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The Curse of the Wayward Sequel 95

Posted by Zonk
from the when-good-games-go-bad dept.
As big a part of the industry has sequels have become, they don't all turn out for the best. 1up takes a look at anticipated or promising sequels that just failed to deliver the goodness a second time around. From the article: "By the next Christmas season, Ubisoft released Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - except things had changed drastically. The biggest diversion was with the Prince himself, whose clean-cut looks were altered into a rugged, rock star style. Taking with that same theme, the soundtrack featured a sizable amount of death metal, including an anachronistic appearance by a Godsmack song. The fighting engine was improved over the original, but with it came tons of cheesy dialogue spewed out during combat."
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The Curse of the Wayward Sequel

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  • Sounds to me like they wanted it to feel kinda like the DMC series?
  • The ad I got just below the article was for Neverwinter Nights 2. I'm not sure they were going for when they bought that ad...
    • NWN 2 has been advertising like crazy. That's usually a very bad sign. Good sequels don't need advertising.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Dev59 (953144)
        Good sequels might not NEED a lot of advertising... but if they're sequels to big games they're going to get it anyways.
      • by Jordanis (955796)
        It is a little bit worrying, but I liked NWN too much. I'll probably buy it, for I am weak.
  • wtf (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @03:44PM (#16565610)
    "As big a part of the industry has sequels have become, they don't all turn out for the best." What does that mean? "Sequels big, industry become part, all they don't best turn out for." "Sa gbi a prat of eht idutsnry sah sequles hvae bcemoe, tehy dnot lal trun tuo rfo eht bset." A Toyota's a Toyota.
  • by PreacherTom (1000306) * on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @03:50PM (#16565742)
    2 words: Deus Ex. Satis est.
    • by kirun (658684)
      Now, call me pedantic, but that's four words.

      I await your no doubt pre-planned sarcastic reply.
      • Sir, you are mistaken. I argue that there were two words and a period. I am prepared to fight this matter to the ends of the Internet.
    • by RESPAWN (153636)
      When I read the /. synopsis, Deus Ex 2 was, indeed, the first game that came to mind. It was nice to see it on the list (Yes, I did RTMFA). I would have to say that it is hands down the most disappointing sequel I've ever been subjected to. Not the least of which was becuse I tried to play through Deus Ex 3 seperate times and was thwarted by technical issues each time, never actually making it to the end. (HD crash, what appared to be a sound card incompatability that caused severe game instability, and
  • Most sequels are doomed from the start of ever being as glorious as their original. The idea for the original game is already in it's second (or third) iteration and stagnancy begins it's gradual decline.

    In contrast most games that have overcome this obstacle usually prosper from a complete overhaul in storyline (FF 1 through whatever) or perspective (the Mario titles).

    In the end it comes down to money. Sequels are safe bet from a sales and marketing perspective and the bottom line is the only thing t

    • by spun (1352)
      I think the second sequel is always the best in a series and then everything after that sucks ass.
      • Oh boy... dude, I don't think you could be more far off. In looking back on many long-running series, it's almost an assurence that the second game is the weakest. Let's see:

        • Final Fantasy II (Japanese) - commonly criticized for having one of the worst magic/stat systems in RPG history
        • Mario II - if you're counting The Lost Levels, then I need not explain myself. Meanwhile, Mario 2 USA, while still pretty good, is usually considered one of the weakest in the series
        • Metroid II - I happen to dissagree with
        • by ultranova (717540)

          There's only a very few examples where Game #2 was considered one of the best in the series:

          You forgot Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net] (Star Control 2).

        • by Syrrh (700452)
          I agree the longevity of the series is a lot more impotant to consider than sophomore-letdowns. Castlevania's another good example that had a weird, clumsy #2, and then came back strong on #3. But then it went on to even more sequels that were better still, and made *all* the NES predecesors look a bit weak.

          I liked SMB-2, even if it was a departure from the series. Is it really accurate to call it a poor game just because the mechanics were different in the rest of the Mario franchise?

          Heck, I'd just call it
    • I think the key to the successes you mentioned is that they seem to be treated as entirely new games. In other words, they don't just assume because it's a sequel it will be successful and skimp on the resources.
  • Death Metal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shotgunsaint (968677) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @03:51PM (#16565770)
    "Taking with that same theme, the soundtrack featured a sizable amount of death metal, including an anachronistic appearance by a Godsmack song." If Godsmack is the submitter's idea of death metal, then there are lots of things in my music collection that would break their mind.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Never thought I would hear Godsmack in the same sentence as death metal other than to differentiate between the two... please do not be giving death metal a bad name by associating the two :)
    • No kidding. I read that and just about blew coffee out of my nose. I think someone needs to research musical genres. What the writer meant was Mall Metal, not Death Metal.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Mall Metal

        Is Godsmack even THAT hard? Stryper rocks harder.

        -Eric

        • Good old Stryper. I hadn't even realized that Godsmack was still popular. I have distanced myself from the modern trend machine so much that I have no idea what is even popular anymore.
  • by ifrag (984323)

    I can't even think of reading TFA based on the summary. I thought Warrior Within was the best in the current Trilogy. I found all the improvements made completely up to my expectations. The Prince's dark and brooding attitude of impending doom made it even more thrilling than the first. The mask of the wraith was a really neat plot device and mode of game play... although some of the temporal inconsistencies it introduced were a bit disturbing.

    Overall, I'd highly recommend Warrior Within as a fitting a

    • by scot4875 (542869)
      Yeah, except that in the 2nd game, his 'dark and brooding' attitude just made him a tool. At least in the first one, you could pity him because he was naive and reckless.

      "You should be honored to die by my sword!" ... yeah, that right there's some brilliant, creative, original writing.

      --Jeremy
  • Anything that allows you to so brutally hack an opponent to pieces in kinetically fluid combat has my vote. The combat makes the game the sheezy. Of course, I'm not a hard-core PoP fan, so I don't have to suffer the changes the way I do with, for example, the 1984 Dune movie.

    Best combat I've ever experienced in an over-the-shoulder martial arts style game, though.
  • Overanalysis... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @03:59PM (#16565924)
    Everybody always thinks too hard about why Warrior Within wasn't good. Perhaps it is because people don't want to admit to themselves that the combat doesn't make the game?

    Here's the deal. The Sands of Time was an excelent environmental puzzle game with some crappy fighting. The Warrior Within was a crappy 3D fighter with some mediocre environmental puzzles. Neither the music, the mood, nor the combat engine had anything to do with what made the games good or bad.

    It's OK to admit you like an adventure/puzzle game. It doesn't make you less 'hardcore'.
    • by MBCook (132727)

      I've never even played Warrior Within or the third game. I played Sands of Time and LOVED it. Not only was the game beautiful, but it had great platforming challenges and puzzles. The fighting wasn't that great, but it wasn't too bad. The story was good, and the telling was fantastic (like what happened when you would die and the price would say "No wait... that wasn't how it happened").

      I eagerly awaited the sequel until I found out more about it. They took the game I really loved and made it "cool". Death

      • by Khuffie (818093)
        Why start a sequel before the game is released? Isn't the point of a sequel to improve upon a previous game? Sure, you may know that this part isn't as much fun as it's supposed to be when you're working on it, but you have no idea what the general reaction of the public is going to be, and the example here is perfect! People LOVED the charm of the prince, the locals and the atmosphere of the original, and by making the decision to turn the prince dark before the game is release just pissed off all the fans
        • by yuna49 (905461)
          [mild spoilers ahead]

          Anybody who can rank FF VIII as a worse "sequel" in the Final Fantasy series than FF X-2 (which is an actual sequel) needs his or her head examined. I particularly despised how Yuna was converted from a shy, modest, yet strong-willed and powerful woman in FF X into a gun-toting, skimpily-dressed songstress just to satisfy the marketing department's request that the sequel provide more fan service. The Yuna of FF X was a good role model for my then eleven-year-old daughter; I don't thi
      • by shrykk (747039)
        I've never even played Warrior Within or the third game [...] I eagerly awaited the sequel until I found out more about it.

        Respectfully sir, you're wrong. Warrior Within is a fine game with more of the same platforming awesomeness. It has a cool time-looping plot and takes place in a huge castle whose parts you traverse more than once, in different time periods, and you have a little more freedom in navigating them (especially when you're seeking out the hard-to find health upgrades and weapons). The
        • by Jarlsberg (643324)
          I agree. I loved SoT, but the combat got mind-numbingly boring after a very short while. This was adressed in the two sequels, which were both excellent games.
      • by Dev59 (953144)
        You seriously need to give the third game a chance instead of dismissing it out of hand. The "rage prince mode" as you're calling it is actually the villain of the story in many ways. The Two Thrones is a great game and I enjoyed it just as much as the first - and I had no interest at all in the second game (though the Dark Prince does a lot to reconcile the first two games with each other).
    • I thought the fighting in Sands of Time was pretty cool. I was really worried that I was going to have a big problem with it, since the way I process 3D spaces I have trouble aiming from a 3rd person view. Nope, no problems at all, the game handles it. The combat looks impressive, but it very simple to control. Like you said, it's a puzzle game. So the combat shouldn't require hours upon hours to learn. Well, with the model it has, it doesn't. It's a fun addition to make it not just about puzzle after puzzl
    • I disagree about the enviornmental puzzles in WW. I thought they were best in WW. I did like SoT more though, due to less emphasis on combat, although what was there was terribly painful. OTOH, the combat in WW was often of such extremely variable difficulty as to drive one insane.

      Yeah, the puzzles though. In WW, they were the best. They were larger, more intricate, more difficult, and more beautiful. And the Dhaka(that what it was called?) sequences were amazing and intense -- insane 3d platforming i
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        The running puzzles in WW were truely excelent, but the rest of the game ruined it. The other puzzles were often buggy, and you could get the game to break (falling through areas, getting the camera stuck, etc..) if you tried to look around too much or go anywhere you weren't obviously supposed to go. It was like the game penalized you for exploring. If not by breaking, but by distracting you with yet another repetative buttonmashing combat session. Meh.
        • You're damn right about the bugs in Warrior Within. In fact, I put a lot of hours into that game, got to the very end, yet couldn't finish due to a gameplay bug. All 3 of my saves were corrupted(GC version).

          The bug in question was mentioned on Ubisoft's website. They provided no fix, no workaround. The only solution? Play the entire game over, and *PRAY* it doesn't happen again. Not even a mention of how to avoid triggering the bug.

          So I sent Ubi a nasty(no, not like my posting history sort of nasty) e
  • Jak II.

    Yes, I know Spyro pulled off the whole 'sucked into a new world' bit, and hell, R&C did it too, but Jak II took a decent mute protagonist and animal sidekick, and:
    1) Shunted them into the Future
    2) Tortured the main character for TWO YEARS (and this was IN the prologue)
    3) Made him talk and basically turned him emo, and gave him 'eco-morphing' powers and a gun.

    ... the original was a platform/collector-style game with minigames. They don't even PLAY the same. Yes, sequels are meant to be different,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727)

      I commented on why I never played Prince of Persia: Warrior Within above, but I'd forgotten about Jak II. I really enjoyed Jak and Daxter and I was amazed what they did with the second. Not only was it put in the future and made edgy, they decided to give the characters GUNS. If the characters were different you'd probably have no way to ever know both games took place in the same universe.

      Another game I didn't play because they screwed with the original too much.

      I mean, why not just give Ryu Hyabusa of N

      • man using the nunchaku was almost like giving him a pair of Uzis. . . Not to say I wouldn't play Ninja Gaiden if they gave him an uzi or two... It seems only fair to me, what with all the enemies having guns...
  • I remember the first game. I got it real cheap because the third one was about to come out I think. It was okay. I think the most interesting part was jumping off of the ledges and wasting my rewind power when my friends were watching. First time they were impressed. 50th a bit agitated...
  • Command and Conquer was worlds funner and less buggier than its sequel. At the end of C&C, it advertised C&C2. So everyone wanted to play C&C2. C&C2 sucked.
    • What the hell is C&C2? The only Command and Conquer game with a 2 in it was Red Alert 2. (And the only one that really sucked IMHO was Generals but that's not C&C)
    • You are wrong.

      C&C, C&C:Tiberium Sun, and RA2 are all good.

      The rest all suck.

      It's very simple.

      If you think that Tiberium Sun was bad, you obviously didn't get in to the grove of the Orca Bomber.
    • by owlman17 (871857)
      Command and Conquer 3 [wikipedia.org], coming soon to a gamestore near you! Looks good so far. ...and I wish Blizzard would finally come out with StarCraft 2.
  • not Death Metal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sinryc (834433) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @04:08PM (#16566094)
    Godsmack is not death metal.
  • Duke Nukem Forever, 4tw. Due out any year now.
  • At least... (Score:3, Funny)

    by monoqlith (610041) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @04:13PM (#16566158)
    the Prince of Persia was turned into a rugged rock star, as opposed to the effeminate, but also rocking, Artist Formerly Known as Prince of Persia.

    Then again, I wouldn't go up against the latter in a game of "First to Impale the Other On A Floor With Metal Spikes Wins."

  • Seriously, to have a Tomb Raider game where you don't raid any tombs was just the ground-glass icing on the turd cake that was AoD. (And we got Angry Emo Lara a few years before the MySpace Prince.)
    • by Dev59 (953144)
      At least the new one is a decent game again. First one I've managed to actually play through since the first and I quite enjoyed it.
  • by miyako (632510) <miyako@NospaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @04:49PM (#16566760) Homepage Journal
    People like to complain about sequals for video games, and I admit that a lot of times it becomes ridiculous, but I think that there are a lot of instances where sequals are really welcome and add to the overall series. The fact is that most often when I think of games, I think "what is my favorite series".
    Mario, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Tony Hawk, Metroid, Tekken, Zelda, how many people are really doing to go "damn, not ANOTHER Zelda game, try something original nintendo!".
    The problem really is when a company runs out of ideas (or at least out of good ideas) and tries to use the name of a great game or series to sell crap. It's bad for gamers who are tricked into buying crap, and it's bad for publishers who ruin the name of a great series.
  • Doom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VGR (467274) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @05:24PM (#16567290)
    From the article:

    ... Doom 2 - which was really just a set of new levels ...

    Yeah, just new levels.

    Except for the pain elemental. And the arachnotron. And the mancubus. And the revenant. And the arch-vile.

    And the super shotgun.

    The additions are a masterpiece orchestration of game balance. I guess Kurt Kalata never actually played it.

    • Believe it or not, I have! Quite a lot of it, too.

      And yeah, it was pretty much just a level pack. A handle of new enemies, a minor new weapon and a few new textures don't qualify as it much more. Not compared to other sequels which actually have more than just minor tweaks.

      I personally wasn't a big fan of most of the level design compared to the original either. Plus the final "boss" was nonsense.
      • by jackbird (721605)
        It was all about the multiplayer balance. The Super Shotgun, the super health/armor refill, and Dead Simple made the game perfect. One on one, you could have a ten-minute fight in that level where nobody died, both players were firing almost continuously, and you knew exactly who had the upper hand at any moment.

        Of course, Heretic blew both Dooms out of the water in multiplayer - I maintian that it's still the best-balanced FPS ever created.

        • by snuf23 (182335)
          And speaking of sequels, Heretic II's multiplayer was a blast as well. They had some really inventive weapons and power ups. I loved the giant bouncing spiked balls and the acid rain clouds. Turning enemies into chickens was great fun and occasionally they turned into a giant chicken and stepped on you.
          Whacking players limbs off was also a blast. Nothing like seeing someone running crazily with blood spurting out where their arms used to be.
          • by ultranova (717540)

            Whacking players limbs off was also a blast. Nothing like seeing someone running crazily with blood spurting out where their arms used to be.

            And nothing like comments like yours to dispell the myth that games desentisize people to violence. You should spend less time playing with your computer and more on wholesome, gentling activities, like watching Sailor Moon slaughter armies in the name of love and justice. Now that is a children's show that teaches proper values :).

    • by mgblst (80109)
      Sure, it was just mainly levels, but that is what we wanted, more levels. And the levels were better designed. I am sure there were probably tweaks to the engine, nothing much, but it was still a great game.
    • by Udderdude (257795)
      People still make single player levels for Doom/Doom II. That's how good the gameplay is. To this day, I still haven't played a FPS with the game balance of Doom II. It's just perfect.
  • MGS 2. Zelda 2 Adventure of Link. Doom 3.

    Insteresting that they named those three. With Metal Gear Solid 2, I've heard nothing but praise for it, except for the fact there's a great deal of cutscenes, but fans of the series don't mind. Raiden might not be loved (I like his animations) but he didn't kill that game, in fact I'd rank Metal Gear Solid 2 higher then Metal gear solid 1 just because there was so much interaction in the world. I've heard far worse things said about Metal Gear Solid 3 (in fact
    • "just looked for games that grew some hatred, but wasn't exactly "bad" games." That was the point of the article, it was to take games that had good response from critics and were pretty decent games but get a lot of hatred from fans. These, I felt, were the most controversial. (I originally planned to do Devil May Cry 2, but I couldn't find much to defend the game, since it was pretty mediocre overall.) Final Fantasy X-2 receives a lot of hate, but FFVII more so. I'm of the opinion that all of the Dynast
      • by Dev59 (953144)
        Tomb Raider Legend (the new one) is actually quite good and you'll find plenty of people who will back that game up. Actually, one of the best things about it (besides putting Lara back in the wild) was that it copied many of the mechanics from the PoP: The Sands of Time.
        • Speak of the devil, I just bought this like 15 minutes ago. I played the demo, and yeah, it was pretty decent. But ppractically much every prior one was...not so great, so it's hard to pinpoint exactly where it went downhill. Plus it's not like there was anything that was really bad about its sequels, they just never bothered to fix the problems that were there in the first place. The same issue, I think, applies to Mega Man. They've (mostly) been getting worse, but where exactly is a bit more difficult. A
    • by justchris (802302)
      I liked Zelda 2. It's not my favorite Zelda, I mean, Ocarina of Time and Link to the Past are hard to beat, but it's the next best after those 2. I don't understand why people have a problem with Zelda 2, it's a good game, it's just nothing like any other Zelda game.

      "I am Error."
    • by mgblst (80109)
      You can argue about the definition of sequel as much as you want, and you make some good points, but if the produces of the game names it as a sequel, then I think we can complain about the fact that it is not much of a sequel.
    • by Carnildo (712617)
      They did nail some egregious errors (deus ex 2, Final Fantasy 8) but it seems they could only think of a handle full and just looked for games that grew some hatred, but wasn't exactly "bad" games.


      Final Fantasy 8 isn't a bad game, it just isn't a Final Fantasy game. If they'd stuck a different name on it, it would have been just fine.
  • Tribes 3
    MOO3
      • by British (51765)
        I played a demo of Tribes 3, and was amazed how slow & sluggish it was. Try driving a vehicle. It doesn't move, as moreso teleports every few feet. It made you almost sick to watch with the choppy motion.
        • No kidding. Plus they completely deemphasized building structures, base defense, weapon kits... they added in a little hoverbike thing, and those weird caves with the flying rocket vehicles. I actually did really like the idea of the grappling hook and had a little fun playing around with that. Of course the number one has to be WTF did they do to skiing?!

          I still launch Tribes 2 every once in a while, but my desire to dig up Vengeance is just about zero.
    • Syndicate Wars
      X-COM: Terror from the Deep
      Wing Commander: Privateer 2
      Ultima 8 (9 is just a given, of course)
    • 1up is more of a console-centric site, so I chose (primarily) console games. In regards to PC games, I probably would've put in Star Control 3. That was just a sad, sad game (some decent writing aside), and I really hope the original guys get ahold of the copyrights to do a proper sequel. I had thought about Master of Orion 3, but honestly I'm only familiar with the first one, so I would've been way out of my league on that.
  • Most of the points were already discussed in this recent thread. [slashdot.org] Still, I think it bears worth mentioning that a lot of times, sequels represent a refinement of the original idea. Sure, a lot of times, they suck. But sometimes they extend or even surpass the original idea that spawned in the first game.
  • Game sequels still stand an infinitely better chance of being better than their predecessors compared to movies.
  • was the best of the renegade series.

    co-op multiplayer where you could hold an assailant by the shoulders while your team mate beat him up.

    Ladies of the night who would hold you by the shoulders and knee you in the groin. Then you could do it back to them! Great fun.

    Renegade 1 and 3 were poor by comparison. I always thought this series was superior to the more famous double dragon as well.
  • I think it's really a matter of probability. There are a lot of factors that go into whether a game will be "good" or not. Some of those factors aren't even under the control of the people who made the game, and the sum of all the different factors makes it practically impossible to predict how well a game will do. (How many of you can think of a game you loved that for some reason never recieved the widespread financial succees it "deserved"?) About the only sure thing is that _usually_ a sequel will sell

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