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Top 10 Disappointing Video Game Sequels

VO: Dan
We have all been there, holding our breath for a follow-up to our favorite game. While we're sometimes pleasantly surprised, most often we're left disappointed by a lackluster experience that either dropped the ball or simply strayed too far from our hopes and expectations. The result is a tangible and long lasting sense of disappointment. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 disappointing video game sequels.

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Top 10 Disappointing Video Game Sequels

Some times the second time just sucks. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Disappointing video game Sequels.

Just to be clear, our criteria is not that the game was terrible, because many were fun and well made. Rather, that these titles didn’t live up to expectations or framework set by their predecessor, causing a lasting sense of disappointment.

#10- Perfect Dark Zero (2005)

Kicking off our list is the follow-up to Rare’s critically acclaimed N64 futuristic spy shooter centered on a secret agent caught in the middle of warring alien factions. With Nintendo selling Rare to Microsoft, the franchise re-emerged on the Xbox 360s infinitely superior hardware. Unfortunately, what we got was just a pretty follow-up that told a bland origin story totally lacking aliens, as well as any of the spice that made the original so…original?

#9- Resident Evil 5 and 6 (2009)

Capcom’s previous installment was an entry so bold that it removed the classic zombies, all while retaining the scares and proving itself to be, arguably, the best of the series. Leave it to #5 to disappoint for not being remotely scary, retain the control issues while adding new ones, focus too much on action and added a healthy dose of racism to boot. Then #6 came along and gave us more characters, more action, and even less fun.

#8- Dragon Age 2 (2011)

How do you disappoint those who gravitated towards a game for its compelling plot, variety of characters and complex gameplay? Easy, you don’t do any of those things in the sequel! When you market a game as the return to deep, complex RPGs, it’s best to not release a rushed sequel stripped of all the complexity, complete with button mashing. People wanted Dragon Age to be the next Baldur’s Gate, not a bloodier version of Fable.

#7- Duke Nukem Forever (2011)

This should have been the follow-up that kicked ass all while chewing bubble gum. Even with toned down expectations following a decade of development troubles, gamers still expected something to live up to the name. A disjointed mix of old new shooter tropes, it featured simple level design, subpar production values and way too much sexual innuendo. Gamers had matured, the Duke had not…

#6- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords (2004)

Bioware’s original KOTOR from 2003 was an RPG that gamers enjoyed immensely. Cue everyone’s excitement for the sequel. Unfortunately, it came way too quickly after being given to Obsidian for development, arriving unpolished and lacking in strategy or humor. Oddly, the game was less focused on its own characters, and more interested in those from the previous adventure. This, rather ironically, was a feeling that was soon mirrored by those who played it…

#5- Star Fox Adventures (2002)

Once in a while a game comes along that is a special kind of disappointment. This came from Nintendo’s decision to recast Rare’s “Dinosaur Planet” project with Star Fox characters. As a result, the new IP had to settle for being an installment that betrayed everything the franchise stood for- namely its on rails spaceship shooting! Adding insult to injury, the whole thing felt like a weak Zelda clone, with nary a barrel roll in sight. Talk about a bummer…

#4- Diablo 3 (2012)

Although Diablo 3 offered superlative gameplay and an intuitive skill system, it committed several cardinal sins that have had labeled resounding failure in the eyes of many. A buggy launch, an opportunistic real money auction system and abysmal plot were one thing, but it was the disappointing end game content that finally nailed the coffin shut. Gamers expected to be able to play Diablo 3 for another 10 years like they had Diablo 2, but a short campaign and viciously unforgiving inferno mode put those dreams to rest real fast. At least it took some of the heat off Mass Effect 3’s ending…

#3- Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)

While it was a tough call deciding what disappointed more, this or “Super Mario Sunshine”, we have to go with Mario 2 for being developed under the premise that American gamers were too unskilled to handle the real deal, which was already being played in Japan! That’s right! Mario 2 transported westerners out of the Mushroom Kingdom, and into the radically unfamiliar port of Doki Doki panic, now starring Mario.

#2- Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (1987)

The first Legend of Zelda was a big deal. That game changed how we saw and perceived adventure games. A year later, gamers were left scratching their heads when its sequel turned out to be a side-scroller. Hard as hell, it introduced random battle generations, a merciless lives system and game over screen. While many sadistic souls loved it, the rest of us barely count it as a Zelda game.

#1- Deus Ex 2: Invisible War (2003)

Taking the top spot on our list is a game that many consider to be the prime example in the decline of modern games. Deus Ex is still considered to be one of the best PC games of all time; it’s twisting plot, strict RPG style and limitless gameplay options made it a timeless classic. So the removal of all those features for it’s console friendly sequel was total videogame heresy. PC gamers still hold a grudge against consoles to this day because of over simplification of Invisible War, making it the Phantom Menace of the video game world.

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