Look. Writing this article terrified me. I’m going to cut some of gaming's most beloved franchises and I know, I KNOW, I’m going to get a lot of backlash for this, but I’m coming from a realistic perspective. Some of these games have just gone on far too long and while they still may produce quality titles, their lineage is dwindling in one way or another. Isn’t it best to end on a high note? That’s where I’m coming from with my number one pick and uh, yeah, there’s no denying my love for that game since I’ve gushed about it in several other lists already. More so than anything, I'd like to see more innovation in the industry.
The reason why we get so many video game sequels is sales. It’s proven that sequels make more money than new intellectual properties (IPs). That’s not to say new games sell terribly, but by comparison, it’s like night and day. Call of Duty’s sales has dwindled, but they still far outrank most video games released in a single year. Video games are a complicated business, so let’s not get into that now. My point is this list isn’t trying to be sensational for clicks. I just want these series to end so that we can finally move forward. Most of them are near and dear to me, while others aren't so much. I won't lie about that, but at the same time, I'm not trying to be vindictive. Anyway, enough gibber gabber. Bring out those knives Internet, because it’s about to get ugly.
Let's begin with the most obvious offender. Sonic, to me, has not been good since the SEGA Genesis. His first 3D games were okay, but he's progressed into a running joke, especially during the last generation when the 2006 game, Sonic the Hedgehog, released on the Xbox 360 and PS3. While it may be argued that games prior to this were good or bad, I think it's irrefutable that he’s been terrible since this game. Every time a new game is announced, the fans gets excited and then disappointed, over and over again. It’s heart breaking frankly and while Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces do look decent, in my heart of hearts I know they won’t be any good. I’d love to be wrong though.
Just to prove I'm not a SEGA hater, let's get rid of Mario while we're at it. If half the Internet hates me for my Sonic comments, the other half will abandon me for this. Mario has definitely had a better track record than Sonic, but ever since New Super Mario Bros. Wii. the mainline franchise has become stale. Okay, I thought to myself well I’d just get the imaginative Mario stuff from the RPG spinoffs. That worked for a time, but both the Mario and Luigi and Paper Mario series have become just as weak as those main games. They lack imagination and have instead relied on gimmicks for years now. I could complain about Mario’s lack of evolution all day long, but, to summarize, Super Mario Odyssey should be Mario’s grand finale. No more spinoffs or cameos. Just end it Nintendo and make something new. like Splatoon.
I loved both LEGO Star Wars games when they came out. They were magical little gems mixing my childhood wonder of LEGO toys and, well, Star Wars. Part of the charm came from the lack of dialogue, replaced with crazy slapstick humor, plus the simplicity of the gameplay was great for all ages. It was fun, pure and simple. Then it kind of got out of control when the gameplay became more complex and filled with puzzles that are both easy, yet hard at the same time, which is a weird choice for a children’s game. As the series went on, it got worse from there, to the point where we now have awful audio clips added into the games, with the worst coming in LEGO Jurassic World. Go online and listen to some of those clips. Awful! It's become more of a quick cash grab at this point and I think it’s finally time to end their run.
Telltale revitalized the adventure game genre and evolved it to a point. If it wasn’t obvious from my rant concerning the LEGO games, I’m just not a fan of puzzle games or puzzle elements that seemingly don’t belong. There’s really nothing obscure about any situation when it comes to any of the Telltale games though and instead they’re more about choices with well crafted narratives, but eventually like LEGO, Telltale took on too many properties and became bloated what with Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Minecraft, and so on. I don’t want the studio to close down, rather I want them to make their own game and evolve their mechanics further instead of relying on episodic content and other properties all the time. Take a chance Telltale.
All right, so this one is a little weird. This is one of my top three favorite franchises of all time, right next to Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. I thought with Hideo Kojima leaving Konami after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the series would be done. Even though I would have loved for him to continue, The Phantom Pain was a good send off. Since Konami’s debacle over this game and Silent Hills, and seemingly being non-enthusiastic when it came to developing video games any more, I thought it was done. Then, almost as a giant f-u to Kojima and maybe even fans, they announced a Pachinko machine which was remaking Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’s cut-scenes with The Phantom Pain’s engine. Plus they also announced a co-op zombie shooter thing, Metal Gear Survive. This feels perverted and I want Konami to just let it go.
The original idea of straddling the line between the past and the present with Desmond is what sold me on Assassin's Creed. Unfortunately the popularity of Assassin’s Creed II prompted Ubisoft to make it a yearly franchise, which stretched their original idea with Desmond. That and the whole 2012 is the end of days predication. Eventually that ended on a flat note and it became more about exploring new worlds in the past, which is still cool, but every new entry has felt rushed and uninspired. The last game, Syndicate, renewed my faith in Ubisoft somewhat, but I already know that the new game due out this year is going to be more of the same. It Could be good, but I kind of just don't care any more. I want them to focus on The Division now, but you know, better.
The same could be said of my feelings toward Call of Duty. I got into the series with Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, which hit me in college. I'm not ashamed to say I have missed some classes due to late night sessions with friends. That was the peak of my online activity. I've gotten out of multiplayer now, but still keep up with the franchise to see what's going on and since Ghosts, my interest has dramatically dropped. Last year, they went to space, a huge departure for the games, and I couldn't have been more bored. It's the Madden of first-person shooters in my mind and has a dedicated audience of people not necessarily into video games except this. Taking Call of Duty away may devastate that player base, but I want to see a shooter not called Call of Duty from the three teams and not, as it was just leaked, another WWII reboot.
I was satisfied with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End being the finale to the series, except I was also good with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception being the end too. It was a game I didn’t know I wanted, loved it, but now I’m afraid this will open up the door to further continue the series, even though the end is pretty clear cut. They've already announced a spinoff, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and again, it looks good, but I’m done with the franchise. There are plenty of stories to tell in that universe, but Uncharted 4 was also kind of becoming predictable. I don’t want to feel the same way about Uncharted as I do Assassin’s Creed. Just please let it end after this spinoff so Naughty Dog can create something new, well, after The Last of Us 2 that is.
Perhaps my weariness from Uncharted comes from doubling up on Tomb Raider as well. Both the 2013 reboot and Rise of the Tomb Raider are great games, but everything I said above proves true here too, except times ten. Lara Croft began her adventures on the PS1 in 1996. It’s been twenty years! I never liked the original run up until the reboot, but still this character has been through a lot. I say that knowing full well she’s one of the strongest female characters out there and eliminating her would be devastating in a way, but come on. Uncharted proved there are other avenues to explore in the whole Indian Jones type of adventure game. Pack up Lara and start something new. The girl deserves some rest.
Another game that is kind of confusing to talk about is Metroid. Since Metroid: Other M launched in 2010, and sucked, fans have been hammering Nintendo for a sequel of some sort. Finally they got their wish, but it was also almost like a screw you to fans. That was last year’s Metroid Prime: Federation Force for the 3DS. I’m fine with spinoffs and part of the game isn’t bad. I’d say that first level is enjoyable and then it goes downhill from there. Gripes on that game aside, it’s clear they really don’t want to make a proper Metroid game, which is fine to me. There are so many better Metroidvania experiences out there in the absence of this franchise that it’s okay, like Axiom Verge, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Guacamelee, and the list goes on. So let’s just leave Nintendo alone and let Samus have her rest too. Two bad games in a row is enough proof for me.
Fox McCloud is like Nintendo’s Sonic, except as far as I know there is less nauseating fan art of him out there. I’m not going to Google it to find out either, even though I’m really curious now. Anyway, this series' best game was Star Fox 64 back in 1997 and it’s been middling to bad since then. I was actually looking forward to Star Fox Zero last year because it looked like it was going back to the more classic formula, which to a degree it was, since it was basically a reboot of Star Fox 64. However, their reliance on the motion controls with the Wii U controller made it really frustrating to play. Let’s just stop asking for more of these games, as it’s also clear their heart just isn’t into this furry little fox any more.
This is another franchise I used to love, but have grown tired of. I didn’t think it was possible to reinvigorate my love of the series until I played Resident Evil 7. However, why is this called Resident Evil 7 when it barely has any connections to the previous games, in both story and mechanics? It should have been a new series, which would have been awesome. Throw away all that lore garbage and just reboot the franchise by creating a spiritual successor. Like I said in the beginning, the reason they used the RE name is because names sell more, especially when numbering them. I get it, but I would have preferred it to be called something like Bayou Hazard. Next time Capcom. Next time.
As I already mentioned with Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy is top tier for me. I love most of the main games and a lot of the spinoffs as well. With Final Fantasy XV now out, I’m not sure I can go through the turmoil again of constantly waiting for the next big iteration while we drown in a sea of spinoffs. It’s gotten to the point where a new game will either be released or announced every week it seems. That’s obviously hyperbolic, but my point is this series used to mean something. When a game came out bearing the Final Fantasy name, it was a big deal. I think Final Fantasy XIII’s quality and Final Fantasy XV’s constant delay weakened the fandom, turning the franchise into a bit of a joke. The best thing for them to do now is regroup and plan something on a smaller scale to build back a community, similar to I Am Setsuna and Bravely Default. You can do it Square Enix!
Okay, the Nintendo break is over, so let’s crush some more hearts. Kirby has been almost a yearly franchise. In its twenty years of existence, this April, the pink puffball will have starred in 25 games. Of those twenty years, only six have him taking a break, as he did in 1998, 1999, 2007, 2009, and 2013. Enough with the Kirby games already! He’s cute, he's adorable and I love the simplistic gameplay, but it’s more stagnant than that plumber who's also relying on a bunch of gimmicks. It’s not that these games aren’t fun. I liked last year’s Kirby: Planet Robobot, but it also lacked a sense of magic. How has Kirby survived for so long when other series in Nintendo’s belt have been neglected? It’s a little insane to me.
If there was ever a game that needed to stop, it’s Pokémon. These games are solid mechanically, but they’re running on fumes at this point, especially when it comes to monster creation. There’s just too many, a lot of which are legendaries and special event types, so the idea of catching them all is almost impossible unless you started from Generation I. This has also almost become a yearly franchise like Kirby and yet there still hasn’t been a proper console game. The Nintendo Switch is the perfect time for that, except my interests have depleted by now. We’ve gotten to a point where inanimate objects like swords, key chains, and literal piles of garbage are monsters. Plus, last year they just rehashed old ones, but made them different due to climate change. Giving Exeggutor a long neck sure was innovative.
I really did not want another Mass Effect game after the third one. Even though the end was controversial, it was a wonderful journey with an amazing crew as Commander Shepard (FemShep all the way). I wanted to see what Bioware would tackle next, which was Dragon Age Inquisition, which became the best Dragon Age game in my opinion, but I wanted to actually see a new property. When Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced with the premise of going to a new galaxy, I was sold. However, the closer we got to launch, something didn’t feel right and I’m horrified by the results. It’s not awful, but it's failed to capture me due to a rehash of content, mixed with poorly implemented mechanics. Nope. You had your chance to recapture that brilliance, but you blew it. I don’t want to see this forced into another trilogy.
My word, how has Monster Hunter continued on this long? I just don’t get the fascination. I tried it on the PS2 at launch, the PSP, the Wii, Wii U, 3DS, and I just don’t understand. I’ve put in the time, trust me, and even went so far as to look up guides, but the game has never clicked. They look ugly, while their mechanics are clunky and overly complicated. I thought my time with Dark Souls would have prepared me for it, but it still hasn't worked. Resident Evil and Monster Hunter are Capcom’s two biggest cash cows and I want to end both of them. Cruel? Maybe so, but it’ll force them into a corner, which is how great ideas are formed. Not always, but here’s hoping in my fantasy universe where I actually have this power.
Oh hell, let’s kill another Capcom franchise while we’re at. The internet has likely forsaken me by this point anyway. I've also never figured out why Dead Rising is so popular, especially when a large community bashes the Dynasty Warriors series. People, it’s the same thing, but with zombies and poorly designed quests revolving around time dilemmas, which I know was fixed in Dead Rising 4. There’s fun to be had in Dead Rising by mindlessly killing zombies with crazy weapons, but it’s needlessly complicated too. Capcom does not need two zombie series at this point. Maybe Microsoft is the one at fault here, as they’re clinging to every gun they have in order to trounce the PS4. Whoever is making the decisions over there needs to fix their priorities.
Rockstar is another developer I’d like to see venture out into something new, or at least go back and make some sequels to their one hit wonders. Thankfully we’re finally getting Red Dead Redemption 2 and I’m convinced it’s going to be amazing, but I also know this isn’t their last shot at Grand Theft Auto, but for the life of me, I don’t know where they could go next. Grand Theft Auto III, San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto IV all have special places in my heart, hitting at the right times in both high school and college. My nostalgia for the series had me hyped for Grand Theft Auto V, but the magic had left me when I played it. I think it’s because I’ve seen better open worlds by this point, past the goofy formula in the GTA games. Call it maturing, or something like that at least.
As I alluded to in the introduction, I think The Legend of Zelda series should end as well. It’s not due to fatigue, but maybe actually it is. Except for The Wind Waker, I haven’t liked a single 3D Zelda since Ocarina of Time on the N64. I tried to play it on every version including the N64, GameCube, and 3DS, but I just don’t get it. The only reason I like The Wind Waker is because of the cel-shading and the setting making it actually feel different. So for a long time Zelda disinterested me, but Breath of the Wild is exactly what I wanted, or to be more precise, it was a game I didn’t know I wanted. I can’t imagine the series going forward with games that are always like this or going back to the old system of items and dungeons, as seen in Ocarina of Time. For the series’ 30th anniversary I think it’s fitting to end on a high note, just like this feature.