Posts Tagged ‘sequels


Identity Crisis



Quite a few games lately seem to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. Whether it’s trying to change up a formula that has grown stale, making tweaks due to the changing tastes of gamers, or just because something in a previous iteration didn’t work out. Games – and times – change. That’s a fact.

But still, sometimes the changes are pretty weird. Several of the games I’ve been poking at recently seem to have undergone this sort of metamorphosis; I’m going to poke at three of them real quick.

First, (Totally-Not-Resident)Evil Within 2. While the first game tried to be Resident Evil 4, Mark II – and didn’t do so hot at it, I’ll add – EW2 at first presents itself as more of the same… but trying to play it that way will quickly reveal that’s not the best way to go about it. EW2 does its best work when it’s being played like a Splinter Cell or Metal Gear game. Carefully creeping about, studying the enemy patterns and looking for loopholes in their pathing to either shank them from behind or evade them entirely. Also like Metal Gear, it tends to fall apart in the obligatory boss fights, playing to none of the game’s strengths and all of its weaknesses. Still, it worked out better than expected, and EW2 is in many ways better than its predecessor.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins is from the “we’re bored, let’s do something else” camp; while I will happily state that AC:O is the best AC in just about forever, it’s not really much of an Assassin’s Creed game. It’s more like Ancient Egyptian The Witcher. Which I’m totally okay with, but strikes me as a little odd. Cramming in a bunch of open world RPG elements was nice, though the fact that “assassination” doesn’t really work any more seems to defy the title a bit.

Last on the blotter is the newly-released God of War. The previous six games all had a bad case of the samesies; there’s very little to differentiate God of War from God of War: Ascension or Ghost of Sparta. It’s also a genre that doesn’t seem to have much of a following anymore; basic “stylish action” hack and slashers have sort of fallen by the wayside in recent years. With that in mind, God of War decided to do something decidedly different. First is embracing an epic story that tries to hit you in the feels (mainly by riffing on The Last of Us’s themes of parenthood), while second is retooling the game into something that seems to want to be more Zelda than anything else. Well, amendment. More Darksiders. But given that Darksiders is basically Zelda on steroids with a coat of black and red paint, that’s still kind of the same thing.

All that being said, all three games are great, and very enjoyable. They’re just different, and not likely what folks were expecting when walking in based on their sequel status.

What about you folks out there? Know of a great game that is completely different from its forebears? What about sequels who developed an identity crisis, switched things up, and flopped hard? Let us know down below!

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Sequel Sadness


The video gaming world seems to suffer greatly from the disease known as sequelitis; yearly iterations of barely-changed and frequently mindless games, all out to snatch up your $60 based on the addition of a numeral to the end.

There’s plenty of games of that type out there, to be sure. There’s also plenty of great sequels (Witcher 3Uncharted – up till Lost Legacy, anyway – and Mafia 3 come to mind) that build on the things from previous games while having their own identity and not coming off as just minor tweaks of the previous games. Sometimes there are even sequels (Breath of the Wild and Assassin’s Creed: Origins serve as banner-bearers for this type) that redeem series that had fallen into the muck and mire.

But I’m not interested in those today. Today we’re talking about the worst kind of sequel; the ones we never got.

I’m just going to bring up a few series that I think really need a sequel – and may have even had one announced – but that for assorted reasons we never got. Darksiders III would have been my poster-child here, but we’re supposedly actually getting that one at the end of the year. I wait with baited breath.

I’ll start with a personal favorite. The Darkness 2 (which finally went backwards compatible for XBox One last week, hooray!) stands as one of my favorite games. I love the characters, the art style, the gameplay, the story. It’s a great game in every respect. Except one.

It ends on a massive cliffhanger, heavily sequel baiting you. It was even planned to continue the story, and there was a brief period where the idea of a PS4/XB1 sequel was implied… but still, no dice. Now, maybe the sudden resurgence of interest and it finally getting BC may hold out a beacon of hope… but I’m not counting on it. But, still. Wanna get on that? Pretty please? Can we get Jackie out of the Abyss and let loose with some more tentacle monster heart eating action? Maybe?

The Suffering is another old series that gave us great concepts and surprisingly immersive story, that teased us with a third entry… alas, it was not to be. Assorted issues with the developers and publisher, poor sales of Ties That Bind, and the general moving on of the fickle gaming public left it in limbo, forever abandoned. Still, I’d love to see Torque come back around, and the rumor mill says WB Games – who inherited most of the legal rights after Midway’s disintegration – had not so long ago re-upped the rights to The Suffering name, so… maybe?

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. It may have been a little clunky, and FU2 (ha! Best acronym ever!) may have gone a little wonky towards the end, but the ideas were cool, and watching Starkiller tear through hordes of enemies with ridiculously over the top Force powers was great fun. Generally assumed to be a victim of Disney’s sweeping purge of the Star Wars universe, some of the planned ideas were apparently being worked into 1313, but then that got cut down by Mickey’s mighty lightsaber-of-doom as well. Given that recent Star Wars gaming efforts (*cough cough* Battlefront 2 *cough cough*) have been less than spectacular, though, there might still be hope that the license gets kicked to a different company and we may get a final installment of Starkiller’s adventures (and hopefully with DLC Dark Side “what if” moments for Episode VII and VIII?) one day.

Silent Hills. Not much to say there, except “Konami Sucks.” Hopefully, Allison Road finally comes out and scratches this itch.

Alan Wake 2. Before Stranger Things came along and stormed the world with nostalgia and cramming as many references as possible into each scene, Alan Wake said “hey, what if we took Stephen King, Twin Peaks, and Silent Hill, then borrowed that cool idea from Alone in the Dark: Inferno with the episode feel” and ran with it. It was great. I love the game itself, I loved the DLC, and I even loved the pseudo-sequel/spinoff American Nightmares. But I was promised a second game, damnit, and instead, Remedy ran off to make Quantum Break, which was… okay, at best. I want to swim in the ocean, people! Get on that!

There’s a handful of games that never got their sequels, that I’d love to see; I’m sure there’s more if I sat down and really thought about it.

But what about you folks? Is there a game series that ended too soon for your taste? A teased sequel that you were ready to go all-in on, but had your dreams crushed at the last minute? Let us know down below!

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