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The Ten Best Sequels Of This Generation

March 22, 2010

What exactly makes a good sequel? Does it involve refining and improving upon the groundwork laid by the original? Does it involve advancing the series through continued innovation? Does it simply involve continuing the story? All the previous reasons plus more can make or break sequels. Sequels need to change the formula enough to make it feel fresh but too many drastic changes can make the game loose what it was known for. The following games aren’t listed in terms of actual quality but the quality of the games acting as a sequel.

Note: Only one game per series will be included.

10. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The advancements made between Oblivion and Morrowind may not have been as big as some of the other jumps in the series but it was fantastic in both gameplay terms and sequel terms. It was a step down from Morrowind in scale but this was all too its advantage. A smaller (It was still large and completely open), more detailed world was yours to explore this time. It was filled with dungeons, mountains, cities, hidden areas and so much more for that the keen adventurer to come across in their travels. It really did feel like an adventure; you set out on your quest with the aim of finishing it, completely immersed in the progress. Gameplay was a large step up with the combat in particular being greatly improved. The fighting felt a lot smoother which in turn made it a lot more enjoyable. Oblivion really made advantage of the new hardware available and was a great way to be introduced into the new generation.

9. Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario 64 is often considered one of the best games of all time, hell pretty much every Mario game is considered a classic. This obviously led to some pressure for Super Mario Galaxy to deliver. It was a sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time and it needed to deliver. Did it? Yes it did. Unlike a lot of Wii games, Super Mario Galaxy took advantage of the motion controls rather than use them as a gimmick. Nintendo used it where it felt right and where it worked. Mario was back in one of the most innovating and enjoyable platformers ever made. The controls suited to the system almost perfectly and lead to an experience filled with brightly coloured worlds and top quality platforming. Soaring through space in the continuously varying planets allowed a new perspective on 3D Mario. It was beautiful, in both terms of design and gameplay. It’s quite possibly the defining Wii game through its clever use of controls and innovative take on platforming.

 8. Halo 3

This was the big one. Roughly 6 years after the original game, it was finally time to finish the fight. It was hyped beyond belief and nearly everybody was eagerly anticipating it. This was the first Halo of the new generation, of course. When it arrived, it was on everybody’s minds and the multiplayer has been inhabited by thousands ever since it launched. The multiplayer was fantastic; it had loads of game modes, excellent maps, great vehicles and it done pretty much everything right in these regards. Despite the online mode being the highlight of the package, fans were more than happy with the campaign. With Halo’s gameplay there was pretty much no way it could fail and therefore Bungie gave us an enjoyable single player. The improved hardware allowed for some truly amazing sections that left every Halo fan in awe.

7. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty was always known for being a World War II FPS. However, Infinity Ward thought it was time for a change. No longer was Call of Duty about the battles of old but now it was about modern warfare. This was a fantastic evolution in the series. It allowed the series to tackle new ideas and expand the gameplay into something more evolved. It proved to be extremely successful due to its extremely fast paced, set piece filled campaign and addictive and rewarding multiplayer. The campaign was nothing but intense for the entire game. Most people’s time was spent on the multiplayer though. It was deep, fun and always had players coming back for more. Even with two more sequels to the Call of Duty series, people are still playing it online which shows its popularity. Call of Duty 4 took the series up to a new level which is considered one this generation’s best.

6. Fallout 3

Interplay originally developed the Fallout games before Bethesda bought the license. The original games were isometric, point and click RPGs. At the time, they were extremely well received so Fallout 3 had a lot to live up to. Bethesda needed to make sure it was a big enough advancement but also that it stuck to what the fans all fell in love with. They definitely did. A large, open post apocalyptic world was at your disposal. You were free to do what you want; to wreak havoc, help or just do what the hell you want. It captured the atmosphere or the originals perfectly by using a similar at style and reusing all of the sound effects. The advancements are obvious: a complete 3D, open world with a deep RPG system and solid enough gunplay combined with addictive and varying quests. There were some large choices to make too which helped continue the survival atmosphere; you had to do what you thought would help you in the long run.

5. Grand Theft Auto IV

Now, some may disagree with me for putting Grand Theft Auto IV in the list. It seemed to split gamer’s opinions with its slightly different approach. GTAIV‘s predecessors were over the top, ridiculous and incredibly fun. They also boasted well written characters and story. However, this is where GTAIV made its big change. The writing was fantastic this time around which really benefited the more mature story. With the step up to a new generation, the GTA franchise evolved into something more mature; something more meaningful. Gameplay was improved overall with both driving and shooting making the necessary advancements to still be enjoyable in the current generation. Liberty City is one of the finest open worlds ever to be created; it felt incredibly alive and it was so easy to get sidetracked in. The series may have changed into something more mature but it still retained enough of what made it great to keep players happy.

4. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Like a few games on this list, this was the first in the series to step up to the new generation. A lot was expected of Metal Gear Solid 4, in both story and gameplay terms. The gameplay was a lot more refined now; it adopted third person shooter mechanics which allowed it to play well as a stealth game but also as a shooter. There was a clear evolution in this area. Of course, playing it stealthy, the way it was supposed to be, is a lot more satisfying and the more enjoyable choice of the two. Fans of MGS4 didn’t get excited about this for the gameplay though. For fans, the story is what matters. It did a fantastic job of concluding the story. Characters returned, explanations were given and it was filled with more twists and turns than ever. It may have been heavy on its use of cutscenes but it definitely led to an engrossing story that didn’t disappoint.

3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was a great game. It boasted solid mechanics in all the areas it adventured in as well as an enjoyable story with an excellent cast of characters. Naughty Dog made one of hell of a sequel to it though. Uncharted 2 made improvement upon improvement. The gameplay was a lot more polished leading to an extremely fluid and fun experience. Combine that with some exhilarating set pieces and you have a game that always keeps you on the edge of your seat. Also throw in an extremely well told story that is even better than the first game. Through the use of some very cinematic camera angles and a fantastically written script, you just couldn’t help but go along with the ride. Overall it was massive improvement in every area that made for an excellent sequel.

2. Assassin’s Creed II

The first Assassin’s Creed had a lot of potential. It wasn’t bad by any means but it never set the world on fire either. I wouldn’t complain so much about this if it wasn’t for the hype that built it up to be some kind of revolutionising modern day classic. It got some things right but it got some things wrong. This left some solid groundwork for Ubisoft to take and build upon. The finished result was an excellent game that surpasses the original in every way possible. It felt smoother, it was more varied, the narrative was better, the combat had been improved; there is a long list of improvements I could keep on mentioning. This time it done so much right, the gameplay and story went above and beyond the original making it an experience not to be missed by anyone; fans or not. If the next instalment in the series makes the same kind of improvements then I can predict a pretty incredible game. 

1. Mass Effect 2

The original Mass Effect is one of my favourite games of this generation. Bioware gave us one of the best RPGs ever made with a fantastic story and solid third person shooter gameplay.  The sequel looked to improve the formula in every way possible. Combat is now more than capable of competing with “proper” third person shooters due to the new weapons types, improved mechanics and overhauled cover system. Of course the real reason Mass Effect 2 takes the top spot is the continuation of the story. It doesn’t just continue the excellent story from the first game; it carries over your story. All of the choices, decisions and actions from the first Mass Effect are carried over to the sequel. Some play a large role in the game and affect big issues while others sit in the background and are subtly hinted it. The personalisation of the story just enhances the experience overall. Small hints and big consequences make your story even more complete. Don’t be surprised to see Mass Effect 3 take the top spot if it improves upon this idea even more.

Honourable Mentions

Due to the article being written before some games were released, some have to be honourably mentioned instead.

Final Fantasy XIII – Visually incredible and has a great battle system that should please all Final Fantasy fans.

God of War III – Brutal, bloody and violent. Kratos returned more pissed off than ever in this action packed behemoth of a game.

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