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Sequels: Pros and Cons

Posted: December 11, 2003 |  Printable Version | Rating: 7.92 out of 10 (13 total votes)
Author: Bongo and Brerick | Back to Article Listing


The almighty sequel. Nothing can posses as much mystery and prowess. There is the avid anticipation during the production, the scury to try to get your hands on the new game and finally the joy of once again visiting that fantasy world that you love so much.

Granted, not all sequels live up to their hype, but think about where gaming would be if it were not for sequels... There would not be but one Mario game, one Final Fantasy game and heaven forbid; there would not be a Halo 2 in production. If it were not for sequels, the number of games available would drastically fall.

The paragraphs above were written on Cloud 9. Not all sequels can match their play with their hype. Even through the bad sequels, developers learn something new from gamers. Every game is like a living thing, they move along an evolutionary path. They start out brand new and fresh, but slowly as play time is added, begin to get old and trite. Developers then have a chance to create a new game that will once again spark the intrests of devoted fans.

It also depends on the company making the game. Say a company such as Liquid Entertainment produces a sequel. They have had a few smaller success on the PC, but nothing that I would list in my top 10. I would not expect them to produce a sequel of any kind that would be able to quench my thirst. A company such as Bethesda (Morrowoind) though, I always have the highest expectations.

Not being disapointed by a sequel rests soly in the hands that purchase it. Have you been following the developers diary? Have you researched the game before going out to buy it? If you are angry that a sequel is not up to par I have a remedy for you. Next time, rent it before purchasing it. Yes, it may cost you $5 but it could also save you up to $50.

Over all, the majority of sequels are not too bad. Only tried and true developers can pull off something that matches its hype. But in the end if a sequel recieves a thumbs up or thumbs down rests on the only person who matters. And that person is you, the gamer.

Not always what you had hoped...

Everyone hopes for the best in whatever they do or receive. When a person thinks upgrade or sequel, they expect to be presented with a wide variety of newly crafted (yet reliable) innovations; generally something better than before. These expectations are not so different for PC- or any console- game, but the end product often leaves something to be desired.

In gaming terms, a sequel promises a new story for you to explore, refined multiplayer systems, more well-balanced characters or units for you two interact with, and an improvement over its original graphics engine. Sound familiar to you? Graphical and story improvements aside, many of these features can be found in newly crafted titles and expansion packs. Sadly, many of these sequels are just that- expansions. For all of the money and resources that are spent carving out new graphical advancements, little effort is put into making an innovative gameplay experience by comparison. In all, you're paying $55.00 to play the same characters of the past, embark on the same uninspiring quests, and play on the same unreliable multiplayer systems that are no less a pain than they were before. But at least it all looks good, right?

One of the greatest challenges in creating a sequel is simply because it is what it is- a sequel. If by chance your previous title was a major hit, the expectation levels will be considerably higher than before. Aside from correcting the bugs and issues that were present than the original, the developer is expected to create a game that will vastly supercede its predecessor. To make matters worse for the developer, both the media and fans of the genre unintentionally build up a flurry of hype, ever furthering the expectations that the designers need to achieve for their newest title to be a success. And try as they might to make their game as best as it is "supposed" to be, the end result often leaves its fans with the notion that more could have -no, should have- been done. The sad fact is that a great deal of inspiration and creative thinking is required to make a worthy sequel, and its short supply is often dried up by pushy fans and tight production times...

As you can see, there are those developers that put all of their effort into making their sequel the best that it can be, but there is an opposite extreme to them as well- those that don't try. These developers tend to be very secretive (or are very open with their empty promises), keeping the real facts about their game hidden until the consumer buys the finished product. That's when you've realized that you've just invested $60.00 into an expensive coaster. Few to no changes have been made, the promises that were made to you are either non-existent or not worthy of their hype; that or the game may have had so many changes to it that it's either broken or not worth playing. Most series and developers end right there, but there are still those (the Tomb Raider franchise, for instance...) that are persistent in being failures.

Sequels are sequels, and they are judged as such. Change for the better and improvements over the original are expected, as well as creativity in its design. The problem is that it's difficult -if not impossible- to build something better than what already has been deemed "perfect" (think Half Life 2), and so the end result may not always be what you had hoped. But are you still going to buy these sequels? If you've been waiting years for the next installment in your favourite series, than yes- you will. But remember, any moron can slap a number beside a name, but that doesn't mean it's going to be anything better than crap. Just be sure you know what you're buying into...

~By Bongo and Brerick
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