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Great Games: Disappointing Sequels

December 07, 2012

I have been gaming for over 20 years now and have had a slew of gaming consoles and games. Some go far enough to call me a fanatic.

There have been games over the years that have bought me utter joy, that when I played those games I felt like a part of the storyline for example, the Metal Gear series, Assassins Creed, Mercenaries and Prince of Persia. On the flip side there have been some very horrible games that I have played and no matter how much I try I cannot get those hours of my life back. And then, there are the few great games with disappointing sequels, and some very average games with fantastic sequels.

Today, I want to share some of the worst games I have played in my life, which unfortunately were sequels to great games or a sequel of a great series.

Mercenaries2: World in flames

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World in Flames was the sequel to one of my favorite games, 'Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction' on the Xbox and PS2. It is still considered one of the best open world games with great action and lots of variety. What I loved the best was that the player could call in air strikes with a small point of the laser. Even today I could play the game till its end.

Then came the sequel, with lots of expectations and hope I went and bought world in Flames, and the game did exactly that, it put my world in flames.

Majority of my problems with the game stemmed from bugs and glitches. The problems just kept on coming. Helicopters vanished with me in them; turrets will float in midair; people you're supposed to rescue will drown themselves or run face-first into the helicopter rather than get in; and allies will shoot at you for no reason and so on. Artificial Intelligence was horrible, missions were very repetitive and to top it all off, even the story wasn't all that. The scale was huge, but overall it was very disappointing.

The game would have been great, even better than its predecessor if only it was given more time. Time and attention to detail could have gone a long way in taking care of the glitch ridden programming. Pandemic, the studio behind this game was eventually closed down after the release of The Saboteur.

The series looks dead and buried since Pandemic closed down. Maybe EA can revive the series and I hope they do. It has a lot of potential.

Duke Nukem Forever

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Duke Nukem Forever was the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, one of the best games in most lists. Duke Nukem 3D was a commercial success. Also note that Duke Nukem 3D came out in 1996. Yes, it took 15 years for it to finally get released by Gearbox in 2011. It became a classic example of vaporware due to its long development period, and it wasn’t very good.

The game suffered at every level. The graphics, The story, The gameplay, The jokes, technical issues everything needed improvement. The game tried very hard and fell flat on its face. After 15 years of waiting, we got a game which was junk.

The game felt old and out of its time. There have been many games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo which have changed the genre completely and the direction to keep it like the old series was fatal. Of course, Duke games need their own identity, but they also need to be up to date. I am sure Gearbox (developers of the excellent Borderlands as well) will come up with a sequel worth of the Duke Nukem name. I just hope its good enough to remove the dark spot this game has left.

Gearbox acquired the Duke Nukem License and they will surely be taking out new games in the coveted series.

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness

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Tomb Raider, the game that made a lot of guys fall in love with games, specifically because of the game's main protagonist, Lara Croft. There have been movies starring Angelina Jolie, and she has been inducted in the Walk of game and Guiness records.

Lara was killed off in the previous game, The Last Revelation. Then she was bought back to life in this game. I believe she should have remained dead because she came back in a game with really bad bugs, Lara herself was really unresponsive and the controls, were the worst possible controls in a big budget game. Moreover I felt the developers were just trying to milk the series rather than improve it.

Although the game sold 2.5 million copies, it turned a lot of fans away from the series. If the clunky controls weren’t there the game would have been decent. If they would have added more finesse and variety, it would have been another great Tomb Raider game.

The Tomb Raider series has since recovered and added a couple of very good titles. Tomb Raider is being rebooted in 2013, and early looks at the gameplay are very promising with Crystal Dynamics at the helm.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

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Warrior Within is the only game on this list which is a great game, but just as disappointing.

The Prince of Persia reboot in 2003, the Sands of Time came and hit me in the face out of the blue. What a marvelous game it was. I still have a digital copy, which i still play frequently. The best part about Sands of Time is that its evergreen, it was awesome then and still continues to be awesome. Jordan Mechner, the brains behind the original PoP was hired for this game and it showed class. It had its charisma and charm and that is what was missing from its successor.

Warrior Within was a great game, but it is on this list because as a sequel to Sands of Time, it was very disappointing. The Prince, the setting and the story all had a much darker theme. Although it bested Sands of Time with better fighting mechanics and a longer game, it lost all the charm along the way. And as a direct sequel, it just did not hit the spot.

The game was very successful. But fans just didn’t appreciate the darker tone. If the setting, tone and prince were anything like the first game this game would be masterful.

The trilogy of the game was completed with Two thrones. 2 more games followed. And there are strong hints of a reboot.


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Okamiden is the follow up of the masterful Okami. Okami was one game that beat Zelda at its own greatness. The game was the brainchild of some of the leading game developers who came together to make Clover Studios. The studio gave hits after hits and now has shut down. Unfortunately, Okamiden was not made by Clover. Those who haven’t tried it yet, should definitely try Okami HD which is available now.

Okamiden was a good game. It was good because it copy pasted the whole of Okami onto a DS. So it was a good game but not a new gaming experience. And that was its downfall.

New ideas and new designs would have really helped the game and bought the series back to life. It was necessary to build on the previous game and improve it along the way. Unfortunately with Clover Studios not making the game, no new ideas were inculcated into the game.

Okami HD is now available for purchase. Unfortunately, there is no news of the series continuing.

Perfect Dark Zero

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How the mighty have fallen. Any gaming enthusiast knows the name of Rare. They gave you hit after hit after hit. Games such as Donkey Kong Country, Killer Instinct, Banjo Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Goldeneye(which changed the multiplayer shooter for consoles forever) and its spiritual successor Perfect Dark. Perfect Dark was an almost perfect shooter receiving critical acclaim all over. You see, Rare was making exclusive games for Nintendo back then. That's when it happened, Microsoft came and bought Rare and it seemed the company stopped making good games it was known for.

Perfect Dark Zero was to be released as a launch game for the Xbox 360. Making the Xbox 360 launch deadline proved taxing for the relatively small development team. Features were cut, elements were slimmed down, and though Perfect Dark Zero arrived in a decent shape for the 360's launch, it did not represent Rare's complete vision. Most Importantly, the game had not evolved and the game seemed dated.

More time to realize Rare’s vision. Rare had been giving hits after hits for Nintendo and now its just another studio making games for the overly pushed Kinect. The game was clearly unfinished and not ready. Publishers need to give time to developers to realize the vision of any game and this was a classic case of publishers not letting the developers do their job.

There is no news about any sequel and as of right now the series is dead.

Golden Axe: Dragon Rider

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I cannot even begin to imagine the time I spent in the video game arcade and on my Sega Mega Drive playing Golden Axe. Most of the people remember this as a side scrolling action game with Multiplayer. It was a game ahead of its time. And then Golden Axe: Dragon Rider was released in  2008 and killed all those great memories of the game.

First and foremost, Golden Axe was made to be played with friends. Dragon Rider was a single player only. It had dated graphics, boring Gameplay and it tried to copy God of War with bad results, an utter disappointment.

Beast Rider needed a multiplayer like Need for Speed needs cars. Also, the game should have been built around a great multiplayer and the action should have tried to capture the series of old. More focus on varied gameplay mechanics was a must. Though its too late now.

The series was killed with this iteration and there are no new Golden Axe games announced.