10 Disappointing Video Game Sequels

Just when you thought it was safe to pick up the Control Pad... We take a look at 10 of the most disappointing video game sequels ever made.

Fable III (2010)

Peter Molyneux's fantasy series has both a devoted legion of fans and an army of cynics. For many the potential that was shown in the original Fable was squandered in the long awaited sequel Fable II, which failed to deliver any of the grand promises made by the infamous fibber. But for all its problems, Fable II was nevertheless an enjoyable romp - with a decent combat system and one of the most difficult moral choices ever seen in a video game, regarding the death of your virtual dog companion. All Fable III needed to be was a solid step forward for the series, finally offering some of the promises which were made, but had failed to appear in the previous games. It was therefore incredibly shocking that Fable III was a significant step backwards - stripping the series of all but its most basic RPG elements and dumbing everything down to a pitiful level. So much of Fable III was over simplified and basic - from the fiddly 3D map system to basic human interaction. Also, as a Monty Python fan, it was sad to see John Cleese personify one of gaming€™s most annoying and poorly designed pause menus ever. God damn you sanctuary.....

Deus Ex: Invisible War (2003)

Let€™s establish something straight away - Deus Ex: Invisible War is by no means a terrible game. It€™s in fact an above average RPG shooter and a pretty decent game in its own right. But as a sequel to one of the greatest games ever made, Invisible War falls notably short and is still regarded as a major disappointment to many fans of the original. Nowhere near as complex or engaging as its predecessor, the sequel cuts down on much of the depth of the original and is significantly shorter in length too. Thankfully the recent Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a superior return to form and does an excellent job of recreating the dark and gritty tone of the original classic.

Duke Nukem Forever (2011)

I€™ve never really dug Duke Nukem - as blasphemous a view as that might be in the gaming community. I€™ve always considered the character as kind of lame, long before this monstrosity came around - spending years in development hell and finally resurrected by Gearbox. Duke Nukem 3D was a solid, entertaining shooter in the vein of Doom, but Duke himself was merely a walking encyclopedia of Bruce Campbell & Roddy Piper quotes - yeah there was an element of satire, but barely. Even with my dislike of Duke, I wasn€™t anticipating just how bad Duke Nukem Forever would end up. Everything about it is ugly - from the dated graphics to the clumsy level design and boring gameplay. All of this hits you before you even notice the cringe-worthy sexism and dated toilet humour which strives to shock, but comes across as desperate attention seeking. The best thing that can be said about Duke Nukem Forever is that it's a fascinating relic of a days gone by - but after playing it for a couple of minutes, you€™ll be glad that those days are long gone.

Crackdown 2 (2010)

The original Crackdown was a surprise success - appearing pretty much out of the blue and gaining a majority of interest by including exclusive access to the Halo 3 beta. With unique cel-shaded visuals, satisfying levelling up mechanics and the sheer addictiveness of finding hidden orbs dotted around the map, Crackdown was one of the most enjoyable open-world superhero games on the Xbox 360. But while the potential was most certainly there for an excellent sequel, Ruffian€™s follow-up was so insignificantly different, half the time it felt like simply playing through the exact same game. The setting of Pacific City returned and was widely unchanged, resulting in a constant sense of déjà vu - complimented by an odd mission structure and general lack of focus, which make the game a repetitive slog. Crackdown 2 falls into the bracket of sequels which are far too similar to the original - to be filed alongside Bioshock 2 and Halo 2.

Tony Hawk: Ride (2009)

For many years Neversoft - creators of Tony Hawks Pro Skater - were responsible for some of the most addictive and enjoyable sports games of all time. The titles were even popular with gamers who didn't even have a passing interest in skateboarding. While it€™s true that the Tony Hawks series was becoming a bit tired - culminating in the unoriginal Tony Hawks: Proving Ground - Activision's shock decision to take the license away from Neversoft after eight years was a sad one indeed. Things went from bad to worse, when it was announced that the new developer Robomodo, was to create an interactive skateboard controller for the game - quickly greeted with a unanimous €˜wtf?€™ from gamers around the world. These early fears were well founded, with the game becoming not only the worst entry in the Tony Hawks series, but also giving birth to one of the most embarrassing gaming peripherals of all time - now to be seen prominently clogging up all second hand shop window displays around the country.

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)

After years of increasingly generic Tomb Raider adventures and a new era of consoles, it was clear that Lara€™s jump to next-gen would have to be something special. Sadly Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness was anything but - leading to CORE Design having their very own creation taken away from them and handed over to Crystal Dynamics. After months of delays and increasing hype, Angel of Darkness was a confusingly muddled mess - seemingly unsure of what exactly it wanted to be. At this point, the idea of actually raiding tombs was long gone, with Lara wandering around the streets of Paris and toying with crummy RPG mechanics - including having to gradually build her strength as well as picking pointless dialogue options. As disappointing as Angel of Darkness undoubtedly was, CORE design deserve kudos for trying to take the series in a new direction - and while Crystal Dynamics have created some excellent Tomb Raider games since, the demise of CORE Design was a sad day for any fan of Lara€™s PS1 glory days.

Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)

Possibly the biggest fall from grace in the entire history of video games, Sega's 2006 revamp of Sonic The Hedgehog was an abomination. While it€™s true that Sonic didn't exactly have far to fall - with the games being increasingly ropey since 1999€™s Sonic Adventure - this so called celebration of Sonic's 15th birthday was close to being unplayable. It€™s almost impossible to know where to start, but the addition of bestiality is as good as any. He might be a blue cartoon hedgehog, but Sega still decided it was a good idea to have Sonic getting off with a human princess named Elise - when was this ever a good idea ? If the oddity of this interspecies plot wasn€™t enough, the game features quite possibly the worst in-game camera of all time and glitches that can only be rivaled by the next entry on this list. Here's hoping that the upcoming 20th anniversary title Sonic Generations is a much worthier celebration of Sonic's legacy, and good enough to wipe away the memory of this monstrosity.

Driv3r (2004)

I€™ve already attempted to exorcise the demons of Driv3r, but never mind - it€™s always fun. Massively hyped, repeatedly delayed and touted as a potential contender to Grand Theft Auto's open-world throne - Driv3r looked to be shaping up as a gaming masterpiece. As it turns out, it was a hilariously glitchy mess with a silly numbered title - which is now pretty much a dead cert of something being bad (Driv3r, Scre4m, 2 Fast 2 Furious). There€™s all sorts of problems with Driv3r, from its short storyline to the hideously poor on-foot shooting mechanics - but it's the sheer amount of glitches which make Driv3r both awful and strangely entertaining. When you€™re driving along and suddenly find yourself catapulted through the air or falling through the ground into what seems like a virtual purgatory - Driv3r becomes a video game equivalent of an acid trip

Mercenaries 2: World In Flames (2008)

The original Mercenaries was one of the best open-world games of its time - featuring a focus on ridiculous over-the-top action which made it a blast to play. When the sequel came around three years later, it was a surprisingly joyless experience with dull missions and glitchy gameplay - as well as a lifeless open-world which never feels like an environment worth exploring. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the original - the playing card deck of 52 bounties - was cut down to a measly selection of side-missions, while the story itself was unmemorable. Following the disappointing reception of both Mercenaries 2 and the underrated The Saboteur, EA closed Pandemic Studios - firing 228 employees in the process.

Perfect Dark Zero (2005)

When the Xbox 360 console was released in 2006, Perfect Dark Zero was one of the major launch titles for the system - being one of the few titles to also offer online multiplayer. For these reasons Rare€™s sequel to their 1999 N64 classic seemed - at first - like a decent sequel. As time passed however, fans soon began to comes to term with the fact that Perfect Dark Zero was not only an inferior follow up to the original but also generally disappointing on its own terms. Even for a launch game, Perfect Dark Zero's visuals seemed unpolished - with plasticine like textures and overly shiny surfaces. Controls too were slippery and uncomfortable - with the gameplay never being as exciting as it should have been. Five years after the original, Perfect Dark Zero failed to offer a significant step-forward for the series and remains a disappointment for fans of the sultry secret agent, Joanna Dark. _________________ Which video game sequels would you put forward as disappointments ?Any of the above that you actually felt were worthy sequels ?
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Cult horror enthusiast and obsessive videogame fanatic. Stephen considers Jaws to be the single greatest film of all-time and is still pining over the demise of Sega's Dreamcast. As well regularly writing articles for WhatCulture, Stephen also contributes reviews and features to Ginx TV.