Top 5 Best Video Games That Ruined Their Trilogies
If you manage to nail a first entry of anything out the gate, praise to you. The very fact that game mechanics, storylines, intentions of the development team and budgetary concerns actually match up in a way that’s not a total car wreck is a miracle every time. Every single time.
That said, once something does take off, you’ve got to start planning sequels and maybe even third instalments, and that’s where things get tricky (just ask The Matrix). Getting a project off the ground in the gaming industry is trickier than most thanks to the sheer cost of development, let alone something like Mass Effect that was always meant to be more than one release.
If you can’t wrap up your story and finish with a bang, that’s one hell of a sour taste that in many cases ends up defining an entire franchise forever.
5. Uncharted 3
By itself, Uncharted 3 isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ video game – it’s just too much of the same, coming from a series that saw a monumental step up between Uncharted’s 1 and 2.
On the gameplay side, Naughty Dog mentioned that they really just wanted to see what crazy concoctions of code they could conjure up when it came to level design. Hence the overturned tanker, a ton of physics-based set-pieces like the aeroplane crash, and levels that occasionally felt overwhelming when it came to enemy placement and the amount of things happening at once.
Drake didn’t receive any new abilities other than the option to kick out of an enemy grabbing him, and it ended up making U3 feel like a strange entry in the series overall. Like a tacked-on sequel in an action franchise; you knew what you were getting, but the shrug of “meh” has gone on to symbolise its existence ever since.
4. Fallout 3
Hey, hey, woah, put down the pitchforks there, stabby – you’ll see reason soon enough.
So think Fallout, and you’ll think of first-person shooting, character-builds and slow-motion V.A.T.S. systems, right? Wrong.
Originally, the series was in the trusted hands of Black Isle Studios, a team that had built one hell of a fanbase around the original two games’ isometric gameplay, focussing on character interaction, hardcore state-progression and copious dollops of humour.
When Bethesda bought them out and acquired the license back in 2007, the in-progress Fallout 3 (codenamed Van Buren) was canned as Bethesda used Oblivion’s GameBryo engine to completely remodel the franchise into more of a first-person shooter. Ever since then, fans have been divided; you’ve got the old-school lovers of Black Isle’s work who adore the top-down exploits of fleshing out every aspect of their character (and now enjoy the Wasteland series for doing the same), and you have the ‘new’ Fallout fans, who came in when F3 went massive and adore what Bethesda did.
Either way, what Fallout 3 was pitched and eventually released as, are two completelydifferent games.
3. Doom 3
There’s a good reason you haven’t heard from Doom in 12 years; the last time iD Software attempted to continue the legacy of John Romero’s legendary franchise, they – for want of a better word – ‘ballsed it up somewhat’.
Critics appeared to love it, despite mentioning numerous issues such as being hampered by switching between flashlights and firearms, or feeling like the change in tonal direction from FPS to slow corridor-crawling shock-fest wasn’t what anybody wanted to see.
It turned into one of those expectation bubble-bursting games that the fanbase just couldn’t get on board with, not when the previous two entries had made their name off the back of weapons like the ‘Big F*cking Gun’, or had you slice your own name through enemy hordes with a chainsaw.
Doom 4 looks to be restoring the old, arena-based thrills and gore-drenched spills of the originals later in 2016, so here’s hoping those 12 years have served the developers right.
2. God Of War III
God of War’s base hack n’ slash formula felt immediately timeless back in 2005, in a really “Why didn’t anybody else do this?!” sort of way. Quick-time events and square, square, triangle combos rang true for the hefty 20-plus hour adventures that were God of War 1 and 2, with the latter hitting a high-point thanks to the perfect marriage of violence and a pacy narrative that saw Kratos’ motivations match up with the Gods he was vying to take down.
Then… God of War 3 happened. Kratos had become a caricature of himself, an angry bald idiot who’d gut and flay all around him if it meant he got his way. The game had you throwing slaves into whirring cogs to solve puzzles, sleeping with another imprisoned man’s wife and then killing him when he found out – across the board it was aiming for some sort of ultimate power fantasy, yet falling down at every turn.
At this point in the series’ history we were all but completely desensitised to things being torn in half or innards flying everywhere, so it fell to GoW 3 to attempt to wow us through spectacle alone; a graphics-first approach that ended up being its downfall when you realised what was at the core, had been devoid of life for quite some time
1. Fable III
Oh man, Fable III – the name conjures up horrific imagery of an ill-designed world map you had to ‘visit’ to check out, menu and inventory systems that controversial developer Peter Molyneux thought would be more ‘special’ to walk through, and a story that was supposed to delve into the acquisition and use of power, yet devolved into an empty theatre performance of lame Monty Python references.
Actually playing it was more of the same lighthearted RPG goodness that 1 and 2 had, yet with even more simplification when it came to spells and attacks, the assumption being that Lionhead were aiming for as big an audience as possible.
Honestly, has that ever worked? Has a game simplifying itself ever resulted in anything better? Just pause for thought, as it’s a worrying trend the more you analyse later instalments in any given franchise. Fable III’s minimising of all the aspects we loved most was an immediately off-putting quality that defined it the more hours you played – a truly terrible end to a franchise essentially sold on the inflated lies of Mr. Molyneux from day one.
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