It's one of the most disappointing feelings a gamer can experience - you fall in love with a game, find out it has a sequel (or sequels), play said sequel and – low and behold – it doesn't quite live up to the expectations. This can be for a variety of reasons; bad story, poor voice acting, clunky and repetitive gameplay - if you can name them, they're probably all in a bad sequel in some form or another. Every gamer, myself included, has fallen prey to a bad sequel. With that in mind, and in no particular order, here are a pick of five worst sequels in gaming.
I adore (and I mean adore) the Mass Effect series, having put in countless hours playing through all three games, having Shepard and co save the galaxy from Reapers several times over. Hell, Mass Effect 3 is even a decent game when taken as a standalone game - the gameplay, graphics, story and voice-acting are all solid.
But, when taken in conjunction with the previous two games (because this is the last game in a trilogy after all), Mass Effect 3 seems to pale in comparison. Whereas the first two were expansive, immersive and brimming with worlds to explore and secrets to uncover, Mass Effect 3 feels so restrictive. Gone is the exploration and scanning of planets, gone is the extended dialogue wheel and choices, which made the Mass Effect series what it is now. It is diminished. Okay, so the combat and fighting and weapons are all majorly improved (WOOO GUNS!) but that isn't what made me fall in love with this series. It was the sense of adventure and the depth of the universe that Bioware constructed around the core story.
This is before even touching upon the game's ending (which I'm sure everyone knows about by now). Whilst I won’t go into too much detail to avoid spoiling it for the uninitiated, all you need to know is that the accumulation of a trilogy-worth of choices is simply boiled down to which of three colours you like the most. Red, green or blue, anyone? When I first played this, along with many others, I was so let down and disappointed and really expected so much more.
The Dead Space series is another favourite of mine, the first two being some of the few survival horror games that I have played and loved (I'm not a big player of horror games; I'm too much of a wuss). However, just like Mass Effect 3, Dead Space 3 is another disappointment that pales in comparison to its predecessors. With its slick graphics and up-scaled design, it's easy to overlook the fact that this game moves away from its horror roots, containing fewer scares than even I'm comfortable with. The claustrophobic spaceship environments have almost completely disappeared and have been replaced with the ice world from Lost Planet?
That sense of tension that was built as you explored the USS Ishimura from Dead Space and the Titan Sprawl from Dead Space 2 is somewhat lost as you gallivant about E.D.N III. Sorry, I mean Tau Volantis, during your crusade to uncover the source of the Necromorphs and try and stop them once and for all. You'll also wish that the series decided to leave just exactly how the Necromorphs and the Markers came to be in a sense of mystery because, -SPOILERS- it turns out the source of all this is... a moon. Yep, you heard me; you can thank a moon for all those scary undead alien beasties.
Slightly ridiculous, right?
Another disappointing sequel, another third game. Is this the curse of the being the third in a series? Assassin's Creed III sees Ubisoft return to one of their most famous series and, if you think that they were going to follow the logical course and finally give Desmond Miles, the main character, his own game, well... you'd be wrong.
The game follows the same formula as the previous four games, having Desmond tackle important plot points by living through another one of his ancestors. Sure, okay, don't fix what ain't broke but having had four other games deal in this manner and in better fashion, this is starting to feel slightly rundown and boring. Add to this a brutal under-utilisation and treatment of their main character (yes okay Ubisoft, you think Desmond Is annoying and even have multiple characters state this during the game but maybe if you put some thought into writing him better…), as well as an anti-climatic ending to five games worth of build-up and this game, and its ending, were so underwhelming.
A sequel usually denotes a continuation of previous plot and character points that were explored in the previous game... Usually.
Dragon Age 2 sees Bioware return to their other RPG franchise with completely new characters (for the most part) and a completely new story, or rather stories. The game is told in three distinct acts, each with their own definable plot. I'm all for having several stories within game as long as they flow and all have a strong sense of interconnection within an overarching plot. Dragon Age 2 feels about as interconnected as chalk and cheese.
As well as a disjointed story, the graphics also seemed to take a bit of a nose dive. Instead of building upon and making better the graphics from Dragon Age, they did the opposite - the environments are bland and some of the textures are downright horrible. The few characters that make a welcome cameo appearance from the first installment are so unrecognisable due to the changes that you'd rather them have left them out altogether - import a save from Dragon Age and then fulfill all requirements to meet Alistair in Dragon Age 2 and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
Have you ever had a highly successful game, filled with brilliant voice-acting, innovative gameplay and superb story with one hell of a twist, and then basically just cashed in on that game? Well that's what Bioshock 2 does.
Riding on the success that the original, Bioshock 2 offers little in terms of expansion of what was built previously and can be neatly summed up as – simply – a bland retread. The same gameplay mechanics are brought back (but this time you're a Big Daddy, so that's cool!) and the story more or less follows the same pattern and even ends in a similar fashion. However, the difference is that this game doesn't add anything. The characters are forgetful, the writing and voice-acting is average at best and the gameplay was much the same at before, and when held up to the first game you'll soon find yourself asking if this game was really necessary at all.