Video Games like film have spawned massive franchises, Cult Hits and obviously more sequels than an 80’s slasher franchise. For the most part sequels are great, at best they improve and innovate where the predecessor already shined and normally at worst they’re a re-tread of familiar ground. But then you have the special kind of bad. The kind of bad that makes that bleach under the sink in your kitchen appear a tasty treat. And that is why I am here, to count down the top 11 worst video game sequels of all time. Spoilers are likely to follow so if you see a title you want to play on here (why, it says worst for a reason?) then don’t read the list, then @ me on twitter calling me an asshole… Ye have been warned.
11 – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Oh yeah, we’re starting with a controversial one! The MGS franchise is a franchise that has been near and dear to me. I have played the franchise as I grew from a green horn of the stealth genre into the slightly less green horn of today. I was cautious around MGSV as the signs that this was not to be a true Metal Gear were on the wall. The unceremonious sacking of franchise veteran and iconic voice of Snake; David Hayter was the first warning that something was off about this title.
Flash forward to release, and to my dismay, I was greeted by a beautiful open world with nothing to do in it; a story about as coherent as me after seven pints; and the most gimped portrayal of the franchise heavyweight “Big Boss” at the driver’s seat. MGSV felt like a great big slap in the face. Gone were the interesting locales and tightly delivered story and in its place were long open expanses with bland military checkpoints and erm… audio cassette tapes where characters with near identical voices bicker on opposite sides of the fence about all manner of things.
Once you approach the completely unsatisfying climax the game gives you a secret ending that involves playing the slow paced and dull tutorial once again only to be greeted by another smack square in the face in the form of the “Twist” ending leading you to wonder why you even bothered in the first place.
10 – Ninja Gaiden 3
The Ninja Gaiden series had been one of the most bad-ass action titles in recent memory with buttery smooth visceral combat, a tough difficulty curve and satisfying variety across multiple weapons and magic… then 3 happened.
The focus shifted from the gameplay over to the story (Why?) with the series protagonist; Ryu Hayabusa, suffering from an ancient curse brought on by all the death and carnage he had been reaping up to this point. Gone were the interesting fights with various enemy types, in its place were generic soldiers and mutants. The title also took away from its predecessor’s trade-mark difficult but rewarding fast paced combat, in its place a reliance on cinematic finishers and flimsy enemies. All those weapons Ryu was a master of? Well, you won’t see that in 3, as Ryu uses only a sword in the campaign… unless you would like to cough up some REAL WORLD CASH to get different weapons within your arsenal. Despicable.
Oh and the story is a load of toss involving some special ops girl’s daughter, a seedy company that makes Metal T-Rexes (Legit a thing in the game) and the whole thing is wrapped together in an overly serious tone… Like… Someone should have reminded the writer that there is a giant metal T-Rex.
9 – Dead Space 3
Oh boy. So Dead Space 1 and 2 were spectacular Action Horror titles. With a focus on strategic shot placement and horrifying beasts stalking your protagonist Isaac Clark. Not content that felt like the only company giving fans of Horror some faith in the industry, EA went full on dumbass and crammed every dumb cliché of the time they could into Dead Space 3.
So what crap made it into the beloved franchise? Well, obviously Co-op. Everybody else was doing it so EA couldn’t help but throw in some half-hearted Co-op mode that featured a brand new generic character that I can’t remember the name of due to his generic dullness. The wide arsenal of weaponry from previous titles was gone in favour of a create your own gun mechanic… that existed just to snaffle money out of customers by dangling the carrot of getting good stuff for real cash. They removed the horror for more of a focus on action. So obviously fans were angry, I was angry, My mum was angry (for some reason), Everyone was angry… Bad Sequel status confirmed.
8 – Dino Crisis 3
After the surprise success of the original “Resident Evil with Dinosaurs” (better known as Dino Crisis), Capcom leapt straight into the sequel machine and gave us Dino Crisis 2, which pulled a Resident Evil 5 before its time by completely shifting the tone of the series. Then Dino Crisis 3 happened.
Dino Crisis 3 wasn’t satisfied with another sequel set on earth… or even in our century. So someone at Capcom decided to throw space and the year 2548 into the mix with a super bizarre story featuring space dinosaurs and all manner of madness. It sounds dumb but in a really awesome way. Much like my ideas after seven pints, however, in execution, the whole thing falls apart. Camera issues and mediocre gameplay plagued the title with generic characters that couldn’t reach the heights of its predecessors, Dino Crisis 3 ultimately fell way below expectations and firmly cemented its place as one of the worst sequels in history.
7 – Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City
Ask anyone what the worst Resident Evil title of 2012 was and they will always without a doubt say 6.
But they are mistaken, there was a title, far worse. With a senseless storyline, horrific controls and monotonous gameplay, the nugget of poop I’m referring to, would be Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City. Seriouslym it’s the worst Resident Evil Game without a doubt.
Set in the timeline between Resident Evil 2 and 3, Operation Raccoon City is a horrendous title that is designed to appeal to fans nostalgia. Unfortunately, it all falls apart instantly. My issue here is mainly with your selection of weapons. At best, it’s a drab and boring affair with a selection of guns that all feel virtually the same. But that’s just the start, the mechanics are sloppy and ham fisted whilst the story… my GOD… let’s not mention the story.
I have never ever seen a game which spoils its entire ending with the first reveal trailer. Literally, there are no surprises, no twists and no lies here, they literally reveal what happens in the final few levels of the game… with the reveal trailer… it’s almost like they knew it was bad. Oh yeah, and charging for a DLC campaign that features more classic characters and scenarios when your original campaign was utter toss is a particularly shady move.
6 – Devil May Cry 2
Devil May Cry was the shot in the dark experiment that landed Capcom with a slick badass hero, stylish combat and a soundtrack full of memorable and pulse pounding beats. Dante quickly became a fan favourite and all eyes were on Capcom for the sequel.
And the result was awful.
They sapped the personality from the original Dante, replacing it with a bland brooding mature Dante who is joined by another bland heroine in the form of Lucia. Together the duo marches through a lifeless campaign fighting an evil CEO who has been using demons to do his bidding… or something along those lines.
Combat sees small additions that show a glimmer of fun but the entire thing becomes a farce, limiting Dante to one melee weapon – where are my Devil Arms from the first game and why can’t I use them? Instead, Dante gets a repertoire of guns, which are completely broken as most enemies once stun locked can be dispatched with ease by just mashing the fire button.
Bosses are laughable. Much of the challenge and dread elicited by past bosses like Nelo Angello and Phantom are gone in favour of demon infested tanks and choppers. Thankfully Capcom managed to get back on track with Devil May Cry 3, but for a while there… we were scared.
5 – Castlevania (N64 Variety)
The Castlevania series is one of the most popular and longest living franchises of all time. The Belmont family have seen some hardships. One of those hardships is Castlevania N64. Made during that really weird awkward time where critically acclaimed titles of the old school era were being dragged kicking and screaming into modern times. Titles either swam like Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time or sank like Earthworm Jim or that 1997 film starring Leonardo Di Caprio.
The game allows you to play as two generic heroes each with their own unique attacks – one has magic, the other has the whip. Sadly though, neither characters are fun to play with. The game’s previous gothic atmospheric art design was replaced with uninspiring colour palettes. The challenge was replaced with frustrating camera angles and annoying combat. But the biggest sin of all, the musical score that Castlevania was famous for, was nowhere to be found. One of the worst decisions in soundtrack history.
4 – Sonic 2006
You knew it would be on here somewhere! The OG of terrible Video Game sequels, Sonic 2006! This “masterpiece” launched for the original Xbox 360 and was touted as being the next generation Sonic title. Pipped as the title to bring the franchise back to its status as a titan in the platforming genre!
But as we all know, it really didn’t. Bugs and glitches were scattered throughout the title. From falling through walls to getting stuck on EVERYTHING! Oh, and let’s not forget Silver’s infinite stun loop. On top of that, the game was hamstrung with the worst camera ever and made everything from exploration to combat needlessly frustrating.
This started a trend of shitty Sonic games which have been getting progressively worse and worse. Thankfully Sonic Mania has been able to break the cycle but that doesn’t change the fact that Sonic 2006 is one of the worst games ever.
3 – Pac Man 2
A sequel to one of the most famous video games ever created, Pac-Man 2 is a perplexing beast. It’s unclear how anyone involved came to this idea. As far as games go Pac-Man is easily the most recognised video games to date with its hyper simple concept of skirting around a maze, eating power pellets and avoiding those pesky ghosts.
Pac-Man 2 says “F*ck that noise!” and throwing all that out. In return giving us a Pac-Man who is about as masculine as Princess Peach and has marital problems at home. No. Joke.
Some of the quests in Pac-Man 2 make me question how we went from the first title to this mess. On top of his marital problems getting him down, Pac-Man runs away screaming from 80% of the NPC’s in the game. What on Earth were Namco thinking!?
2 – Bomberman: Act Zero
Who doesn’t love Bomberman? The chibi style art, the simple yet strategic fun gameplay and the colour. Bomberman was and still is a superb couch co-op experience.
Bomberman: Act Zero however, is best summed up as that awkward friend who shows up to the party and starts talking about how futile life is and sucks all the fun and joy out of your night. Taking the cute art style and replacing it with a cold metal aesthetic. It’s a stylistic choice that drains all the colour from the world. Act Zero definitely is guilty of over indulgence in its own edgey-ness. It’s safe to say, it was the worst!
There is a story buried somewhere among this cold soulless scrap heap but it’s not worth going into. Hudson and Konami did however rather generously offer 99 levels of near identical maps to bomb the CPU within before giving you a lovely text screen ending.
1 – Duke Nukem: Forever
Hail to the King Baby! Duke Nukem Forever was considered a joke of the industry. Promised way back in 1996 the foul mouthed, badass destroyer of those “Alien Bastards” was delayed a whole 15 years. After its trip through development fire and flames, what emerged was so bad that it likely should have been thrown back into the pit from whence it came.
The gunplay was horrifically dated and enhanced with clichés that were starting to feel tired in the 90’s. The historically chuckle worthy humour of the original games was twisted into a juvenile mess. Jokes that did land perhaps elicited a smirk from players but for the 90% that didn’t, reactions went from a straight pokerface to worse – grimaces of discomfort.
The title felt like it was stitched together with terrible writing, dated gameplay and pop culture references that were nearly 3 or 4 years out of date on launch day. Gearbox did come out in defence of the title suggesting that gamers were expecting a title more akin to steak and what they ended up with, was more of a burger. But what they left out was that the burger that Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford was speaking of, was in fact made of shit.
So there it is! My top 11 worst video game sequels, sound off in the comments with your lists or tell me how much you disagree with me about Metal Gear Solid V (Nothing will change my mind).