There’s a big line between a bad sequel and a disappointing one. For example, I was incredibly hyped for Fallout 4 after Fallout 3 and New Vegas were so much fun. They were also my first experiences for the franchise so that's a factor too. Fallout 4, however, was a letdown, but I don't think it's a bad game. It just felt like more of the same. For someone that didn't play any of the others I bet it felt amazing. Again, I liked it. Then we have something on the bad side of sequels like Resident Evil 6, which I don't think needs much explaining. I'll actually get into down below though so don't you worry.
Anyway do you get where I’m coming from with those two examples? Well sometimes the two go hand and hand with each other and a sequel can be both disappointing and bad at the same time. Mirror's Edge Catalyst is a perfect example. The first game was a cult hit. It wasn't perfect, but it had a promising premise and fans wanted that core idea to be explored in a sequel. That was 2008. A sequel would not get teased until 2013, which would not even release until 2016. From tease to release it remained unclear on where the game took place until it was finally revealed to be a reboot. Um, sorry, what EA? You can't reboot a game after one entry. That's ludicrous! I could go on, but I think you get the idea. As for the forgotten entries, well, those are good games that got overshadowed. Why? Let's find out together!
25 Disappointing: Dead Space 3
This past October marked the 10th anniversary for the Dead Space series. I know. I couldn't believe it's been ten years either. I put together a little series retrospective and found both the first and second game hold up. Number three, eh, not so much. It wasn't good when it launched either. The formula by that point felt tired. It was a tremendous let down from a series that started off so promising to be a rising star that would put Resident Evil to bed.
24 Forgotten: The Legend Of Zelda A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was my personal game of the year for 2013. How could it not be? It was a sequel to my favorite entry in the series: A Link to the Past. Now yes, true, it does mostly revisit old locations albeit with different twists. It's familiar and plays on fan nostalgia, but I was okay with that. I think a lot of portable Zelda games often get overlooked. I'm calling for a Switch port, stat!
23 Disappointing: Mario and Luigi Paper Jam
There are three distinct Mario RPG series. First, there was the collaboration with Squaresoft that kicked everything off: Legend of the Seven Stars. Unfortunately, Squaresoft left Nintendo's good graces for Sony during the PS1 era. Because of this, they couldn't make a direct sequel. Instead, Nintendo started their own RPG series: Paper Mario.
Then eventually the Mario and Luigi RPGs were born. This 3DS game sought to combine the latter two franchises, but sadly it’s an incredibly poor representation for both RPG gems.
22 Forgotten: Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon
The first Luigi's Mansion, on its own, is an often-mocked GameCube game. It was not appreciated because it was different. It was technically a launch Mario game, but it's not what hardcore Mario nuts wanted. Lucky fans of this were rewarded with a sequel eventually for the 3DS, Dark Moon, which is also awesome. It's just that not a lot of people know that. I bet that last Nintendo Direct was confusing for some when they saw Luigi's Mansion 3 pop up. Like, wait, what happened to number two? Was there a number two?
21 Disappointing: Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII is not my favorite in the series by far. It has a lot of problems, but I still thought it was good. The weird time bending sequel was actually better so because of that I high hopes for the finale, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. It also uses time, but not in a fun way. Every quest you carry out ticks away at your allotted time. I hate games that constrain players and breathe down their necks like that.
20 Forgotten: Everybody’s Golf
I know, I'm not a big sports guy either, but hang with me for a second here. Everybody’s Golf is actually a new Hot Shots Golf game, which is a series that started on the original PlayStation. It's more of an arcade style of play similar to NBA Jam's approach to basketball.
It's also a weird MMO of sorts. You can go online and monkey with other people while they play golf on these big courses. It's weird, cute, and as the name suggests, is for everyone.
19 Disappointing: God of War Ascension
This year's God of War is the best in the series. The game before it, Ascension, is the worst in the series. Why is it so bad? It is the third prequel in a set of, at this time, six games! It doesn't make any sense. How many times can Kratos go through an origin story before enough is enough? Admittedly the multiplayer was a neat idea, but it didn't need to be attached to a $60 game. Selling it for $15-20 on PSN would have been dope.
18 Forgotten: Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
Did you know Hideo Kojima considers Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker the fifth main game in the series? At the time that is. He didn't have a big hand on the other PSP games, but for some reason, he wanted to change all that for Peace Walker. Now how can I sell this thing for you? Oh, I know! It's like Pokémon, but instead of cute critters, you're collecting soldiers to build a mercenary paradise. It was a perfect portable, but the HD release on PS3 did have better controls admittedly.
17 Disappointing: Uncharted Golden Abyss
The PS Vita had an intensely strong lineup at launch. Sony failed to market their first handheld, the PSP, in the West so that's why they pushed so hard with the Vita at launch. One of these games was Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which was promised to be a full-fledged game in the series.
Phew, boy was it not. This thing had filler written all over it. The worst part about playing it was the unnecessary touch mechanics like rubbing a map to make it clearer.
16 Disappointing: LittleBigPlanet 3
LittleBigPlanet was another series that celebrated its tenth anniversary this past October. And yes, I made a video retrospective for that too. Self-promotion aside, LittleBigPlanet 3 was a letdown not in terms of content. The levels, costume packs, tools, and whatnot were just as good as they had ever been. The thing that made it lame was the polish. That is to say, it was buggier than a Bethesda game at launch. I'm not even being hyperbolic. It was a nightmare.
15 Forgotten: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Melee this and Super Smash Bros. Melee that. Geez, can these fan boys ever move on? I get that it was a good GameCube game, but every sequel is never seen as good as Melee by the hardcore community. The best part about Brawl was the story campaign, which Nintendo hasn't replicated since. What gives? Because this is an iterative series, it's all about what's next. The same goes for other fighters like Street Fighter. It's sad, but true.
14 Disappointing: Mega Man X7
I'm more of a Mega Man X kind of guy when it comes to the overall franchise. They feel more balanced with difficulty and exploration. The first four games are all excellent, but once it got to X5, things started to dip. That and X6 weren't terrible, but they weren't great either. The series' first step onto the PS2 is where things really turned awful.
Mega Man X7 introduced a new playable character, Axl, 3D gameplay, and tons of voice acting. Guess what? All of those new editions blew chunks of hot corroded metal.
13 Disappointing: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider was a series I never got into originally. I found the controls to be ungodly frustrating. That all changed with the 2013 reboot. It was like waking up from a nightmare. The sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, wasn't as fresh, but it was still a fun adventure. The newest edition, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, felt like unpolished filler arc you'd find in an anime like Naruto. The new team was clearly in over their heads when they took this project on.
12 Forgotten: Metroid Fusion
Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion released on the same day. For those curious, that was November 18, 2002, in North America. Everyone remembers and drools over Metroid Prime, but not enough love gets thrown over to its Game Boy Advance counterpart. I have a good theory on why and it's not because of the game's quality. At this period fans were hungry for 3D games. 2D, or cartoon stuff, was for babies. That's why The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker also got ridiculed.
11 Disappointing: Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire
Pokémon Red/Blue were a phenomenon to be sure. The two sequels, Pokémon Gold/Silver, were even better. They not only built upon and improved the mechanics of the originals, but they also called back to the previous adventure. You got to fight yourself at the end. How cool was that?
Needless to say, I had high hopes for Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire. These hopes were unfortunately not met. It was a back step by all accounts. I actually don't think the series recovered until Pokémon Black/White.
10 Disappointing: Sonic Lost World
Let's be honest here. Every Sonic game since Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast has been disappointing. At the very least you can say there have been more bad games than good so grabbing one in a sea of dozens to write about is not hard. However, I decided on Sonic Lost World because it was one I was actually excited for. It looked like a cool riff on Super Mario Galaxy with the spherical worlds. Unfortunately said worlds were barely in it. What you got instead was the same lackluster gameplay as the games before it.
9 Forgotten: Fire Emblem Echoes Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem began way back in 1990 for the Famicom in Japan. The West would not receive a game in this series until the seventh on GBA. From that time forward releases were staggered in both countries. That is until Fire Emblem Awakening was a mega-hit in 2013. Since then they've been releasing like crazy. Why was Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia rejected? Well, the Switch was selling like hotcakes by May in 2017 when this came out so the thought of going back to the 3DS might have seemed silly. That's my theory at least.
8 Disappointing: Resident Evil 6
It's been said many times before that Resident Evil 4 is the best in the series. It breathed new life into a franchise that was kind of getting stale. The next game, Resident Evil 5, wasn't as groundbreaking even with the newly added co-op option, but it was still great.
Resident Evil 6 though, ouch, it's very bad. Capcom tried to do too much with just one game. It doesn't have an identity. It's just a mishmash of half-cocked ideas.
7 Disappointing: Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
The Crash Bandicoot series had a good run when its creators, Naughty Dog, were behind the wheel. After Crash Team Racing they left the bizarre marsupial behind to begin anew on PS2. That said I didn't really know that when I picked up Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the game right after this, but it became all too apparent the more I played. The main problem I had was the load times. I'm not kidding; they were at least a minute every time. It made playing it a draining experience.
6 Forgotten: Valkyria Chronicles II
The PS1 and PS2 are both amazing consoles, especially for RPG fans. At the time that was my preferred genre. When it came to the PS3 though, well, things were slow. In 2008 the spell was broken when the first Valkyria Chronicles launched. It was beautiful and put a unique twist on strategy RPGs. The sequel was a PSP exclusive, a system that didn't really sell well outside of Japan. The obscure console and the fact that it starred a group of school kids might have thrown people for a loop, but it's still an excellent entry in the franchise.
5 Disappointing: Ratchet And Clank All Four One
Ratchet and Clank was a series you could set your watch to. It started in 2002 and very seldom missed a year. You'd think after three it'd be boring, right? Well, Insomniac knew what they were doing. Even the third-party companies that stepped in from time to time made excellent additions to the franchise.
All except for Ratchet and Clank: All Four One. It had a promising premise of four-player co-op, which worked and is technically a good game. Like LittleBigPlanet 3 though, it was really buggy.
4 Disappointing: Disgaea 2
Another game that put a cool twist on the strategy RPG genre before Valkyria Chronicles was Disgaea. It was turned based on a grid-like Final Fantasy Tactics, but with the whacky factor turned up to eleven. It was also jam-packed with literally hundreds of hours of solid gameplay. How was the sequel? Okay, but well, you know, kind of soggy. The gameplay was sound, but the story and characters were frankly more one note. I don't think it got great again until Disgaea 4.
3 Forgotten: Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
Similar to God of War, the Kingdom Hearts series has a problem with sequels. That is to say, there are too many spinoffs and prequels compared to the actual numbered games. Kingdom Hearts II launched in 2006 for North America on PS2. Kingdom Hearts III will be out on PS4 and Xbox One in 2019. Yeah, that's a big gap. It's not that these spinoffs like Dream Drop Distance were bad. The weird names and the lack of a true console sequel just made casual fans ignore them. This and Birth by Sleep were excellent though.
2 Disappointing: Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts
I didn't play Banjo-Kazooie, or its sequel, in their heyday. Well, I dabbled at friend's houses but that hardly counts. Point is I didn't start until after Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor from Kickstarter, came out in 2017. Let's just say I wasn't a fan, but it got me curious about Banjo-Kazooie.
Did that not hold up? Turns out the first two did. The third, Nuts & Bolts, did not. I guess it was never good based on reaction at the reaction at launch. It just felt so barren.
1 Forgotten: Onimusha Dawn Of Dreams
2018 has been a pretty big year for anniversaries. I have yet another series to plug, Onimusha, which turned fifteen in March. Every main entry is without question an amazing experience. So why was the last game, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, ignored. The year was 2006. The Xbox 360 had just created the HD market a few months prior and the Wii and PS3 were imminent. So why would anyone want to hang around for a PS2 game? That's my best guess.