What's not to love about a good spin-off? They're the offshoots of famed franchises that allow developers to tell stories they otherwise wouldn't, try new ideas too risky to include in a mainline series, and offer alternative experiences without having to deal with the pressures associated with bonafide sequels.
Well, that's the idea, at least. By and large, most turn out to be welcome side dishes complimenting the main course - à la Far Cry 3's terrific '80s sci-fi pastiche Blood Dragon - or, as in Final Fantasy Tactics' case - mark the birth of an entirely standalone series.
Sadly, there exists the opposite to that positivity.
Laziness, lack of funding, an eagerness to milk a franchise's popularity by putting in the bare minimum amount of effort: there's no catch-all excuse that explains how some of these bad eggs came to see the light of day, but a universal truth applies to each in that not a single one compliments its parent in any way, shape or form.
Did Link's barebones Crossbow Training further the mythos of Hyrule's Hero? Did Castlevania Judgment indulge loyal fans in a faithful reunion of the series' cast with a well-made fighter? Did Black Ops: Declassified manage to convince anyone that it was more than a rushed job cobbled together from bits and pieces of the console version?
That's three big fat 'nos' already, but the disappointment doesn't end there. We're just getting started.
Joe is a freelance games journalist who, while not spending every waking minute selling himself to websites around the world, spends his free time writing. Most of it makes no sense, but when it does, he treats each article as if it were his Magnum Opus - with varying results.