The video game industry is like Hollywood. When a game does well, publishers insist on a sequel. But as is the case with Hollywood and the terrible movie sequels that studios churn out, the majority of game sequels released each year lack the magic of their predecessors.
Such is the case with the examples on this list. Most of the games here are playable. But when compared to the titles that came out before them, they can definitely be considered disappointing.
Do you agree with the choices on our list? Are there other game sequels that disappointed you? Let us know in the comments below.
Resident Evil 6
At one time, the Resident Evil series of games were among the best survival horror titles out there. The first three games in the franchise were genuinely scary and the fourth, which incorporated lots of action elements, still managed to conjure up a few terrifying moments, despite a more action-oriented approach to gameplay.
Resident Evil 5 was a low point for the series as it focused too heavily on action elements. However, there were some who enjoyed the game due to its multiplayer aspects and expansive environments that were fun to explore.
Resident Evil 6 retained the multiplayer of the previous game but it disposed of most of the survival horror elements that fans were familiar with. Gone was the suspense of earlier games in the series. Instead, players were given a high-octane experience akin to a blockbuster action movie, which would have been fine if not for the fact that, gameplay-wise, it had little in common with earlier games.
Thankfully, the developers at Capcom saw sense and returned the series to its survival horror roots for Resident Evil 7.
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was the sixth game in the Tomb Raider franchise and the first to be released on PlayStation 2. This should have been a surefire hit for Core Design, the game’s developers, as they had the graphical power of Sony’s new console at their disposal to create something quite special.
Sadly, the game was a buggy mess when it was released in 2003. Technical glitches aside, the game also suffered from clunky controls, a wonky camera, weird levelling-up mechanics, and perhaps worst of all, a lack of actual tomb raiding.
Needless to say, fans were not happy and neither were the critics who slated the game. As a consequence of Lara’s failed outing, Core Design was fired from the franchise.
Duke Nukem Forever
Early Duke Nukem titles were edgy and fun, satirizing the action genre and heaping in loads of pop culture references. With endlessly quotable lines of dialogue (It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum…and I’m all out of gum) and plenty of high-octane action, the games were highly entertaining, even if they sometimes fell into the tired old tropes that they were taking the mickey out of.
Duke Nukem Forever began development in 1997 but ironically, it took forever for the game to be released. When it eventually hit shelves in 2011, players quickly realized it wasn’t worth the long wait. The gameplay was glitchy and buggy, the graphics were subpar, and there wasn’t a hint of innovation. The game was also quite dated – the character of Duke Nukem was a relic of a bygone age – which is probably why there hasn’t been a new game in the series since.
Bomberman: Act Zero
When most people think of Bomberman, they remember a cute cartoon guy running around colourful mazes and avoiding bombs while laying explosive traps for other players.
But for some reason, HudsonSoft decided to reboot the franchise with a futuristic dystopian world and a series of dingy-looking mazes that were far removed from the playfully designed maps of the original games in the series. The character of Bomberman was also unrecognizable. Out was the bobble-hatted cartoon character that fans remembered and in was a forgettable guy in an oversized suit of armour.
If the game was fun to play, the design choices may have been forgiven. But it wasn’t! The levels weren’t fun to run around, the game suffered from some terrible collision detection, and the control scheme was appalling. Worst of all, there was no local multiplayer! You could play online (if you could find somebody willing to play the game) but the biggest appeal of the earlier games was always the opportunity to get your friends around and play from your living room sofa.
Dragon Age 2
The first Dragon Age game was BioWare at its best. The team crafted a masterful story, with engaging characters, realistic dialogue, and a game world that was interesting to explore. Looking back on the game now, which was released in 2009, it will probably appear quite dated, but at the time, it was considered to be a genuine classic.
Two years later, Dragon Age II was released, much to the excitement of fans. But while the game told a good story with lots of interesting lore, the game disappointed players because of its focus on action over RPG elements and the restrictive environments that hampered exploration.
The game’s issues probably lie with the rushed development time. The technical glitches within the game are evidence of this. It was still enjoyable to play, however, but it was nowhere near as good as the excellent first game.
The Sonic the Hedgehog games ran rings around their opponents way back in the 90s, with only the Mario games rivalling them in the popularity stakes. But fast forward a few years later and it was a completely different story. With new consoles came opportunities to revamp Sonic, with better graphics, more intricate game worlds, and fresh styles of gameplay.
But here’s the thing. Most gamers were happy running around 2D levels at speed, collecting rings and bouncing on the heads of the game’s enemies. They didn’t ask for fully 3D worlds or new gameplay mechanics, but that’s exactly what they got when Sonic made the move into the third dimension in 1999 on the Dreamcast. That game was still pretty good, unlike Sonic ’06 which was released on the Xbox 360 in 2006.
With terrible controls, a janky camera, long loading times, and a weird romance between Sonic and a human woman, the game was hated upon by critics and gamers alike. Subsequent titles failed to match the quality of the original games in the series but they still managed to outpace this shoddy franchise entry.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
In the world of skateboarding games, the Tony Hawks series was among the best the genre had to offer, at least for a time. But when Pro Skater 5 came out in 2015, the franchise went the way of many a poor skateboarder and fell flat on its face.
Again, the problem here was a rushed development time as Activision apparently wanted to get a new game onto shelves before their license contract with Tony Hawks expired. This was to their detriment as the game that players received was graphically outdated, boring to play, and filled with so many bugs that the game was almost unplayable.
Long-term fans of the series were very disappointed by the final game which was another result of a publisher caring more about money than the needs of the people who played their games.
The first two Crackdown games were an absolute blast to play through. Running around the open world, using an awesome arsenal of firepower on your enemies, and powering up your skills until you were nigh on unbeatable, the games gave you a feeling of power that few games have offered before or since.
When Crackdown 3 was announced for Xbox One, the game received a lot of hype. The fact that it starred Brooklyn 99’s Terry Crews ramped up the excitement levels further. But when the game was finally received, after several delays, gamers were cursed with a bland third-person shooter featuring a boring campaign, uninspired multiplayer, dodgy shooting mechanics, and surprisingly (considering it was a next-gen release) unimpressive graphics.
The game suffered from other problems too but we think you already get the picture. Crackdown 3 was another disappointment that failed to live up to (or surpass) the quality of the games that preceded it.
Metal Gear Survive
When Solid Snake slunk his way onto the PS1, gamers were thrilled at the game’s riveting story and stealth mechanics. They were less impressed with the long cutscenes and endless radio chatter but when the game finally allowed them to control Snake, they had a blast of a time hiding in cardboard boxes and taking out their enemies from the shadows.
Later titles offered more of the same…with the exception of Metal Gear Survive. This is the worst of the franchise, perhaps because original series creator Hideo Kojimi had moved on from Konami and had nothing to do with the game.
The story is bland, the missions are tiresome, and as you control a customizable soldier, franchise mainstay Solid Snake is nowhere to be seen. Stripped of its tactical espionage gameplay in favour of yet another zombie survival game, this is one game that quickly lost the loyalty of the franchise’s fans who didn’t want another tired action game featuring the undead.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III
In terms of multiplayer, this latest edition in the Call of Duty franchise isn’t bad. Admittedly, little has changed when comparing it to other games in the series but fans of the franchise will likely still be satisfied if they don’t mind playing revamped versions of older maps.
The biggest disappointment with this game is the campaign mode which seems to be something of an afterthought. With levels that are devoid of the bombastic action scenes that the series is known for and open combat missions that don’t have the context of an interesting story, they are mostly a chore to play though.
The Call of Duty games have been pretty samey for a while now but people still buy them regardless. It’s because they do well that the game’s developers don’t seem to make a concerted effort to innovate. If you’re fine with that, then fine. But if you’re tired of playing the same old game, perhaps now is the time to vote with your wallets and refuse to buy another COD title.
Do you agree with our picks? Which video game sequels have you not enjoyed? Let us know in the comments below.