With each generation of consoles, comes the release of new franchises, which hope to garner the respect of players new to gaming. Conversely, there are also franchises that continue to evolve from past consoles with each sequel promising to be better than the last entry. In fact, an incredible amount of the video games industry is based on the creation of large series that spawn many sequels, prequels, and everything in between. These franchises serve as key tent poles for a company to sell their hardware.
For all of their enthusiasm though, when an original game becomes a hit, it can be difficult to re-configure its secret sauce into an equally enjoyable sequel. When too many sequels are released, it can become a detriment to the property’s creative integrity. For proof, look no further than the annually released Call of Duty, which is steadily running out of steam because of its formulaic multiplayer.
But what about the sequels to successful games that have been given enough time, but leave players with a lackluster experience? What about the games that, in their attempt to innovate, end up crushing the mechanics and stories that made their predecessors stand out? While there are a good number of games like this across many platforms, the Xbox has some pretty egregious examples.
15. Fable: The Journey
While Fable III was met with a fair amount of praise, there were issues that accompanied it. In particular, the debilitating economy of becoming the King, which meant getting enough money to save the kingdom from an apocalyptic event. Fortunately, that was one of the few negative spots of the game, but unfortunately for the series, things were about to get very grim. Whatever hope players had of developer Lionhead returning to make a massive fourth RPG in the acclaimed series was dashed with the announcement of Fable: The Journey. This on-rails Kinect-exclusive for the Xbox 360 had players follow new character Gabriel on a journey to save Albion. The mere fact that a free-roaming open world game changed to a motion-controlled mess. Sadly, it was enough for long-time fans to wash their hands of the series altogether.
14. Crackdown 2
The first Crackdown game allowed for total immersion (on a massively destructive scale), while playing as an Agent tasked with taking down three crime lords. It may sound like typical video game fare, but upgrading your powers by collecting orbs, while cleaning up the streets is wholly satisfying in the game’s Pacific City. As a rushed sequel, with too many over-used assets and a tacked-on 4-player co-op mode, Crackdown 2 was a less than memorable experience. To top it all, the plot relied on Pacific City being overrun by mutated freaks, where criminals had been the targets in the original. Introducing the 16-player competitive multiplayer was seen as a major innovation, but did not forgive a number of second-rate ideas. Crackdown 2 couldn’t hold a candle to the vastly superior original.
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