Friday, February 22, 2019

The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels - Part Five

It's never a good feeling to be hyped for the next installment of one of your favorite franchises, and then POW! You're blindsided with an extremely disappointing game that hardly lives up to your anticipation and hype. That's the focus of The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels, and now we're at the fifth installment. This are six more of those games that were either rushed out, released in a broken or incomplete state, or were simply less than stellar experiences overall.

After you browse through and read up on the latest unfortunate games added to this growing series of articles, which game sequels that haven't already been mentioned in a previous article do you think should be added in a future installment?

For past installments, look no further than right here:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4)


Despite enjoying a fair amount of my time with Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, it's hard not to be disappointed when comparing it to the PSP's installments. Absent is the RPG-like story mode with equipment, world map, and other pleasant features--instead what you got was an afterthought of a story, an online mode that seldom runs well, and three-on-three battles that are sensory overload, giving players a high, HIGH learning curve and more HUD elements than seemingly space to see the action.

While Dissidia Final Fantasy NT did well with making fun characters and relatively inoffensive arenas to do battle in, the actual battles are so hectic and crazy that it makes it difficult to not become overly frustrated. This three-on-three experiment didn't really work out as intended, leaving many Dissidia fans out in the cold, yearning for the glory days of the series.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4)


Also from Square Enix, the wait was rather lengthy for Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, the fifth installment in the long-running space opera RPG series. Sadly, the seven-year wait was decidedly not worth it. Star Ocean 5 faced a much lower budget compared to previous games in the series, and it definitely showed. Cutscenes were minimal, instead giving you full control of your character through the agonizingly long, unskippable dialog sequences.

What wasn't long, however, was the actual adventure itself. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness could be beaten in a couple dozen hours at most, and that's all the while dealing with your clumsy AI teammates and poor pacing throughout the game--such as the necessary backtracking from place to place. The rocky presentation values also cheapened the feel of the game, from some scenes and areas looking gorgeous to others looking poor and amateur at best.

While the Star Ocean series lives on in the mobile gaming sector, the franchise's chances to receive another console installment don't seem likely at this point in time. Perhaps that's the most disappointing part about Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness.

Mario Tennis Aces (NSW)


Of all the games on Part Five of The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels, none stung more than Mario Tennis Aces. It felt like getting a direct serve to the face. While the core gameplay and mechanics were rock solid, everything else about Aces--at least at launch--left much to be desired. The disappointment here came from a total lack of modes, options, and overall longevity. Characters were insanely unbalanced, especially Bowser Jr. and Waluigi; the Story Mode was light on content, as was much of Mario Tennis Aces in general. The game since launch has grown with new features and welcomed additions, and while Aces is a much better and really enjoyable game now, it was most disappointing that players and owners of the game had to wait several months for the game to get a state it should have been in at launch.

Sonic Forces (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


Sonic Forces is another game that I enjoyed overall, despite the game receiving a savage beatdown by both critics and players alike, but it's not difficult to diagnose Forces as a huge disappointment. Sonic Forces took four years or so of development time, and with that time, many Sonic fans, including myself, thought that this extra dev time would result in a much better game, more similar to Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations than Sonic Lost World.

Unfortunately, those thoughts (or maybe they were just foolish hopes?) were quickly shot down after Sonic Forces was eventually revealed and subsequent launched, using many reused assets from past games and a quick 3-5 campaign. The story was as nonsense as ever, and the desire of the devs to return to a "darker" take on it made for a myriad of eyes rolling at once. While the avatar and customization features were nice, overall, Sonic Forces just didn't do enough to impress after four years of development, giving the franchise another black eye after it had done so well with the fantastic Sonic Mania.

Spider-Man 3 (PS3, 360, PC)


We've been through Square Enix and two platforming all-stars so far, and now it's Activision's turn to get some criticism with some disappointing games. Spider-Man 3 was much hyped by yours truly and many others, as it was coming off the excellent Spider-Man 2. That game at the time was one of the best superhero video games ever concocted--much less the best Spider-Man game to many. Going from that to Spider-Man 3 left a bad taste in many gamers' mouths.

The main issue with Spider-Man 3 was the copious amount of glitches present in the game, sometimes vexing, sometimes unintentionally funny, and sometimes both. The lack of polish on Spider-Man 3 to have it out for release in time for the film was immense, and it soured a lot of the goodwill Activision possessed from fans of previous webhead games. As we'll see with the next and final game on this edition of The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels, Spider-Man 3 wouldn't be the last time Activision would hastily push out a game for release to the detriment of the product and the series.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (PS4, XB1, PS3, 360)


Ah, yes... Last but certainly least, we have Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. If Tony Hawk's Ride and Shred killed the series dead, then Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was the one that nailed the coffin shut. However, unlike the other games on this list, THPS 5 isn't really a surprise that its quality was poor. In fact, it was pretty obvious, as the game was quickly assembled together over the course of a few months in order for Activision to unload a game before its license with Tony Hawk expired.

The fact that this shoddy, broken, bug and glitch-ridden mess of a game is the last in the series--completely crapping over the rich history of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, all for the sake of money--is the most disappointing aspect of all with THPS 5. To put it in skateboarding terms, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 didn't just bomb at retail and in reviews, it bailed so hard that it almost retroactively ruined the series' name. Thankfully, it's just "almost".

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