Originality versus Repetition is a debate that branches across all forms of media: is it better to watch a film which is original in its premise and ideas or a film that is a multiple sequel but that we’ll watch it because ‘we’re used to it’? Should we listen to music that tries to be innovative and genre-breaking or should we listen to the usual cheesy music that fills up the charts because it is deemed popular? And of course, the same applies to games: is it more fun to play an original game like Ico or play the next Call of Duty or Resident Evil?

The gaming industry (like the film industry) currently has a pretty bad case of sequelitus: try and think about some of the games you’re interesting in buying between now and Christmas, and I’d bet that 90% of those games are sequels or re-launches. The question is, are sequels necessarily always a bad thing?

The answer is fairly simple: not really. Sequels usually represent what was or what has been popular, so it is simply the easier option for a publisher to release an updated version of the previous game rather than potentially lose millions on a new idea. However, during this generation multiple sequels have attracted much-deserved criticism, because certain publishers have realised that they can rather lazily release a sequel without changing or adding much compared with the previous game. This hasn’t always been the case though, as this article will hopefully point out.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed original games and quickly get bored of sequels that fail to innovate or repeat the process over a couple of games. For me, it is always a calculated risk to bring out a new non-sequel game as they can either fail miserably like Lair (even though it was a good ideas) or greatly influence the games industry like Heavy Rain.  However, I do enjoy sequels – in fact, some of my favourite games are sequels and this list is meant to show how good some sequels can be.

Of course, games can quickly innovate themselves with changes of technology whilst films and music are very much restricted to set formats and genres. Games therefore have an advantage as a form of media: characters such as Mario can survive for almost thirty years and whilst the type of gamplay has remained the same the way we play the game has changed substantially.

Saying all of this; there are a fair amount of sequels that have become legendary and have greatly influenced the video game industry, perhaps more so than most original games.

Here are ten such examples of sequels proving that originality isn’t always necessary. There will also be some honorable mentions and some lessons to be learned along the way. One or two rules for this list: the franchises still have to be running today on current generation consoles but the sequels mentioned don’t.  

Let’s get to it…

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This article was first posted on October 25, 2012