Be in cinema, gaming, TV, or literature, we live in an age of sequels and franchises whether we like it or not. That means we all tend to build up big expectations for games which have a number in their title.
Of course, nobody wants their favourite game to end but there have been far too many examples in recent history where a sequel has seriously muddied a franchise’s reputation.
Let’s take a look at seven of the worst game sequels of all time.
01. Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
While we’re all probably too young to remember the release of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, if you’ve even seen a screenshot of the game, you’re surely to have been incredibly confused.
Pac-Man 2 was a seriously unconventional sequel to one of (if not the) most iconic game of all time. Ditching the arcade aesthetic and dreams of achieving high-scores, this 1994 game released for the SNES was a side-scrolling action adventure incorporating point-and-click game mechanics. I’ll let you absorb that for a moment.
While the game was released to lukewarm reviews, it’s hard to imagine a sequel as bizarre as this as, after all, this game has absolutely nothing to do with the original besides the fact that you play as the odd yellow ball we know and love.
02. Devil May Cry 2
The beloved Capcom hack and slash shooter series has had its fair share of sequels: now on its seventh game (including the recent mobile version). But none have received as much flak as DMC 2.
While not a bad game, per se, it is simply considered a bland and boring instalment to the franchise, which was especially disappointing seeing that the first was praised so highly for its unique difficulty and bounding creativity. Thankfully, since 2, the team at Capcom has managed to rope the series back in offering many more thrills to date.
03. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
With Breath of the Wild 2 around the corner, Zelda fans are crossing their fingers that this “2” won’t play out like Zelda 2 which was a disappointment to fans, to say the least.
While Zelda 2 holds many of the trappings which made the first game such a success, it made one controversial decision which sunk the game and made many of its key mechanics fall flat on their face. This was, just like with Pac-Man 2 a transition from top-down play to side scrolling.
But that isn’t all. Zelda 2 is also known for its flaccid story and wonky English translation.
All of this led to the game not fulfilling the incredibly large shoes of the first game. Thankfully, as we all know, Nintendo picked themselves up after this failure.
04. Crackdown 3
While the name doesn’t hold much kudos today, back in the early 2010s Crackdown was a landmark franchise for Xbox Game studios. After Crackdown 2 released to mass success, the third of the franchise began development and was set to release in 2016. However, the release was pushed back time and again until it came out in 2019.
Not only did these delays build far more hype (and reinforce repeated disappointment up until release) but the game fell totally flat on release, releasing in an imperfect state.
Worse still, long-term fans of the franchise had little to enjoy in the game with it failing to keep up to date—something undoubtedly resultant of the game’s old-school appeal and its elongated development.
05. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
If you were to do a survey of the best skating game of all time, chances are you’d be hearing of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 a hell of a lot. Of course, this left the sequel with big shoes to fill.
Sadly, it couldn’t even squeeze out a droplet of the greatness of the previous game’s greatness. With even Tony Hawk himself despairing at the sub-par quality of the game.
This was mainly down to the fact that there was limited time left on the agreement between Tony Hawk and Activision for producing a new title, resulting in the development process being rushed after the immense success of Pro Skater 4.
I guess this is another lesson that great games can’t be rushed.
06. Mass Effect: Andromeda
If there’s a modern example of a disappointing sequel, Mass Effect: Andromeda is most certainly it.
The follow up to the longstanding, and much loved, BioWare franchise, Andromeda released in a messy state. The spin-off released hilariously buggy, featuring uncannily lifeless facial animations and paper-thin characters alienating fans both new and old from the get-go.
The worst part about Andromeda’s release is that it isn’t even a bad game! Its improved combat system, customisation options and story all stand up to BioWare’s lofty reputation. However, it’s rocky release teaches us that everything needs to be in place before a release.
07. Duke Nukem Forever
You may have seen this coming from a mile off, even before the game released in 2011. Frankly, there was no way that Duke Nukem Forever couldn’t have been disappointing. A follow up to 3D Realms’ iconic 1996 Duke Nukem 3D this game manufactures all the life out of the iconic 1990s character.
After Forever’s 15 years in production, having been rebuilt from the ground up multiple times it finally released onto the market only to realise that games had moved on from childish jokes, repetitive gameplay and the awe that we are playing in three dimensions.
Simply put, the game was boring and let down longstanding fans of the franchise and 3D realms. No wonder it has gone down in history as perhaps the very worst sequel of all time.
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