Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels - Part Two

After coming up with six disappointing sequels in the inaugural edition of this series at the beginning of the year, it's time to take a look at six more. These are sequels to game franchises big, small, and everything in between. These might not be totally terrible games at all, but they were disappointments following up their predecessors. Once you've taken a look at the six games in this part of The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels, tell the community your thoughts on the game sequels you were most burned by in the comments.

Dead Rising 4 (XB1, PC)


We'll begin our look at some of the most disappointing video game sequels of all time with a recent release from this past holiday season for the Xbox One, Dead Rising 4. Since the Xbox 360 original (which has thankfully seen a PS4 and Xbox One remaster so you can experience an actually terrific Dead Rising game), the Dead Rising series has been in a downward trajectory quality-wise. While Dead Rising 2 and 3 were hardly bad games, despite being Capcom Vancouver projects instead of developed in Japan like the original, Dead Rising 4 was the sequel that gave lots of franchise fans the feeling that Capcom Vancouver and Capcom in general had lost the plot as to what makes Dead Rising so much fun.

It's not just the wacky weapons to use on zombies, which 4 definitely had. The removal of the timer took away a good deal of the fun pressure and strategy of time management the previous games had. The lack of psychopaths with their own fiendish and demented personalities was disappointing as well. Then, there's the omission of campaign co-op, another thing that the developers will probably try to make players pay for just like adding the timer back in. For big fans of the original Dead Rising, Dead Rising 4 took the series even further from what made fans love the franchise in the first place.

Metroid: Other M (Wii)


While this next game is one I actually enjoyed, there's no question that it greatly soured many Metroid fans. Metroid; Other M was a dream project. After all, you had Nintendo and Team Ninja teaming up for a Metroid game. How could that possibly go wrong? Well, the most obvious way of this going wrong was the major focus on story for Other M. The character of Samus Aran was bastardized to disenchanting effect, making her look weak and fragile instead of the strong persona she was for a long time known for. The story itself was pure drivel, focusing on inane elements like "the baby" and more. Unsavory gameplay elements included things like needing to point the Wii Remote at the screen to enter first-person shooting view (without being able to move while doing this), segments of the game where the player must find a tiny element of the area to investigate to advance the story, and the idiotic way power-ups and abilities are restricted for use by Samus. Then, there was the linearity of the game, all adding up to a Metroid experience that didn't sit too well for fans, especially as a major mainline Metroid game has yet to be released since Other M's bitter taste.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4)


Growing up in my early teens with the original PlayStation introduced me to the rich world of 32-bit Japanese-made RPGs. Most gamers are familiar with titles like Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross, and Xenogears, but one that didn't get as much fanfare was Enix's Star Ocean: The Second Story. Since that game, I've grown fond of the series with that second entry of Star Ocean being one of my favorite games of all time. It just makes how far the Star Ocean series has fallen so depressing, no better exemplified than with Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness for the PlayStation 4. The game received a shoestring budget, and it showed.

The world wasn't vast to explore at all. Instead, it consisted on interlocked areas that required constant backtracking until players finally got a fast travel ability. Story sequences played out not in skippable CG cutscenes, but instead they played out in real time with no option to fast forward. Finally, gone was the elegance in combat, replaced with pure button mashing for victory most of the time. Star Ocean's fifth outing was a disappointment and an uninspiring one at that.

Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3, 360)


No director had been at the helm of the rebooted Ninja Gaiden series other than Tomonobu Itagaki. Did that mean that when he left Team Ninja between Ninja Gaiden 2 and 3 that the series was doomed? Obviously not, but Ninja Gaiden 3 certainly made a bit of a convincing argument for that line of thought. Many developers and publishers look at trying to bring a series to a greater audience. This can occur in many ways, but usually it's by dumbing down the experience so it's much more accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, this is what Team Ninja did with Ninja Gaiden 3, turning a once deep and rewarding action series into an incredibly shallow and streamlined affair. There's something to be said in attempting to strike a balance between being more forgiving in difficulty and not removing the complexity of your game. Team Ninja failed to do this with Ninja Gaiden 3, and in the process it ended up being for no-one.

Dino Crisis 3 (XBX)


Speaking earlier of Metroid: Other M, while that game didn't necessarily kill the franchise going forward, Capcom's Dino Crisis 3 is an example of a sequel being so bad that it did in fact kill the Dino Crisis series. It's now dead like Dennis Nedry after a Dilophosaurus attack. The biggest issue with Dino Crisis 3 was the hellish camera that stuck with Resident Evil's design of changing angles as the player maneuvered around the game's rooms. However, since a lot of the time moving around was so fast, times where the camera and the player would move back and forth were commonplace. Then, there was the problem of facing enemies due to the camera, making it so players would be unloading shells and bullets on foes that were off-screen and hoping for the best. Unfortunately for Dino Crisis 3, nothing really went for it that was "the best." ...Hmm. Maybe I'm wrong there. Dino Crisis 3 was "the best" in making sure that Capcom never touched the series ever again.

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PS2, PC)


A production cycle mired with problems doesn't usually instill much confidence. That was a problem with Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and yes, the game turned out pretty poorly. What was the first in a possible trilogy of games turned to the developer relinquishing control of the series to another, Crystal Dynamics. The Angel of Darkness was a hard game, but the quandary there was that it wasn't hard because of things like smart enemy AI, clever level design, or challenging scenarios. It was hard because the game controlled terribly, and not just to games now-- it was especially even when compared to other PlayStation 2 action games of the time. Like Dino Crisis 3 above, Angel of Darkness sported a spastic camera that ruined a lot of whatever was left to enjoy of the game. What players were left with was a game in Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness that was poor to play, an eyesore to look at, and an early blemish on a once strong franchise. Thankfully, under Crystal Dynamics' care, the Tomb Raider series would be thrust back into the spotlight for good reasons and good games-- and not just the reboot either.

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