactic war. The sequel was going to have to be something truly special to live up to the marker set by KOTOR, and whilst The Sith Lords is an achievement in its own right, Obsidian’s follow-up fails to capture the magic of its forebear. The story is a slow starter, the characters not quite so endearing and the cut scenes that little bit more staid. If this had been the first game in the series, then it would have been championed, but as a follow up to one of the best games in recent history, it falls annoyingly short.
8. Metal Gear Solid 2
What? You wanted to play as Solid Snake? Oh no, we can’t have you doing that. Here, have a whining, androgynous proto-emo with appalling hair. Who spends far too much of his time running around naked. And as an extra treat, we’ll make sure the plot is so inaccessible you’ll need it explaining to you eight times, with drawings, until you actually have the faintest idea what’s going on. Metal Gear Solid may have had a convoluted narrative, but its sequel trumped it hands down, muddying any water it could find with conspiracy theories galore. The gameplay is still as tight and focused as the original, but with all the cut scenes flying around, you don’t spend nearly enough time actually playing.
7. Deus Ex: Invisible War
6. Max Payne 2
The original Max Payne was a rain soaked noir tragedy that sent the player into the darker recesses of a bloody New York night. The sequel simply couldn’t carry on the atmosphere and tension that Remedy’s original creates. The bullet time gameplay was already feeling a little old hat, and the story was, to be perfectly honest, perfunctory. The narrative of the original was a closed circle; there really wasn’t anything else to add. But add they did, and the game feels messy. The console ports are the worst offenders, with the controls feeling clumsy and awkward when transferred to a joypad. Maybe the upcoming threequel will right the wrongs of this pointless game.
5. Perfect Dark: Zero
A 360 launch title, with a lot resting on its shoulders, Perfect Dark: Zero is a disappointment from start to finish. The refined shooting mechanic of the N64 original is missing, as is any of the charm or excitement that Rare managed to fit into a single, expanded cartridge. The multiplayer handled like dribbling soup, the graphics were hardly next gen, and the story was boring. Technically, it’s a prequel, but that doesn’t change the fact that it pales in comparison to Joanna Dark’s previous adventure. It’s also the game that saw Rare slipping away from development and into, well, nobody really knows yet. Bad Perfect Dark: Zero, you go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.
4. Devil May Cry 2Devil May Cry made you feel like a badass. The guns/sword combination, the juggle combos, the free flowing combat system, the sweet red trench coat, it all combined to make a game that’s remembered fondly by almost everyone who played it. Its sequel, however, took out the vast majority of the things that made its progenitor great, added boring, brown level design, a bland story and not much else. There were new ideas in the game, but they were bogged down in bad design decisions and unnecessary changes in character. DMC2 would be lower down the list, were it not for the simple fact that some of its better ideas made their way into DMC3, and that was incredible.
3. Halo 2
The original Halo proved that First Person Shooters could work on consoles, and whilst its story of a faceless space marine taking on alien invaders was hardly ground breaking, it at least reached a satisfactory narrative conclusion. Unlike Halo 2, which just sort of… stopped. Yes, the multiplayer was incredible, and still remains fantastically popular today, but the single player campaign was a huge disappointment. The combat lacks the excitement and intensity of the original, the Arbiter levels feel an awful lot like filler and the level design all round is lacking the spark that made Combat Evolved such a triumph. It still garnered huge review scores, but Halo 2 left a lot of gamers cold, and earns its place on this list because of that.
2. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. It may not be a direct sequel, but it’s got the Goldeneye name on the box, and it’s pretty obvious that that’s what EA were banking on selling this abomination. There’s no passion in the game making, no innovation and no fun. Goldeneye on the N64 was a triumph of level design and multiplayer nous. This car crash is a mix of ridiculous premise, bad implementation and poor realisation. It handles like a dog, and looks like one too. Rogue Agent is an affront to the good name of Goldeneye, and should be viewed as such.
1. Bomberman Act Zero
As game pitches go, a sexed up Bomberman featuring lithe robots, next gen explosions and cyberpunk stylings is possibly the most ridiculous I’ve ever heard. Yet, somehow, this awful game got made. Why, we can only guess. Stripping away all of the personality and cutesy violence that makes Bomberman so endearing, this robotic abomination makes everything ‘extreme’ and ‘to the max’ and ‘utterly unplayable because of the abysmal camera’. Never has a game been quite so redundant. Strangely enough, Bomberman Zero was a huge flop and the series has returned to its, much, much better, roots.
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