Mass Effect Andromeda's main cast
Image by BioWare

Let’s talk about some of gaming’s most disappointing sequels

You’ll have a hard time finding a movie sequel that doesn’t pale in comparison to the original. Sometimes, it’s just hard to come up with a story that beats the one we all already love. Games don’t have that problem as making a better game usually requires the developers to just read player feedback and improve upon the original’s gameplay shortcomings. That’s, however, not the case in every single video game sequel. There’s a surprisingly high number of once-promising sequels that fumble hilariously in places where the original triumphed.

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Looking at a flying obelisk
Image by BioWare

Mass Effect Andromeda

The Hype: Though Mass Effect 3 rocks on a technical level, it proved a step down from Mass Effect 2 in terms of writing and overall story. Yes, the awful ending was but a culmination of many other problems sowed by the third game. But that was a trilogy closer. No way that a fresh new start would bring back some of the old problems and even add more problems, right?

The Trainwreck: How bad is Mass Effect Andromeda? Well, you could easily come up with a credible fan theory explaining that it takes place entirely in Shepard’s final panic-induced nightmare as he slowly passes away from lack of oxygen while adrift in space at the beginning of Mass Effect 2.

I think Andromeda deserves our collective admiration because it doesn’t feel like a failed product. It feels like a product whose goal was to fail and succeed on all fronts. Everybody hated it upon release as glitches made it go from very weird to look at to straight-up unplayable. Ironically, I believe it got even worse when BioWare finally patched it into a playable state. Why? Because it turns out that hiding underneath all of the unforgettable animation glitches was a formulaic and unmemorable game that’s way below BioWare’s standards. Bring Andromeda Classic back!

DMC2 Diesel collab
Image by Capcom

Devil May Cry 2

The Hype: The first trailer for DMC2 looked dope. Everything that made the first one great was seemingly there and on a much grander scope. Also, you got to run on walls. No way this one could fail.

The Trainwreck: Devil May Cry 2 feels like a sequel made by people who’d only heard vague details about the original. The varied enemy types, exquisite levels, and even the ever-quipping Dante were gone. Instead, we got seemingly endless hallways, a mostly mute protagonist, and enemies that don’t even seem to know if they want to kill you.

DMC2 is the result of a massively rushed production hellbent on trying to make bank on the success of its predecessor, and nothing could make that more evident than the game’s hilarious Diesel tie-in costumes.

Angel of Darkness promo art
Image by Square Enix

Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness

The Hype: I know that saying Tomb Raider on the PS2 probably won’t do much for most readers nowadays, but that was all you needed to hear back in the day. The original Tomb Raider changed the world of gaming overnight when it came out for the original PlayStation back in ’96. Its sequels, though great, never succeeded in bringing matching innovation to the table. A Tomb Raider sequel coming to a console of unprecedented power could likely provide the developers at Core Design with all the leeway they needed to revolutionize gaming all over again. We thought.

The Trainwreck: Shigeru Miyamoto famously said that a delayed game is eventually good, and a rushed one is forever bad. Well, I’d love to hear his thoughts on The Angel Of Darkness, a game that was both delayed and rushed. Despite featuring the longest development period in the history of the series, bad decisions such as a new — and broken — control system and dumb RPG-like elements combined with the hardships of adapting to the PS2 hardware resulted in a nigh-unplayable game. That’s a shame, as many fans actually liked the new plot.

Luckily, there are fanmade patches that make this one way easier to play. Also, this blunder caused publisher Eidos to rethink it all, hand the franchise over to Crystal Dynamics, and come back with Tomb Raider: Legend, one of the best entries in the series.

Dead Space 3 Isaac
Image by EA

Dead Space 3

The Hype: The original Dead Space is one of the best horror games of all time. Dead Space 2 is even better. People were naturally very excited about the release of Dead Space 3.

The Trainwreck: What made the two prior games in the series great, gameplay-wise, was the fine balance between action and horror they managed to achieve. Dead Space 3 steered too hard into action territory, and no one was happy about it. What was once essentially a game about surviving monsters was now a game about poor zombies trying to survive an overpowered monster — us. Dead Space 3 also suffered from the presence of some hilarious glitches. It’s not a terrible game — it’s just not the game that anybody wanted.

Interestingly, John Carpenter, the legendary film director, gamer, and likely influencer of the series, states that while he doesn’t like this one as much as the other two, he still likes Dead Space 3, so there’s that.

Resident Evil 6 characters in a fiery arena
Image by Capcom

Resident Evil 6

The Hype: Resident Evil 5 didn’t reach the same heights as 4, but it provided a very solid RE experience — especially for people playing it in co-op mode. Resident Evil 6 seemed to want to go all out by featuring not just pretty much every character in the history of the franchise, but even various different campaigns. This was going to be the biggest Resident Evil of all time.

The Trainwreck: It ended up becoming just the most Evil blunder of all time. The lack of a focused campaign resulted in a game that wasn’t especially good at anything, and terrible at most things. It also featured a bunch of inexplicable bugs upon release and is likely the main reason fans began referring to Capcom as “Crapcom” for the better part of a decade. This is the only mainline Resident Evil game that you should straight-up pass. Maybe watch one of the animated Resident Evil movies instead. They’re also bad, but at least they’re fun.

Ryu Hayabusa
Image by Team Ninja

Ninja Gaiden 3

The Hype: Before Dark Souls came outNinja Gaiden was the go-to series for players looking for a challenging campaign. Ninja Gaiden Black for the original Xbox is a nigh-perfect game, and Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360 was still great. Though Tomonobu Itagaki, the rockstar responsible for creating the series, had left Team Ninja before they began working on NG3, the company still had the people who’d made the awesome Ninja Gaiden Sigma games. There was no reason to believe Ninja Gaiden 3 would fail to at least provide a fun challenge.

The Trainwreck: Can you believe that the developers of this game picked 2012, just a year after Dark Souls sold most of the gaming community on the idea of hard games, to release a Ninja Gaiden game that was easy? Yeah, Instead of having to focus on coming up with the best combos and strategies to get rid of your tough and smart opponents, Gaiden 3 automatically chained combos for players.

It also did away with the series’s expansive levels, replacing them with the same kind of bland and empty areas that also plagued the aforementioned DMC2. What a great way to come up with a game that appeals to absolutely nobody.

Duke Nukem movie
Image by 2K

Duke Nukem Forever

The Hype: Duke Nukem Forever once held the dubious honor of having the longest development period in the history of gaming. Development began in ’97, and it was only in 2011 that Duke himself appeared in a trailer saying that the game was good, yeah, “but after 12 f*cking years it should be.” What kind of person wouldn’t immediately trust a man who doesn’t even know that the game was actually in development for 14 goddamn years?

The Trainwreck: It wasn’t good, it turns out. That’s because the Duke Nukem Forever we ended up playing wasn’t being fine-tuned into perfection for 14 years. It was actually a rushed product they came up with as quickly as they could.

There was never just one Duke Nukem Forever, but rather, various iterations of the game that ended up canceled and giving way to yet another botched project. The result was one of the most chaotic and still somehow unfun shooters of all time. This is a masterclass on how not to make a game.

Mika Vs Ryu
Image by Capcom

Street Fighter V

The Hype: Street Fighter IV is the highest point in the series for many fans. Nobody had any reason to believe Street Fighter V wouldn’t continue to wear the fighter crown with grace.

The Trainwreck: Turns out that keeping that crown all shiny costs a lot, and that’s probably why Capcom filled every inch of the game with the most ghoulish microtransactions imaginable. That’s awful, yeah, but we get it that some companies will, at some point, drop the mask and reveal that they’re all about just making money.

What we still have no explanation for, though, is why they made the game slower and completely butchered the superior net code they had going with SFIV. This is probably the only fighting game in history that got mocked by pros during tournaments meant to promote it.

SimCity 2013's Poster
Image by EA


The Hype: SimCity (2013) came out a decade after the release of the successful SimCity 4. What marvelous gameplay design advances had the wizards of Maxis made in such a long period of time?

The Trainwreck: SimCity suffered from a myriad of issues, such as a much smaller city area and worse AI than what we got in the previous games in the series. Still, that wasn’t the most egregious problem. The game’s greatest sin was the unholy marriage between the always online requirement and servers that just didn’t work well. On paper, SimCity wasn’t even better than its 10-year-old predecessor, let alone in practice.

In all fairness, we kind of have to give it to SimCity. Not because it is good, no, but because it’s funny to see a game that’s supposedly about building absolutely bulldozing its own series.

Johanna Dark in Perfect Dark Zero
Image by Rare

Perfect Dark Zero

The Hype: Many claim Perfect Dark for the N64 is even better than Goldeneye 007. It was so good, in fact, that Microsoft bought Rare and tasked them with making the Xbox 360’s flagship first-person shooter. No way this could’ve — ok, you know damn well where this one is going.

The Trainwreck: There’s one thing we gotta give to Perfect Dark Zero, and that is that it looked good. That’s one thing nobody could complain about it when it came out. Sadly, it featured those early 7th console gen graphics. Ya’know, those really rubbery and shiny ones that we all got tired of very quickly. The original game basically has nothing going for it anymore.

As for the bad parts, the developers put too much emphasis on the online multiplayer, which left the story, campaign, and characters feeling very lackluster. Also, the multiplayer itself wasn’t that great because the game suffered from both a myriad of server issues and also from its own glitches. Why bother dealing with all that when Call of Duty 2, which also launched with the 360, was right there? Zero paled in comparison to the original Perfect Dark, a game that was five years old, so try to picture just how bad it looked when compared to Halo 2.

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Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.