Friday, September 15, 2017

The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels - Part Three

There are plenty of bad feelings in this world that are far worse than stuff in the gaming world -- stubbing your toe, rear-ending the driver in front of you with your car, texting a sexual message to your mom or dad instead of your girlfriend or boyfriend, etc. In the gaming world, there are some bad feelings as well. For one, being excited and greatly anticipating the sequel to one of your favorite games only for it to simply and completely suck. It especially hurts if it's a game that has been long in development.

That's what The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels series of articles talks about, and now we've arrived at Part Three! To read up on the twelve sequels discussed in past entries, look no further than these links:

Part One
Part Two

Duke Nukem Forever (Multi)

Let's make one thing perfectly clear here: I'm here to bash on the worst video game sequels and chew bubblegum, and guess what -- I'm all outta bubblegum. We begin this edition of The Most Disappointing Video Game Sequels with perhaps the most disappointing video game sequel of them all, if purely for how long in development this starting game on this edition was, and just how horrible it ended up being.

That game is none other than Duke Nukem Forever, a game that was in development for over 15 years, rightfully earning its one-time moniker as complete and utter vaporware. And what did the 15 years of on and off again development bring players with the final product? Why, awful loading times, repugnant visuals, lackluster controls that made players think Duke was perpetually wandering around in a pool of feces, humor that was so awful that it makes my jokes here on SuperPhillip Central sound like winners in comparison, and design that may have worked fine in a world when the game originally started development but not when in modern-day. Duke Nukem Forever is a game that will always be one of the most disappointing sequels in gaming history... and probably forever, ironically enough.

Assassin's Creed: Unity (Multi)

When you end up having to create a formal apology to both fans and consumers about the quality of one of your biggest releases of the year, you know you've messed up somewhere along the way. But that's exactly what publisher Ubisoft needed to do after the horrific launch of Assassin's Creed: Unity, chiming in a new generation of Assassin's Creed games on new hardware. The most egregious of these launch problems was the almost disturbing graphical bugs and glitches, turning many character models into the stuff nightmares are made of.

While the gameplay was worthwhile in Unity, it didn't do enough to distinguish itself from past games, leaving a "been there, done that" feel to players. Despite the gameplay lacking a significance of new gameplay types, Unity was still worse in the gameplay department thanks to controls that didn't have enough time in the proverbial oven, granting an unsatisfying feeling in controlling Arno Victor Dorian, the main character of the solo campaign. Thus, with all of these problematic troubles with the game, Assassin's Creed: Unity just might be the most disappointing sequel within the whole Assassin's Creed franchise.

Street Fighter V (PS4, PC)

Street Fighter V appeared on both the PlayStation 4 as a home console-exclusive as well as PC. The main selling point: the intricate battle mechanics, combos, and in-your-face fighting antics were all present and accounted for at launch. However, what wasn't, and was something that doomed the game right out of the gate, was Street Fighter V's lack of substantial content, especially for solo players. This was so obvious of a fault that Capcom's Yoshinoro Ono even admitted that the company didn't release a complete game to put on the market. Combined with server issues at release, and Capcom and Street Fighter V had some serious problems to solve with the game.

Unfortunately, the problems didn't end there for Capcom and Street Fighter V either. Subsequent DLC such as stages, characters, and costumes were deemed too expensive for the market, showing off another one of Capcom's own inadequacies with the game and reading the current market. These overarching issues from Street Fighter V have led to certain gamers and the press anticipating Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite to be a bit more hesitant in jumping in on next week's launch for the crossover fighter. Nonetheless, there's nobody else to blame for this hesitation than Capcom itself.

Resident Evil 6 (Multi)

We go from one major tentpole Capcom release to another with a cornerstone in the survival horror genre of video games, the Resident Evil series. Nonetheless, Resident Evil 6 was an entry that tried to do too much, and in doing so, almost ruined the series altogether because of it. While skin-deep aspects of the game like the story and visuals were highly regarded by critics, everything else went off the deep end.

Resident Evil 6 consisted of four major campaigns, each featuring a prolific member of the Resident Evil mythos (well, except newcomer Jake Muller, of course, but he did have a tie to series villain Albert Wesker). Each campaign offered a different type of experience, whether the total action of Chris Redfield's, the best survival horror experience in the game with Leon S. Kennedy's, and the greatest combination of action and survival horror with Ada Wong's campaign.

The biggest issue with the game -- which obviously didn't bother too many perspective purchasers since Resident Evil 6 would go on to sell upwards of 9 million copies worldwide -- was that it pretty much planted itself firmly far away from the series' survival horror roots. This became such as a pronounced issue among critics and players that the next installment of the series, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, would return Resident Evil back into its original survival horror identity without question.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360)

Our next game takes us back to the last generation of game consoles, particularly the Xbox 360 in this instance. Unlike most of the games featured in this segment, the disappointment players experienced from Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts had nothing to do with it being a bad game, a glitch-fest, or the game lacking any semblance of content. In fact, Nuts & Bolts had none of those problem. No, instead of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts being a bad game, it was just a bad Banjo game.

The Banjo-Kazooie series has always been about 3D platforming with a heavy focus on exploration rather than pure running and jumping like, say, Super Mario 64. The original Banjo-Kazooie remains one of my favorite games of all time, and it was a game that sparked the imagination of millions of players who grew up with the game. Hence, the heavy support towards the Banjo-Kazooie-like Yooka-Laylee when it was being Kickstarted.

With the Xbox 360, players yearned to see several Rare IP get iterations on the Xbox 360. However, with Banjo-Kazooie, this was more of a monkey's paw wish. Sure, we got a new Banjo-Kazooie, but its gameplay style had nothing at all to do with why fans fell in love with the bear and bird duo. What was once a series focused on running, jumping, and exploring complicated environments turned into an Xbox 360 game featuring creating vehicles, solving challenges, and traveling through sparse worlds with little to do in them (except the hub world of Showdown Town, that is). Again, while Nuts & Bolts turned out to be a fun and great game, the arrival of Banjo-Kazooie on the Xbox 360 was sullied by the game not being what fans were expecting at all.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (Wii U)

The Mario Tennis series had already seen a decline in quality. The Nintendo 3DS entry used a dismissed Simon Says-like chance shot mechanic. This forced players to move to where the ball was landing on their side of the court and hit the ball with a specific shot to inflict maximum velocity on the ball towards your opponent's half of the court. While I didn't mind this as much as other critics, I still yearned for a Mario Tennis game anywhere as awesome as the Nintendo 64 original, the Game Boy Color and then Advance entries, and the GameCube iteration of the series.

Instead, what Wii U owners got was Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash which delivered traditional tennis as well as the returning chance shot mode of the 3DS's Mario Tennis Open. The gameplay was one of the Mario Tennis franchise's best; it was everything else that failed to impress. The most striking aspect was just how content-barren the game was, featuring only one stadium with differing court types, limited modes, limited characters, and just a limited amount of replayability and longevity. Ultra Smash was released near the end of the Wii U's life cycle, which made it apparent that this was just a game to throw a bone to starved Wii U owners. Out of bounds, Nintendo. Out of bounds.

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