Editorial: Sequels that Better Not Drop the Ball

Ah, sequels. You gotta love ’em. I’ve written about bad sequels before, and now I’m going to do the opposite in a way, and talk about five upcoming sequels that I’m hoping won’t suck.

BioShock 2
Yeah, yeah… I know this game likely won’t see release this year (although a calendar 2010 release has not been confirmed). But still, it’s coming out, it’s BioShock, and it’s important. I’ve actually spoken in depth about the prospects of a BioShock sequel. To sum it up, I have high hopes, but I acknowledge the fact that they could very likely be shot down. Aaaand my thoughts really haven’t changed since then. Seeing the multiplayer mode in action really did nothing to convince me that it wasn’t a cheap gimmicky add-on that has no place in the BioShock universe. The number of development studios at work on the game is rather shocking, and a little unsettling, with a fourth having been added to the mix recently. But in spite of all this I’m hoping for the best with BioShock 2. And I EXPECT the best.

Assassin’s Creed 2

Badass.
Badass.

The original Assassin’s Creed was by far my favorite game of 2007. I know not everyone had the euphoric experience I did, and there are quite a few gamers out there who loathed the game. I can certainly understand some of their issues, but nonetheless, I had a blast with the game from beginning to end. The beautiful, intricately detailed world drew me in immediately, the plot kept me glued to the screen, and while the gameplay could become repetitive, the fantastic mechanics were enough to win me over.

Frankly, I’m far more confident in Assassin’s Creed 2 than BioShock 2. First of all, the ending to Assassin’s Creed is hardly conclusive, all but informing players that the story was far from over. Also, as well-designed as it was, there were more than a few issues with Assassin’s Creed that a sequel is just dying to fix. And, if the details we’ve received are any indication, it seems they WILL be fixed – which, ideally, will result in an even greater experience than before. I’m excited.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Yes, the official title includes the Call of Duty prefix. They (finally) made up their minds with that one.

I’ll be up front and admit that my experience with Call of Duty is rather limited. I’ve done a few hours of Modern Warfare‘s campaign, and spent a decent amount of time in deathmatch modes in both Modern Warfare and World at War. I’ve seen more of it than I’ve played, but in my opinion, they feature some of the most intense, realistic campaign modes ever seen, as well as possibly the best multiplayer gameplay of this generation. Now, I don’t think Modern Warfare 2 will blow anyone away, to be honest; for the simple reason that most of it has been seen before. But nonetheless, it’s sure to be a solid addition to the franchise, and a must-buy for any fan of the series.

Mass Effect 2
I still haven’t finished the original Mass Effect. I should probably get around to that sometime, because I do have hopes that Mass Effect 2 will make some improvements. Sure, there are a few mechanics that could be tweaked. And a new menu system would be… ah… nice to have. But most of all I hope they maintain a sharper focus on the main plot this time around; as I’ve stated before, the pacing of the original game was its biggest flaw in my eyes. I have to say, though, I’m really digging the darker look of the sequel, as well as some of the additions to the (already awesome) dialogue tree. I’m really questioning BioWare’s judgment in revealing so many aspects of the plot to the general public, but they have indeed succeeded in making me want Mass Effect 2 in spite of my issues with the first.

Looks pretty legit.
Looks pretty legit.

Valkyria Chronicles 2
This one might catch a few of you by surprise. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Valkyria Chronicles 2: The Gallia Royal Military Academy is coming, and it’s a PSP game. Other than that… well, not much is known. It’s due out “this winter” in Japan, which means we likely won’t see it in the states this year, if ever. A bit of a shame that it’s on the PSP, but I’m just happy the franchise is being kept alive in one form or another. Let’s hope for some more details soon. And a North American release.

13 comments

  1. I really like that, unlike movies, video game sequels aren’t automatically crap. Specifically, there’s 2 on your list I’m really hoping are better than the originals:

    Assassin’s Creed 2 – I never played the first one, mostly because of all the mixed reviews it got. From what I’ve heard about AC2, though, they’ve taken that criticism into account, and I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing how it turns out (if there’s enough positive buzz, I may even go out and pick up the original and get through it before playing 2)

    Mass Effect 2 – I’ve often said that Mass Effect 1 was the most technically horrible game I’ve ever enjoyed that much. The story and dialogue trees were incredibly engaging, but most of the other aspects of the game kind of fell flat (ESPECIALLY the menu system). I’m hoping for the sequel that they’ll make the side quests actually have some impact on the main story and be a bit more varied, since I think that would really improve the immersion into the game world. To be honest, though, as long as they keep the same quality with the story and dialogue trees, I’ll be picking it up on day one regardless.

  2. I really hope Valkyria Chronicles 2 turns out well. I thoroughly enjoyed the first and have high hopes that the second will be released here.

  3. The original Bioshock is my second favourite FPS game. Every new detail I hear about Bioshock 2 makes me want it less.

    The original Assasins Creed had a fantastic open world marred by horribly repetitive tasks, which failed to maintain my interest throughout. I have high hopes that the sequel will correct this, and that it may in fact turn out to be the best game on your list.

    CoD- Meh

    I can’t believe the Mass Effect spoilers Bioware are inundating us with, to the extent that they’ve divulged one of the endings and also what happans to the Normandy, all but ensuring these scenes won’t have an emotional impact given we know they’re coming. Nice one retards.

    I don’t know why everyone’s so down on Valkyria 2 being a PSP title, my PSP wants more games to play.

  4. Especially me, Lusipurr.

    And that brings us back to the topic, seeing how World War 2 is a sequel to World War 1.

    Anyways:
    They should have made Valkyria Chronicles 2 a PS3 game, and a Valkyria Chronicles Gaiden for the PSP.

    Essentially its the same,
    I just dont like the way they handle their series, having it jump between platforms, control schemes, and graphical presentation.

    It was great on the PS3 – why not continue it there ?
    They can still make a Valkyria Chronicles PSP game,
    just dont make it the official sequel.

    What will be next ? Final Fantasy XV for the DS ?
    Lost Odyssey 2 for cellphones ?

    Team Fortress 3 could be a boardgame !

  5. @EmpororZorn: I think they could keep the core gameplay mechanics in tact for a PSP title (for example, have the D-pad handle movement and the analogue nub do camera adjustment). It’s not exactly like VC was a game that required a lot of twitch reactions or anything like that). VC’s graphics also didn’t seem that processor intensive (pretty, yes, but you can do pretty on the cheap with the right techniques), it was a cell shaded game with a static, mostly transparent image over everything most of the time. They could probably keep the same graphical style if they didn’t render as much per scene, like if they made the battlefields smaller or cut down on the number of characters on the field. Not saying that’s what they’re going to do, but it’s always a possibility, you know?

    That being said, I do agree that it’s a bit unorthodox for a series to switch platforms, but it’s not unheard. As long as they still make a game of the game quality, I imagine it’ll be fine.

    Oh, and somebody made a TF2 pen-and-paper RPG, so that could be your TF3 board game:

    http://tf2rpg.blogspot.com/

  6. @DarkGibblet:

    It should be like Monopoly,
    but every figure would be able to pick up flags
    and to receive points when crossing the base field with them.

    Oh, and there should be event cards such as:
    “Headshot !
    The player drops all flags that are carried and
    has to move back to the respawn point.”

  7. Well, whilst I am a little disappointed that VC will be released on the PSP and not on the PS3, I’m just happy there will be a sequel at all.

    In an ideal world, sure, VC Gaiden would be on PSP and VC2 would be on the PS3, thus saving us from the inconvenience of platform jumping; but this is not an ideal world, so I’ll take what I can get. :)

  8. @Darth – This is a rare time that Bioware gets to work on a direct sequel, and unlike last time (when the sidequests were thrown in last minute, hence the game’s delay), the developer promises to make them more meaningful.
    Of course, we’ve all heard such promises fall flat, but I think it looks promising. Early previews are also optimistic about the game running better.

  9. @EmpororZorn: Yeah, that could work. You could have each player have a different power, too, like the sniper can turn any event card into a headshot, or the spy can sacrifice 3 turns to steal a flag from an opponent or something like that

    @Ethos: Yeah, ME’s always been one of those games that seems to have a lot of that’ll-be-in-the-sequel-itis. I really hope they can refine it and give it the polish the story and characters deserve.

  10. I just hope it’s longer … The first ME seemed so cut back in contrast to previous Bioware games.

  11. @SN – You and I have talked about this before, I really enjoyed the length of Mass Effect. One of the few games I can say is the perfect length. Tells a good story, and never feels like it’s dragging. It builds drama and suspense without throwing in frills just to keep it going.
    If ME2 is the same length, I’ll be more than happy.

  12. ME’s story felt like it was saving all the big revelations for the sequel, that irked me somewhat, though it also makes sense to hold off with the details. At anyrate ME2 will be enjoyable (even if they don’t fix the menu), but the Bioware game I am anticipating most eagerly is Dragon Age Origins, which looks awesome.

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