Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Greatness Comes in Threes: Best Trilogies in Gaming - Part Four

It's purely coincidental (though I'd love to take credit for the timing) that on the third day of the work week of this third month of the year that we see a new edition of Greatness Comes in Threes, where SuperPhillip Central looks at the best trio of related games-- some looser with the definition of "trilogy" than others.

The trilogy-- in movies it's a common occurrence with hugely successful blockbusters whether it's Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Toy Story, or Back to the Future. Trilogies are also pretty common in gaming as well, but at the same token, an actual good trilogy is a completely different matter. This article series details some of the very best trilogies that our hobby and industry have been able to create in its much shorter lifespan.

Check out the previous three parts of SuperPhillip Central's look at great gaming trilogies with the following links:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

The Witcher Trilogy:

The Witcher (PC)
The Witcher 2; Assassins of Kings (360, PC)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4, XB1, PC)

Based off the book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher trilogy started with BioWare's foundation with the original game in late 2007. All of the games star Geralt of Rivia as the main character, aging with each release. Since 2007's original Witcher, CD Projekt RED has taken developmental duties of the series, creating both The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. With The Witcher 2, the combat of the original was completely overhauled by CD Projekt RED, making for battles that felt even more rewarding than BioWare's offering. Both The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3 received critical and commercial acclaim with the latter being one of the most celebrated open world games ever created. The 2015 release saw itself honored with countless Game of the Year awards and nominations (some even calling it the best RPG ever made) as well as two expansion packs, further packing an already content-rich game with even more gameplay goodness.

The BioShock Trilogy:

BioShock (360, PC)
BioShock 2 (PS3, 360, PC)
BioShock Infinite (PS3, 360, PC)

BioShock is a series that has had many ups and downs. The first game was a revelation for many players. The beginning of the game, swimming in open sea surrounded by a fiery plane crash, paddling towards a lighthouse, and then taking that memorable first glance at the underwater metropolis of Rapture are the types of moments that stay with many gamers. The second game was a direct sequel, though not as well regarded. Lastly, BioShock Infinite took the series to the sky with the impressive city of Columbia. The series shares many elements to System Shock 2, hence some likening it to a spiritual successor. Between using guns and melee weapons in addition to supernatural powers in the form of plasmids and vigors, the combat and means to come out on top in battle were plentiful. Then, there was the overarching story in each game that makes for a unique and wonderful set of games. Recently released in The BioShock Collection for current consoles and PC, one can relive the BioShock trilogy again, or if you're like some gamers, play it for the very first time.

The Halo Trilogy:

Halo: Combat Evolved (XBX, PC)
Halo 2 (XBX)
Halo 3 (360)

"The Halo Trilogy" has other names as known by the Halo fan base. Whether you know it as "The Halo Trilogy", "The Original Halo Trilogy", or even "The Bungie Trilogy), the first three Halo games are some of the most influential console first-person shooters to have released. It single handedly made the Xbox a competitor in the home console market as well. Halo: Combat Evolved (2001), Halo 2 (2004), and Halo 3 (2007) were events for the Xbox brand and for fans of the FPS genre. Halo 2 and Halo 3 particularly because 2 was a much awaited sequel and Halo 3 for not only being the first Xbox 360 exclusive Halo release, but also for closing out the story arc as started in the original Halo. Entertaining two generations of Xbox owners, the first Halo trilogy is definitely up there for one of the best trilogies ever seen in gaming.

The Prince of Persia Trilogy:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS2, GCN, XBX, PC)
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (PS2, GCN, XBX, PC)
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (PS2, GCN, XBX, PC)

The Prince of Persia franchise made a reappearance after many years in hibernation. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time brought the Prince back with a modern take on the franchise in full reboot form. Sands of Time introduced a rewind mechanic that worked in saving the Prince if he made a wrong jump. This was performed by using the Prince's Dagger, which could also be utilized to freeze and slay enemies. Warrior Within took the series in a less-than-appetizing, trying-way-too-hard-to-be-edgy direction (and just in general being in poor taste), though the gameplay didn't suffer from this. The Two Thrones brought back a more grounded and charming package, offering the same superb combat and platforming action seen in previous titles. Ubisoft successfully brought its classic franchise back into the modern era and did so with marvelous results. There are good reasons why this trilogy is so fondly thought of.

The Spyro the Dragon Trilogy:

Spyro the Dragon (PS1)
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (PS1)
Spyro: Year of the Dragon (PS1)

Before Insomniac Games was busy with lombaxes, Chimera, and submarines, they were toiling away on a magical series of 3D platformers starring a precocious, young, purple dragon. That dragon was none other than Spyro. The ability to run, jump, attack, collect gems, rescue his fellow dragons, and take flight through the colorful worlds of the duo of PS1 classics is something many gamers who grew up on the O.G. PlayStation will always have fond memories of. Each game introduced something new, whether it was Spyro 2's ability to swim and climb ladders or Spyro 3's four new playable characters. Unfortunately, like Crash Bandicoot, Sony Computer Entertainment lost the publishing rights to the Spyro series, and from one mediocre game trying to cash in on Spyro's legacy to another, Spyro hasn't seen the best of days. Unlike Crash, however, Spyro's fate seems stuck with Activision's Skylanders series, which while a great series, it isn't what longtime fans who played Spyro's original adventures want. Maybe Spyro will get his spotlight back if the Crash remaster does well for Activision!

The Super Star Wars Trilogy:

Super Star Wars (SNES)
Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (SNES)
Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (SNES)

With the new trilogy and a whole host of new Star Wars universe films underway, let's look back at the original trilogy of Star Wars films... with one of the earliest trilogies of Star Wars games! All three Super Nintendo Star Wars games tell the tale of the series through abbreviated scenes, and levels do their best to stick to the plot of the movies. Some wiggle room was allowed, of course, to make certain smaller scenes stretch out to bigger levels. Not only was Luke Skywalker playable, but different levels gave players control of Han Solo and Chewbacca. Outside of traditional action-platforming, there were various vehicle levels as well. The Super Star Wars games are known for their devious difficulty, and they even received Wii Virtual Console and PlayStation 4/Vita releases in 2009 and 2015 respectively. If you want a taste of old school difficulty while enjoying an interactive take on the Star Wars original trilogy continuity, you'll definitely discover that and more with the Super Star Wars trilogy of games.


Now that you've read some of SuperPhillip Central's picks, what gaming trilogies are your favorites?

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