Repeating greatness is an immeasurably difficult feat.
Lightning rarely finds a home in a bottle, so when it does it's important to be grateful for the single time it does. Perfection is fleeting, and disappointment is ever-lasting.
As expectations skyrocket, the pressure to outdo the former achievement is so regularly too much for a developer to match, meaning the inevitable disappointment that follows is amplified by disgruntled consumers.
Video game development is hard, and it's a miracle when AAA studios release a stable game to begin with. Curating and polishing a game to make it great is only a fraction of the fight. Reaching the lofty heights of previous entries (that so often have nostalgic value to consumers) is tough.
People want something new, but not new enough to isolate existing fans; something ambitious in presentation but doesn't lose the charm of the blocky original. There are always caveats to player satisfaction that hinder a game's success. Be that as it may, there's still a handful of games that simply missed the mark because they weren't as good as their predecessor.
There's always next time.
10. Bioshock 2
Though Bioshock is often considered a spiritual successor to 1999's System Shock 2, Its reuse of environmental storytelling and mimicking of eerie atmosphere struck a chord with new audiences some 8 years later.
Bioshock is a masterclass in design, tension, gameplay and atmosphere. It's a deeply unsettling, narratively engaging tale that remains culturally relevant years later, tackling some pretty hefty political theories while masquerading as a somewhat linear survival horror game.
Aside form the final 10 minutes, 2007's Bioshock is as perfect as a game can be, and as its subsequent sequel placed us in the boots of a Big Daddy, the follow-up was sure to be even more memorable...
...But like Andrew Ryan's libertarian vision, it fell flat.
Bioshock 2 is by no means a bad game, yet its reliance on a setting we've already uncovered the secrets of and a drawn-out opening act makes it dull in comparison to Irrational's 2007 masterpiece. Despite positive reviews from critics, the game has failed to leave a lasting impression on players.
Doomed to a release year which saw countless superior sequels like Mass Effect 2, Super Mario Galaxy, Dead Rising 2 and Just Cause 2, the Bioshock series' second outing is largely a forgotten tale.