When it comes to gaming sequels, consumers are often unsure of what to expect as far as developers living up to the expectations set by a classic title. This is especially true when an anticipated release follows a long break or goes in an entirely new direction. Sometimes a completely new developer may take on a project from a company that has gone belly-up or wishes to move on from a franchise. This can bring a sense of uneasiness to a fanbase looking for more of what they love.

Unfortunately, some gamers' reservations about gaming sequels have been realized more often than many would like. Perhaps it's a case of a studio taking too great a creative risk, or not enough of one. It might be a simple case of a lack of funds or time, or perhaps a sense of complacency. Whatever the reasons, successors certainly don't always do a franchise proud.

Still, more often than not in the games industry, studios have stepped up to the plate and created memorable sequels, as well as complete remakes or reimaginings. With reboots, in particular, developers often face the even more daunting task of completely reinventing a series with an overhaul in a game's engine and/or graphics. They will often have to balance the glitz and glamor of new features and aesthetics while retaining attributes and the "soul" that gamers fell in love with in the first place.

In this list, we will look at some of the massive leaps and overhauls in classic games that not only matched but sometimes even surpassed the iconic status of their predecessors. We'll also examine cases in which direct sequels failed to live up to the hype of earlier entries, became a low point in a beloved series, or otherwise turned into a disaster.

30 Worst Sequel: Tony Hawk: Shred

via: reviewanygame.com

Here we have a shining example of how over-milking a series can bring about an abrupt crash, like a clumsy skateboarder taking a hard spill after attempting a Noseblunt Slide on a railing. Somewhere Between Tony Hawk 4 and Underground, the quality of the series began to take a noticeable dip in quality. This only accelerated, and eventually plummeted to the ultimate lows of Ride, and especially Shred.

The progression system is drawn out and repetitive, the missions feel dull and pointless, the challenge mode is watered down, and the controls feel cheap. And good luck fumbling around with the awkward skateboard accessory!


29 Worst Sequel: Blitz: The League II

via: youtube.com (SycoSquirrelSSU)

The fact that this game tries to run with a single player narrative should give one pause by itself. The original NFL Blitz titles (in the days before EA locked down the NFL property) were known for their arcade-style action and over-the-top smashmouth football.

Blitz: The League II takes these qualities to a ridiculous, almost cartoony level, which, coupled with a rushed feeling campaign, just comes up as cheap and pedestrian. And while the first Blitz: The League at least tried something new from the NFL Blitz games years earlier, this sequel just feels like "more of the same".

28 Best Reboot: Metroid Prime

via: dolphin-emu.org

There are few cases of a game reboot truly reinventing itself, and yet capturing that classic feel of the original. Metroid Prime achieves exactly that, and in the process, creates a more immersive way to play a Metroid game. Samus' first foray into the 3D realm gives you a first-person perspective, in which you must explore the vast and imaginative lands of Tallon IV.

The game makes you feel like you're the iconic bounty hunter herself. as you blast, dash, and roll your way across the treacherous terrain crawling with alien baddies.

With the immersion and the desolate nature of the game, Metroid Prime recaptures that feeling of eerie solitude and vulnerability that made the original NES title stand out.

27 Worst Sequel: Dragon Age 2

via: mobygames.com

Considering BioWare was given a slim timetable of just over a year to crank out this anticipated epic RPG sequel, they managed to create a game that's, well, at least "competent". Though the game fails to live up to the awesome standards set by the original hit in a number of areas.

While the combat is more streamlined in a sense, many more hardcore players of the original have criticized it as being rather simple or "dumbed-down". The story, characters, and dialogue are also forgettable and less inspired. This takes you out of the experience in a franchise that relies heavily on its immersion.

26 Worst Sequel: Wii Music

via: youtube.com (Dumb Jason)

Nintendo struck gold when it released its flagship Wii series during the early years of its memorable motion-controlled console, starting with the ever-appealing Wii Sports. While simplicity was part of its charm, Wii Music took that to ridiculous lows, to the point where it felt more like a digital toy than a video game.

This game is little more than a musical waggle-fest.

The minimalist gameplay hinges on you essentially using your Wiimote as an instrument and mimicking the motions you'd make with those instruments. It's basically a glorified version of Mario Party's Mario Bandstand, with a bland soundtrack to boot. It's all musical style and very little substance.

25 Best Reboot: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

via: wired.co.uk

Nintendo has truly succeeded with this Zelda reimagining, creating a new, more free-roaming gameplay engine. At the same time, it adheres to the essence and "feel" of the older entries with action and exploration. Breath of the Wild injects a sort of Skyrim style of freedom and adventure to the series, which was verging on stale with some semi-linear gameplay and overbearing NPC dialogue.

Breath of the Wild is like an epic fantasy toy box at your disposal.

It throws in a ton of diverse areas to explore, items to toy with, and paints it all with a gorgeous cell-shaded aesthetic. The game merges the attributes of the NES Zelda which hinged on action and freedom and enhances it with modern epic sensibilities.

24 Worst Sequel: Resident Evil 6

via: microsoft.com

It's remarkable that a series could extend to both lofty heights – see Resident Evil 2 and 4, while also plummeting to the lows of the mediocre RE5 and near disaster level of RE6. While the series was continually being nudged in stripped down, over-the-top action direction, with RE6 it became apparent that Capcom ran too far with these characteristics.

The lame cover system also makes this feel like Gears of War lite at times.

The amount of cheese and nutty action makes this title feels more like a cheap, campy action flick rather than a heart-thumping, nuanced survival horror. Thankfully, its successor managed to return to these more tense, horror-based roots.

23 Worst Sequel: Legend Of Mana

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This sequel to one of the greatest action RPGs not named "Zelda" isn't horrible in its own right. Though, the anticipated follow-up to Secret of Mana proved to be more of an obscure spin-off rather than a direct sequel, with both its aesthetic style and gameplay.

Gone were the colorful sprites and charming action-oriented gameplay that was relatively easy to jump into. Instead, we got drawn-out, convoluted RTS-like mechanics, a weird and gimmicky map system where you must place your own locations, and graphics that seem to resemble a cheap CD-i game.

22 Best Reboot: Star Fox 64

via: bagogames.com

The original Star Fox on the SNES gave Nintendo fans a taste of epicness 3D gaming could offer. This follow-up on the N64 brought us into this immersive realm full throttle and produced one of the most thrilling space shooters to date. Gone were the somewhat archaic "Mode 7" pseudo-3D landscapes, making way for full-fledged 3D land and space battles.

This also gets points for providing the classic gaming meme – "Do a barrel roll!"

The effects were neater, the Charlie Brown-like gibberish was replaced with actual voice-overs, and the diverse environments were richer. The missions were also more exciting and detailed, and we got the inclusion of an addictive multiplayer mode.

21 Worst Sequel: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

via: gamingbolt.com

Ok, so you might say this is a decent RPG in its own right. But when judging through the lens of the high standards of the Final Fantasy series? It just doesn't measure up. Being a spinoff to a sequel alone doesn't bode well, especially when the narrative manages to be as cheesy, stock, and forgettable as it is.

But Lightning Returns' blemishes don't end with its story...

The gameplay itself feels quite uninspired and repetitive, often amounting to boring fetch quests, and a convoluted combat system that doesn't even grant you XP upon completion. While many of the environments are pretty and imaginative, it's mostly style over substance.

20 Worst Sequel: Halo 5: Guardians

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This is the first time the Halo series seems to succumb to Call of Duty syndrome, where the game begins to feel like an FPS paint by numbers. It feels bland, soulless, and stereotypical in many areas, especially its campaign. Seeing as the game is built for the Xbox One, the series certainly looks as pretty – though this doesn't mean much when the actual gameplay is as mediocre as it is.

And where is the split-screen multiplayer??

The Narrative manages to be pretty convoluted and banks on you already knowing much of the background behind the series, including some expanded universe material. The AI can also be shaky, which makes for a frustrating experience when going solo.

19 Best Reboot: Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

via: polygon.com

Much like Metroid Prime, Edios manages to provide an epic reimagining and slick new paint job to Lara Croft, while retaining the essence of what fans loved about the original. In the case of Tomb Raider, this comes in the form of action, adventure, and the thrills of exploration.

This time though, the visuals are spruced up in a big way, and we're immersed in some amazingly gorgeous Aztec and Mayan environments that ride the line between rich history and epic fantasy. We're also thrown into some massive open worlds full of baddies and traps waiting to cut our tomb-raiding expeditions short.

18 Worst Sequel: Assassin's Creed III: Liberation

via: polygon.com

This Vita iteration of Assassin's Creed is further proof that a once great series can become played out and formulaic if stretched too thin. In the case of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series, it's been a roller coaster ride of good and bad titles, with Liberation perhaps marking the ultimate low point.

This one seems to highlight all the negative qualities of the franchise while rarely embracing the positive ones. You've got everything from boring tailing missions, to wonky controls, and unreliable stealth. You've also got lame voice acting and bland graphics that look ugly on the big screen.

17 Worst Sequel: Far Cry: Vengeance

via: Alltertonave.com

Outside of perhaps Tony Hawk, this Wii spinoff has to be one of the greatest examples of a gigantic fall from grace. It's amazing to think when fumbling through some poor controls and blocky graphics in Vengeance that this is the same franchise that's home to the iconic Far Cry 3 and epic, imaginative FC5.

This game doesn't even give you the courtesy of a new experience, as it's essentially a remake of Far Cry Instincts: Evolution.

It's not just the putrid visuals and awkward motion controls that take you out of the experience, though; it's also the brain dead AI, uninspired missions, and laughable voice acting.

16 Best Reboot: Doom

via: wccftech.com

While the Duke Nukem reboot showed what not to do when remaking a classic franchise, Bethesda demonstrated how to do a reboot right. The game is simply a thrilling, gory spectacle of awesome; especially the memorable solo campaign.

It takes the over-the-top violent shooting fest of the 1993 classic and pretties things up with some gorgeous visuals, crazy animations, and epic cutscenes. At the same time, it retains that arcade-style action the original thrived on with some insanely fun weaponry, memorable boss battles, and loads of challenges to plow through.

15 Worst Sequel: Earthworm Jim 3D

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It's amazing how much some franchises that thrive in the 2D realm simply do not translate in 3D. Enter Earthworm Jim 3D, a little-known sequel that just doesn't even get near doing the zany original 16-bit platformer justice.

The rights of the Earthworm Jim name were sold from Shiny Entertainment to Interplay and put off for years, and boy does it show...

Even some major fans of the original classics likely haven't heard of this odd sequel, and there's a reason for that. The game feels... Unfinished. Gone are most of the quirky humor, awesome sound design, and creative environments, replaced with bland 3D environments and uninspired collect-a-thons.

14 Worst Sequel: Duke Nukem Forever

via: gamersgate.com

Ah yes; one of the most iconic, notoriously bad sequels to ever hit the gaming scene. By now, most know the story behind the long-anticipated sequel to the zany gratuitous FPS, Duke Nukem.

The game was placed in development limbo for almost a decade and a half, setting itself up for a failure to live up to the hype, and man did it ever fail...

The game exists as a sort of overly self-aware trope of the original, containing cheesy, cringe-worthy humor, with an attempt to mock other FPS games that are frankly superior to this one. The gameplay, no longer on the cutting edge, feels dated and stock; coming off as yet another violent FPS with few innovative elements.

13 Best Reboot: Super Mario World

via: medium.com

Debate rages on whether or not this tops what many claim to be the absolute pinnacle of Mario games, Super Mario Brothers 3. Yet, most will agree that this SNES sequel certainly lives up to the sky-high expectations established by that classic. Not only is the gameplay just as charming, exciting, and mechanically tight as ever, but we're introduced to a brand new world to explore; Dinosaur World.

And of course, we now have Yoshi – who's adds a new dynamic to the gameplay, and makes Mario even more of an unstoppable force throughout. You also have some of the most colorful and imaginative worlds on this side of the Mushroom Kingdom, especially the trippy Special and Star Worlds.

12 Worst Sequel: Castlevania 64

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As is the case with the likes of Sonic and Earthworm JimCastlevania falls into the category of a franchise that just doesn't translate when dropped in 3D land. Castlevania 64 is the series' first attempt to break into 3D, which makes it all the sadder that it turned out so lame.

 It just doesn't feel like a Castlevania game.

This isn't the worst game in the world, but compared to the high standards of prior entries, it falls flat. The graphics are bland, the environments are uninspired, and the controls are clumsy and unreliable. The grueling, heart-pounding action of the 2D games has devolved into a slow drag of wandering around in indoor 3D buildings completing mundane tasks.

11 Worst Sequel: Sonic '06

via: sonic.wikia.com

Sonic sure has been through a lot over the years – from the classic 2D series on the Genesis, to the, erm.. not-so-classic 3D iterations of recent years. Even for the rather poor standards of Sonic's 3D efforts, which don't translate all that well, Sonic '06 is undoubtedly the worst of the worst.

This game will have you running to the garbage bin to toss it out faster than the blue hedgehog himself.

If you can name it, this game pretty much has it – clunky and stiff controls, long load times, wonky camera movement, cheesy cutscenes and dialogue, strange character designs – the list goes on.

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