Ah, the disappointment.
Sequels can be a thing of massive excitement. I remember when Square-Enix announced the impossible sequel for one of my favorite games in Nier: Automata. I was stunned. When Cavia, the lead developer of the critically irrelevant Nier, was absolved, I figured there wasn’t much of a chance for me to see a sequel… but there it was. And reviews for Nier: Automata have been mostly positive. But for as many successful and well met sequels we’re gifted, there are equally as many disappointing ones flooding the market. You know, the sequels no one asked for or the ones that completely changed a franchise or game for the worse. In honor of those hearts that have been wounded or broken, here are three of the most disappointing sequels to date (and as a note, disappointing doesn’t necessarily mean bad or a critical failure). And, as usual, this list is a collection of research and opinion, so feel free to add your own to the comments below.
3 – Bioshock 2
I’m a huge fan of Ken Levine’s Bioshock work (and a fan of System Shock, too, for what it’s worth). The original Bioshock cemented itself as one of the most innovative and clever first person shooters of its generation (and maybe even all time), so when Bioshock 2 was announced, I – and others – was pumped. Unfortunately, the sequel was neither created nor written by the brilliant Levine, and while the game itself isn’t terrible, it certainly didn’t live up to its Bioshock name. Its back story felt more like a re-hashing of Bioshock, and its villain wasn’t particularly memorable. Scripted scenes felt forced, and exploration of Rapture was limited, with most areas only accessible once. Playing as a Big Daddy was certainly fun, but for a game sandwiched between Bioshock and Bioshock: Infinite, Bioshock 2 really had no chance.
2 – Final Fantasy X-2
As a kid, I loved Final Fantasy X-2. I mean, Final Fantasy X is arguably one of the best and most poignant games in the franchise, and its story and gameplay began to change the face of the series (for better and worse). Obviously, when a sequel for X was announced, I was a pretty excited kid. The story allegedly followed Yuna after she discovered that Tidus may, in fact, live. And since the closure of X left 9th grade Evan sad, I wanted to see the two reunite. For X-2, Square’s biggest mistake was introducing the gloomy Paine and turning the fairly serious atmosphere of X into what felt like a children’s adult cartoon. The good news is that X-2 offered a new and innovative battle system, so the game wasn’t a total disappointment.
1 – Resident Evil 5
Traditionally, fans of Resident Evil don’t have many gripes with 5. After all, the sequel followed the highly successful Resident Evil 4 and continued using the controls that popularized the franchise. The story, however, grew far too big for its own shoes. Resident Evil 4 succeeded because it was set in a limited setting with small encounters still steeped in horror. Resident Evil 5 traipsed an action story with a horror facade, and, in doing so, found its biggest flaws in its combat system. You see, for me, Resident Evil 5 struggles far more than 4 with gameplay because of its action settings. Wherein 4, Leon hardly had to fight more than a Plaga or two (even when stuck in the house, the setting and gameplay worked), Chris and Sheva take on an incredible amount of foes – many of which decide to shoot back. The reason Resident Evil 6 doesn’t make this list over 5 is that nobody was expecting it to be good, thus lessening the blow of disappointment.
So there we are – my small list of disappointing game sequels. Which games caused you to cringe the most? Which were you terribly excited for, only to find out that they weren’t what you were expecting?