5 modern video game sequels that surpassed the originals (& 5 that disappointed)
With video game history becoming richer day after day, everyone has their favorite entries across several franchises.
Both mainstream and niche names have successfully dished out many installments throughout the years, some even shining bright as the pinnacle of their sagas.
However, others often fall short. These end up with releases that either fail to grasp why their predecessors were beloved or change direction.
Let's look at five games that have improved innumerable ways over their prequels, as well as entries that are often considered disgraceful for the franchise.
Five great game sequels that are a must-play
1) DOOM Eternal
After the universally acclaimed 2016 reboot of one of the most revered FPS franchises, the talented wizards at ID Software delivered a successor that's even more badass. Eternal turns everything up to 11, from the faster-paced gameplay to brand new mechanics never seen before in the franchise, like platforming.
With improved enemy variety, better level design, and a constant push for players to utilize everything in their arsenal, there's little to dislike about this 2020 entry. It would not be a stretch to call DOOM Eternal the best FPS game of the past decade.
2) Titanfall 2
2016's successor to the original Titanfall is renowned for great single-player and expanding upon the multiplayer. Players will experience the journey of Pilot Jack Cooper, who inherits the Titan BT-7274, and the duo must contend with the mercenaries known as the Apex Predators.
While the campaign is short, it's packed with action and excellent set-pieces like the Cause and Effect mission. Multiplayer, meanwhile, is tweaked in some areas from the original but is a lot more refined with several unique Titans to pick from. It's a great pick-up for any FPS fan.
3) Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
This one isn't a game sequel but rather a successor to Borderlands 2's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC expansion. It takes the format established by 2019's Borderlands 3 and coats it in familiar fantasy paint.
It is a grander and more refined experience that incorporates its predecessor's excellent FPS/RPG gameplay. It expands upon the world and lore introduced in the original's Bunkers and Badasses adventure. It's the most "RPG" the series has ever been.
4) Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition
Released back in 2017, Divinity: Original Sin 2 takes place millennia after the first Original Sin. This evolution brings forth a larger and more ambitious game that is an improvement in pretty much every way - better combat, grander story, bigger set pieces; you name it.
The sheer depth on display, from the extensive RPG customization and turn-based battle depth to various scenario solutions and tremendous depth, all result in one of the best RPGs ever made.
5) Nioh 2
2017's Nioh from Koei Tecmo added its own unique twist on the beloved Soulslike design. The introduction of the Ki recovery mechanic, stances, and Japanese folklore setting ensured it was more than a clone - and the stellar combat, boss design, and RPG mechanics cemented that notion.
Come 2020, and Nioh 2 refined the already amazing formula even further. The developers polished the combat further and piled new mechanics on top of that, like the Soul Cores allowing players to equip and use enemies' attacks or the Yokai Shift and its different forms. Nioh 2 is also a punishing game, but all for the right reasons.
Five disappointing sequels that fell short of expectations
1) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5
Released back in 2015, fans were excited about the revival of the iconic skating franchise for a new generation. Unfortunately, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (THPS5) quickly squashed those hopes.
The myriad of technical issues, poor game design, lackluster map design, and dated visuals. While the eventual remakes of THPS 1+2 put smiles back on fans' faces, the fact that the modern installment is a disaster will forever be etched into fans' minds.
2) Dead Rising 4
After the lukewarm reception to Dead Rising 3, Capcom Vancouver doubled down on the idea to deliver a sequel that was even more bonkers. Too bad the result soured fans further.
The overhauled personality of protagonist Frank West was criticized for being obnoxious, and the over-the-top, shallow gameplay is one step away from being Dead Rising Warriors. The lack of significant environmental interactivity also indicates that this installment is all about style over substance.
3) Need for Speed: Payback
EA's Need for Speed series hasn't seen the most exciting installments as far as its modern renditions are concerned. Case in point, 2017's Payback. The game's try-hard story, loot box-based progression system, and lack of non-scripted cop chases left fans scratching their heads.
It was also a visual step-down from the 2015 entry. NFS Heat in 2020 was a step in the right direction, but EA still has ways to go before the franchise can regain its glory status - if at all, at this point.
4) Crackdown 3
The much-awaited entry in Microsoft’s underrated Crackdown series of open-world shooters fell like a step back in time - not for good reason, though. Crackdown 3 boasted a generic story and a dull, lifeless world whose neon aesthetic is a step from the gritter tone of the first game.
Worst of all, though, the critical element that the series is known for has been scaled back: the destruction and its impact. While the map is more extensive and graphics are better, the lack of attention to detail hampers the experience, especially when older titles did it better.
5) Saints Row 4
Conceived initially as DLC for Saints Row: The Third, 4 took things in a direction no one expected. Amidst the clamors of Saints Row 2 remakes, developer Volition dished out Saints Row 3.5 with superpowers. Elements like gliding, super-fast running, and elemental attacks make it feel more like Prototype than a proper Saints Row game.
If that wasn't enough, the nonsensical sci-fi story pretty much ensures that further Saints Row games won't be possible in the timeline - exactly why the entry after that takes place in Hell and the upcoming title is a reboot. Hopefully, Saints Row (2022) delivers at the very least.