As the decade nears its end, the time has come to look back at the previous ten years' highs and lows. Like a sequel seeking to recapture the magic of its predecessor, the 2010s started life in the shadow of the 2000s before seeking out its own path. Spanning multiple console generations and platforms, this decade saw the birth of fledgling IPs like Splatoon while revered properties such as Metal Gear Solid produced some of their greatest and most unfortunate content.
Going by Metacritic, what were the best and worst video game sequels released during the 2010s? Prior to proceeding any further, some criteria should be specified. Spin-offs are not sequels and will not be featured. This includes Air Conflicts: Vietnam Ultimate Edition and its aggregate Metacritic score of 30.
Also, annual sports games and titles belonging to long-running properties but are not direct sequels to pre-existing games, like Super Mario Odyssey and Alone in the Dark: Illumination, will not be considered.
10 Best: Mass Effect 2 (96)
Released in 2011, Mass Effect 2 feels like a lifetime ago. BioWare's trilogy takes users on an expansive journey across the galaxy, as Commander Shepard steers the Normandy and its crew through a conflict against the Reapers.
Mass Effect arguably offers a superior pure-RPG experience; that said, Mass Effect 2's improved gameplay and more polished presentation translate to a sequel that is better than the original. Even if the franchise's subsequent entries are a touch more polarizing, Mass Effect 2 earned its place on this list.
9 Worst: Kung Fu Panda 2 (31)
A movie tie-in game and a sequel to an already mediocre outing, Kung Fu Panda 2 somehow manages to fail to meet even the lowest of expectations. As an entry-level action game, Kung Fu Panda 2 does the bare minimum expected of the genre.
Even though the combat is not awful, the terrible and flaccid enemy AI eliminates any sense of danger or need to experiment with different moves and combos.
8 Best: Batman: Arkham City (96)
Going from one of the worst action games to one of the best, Arkham City serves as the ideal blueprint showcasing how to put together the ultimate sequel. Rocksteady Studios' 2011 release adds further depth to Asylum's smooth combat system, while also introducing a far bigger playground for Batman to do his thing.
Stellar visuals, incredible voice work, and THAT Mr. Freeze boss fight - Arkham City has everything anyone could want from a superhero game.
7 Worst: Postal III (24)
Despite earning a couple of solid scores, critics who did not like Postal III really did not like it. Released almost a decade after Postal II, 2011's sequel sticks to the same gameplan as its predecessor. Postal Dude returns to spread havoc across the streets of a stereotypical American town, although he is free to choose whether to align with the cops or corrupt officials.
Postal III's greatest blunder was shifting to a third-person camera, a change that only served to highlight the shooter's general technical incompetence. While the series never boasted stellar writing, Postal III feels particularly tired.
6 Best: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (96)
What else need be said about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Bethesda's RPG has been ported to every feasible console; more importantly, customers keep on purchasing the 2011 game whenever it is rereleased.
Regardless of whether someone considers Skyrim to be an improvement or a step back from Morrowind and Oblivion, it is hard to not appreciate Bethesda's ambition and intricate worldbuilding.
5 Worst: FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction (23)
Starting with 2004's FlatOut, this demolition derby racing franchise maintained a consistent degree of quality throughout its first four games. Unfortunately, things quickly veered off track once Team6 Game Studios took over as the main developers.
While 2010's soft-reboot was pretty awful, 2011's FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction marked the true beginning of the end for the once adored franchise. FlatOut 3 is broken on a technical level, with even longtime fans finding very little to enjoy in this sequel.
4 Best: Grand Theft Auto V (97)
When it comes to crafting bigger and (typically) better sequels, Rockstar Games has the resources and expertise to continuously deliver the goods. Along with doing pretty well commercially, Grand Theft Auto V pushed the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to their absolute limits. Los Santos is a dense sandbox filled with cars, weapons, and stories waiting to be discovered; meanwhile, the single-player campaign delivers a thoroughly enjoy 30-hour storyline featuring three playable characters.
That is even before mentioning Grand Theft Auto Online, a multiplayer popular enough to discourage Rockstar from producing any single-player expansions for GTA V.
3 Worst: Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma Volume One (21)
While far from perfect, 2009's Afro Samurai was a respectable attempt to adapt Takashi Okazaki's manga. Unfortunately, its sequel was nothing short of an embarrassment. Nowadays, a week seldom passes without the release of a decent game, so it is easy to ignore the bad. However, Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma is not simply bad. No, it is notoriously awful.
How bad? Well, terrible enough to prompt Afro Samurai 2's publisher (Versus Evil) to release an apology, refund any purchased copies, and pull the game from stores. So, that bad.
2 Best: Red Dead Redemption 2 (97)
As one medium-defining sequel per decade is simply not enough for Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption 2 came out in 2018 to a standing ovation from critics and players alike. Despite what is suggested by the name, the narrative takes place prior to the events of the first game, so Red Dead Redemption 2 is technically a prequel.
The story notwithstanding, 2018's entry is undoubtedly a proper sequel to 2010's outstanding original. Red Dead Redemption 2 revisits many of the core themes present in its predecessor, while also expanding upon the mechanics and worldbuilding. Even if the gunplay could use some sprucing up and Rockstar's dedication to realism occasionally slips into obsession, Red Dead Redemption 2's accomplishments cannot be discredited.
1 Worst: Double Dragon II: Wander of the Dragons (17)
A misguided attempt to remake the arcade beat 'em up classic Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Wander of the Dragons is hideous 3D brawler that would have failed to impress on the original Xbox, let alone as part of the Xbox 360's 2013 roster of titles.
A modern beat 'em up featuring Billy and Jimmy should be a relatively safe bet. In reality, Wander of the Dragons succeeds in doing nothing right, a feat that is actually quite impressive. The ugly graphics are easy to spot, but screenshots cannot do justice to just how awful this beat 'em up feels to play.