Sunday, December 6, 2020

One & Done: Games Without Sequels - Part Four

Welcome to the return of One & Done, an article series on SPC that talks about games that never became franchises. They were literally one and done! Now, the purpose of these articles isn't to beg for sequels, as some of these games don't need them and not every game needs to become a franchise. Instead, we're just exploring and fondly remembering these terrific titles from generations' past and giving them some more time in the old spotlight.

Speaking of the old spotlight, check out the games featured in the spotlight on past editions of One & Done with these links:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

The Last Story (Wii)

From the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, comes a game with a title that really WAS the final, last, and only game in the IP--unlike Final Fantasy. It's none other than The Last Story. It's a shame that Nintendo of America did not decide to localize the title during the Wii era, as not only could the game been a strong release when the system was winding down in popularity, but it's just an excellent game outright. Xseed Games ended up localizing and releasing The Last Story in North America, and it's a great thing that the publisher did, as Wii owners would have missed out on this ode to classic RPGs with modern window dressing. Between the highly capable and deep combat system with an action-RPG feel, and its abundance of quests to highlight the cast of characters, The Last Story remains a solid RPG, not just for the Wii, but in today's market as well.

Opoona (Wii)

We go from a classic-style RPG on the Wii to one that's quite the refreshing and utterly adorable type with the Koei-published Opoona. The big thing that distinguished Opoona from its contemporaries--other than the obvious whimsical characters with floating orbs over their heads--was the ability to play the game solely with the Wii Nunchuk, if one desired, harkening back to days and nights of playing PS1 RPGs with that one-handed controller, if you remember that. The Nunchuk wasn't just for ease of playing with one hand, one used it to flick forward to attack enemies with projectiles, whose firing angles could be altered based on the combat situation. No worries, though, if motion controls aren't for you, as Opoona does allow the Classic Controller to be used. Though Opoona never received a sequel, the character has appeared in another game: Warriors All-Stars aka Musou Stars in Japan.

Puppeteer (PS3)

Most likely mentioned in one of SPC's Most Overlooked games articles, Puppeteer had the ill fortune of releasing on the PlayStation 3 after the launch of the system's successor, the PlayStation 4. While many PlayStation gamers had moved on to the new hotness that was the PS4, Puppeteer was left to languish on store shelves and out of the spotlight completely. It's a shame because Puppeteer was yet another insanely creative and crafty platformer from PlayStation's excellent first-party studios, this time around Japan Studio. Protagonist Kutaro wielded a mighty pair of shears to slash and slice through the game's myriad levels and fascinating worlds. Speaking of which, the whole world was a stage essentially, as Puppeteer was presented with a clever play-like atmosphere, complete with curtains and the occasional audience. Sony hasn't forgotten Kutaro or Puppeteer, thankfully, as one familiar with the game can see a callback to the game--among many, many other PlayStation games--inside the PlayStation 5 pack-in title Astro's Playroom.

Jeanne d'Arc (PSP)

Jeanne d'Arc has all the makings of an awesome game--tactical RPG, based on the story of Joan of Arc (albeit decidedly incredibly loose in its interpretation), beautiful visuals, and Level-5 as the developer back when it had better success stories. Fortunately, with all of these makings of an awesome game came... an awesome game! There are influences from lots of games within Jeanne d'Arc's genre, such as Fire Emblem most notably with its rock, paper, scissors-like affinity system, and it made for strategic and quite frankly, satisfyingly challenging battles! All of this was balanced wonderfully with battles that weren't slow and plodding but instead fast and fluid in their pace. Really, Jeanne d'Arc stands with the greatest tactical titles in the PSP's impressive arsenal, including the greatest of them all (in this writer's opinion, at least) Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions.

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (Multi)

Alternating between two different playable characters, Sphinx and--if it wasn't obvious from the title--a mummy who was originally a prince who received a curse from the game's main villain. While Sphinx's sections play out like a traditional Zelda-like with action-focused combat, exploration, and dungeon-crawling--and who can't have enough of those!--the mummy's sections were dungeon-based but focused heavily on puzzles, particularly involving the mummy being crushed, shocked, set ablaze, and all other manners of non-painful torture to make progress. Although Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy originally released back in the PlayStation 2 era, the game recently received a remastered version on the Nintendo Switch, which by the by, the above screenshots come from. Is it possible we'll see more from Sphinx in the future?

Geist (GCN)

The final game of this edition of One & Done is a first-person shooter with a fresh possession mechanic, though one that wasn't executed to its full potential. It's the GameCube's Geist. The game's story was one of conspiracies and a protagonist whose specter was separated from its body, allowing them to freely enter all sorts of objects and living creatures. The latter, however, had to be spooked first in order to be possessed. So, in essence, part of Geist wasn't just focused on high-octane action with run and gun blasting at baddies, but also puzzle aspects in how to approach possessing specific targets. Geist is an idea that again, wasn't executed perfectly, as the game was quite linear. I would have loved to see more freedom in tackling challenges rather than the game having just one way to go about accomplishing things, but overall, it was an enjoyable shooter published by Nintendo in an era of interesting titles published by the world's biggest game creator.


What games without sequels are your favorites? Do you want to see sequels to them? Let the SPC community know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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