There's nothing quite like the anticipation for a sequel to a truly remarkable game. Likewise, there's nothing quite like the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that occurs when one realizes that said sequel fucking sucks. This has happened to all gamers at some point in their gaming life, and to most of us, it has happened on multiple occasions over the years. The incidence rates of this horrific plague have likely decreased, and significantly at that, due to the rise to prominence of the internet and the boom of the video game journalism trade. Now, we're inundated with previews, footage, interviews, demos, and reviews, so it's a lot harder to get bitch slapped with a shit sequel. Not that it doesn't happen. Somehow, despite all of it, it's still possible to get rooked. Science knows I have, several times over.
And, on that note, let's get to:
My personal worst video game sequels, ever.
Bye bye this:
Need I say more?
Yes? Okay, fine. Basically, they took an RPG that was already a bit light on the RPG elements, but deep enough, especially for me, who was a total RPG noob at the time, and made it an action/adventure with light RPG elements. The magic system was destroyed. Only 8 spells, all of which need to be charged in order to cast, and there's no MP, which means you can use them all you want. I guess the charging was supposed to make up for the lack of MP and stop people from spamming but it didn't work. Run a few feet away and start charging, rinse and repeat. It sucks, and it's not fun. In Fable 1 you had access to 12 spells at any given moment (via an genius console control scheme) and could use them at the press of a button, and in spectacular combinations (both in terms of visual effect and gameplay effect). They were always available at your fingertips, the only caveat of course being the amount of available MP. Now, the system is clunky, restrictive, and just dumb.
The combat, which was already fairly easy for the most part, was now made atrociously so, and it also seemed to be diminished in terms of impact and visual effect. The weapons were also cooler in the first.
They also focused way too much on the life simulation aspects of the game.
And the much talked about co-op? Lol, you can't even use your own character. You can only use a generic hero when joining someone's game.
The game also managed to be shorter than the first, and the bosses/enemies you encounter were less memorable for the most part.
Oh, and the minimap was done away with
Fable II isn't terrible, by any means, but it lost much of the charm and the sense of adventure was greatly diminished.
Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360)
|What the fuck is that?|
but seriously, what the fuck was that shit?
I've gone on about this one at length [url=http://www.gametrailers.com/users/magx01/gamepad/?action=viewblog&id=496235]before[/url], so I won't drone on an on here. Most of my readers will know the drill. Level design, bosses, enemies, projectile spam, balance, all worse, much worse, than Ninja Gaiden Black. Did they make it harder? Yes. And that's great....until you play it and realize just how they did so. Ugh. Like I've said before, when I completed NGB on Master Ninja I did a stupid ass little dance, yelled out happy things and was overall elated. When I finished NGII on Path of the Master Ninja I screamed “FUCK YOU” at the game and then turned it off. NGB was HARD. NGII is just stupid.
On the other hand, OMFG the weapons and basic combat mechanics....sublime. I hated the focus on OT's and i-frame abuse, as I've said before, but holy jeebus are the basic combat mechanics not only intact, but cranked to fucking 11.
* Unrelated blathering ahead. Feel free to skip to the next game *
This is cream of the crop, folks. I'm not trying to piss anyone off when I say this, I swear, but God of War, Devil May Cry, Onimusha, Shinobi, Otogi, and even the mighty Bayonetta (this hurts, sorry Bayo) aren't fit to even be considered in the same genre (slight hyperbole, obviously). Ninja Gaiden stands alone in its own genre. The “HOLY FUCKING PERFECT CONTROL AND AMAZING COMBAT AND CHARACTER AGILITY genre.” (working title).
The other games all do things better. DMC is the king of 'cool'. DMC and Bayonetta do free form combat better (although, contrary to popular opinion, Ninja Gaiden is NOT strictly dial a combo; come to my house and watch me play and you'll see that free forming IS possible). Bayonetta does level design so much better that it's really sad (seriously, the late game Bayonetta level design is like design school for other developers). God of War has their shit locked down when it comes to scale, story, characters, enemies, etc. It's so freaking cinematic and exciting. I actually prefer to just watch it being played. Bayonetta also does some cool stuff with scale and boss design. I still prefer small boss fights, but Bayo and GOW certainly impress in this regard.
But the thing that matters most in a hack n slash is combat, and controlling Ryu Hayabusa through levels after level of intense and brutal combat situations is simply unmatched in gaming. His dexterity, agility, speed, brutality, weapons list/cache and deep moveset are awe inspiring. I know there are a few of you on my friends list who have played a few hack n slash games, but have not played a Ninja Gaiden title, and to you, I say, “for shame!” Seriously, even if you end up disliking it, likely due to the difficulty or camera (or perhaps the story, although I'd have to know why the fuck you care about story in such a game) it's like, criminal to not at least try one of them.
I suggest Ninja Gaiden Black to start. You need to experience the combat/character movement. There's nothing quite like jumping off of three enemies heads in rapid succession, linking the last jump into a wall run and then flying off of the wall, sword extended, in a sweet and speedy horizontal flying dive which decapitates the people unfortunate enough to be in your path. You can take out 3 guys in a second with three rapid fire decapitations.
Puzzle Quest Galactrix
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is one of my favourite games this gen, and perhaps even ever. It's an innovative and charming RPG/Puzzle hybrid that took my household by storm. No, seriously, my wife and I must have put a hundred hours into that game. The basic concept of the game is as follows: take an old school fantasy, turn based RPG, and switch in Bejeweled style puzzling for classic RPG combat. Items and magic stay, but swords are swapped out for puzzle pieces. It might not sound all that thrilling but if you like puzzle games and RPG's it's absolutely engaging. It was lengthy, charming, deeper than it first appears, and extremely fun. The only downside was that sometimes, the AI seemed to cheat. I didn't have too much of a problem with this, but it was evident, and other people complained. Besides that one caveat, the game was tremendous, and became quite the little success for the developers/publishers.
Then Galactrix happened.
Take everything good about PQ and shit all over it. Fantasy becomes sci fi. The nature of the puzzles is completely altered for no discernible reason, and luck becomes much more prominent a factor. Want to travel from place to place across the galaxy? Okay, hack the leapgate there. And there. And there. And there. Time after time after time. Oh, and you're timed. And we often won't even give you the pieces needed to complete the mini game, because we hate you. Also, take the bit of AI cheating that was seen in PQ1 and crank it to 1000. Remove most of the charm. The cool spells. Gone gone gone.
Luckily, PQ2 eventually materialized, and it brought the series back to its former glory. And it even had melee weapons!
Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom
Like Ninja Gaiden 2, I've gone on about this one at length http://www.gametrailers.com/users/magx01/gamepad/?action=viewblog&id=496235 before, so I'll keep this brief.
Ninja Gaiden I and II were excellent games, that many found to be far too difficult. Tecmo tried to address this for the third NES outing. In doing so, they removed the respawning enemies and minimized the whole getting knocked back six inches upon getting hit thing. They also, however, minimized the invincibility frames upon getting hit, meaning it's very easy to get hit multiple times in rapid succession, especially at later levels. Combine that with the most egregious changes of them all (the fact that one hit no longer equals one bar off your health; it's now 3-4, and the fact that the infinite continues have been replaced with a total of 5 continues) and you have an absurdly difficult game that's hard for the wrong reasons (oh, and you now restart from the very beginning of the stage when you continue, not just the sublevel).
Basically, they tried to balance the difficulty and instead the fucking ruined it.
Oh, and the enemy designs and some changes to the sound effects were retarded. Gone, by the way, are the awesome red shadow ninja/doppelganger ninpo abilities.
They took an awesome fantasy series and made it into some futuristic, robotic nonsensical bullshit with terrible difficulty balance.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot
|I'm dead, just like your dreams of a sweet follow up to Condemned: Criminal Origins|
What the FUCK where they thinking?
Monolith Productions delivered to us one hell of a survival horror title in Condemned: CO. They then inexplicably decided to follow it up with a half baked action game that thought it was somehow still a horror title. Melee combat with the very seldom usage of a firearm in a game filled with tense moments, lots of suspense, excellent pacing, and scares, turned into an action packed brawler and then pseudo shooter. Sure, Condemned 1 had a fair amount of action, but it was interspersed between tense moments of stumbling around in the dark while the enemies taunted you, making you shit your pants trying to figure out where that damn noise was coming from. And then, you'd round a corner and BAM! Someone throws a TV at you before running away laughing. Or you're walking in silence and your foot hits a pop/soda can and your heart leaps into your throat. And of course, you're being chased/stalked/taunted by a serial killer the whole time.
Condemned 2 had you running around beating the fuck out of dozens of enemies, and then, as the game progressed, shooting dozens of enemies, until you apparently got into full on assault rifle battles near the end (from what I read online and in reviews; no way I was finishing this insult of a game).
Please, Monolith, redeem this franchise with a third game, and remember what made Condemned 1 so, well, memorable.
”Super Mario Bros. 2”
|Ugh. I throw turnip at ugly green monster, ya!|
I can't even begin to describe my hate for this game. I mean, Super Mario Bros. Literally rocked my fucking world. That game set the course for my entire goddamn childhood. Hell, my whole life. So when “Super Mario Bros. 2” (aka Doki Doki Panic) was released....my little gamer's heart was broken, and I think I did my first ever facepalm. A very angry and rudimentary facepalm, but a facepalm nonetheless. Now, instead of controlling Mario and jumping on goomba heads, I'm controlling four characters and....throwing turnips.....
You know what? I can't fucking do this. Fuck this fucking game.
Luckily for Nintendo, Super Mario Bros. 3 was AMAZING. Like, totally, mindnumblingly amazing.