games / Columns

The 8 Ball: The Top 8 Video Game Numbered Sequels – Resident Evil 4, Street Fighter 2, More

August 8, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Resident Evil 4

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about video game sequels, specifically numbered ones. I’m pretty strict with this, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a vastly better game than Zelda 1 or 2, but it doesn’t have a 3 in the title, so no go. Also games not on this list: Uncharted 2, NOLF 2 and Masters of Orion 2. From what I understand, all the games are better (or vastly better in Uncharted’s case) than their predecessors but I haven’t played them, so I don’t really know. Enjoy:

#8: Metal Gear Solid 2

Inarguably, MGS 4 and 5 are “better” games, from a gameplay perspective. MGS3 also has its fans but I’m not really one of them. I appreciate MGS 2 not for its gameplay systems but for its willingness to screw with the player base and how crazy it really becomes. All during the previews for the game, you are shown playing as Solid Snake, even to the point of there being scenes in early trailers that straight up lied to the audience about what was going on. This wasn’t an accidental thing, Kojima was purposefully screwing with the MGS fanbase, even back then. Once MGS 2 finally came out, you play Snake for about a quarter if the game, if that. Instead, for a majority of the game you play as Raiden, a character that fans are still divided on to this day. That’s aside from the BS about nano-machines, artificial AI, amnesia, incest, and you facing an evil Doctor Octopus-inspired clone of Solid Snake, who was also the President of the US at an earlier date (MGS 1). MGS 2 let Kojima really go nuts and I applaud the game for it.

#7: Resident Evil 4

By 2001, the Resident Evil franchise had gotten pretty stale. Capcom had pumped out four Resident Evil games that had small incremental updates but didn’t change too much from the overall formula, these being 1, 2, 3 and Code Veronica. It was time for a fresh start and Resident Evil 4 provided that in spades. Gone are the slow moving zombies, Umbrella Corp, pre-rendered backgrounds and fixed camera angles. Resident Evil 4 took the series into a more action-oriented perspective with better gunplay, quick time events, ludicrous boss fights, and a control scheme that was actually part of this millennium. While a lot of people argue that RE4 was the start of the ruination of the Resident Evil franchise (till RE7), they can’t argue that RE4 was the shot in the arm the series needed, especially at the time.

#6: Persona 5

There was a nice jump in quality from Persona 3 to Persona 4. It fixed Persona 3’s battle system issues (P3P also did this, but whatever), had better written characters and had increased production values. To me, the jump from Persona 4 to 5 was more meaningful. It got rid of a lot of the randomness that was in Persona 4’s systems, like how your personas get new skills or how you even get new personas in the first place. The battle system was also quicker and more varied, and so were the “daytime” segments. Also, I just enjoyed the writing in this game more, save for Ryuji, and the jazzy soundtrack.

#5: Titanfall 2

Titanfall 1 had no single player campaign, Titanfall 2 does have a single player campaign, that about sums it up. When Black Ops 4 releases in two months, I expect it to get substantially lower review scores for its omission of a single player campaign because they are still charging full price for a game that just has multiplayer, zombies, and a copied Battle Royale mode. You know what? The single player campaign in Titanfall 2 was great. You actually care about the Titan (BT-7274) and the mission you are trying to complete. Everyone talks about the “Effect and Cause” level, but really thee entire campaign holds up as just a memorable and fun thing to do. Also, Titanfall 2 still has multiplayer and it’s alright.

#4: Super Mario Bros 3

Don’t get me wrong, Super Mario Bros 3 is a superb game, easily one of the best on the NES console. The reason it’s only in the middle here is because Super Mario Bros 1 and 2 aren’t broken games. SMB3 didn’t need to really “fix” the Mario formula, it just greatly expanded it with an overworld, suits to find, an item system, more diverse level settings/layouts, and the world’s best item in video game: Kuribo’s Shoe! This one thing makes Mario 3 such a classic gem of a game. Somewhat kidding aside, SMB3 is still fondly remembered as one of the best Mario games period, alongside SMW, 64, Galaxy 1 and 2 and Odyssey. People who say Sunshine need their heads examined.

#3: Mass Effect 2

They got rid of the Mako, which instantly makes Mass Effect 2 a better game. Of the three “main” Mass Effect games, ME2 is clearly the best with a good mixture of combat and space opera/RPG mechanics. ME1 was the most open-ended game in the franchise but that came at the expense of having some cumbersome game mechanics (Mako), and cookie-cutter bases which had no personality at all. Mass Effect 3, on the other hand, had the best combat in the main series, but the cast of characters was dramatically paired down and some of the EA forced inclusions (multiplayer) were not handled well. Mass Effect 2 plays like a heist in a video game, you have to gather a team of eclectic screwballs and go do some missions with them to save the galaxy.

#2: Assassin’s Creed 2

The original Assassin’s Creed game is a gnarly piece of work. While its function and some people do enjoy it, the limited number of activities, the constant need to keep in snyc with the Animus and all the investigations you have to do make the game a real chore to complete. Also, the less said about the combat, the better. Later AC games went above and beyond (notably Brotherhood) but AC2 was the launching pad for the real franchise with a story-based structure, combat which was 90% of the way there (minus chaining together counter kills), upgrading the villa and getting an economic boost from it, and much more about the Desmond storyline, which Ubisoft seems to have completely abandoned at this point. I’m not going to say that AC2 is the best in the franchise, it’s not, but it lays the groundwork for how good the series could ultimately become.

#1: Street Fighter 2

Try and play the original Street Fighter game. Go ahead, try it. Especially try and find the arcade version with a joystick and two big pressure sensitive “Punch” and “Kick” buttons that translate how hard you press them with the actions on the screen. So…that’s great. The original Street Fighter game is a disaster, from the wonky control system, to having no other playable characters aside from Ryu, to special moves that barely work because of how imprecise the controls are. Street Fighter 2, by contrast, is still perfectly playable even by today’s standards (27 years later), it has an actual two player mode, control input is fixed and it’s a much more vibrant and ambitious game. Street Fighter was a barely passable kung-fu game but Street Fighter 2 was one of the biggest games in arcades ever and essentially launched the fighting game genre that we know today.

For comments, list your favorite numbered game sequels and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Roguelikes