games / Columns

The Top 8 Good Sequels to Bad Video Games

April 27, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
God of War Image Credit: Sony Interactive

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about games that sequels of games that are bad. “Bad” is obviously subjective, some of the games on here are from franchises that people like or love, so this is just my view. I’m also going for games that are made by the same people, or on the same platform. So like going from GTA 2 to GTA 3 wouldn’t really count since it’s such a monumental shift from the old game(s). Let’s begin:

#8: God of War (2018)

I never liked the God of War series before this game. While I can recognize that they were well-made, the actual gameplay bored me to death, and so did Kratos “character”, if you want to even call him that. I tried to play all the main God of Wars before the 2018 one and got bored about two hours in, each time. For one, 2018 has no fixed camera perspectives, it’s now just a full 3D game, which I think helps combat a lot. Also, Kratos has a personality and actually some motivations to do what he is doing, along with an actual good story other than “Bald dude is angry”. That’s in addition to a vastly more enjoyable combat system and a Metroidvania-esque world, where you unlock secrets/new paths with new abilities you gain.

#7: Kagero: Deception 2

Deception 2 is really where the Deception franchise got started. The first Deception game, “Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation to Darkness” (what a pithy title) has some similarities with the rest of the games but only on the surface. They involve you luring people into death traps but that’s about it. For one, Deception 2 has a third-person camera system. Deception 1 was first person and was rough as hell. It was clunky to get around, the traps barely work, and it’s slow. Deception 2 isn’t perfect but even being able to see your character and how the traps strike zone makes it a huge improvement over the first game.

#6: MDK2

The basic gameplay of MDK 1 and MDK2 are kind of the same, Kurt still has the machine gun arm, the ribbon parachute, the sniper bullet views, etc., but my god does MDK2 play better. The fact that it was BioWare who developed it, is kind of all the more shocking, since they weren’t known, back then, for making action-style games. Kurt controlled very well, but they also expanded the gameplay by having two additional characters, Max and Dr. Hawkins. Max was a mutated dog with two legs and 4 arms, each of which could hold a weapon, as was even more of an action game than Kurt’s parts. Hawkins, on the other hand, was basically puzzle solving, and very light combat, using an atomic toaster that you create. But MDK2 was a vastly expanded and better game than the first one.

#5: Just Cause 2

The first Just Cause game was basically a GTA clone with not as good gunplay. About the only notable thing it had was the stunt position/car stuff but that was barely fun after more than two hours. Just Cause 2 improved in almost every way. The biggest addition is the grappling hook, letting you couple that with your parachute gave Rico a lot more mobility when it comes to combat. Second is letting you tether enemies to walls, or vehicles to the road, it led to a lot of comedy. Also, liberating towns, and cleaning up the country actually was made fun, aside from hunting down every last upgrade box, because it was actually meaningful to the game now.

#4: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

I never liked the Castlevania series prior to SOTN. It’s not that SOTN has a RPG system, inventory, the “Metroidvania” thing of unlocking new areas based on your abilities, etc. I disliked the prior Castlevania games for being linear-based games with awful platforming sections. God knows I’ve tried to play Super Castlevania IV at least half a dozen times and gotten bored/frustrated every single time. It does have some rocking music but I hate that if you get hit in mid-air you get knocked back, likely to your death, in one of the hundreds of pits. Or that getting knocked off the stairs means an instant death. I know Castlevania 2 had elements of non-linear gameplay and RPG stuff but it didn’t go far enough. SOTN was the first, really good, Castlevania game.

#3: Everspace 2

I’m honestly shocked at how much I like Everspace 2 because I truly disliked Everspace 1. As a space flight game it was passable but the whole idea of it being a roguelike, where you are meant to die over and over to build yourself up over time, really rubbed me the wrong way. Incidentally, this is also why Road Redemption isn’t a good video game. I think roguelikes only tend to work for action-adventure games, or platformers but that’s about it. Everspace 2 ditches this system and just has you playing as a guy. You gain experience, level up, gain new abilities and such but there’s no instance of just restarting once you die. You either have to reload a save (it autosaves very generously) or restart the game. Also, Everspace 2 actually has a story which is a big step up from the first game.

#2: Watch Dogs 2

A lot of the actual gameplay systems in Watch Dogs 2 are just slightly refined from the first game. You still have the hacking through walls, driving is about the same, you can still activate parts of the city, etc. The biggest change is that the story is no longer garbage and it’s not taking itself nearly as seriously. The first game tried to have it be completely self-serious with one of the worst game protagonists ever. He swore revenge on everyone when he DIRECTLY caused his niece getting killed, what a guy! Watch Dogs 2, thankfully, ditches Aiden Pearce for Marcus Holloway, a guy you can actually somewhat get behind. It also just had a better city for you to explore and more memorable characters as well. It is bewildering to me that for Legion, Ubisoft is going “WE’RE BRING AIDEN BACK FOR THE DLC!!!” and acting like people are supposed to be excited. Good luck on that front, guys.

#1: Assassin’s Creed 2

God, remember what garbage the first Assassin’s Creed was? It was very impressive from a technical perspective, the crowds were new, and it looked great but playing the actual game was such a damn chore. Like the fact you had to investigate your targets, or that the Eagle Vision was only usable at full health, or how combat was borderline broken? I’m not saying AC2 was the best game ever but it was a monumental step-up in terms of every idea that the first Assassin’s Creed put forth. It’s also the game that really put the AC franchise on the map and where a lot of gameplay systems started from.

For comments, list which favorite sequels came from bad games and why.

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