5 Games That Could Do With A Sequel

There are a lot of games that really overdo it when it comes to sequels.  Studios and publishers hit onto a winning formula and then flog it to death year on year (I’m looking at you Assassin’s Creed!) until people are sick of it.  Then there are those other games, the ones that were great fun but may have been a little too niche to be a massive commercial success.  The games that had great ideas and stories but never garnered enough attention to warrant a follow up.  So much wasted potential…

Rules!  These are games that were the only one in their series at the time of writing (not including spin offs) and I have to have played them.  Games that are rumoured to have sequels on the way do not have sequels and so can be included.  Finally, these are my opinions only, if I didn’t include one that you would, either I didn’t play it or I don’t agree.  On with the games!

Skies of Arcadia

skiesofarcadia_logoSkies of Arcadia from Sega came out on the Dreamcast in 2000 (There was a rerelease on Gamecube in 2002 as well).  This was an era full of fantasy based JRPGs and I think a lot of people saw this one as just another one trying to get in on the Final Fantasy crowd.  But this was different.  Skies of Arcadia was a sky pirate adventure RPG with a huge world to explore.  Whilst it did have the usual JRPG features such as exploring ancient temples and those damned random battles, it did plenty different.  You could go pretty much anywhere fairly early on once you get access to your pirate ship.  Some areas were locked off for story purposes but you had a lot of scope pretty much from the get go.

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Also, ship vs. ship battles!  Whilst the mechanics weren’t hugely different to a normal battle, a 1 v 1 fight between ships was a great sight.  The special abilities look really good from harpooning enemy vessels to charging up a laser cannon powered by moonstones.  The world was really engaging with plenty to find.  In fact, a side quest has you exploring the world and making discoveries before your rival can over the course of the whole game.  The story is fairly standard JRPG save-the-world fare, but the world was   The world is really why I feel this deserves a sequel.  The story was wrapped up nicely by the end but there was a really interesting universe to explore.  It could follow a new group of adventurers, or a different region of the world.  It’s a shame there won’t be a chance to explore more of this world.

Vanquish

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My experience of Platinum Games has been nothing but good.  Bayonetta, Anarchy Reigns, Transformers: Devastation…and Vanquish.  Platinum are really better known for their melee action games in a similar vein to Devil May Cry & co., but this was a shooter more akin to Gears of War.  Gears of War on amphetamines.  This is a third person cover based shooter turned up to 11.  Rocket packs let you knee slide around at enormous speeds before dropping into slow mo to blow up a bunch of robots who are distracted by a cigarette that you flicked ahead of you half a second earlier.  Because you’re such a bad ass.

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Major enemies are HUGE in scale, firing away with thousands of missiles and physical attacks at once.  They’re like hyper speed Dark Souls bosses.  The plot is pretty uninteresting in my opinion, being just standard space marine nonsense.  But that’s not why you play this, it’s blisteringly fast paced fun that it knows exactly how insane it is.  Too many cover based shooters these days are about big burly soldiers in two metric tons of armour, slowly battling through enemies.  I’d love to see more games like Vanquish and would dearly love to see a sequel.

Bloodborne

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I’m a massive fan of From Software’s Souls series.  I’m also a fan of Lovecraftian horror.  Put these two things together and you get Bloodborne, a game that is nearer to perfect as pretty much any game I’ve played. The story, whilst obscure, is fascinating once you delve into it, the combat is intense yet perfectly tuned to test you throughout the whole game, and the art design is wonderful, packed full of varied environments and grotesque enemies.

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Just looking through my screenshots of my playthrough made me want to start again to experience its adventure once more.  I really can’t overstate how much I enjoyed this game, from it’s top notch graphics and sound to it’s tough as nails boss encounters.  I don’t know how a sequel would work in terms of plot, but another adventure in its world is something I’d deeply enjoy.

Alan Wake

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This.  This is the big one for me.  In spite of its spin off (American Nightmare) there is still a huge amount of story here that’s still crying out to be explored.  Alan and his wife take a trip to Bright Falls (which might as well be called Twin Peaks) which leads to Alan’s wife seemingly being kidnapped.  From here, it seems that what Alan writes comes to pass, leading to some very interesting (and well foreshadowed) set pieces.  This game is absolutely dripping with atmosphere thanks to great visual and sound design.

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The gameplay involves the use of light to protect yourself (as well as attack) the darkness.  It’s very intense for a lot of the game (especially on Nightmare difficulty), but the combat does become a little samey towards the end.  There’s also some slightly dodgy platforming from time to time.  I’m still eager for a sequel to this in spite of these flaws, mostly due to the strength of the story.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

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A little earlier, I mentioned Platinum Games and how I’ve not really had a bad experience with their games and I neglected to mention this utter gem.  Now within the rules I feel I can include this one as even though it’s part of the Metal Gear universe, it is entirely it’s own game.  This is such a major departure from Metal Gear Solid.  You play as Raiden, a cyborg ninja with a cyborg dog buddy fighting robots with a samurai sword.  You can use slow motion at various points to carefully aim where to swing your sword to slice enemies into pieces, a skill that’s used very effectively during boss fights.  The story is totally bonkers, because this is involved in Metal Gear, so I had no idea what was going on.  The gameplay though, is a perfect blend of defending, parrying, and attacking at the right time.  It can be rather challenging at times, but it never feels unfair.

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The soundtrack fits the game perfectly, lots of crazy guitars and angry vocals.  I once heard it described as music that, when combined with the gameplay, makes you feel like to could suplex a planet.  I’m not sure if that’s high praise or not, but it’s pretty damn accurate.  This is another game that feels like it was more interested in being a really polished, fun experience rather than something designed to grab as many sales as possible.  That coupled with Konami being Konami (and Konami is the worst) means we’re unlikely to ever see a sequel to this, which is a damn shame to my mind.

Special mentions

Some games that I wanted to include but couldn’t for various reasons.  Call of C’thulhu (I’m not sure how well it’d work in a modern context), Power Stone 2 (already a sequel, I know!) and FTL (if only to increase the number of different types of encounter) could all have interesting or downright fun follow ups!

What do you think?  Did I miss one that you’d love to see a follow up to?  Do you agree?  Let me know!

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Superhot: SUPER! HOT! SUPER! HOT!

Superhot is the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years.  I was told to say that.  It’s in the rules of the game.  Even if it wasn’t though, I’d probably still say something similar.  I won’t spoil too much of the story, but you start off receiving a message about playing a new game: superhot.exe.  As you play through the various stages, a seemingly complex plot develops, blurring the lines between the game and reality.  If you’ve played anything like Pony Island or The Stanley Parable, it’s that kind of subversive plot.

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Superhot has a really stark art style with few colours that highlight everything that is of interest.

As soon as you begin the first stage, the game presents you with its unique feature.  TIME MOVES WHEN YOU MOVE! it exclaims on the screen, and it really does mean it.  Everything is frozen until you begin moving.  Slower movements mean the world gradually starts moving whilst moving at full speed makes the world follow suit.  It gives you a lot more situational awareness than you may be used to.  Having played rather a lot of first person shooters, this forced me to  change my play style quickly.  It plays more like a puzzle game as you are faced with multiple enemies at once and need to plan how to disable each one without leaving yourself exposed.  The way time works allows you to dodge bullets as you ‘rush’ down an opponent and take their weapon before turning it on them.  Watching back the full speed replays makes you look like some sort of ninja in The Matrix.  It really is very satisfying.

I wouldn’t normally put a video in, but I just can’t help myself with this game.  It makes you look awesome in every replay.

Now, the story took me about 2 hours to finish.  In a game that costs £20, that seems really rather short and I wouldn’t blame anyone for saying it’s not good value for money.  The meat of the game comes after the main campaign though, as challenges and survival runs open up, as well as the obligatory collectables.  The challenges range from simple speed runs, to playing through using only melee weapons.  Some of these are really rather tough and take a while to master.  The collectables are very well hidden in the stages and are tough to find whilst avoiding enemy fire, even with your time bending powers.  If you’re only after a story then this is not good value, but if you’re interested in a challenge or you’re a completionist, there’s a hell of a lot of content here.  It’s great to dip into for a 10 minute blast.  Just don’t be surprised if it turns into a much longer session as ‘just-one-more-go’ kicks in.

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The game’s style allows it to get away with what would be really rather graphic violence if it aimed for realistic graphics.

Superhot was developed and published by Superhot Team.  I played the game on XBox One (in fact I’d suggest playing this with a controller thanks to the analogue sticks allowing you to control your movement more gently!) and I’d recommend this to pretty much anyone.  If you like first person shooters but find them a bit samey these days, this is a hell of a breath of fresh air.

Dark Souls III

I did it!  I finally finished it!  30 hours of punishing gameplay later and I finally…saved the world?  I think I did.  My guy sat down by a bonfire after beating the final boss at any rate.  The Souls games (and Bloodborne for that matter) are notorious for having obscure stories that you have to find by reading through various item descriptions before piecing it all together.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I read up on what the hell was going on after I finished the game.  But enough about the bonkers story.  How about the rest of the game?

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HOLY GOD WHATTHEBLOODYHELLISTHAT?!  My reaction to most of the enemies in the game.

Dark Souls and co. are also notorious for their difficulty, and Souls 3 is no exception in terms of enemies.  The main enemies and bosses are as challenging and ever, and in many cases are much faster and more aggressive than those in the past (probably as a result of Bloodborne from the same development team).  But as is ever the case in this series, perseverance and jolly co-operation will win the day!  Whilst hard, none of the bosses are unfair and every time you fall you know exactly what you did wrong.  You didn’t manage your stamina, you mistimed that dodge, you got greedy and attacked to heavily.  After every loss you’ll feel a greater determination to go back and try again.  It rarely frustrates and frequently pushes you to try again, almost saying “You know you can do this don’t you”.

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It’s not just the bosses that are tough.  Chompy McTongueFace here killed me on more than a few occasions.

In some ways though, the game feels easier than before.  It may be due to having played the previous games, I’m well versed in how this game works before going in.  It is a lot more linear than the previous games though.  For the most part you’ll just be following a path, fighting as you go.  Chances for finding hidden areas or ending up in the wrong area for your level are rare at best.  Some people may enjoy the straighter path, I would have preferred and experience more like the first game though where pretty much everywhere was open to you right from the off.

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I have nothing special to say about this one, I just think it looks brilliant.

The game certainly looks gorgeous, with lots of varied enemies (there’s some Bloodborne influence here too) and environments.  I think they may have tried to push the console versions a bit too hard though as the framerate suffers in places.  Fighting a large enemy that had an impressive frozen mist effect around it slowed the game to a crawl and made dodging near impossible.  This is a rare occasion in which enemies can be frustrating.  It’s a real shame that they decided to make it look prettier rather than optimising the game to run at a consistent framerate.  If you can cope with that nonsense though, there’s one hell of an experience

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I’m sure there’s some sort of crabs joke I could put in here.  But I’m far too grown up for that, honest.

Dark Souls III was developed by From Software and published by Bandai Namco.  I played the game on Xbox One and would recommend it if you like an esoteric, challenging action RPG.  Just be prepared for the occasional slowdown as the hardware struggles to keep up with the game.  Maybe the PC version runs better!

The Overwatch Beta

If you remember from my Rainbow Six: Siege write up, multiplayer shooters are something I enjoy but am utterly dreadful at.  So, I went into the Overwatch beta expecting to be terrible but have fun at the same time.  I was half right.  You see, with Rainbow Six there were different characters, but at the end of the day if you weren’t brilliant at shooting the other players you were going to do really badly.  In Overwatch though, the characters are all so different that even if you’re awful with the guns, there’s still a character you can play as to make a positive contribution to the team.

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This is Reinhardt.  You don’t need to worry about shooting with him.  Just hitting things with a massive hammer and protecting your team with a shield.  I like him.

Because I’m such a bad shot, I found myself drawn more to support characters such as the healers.  I actually had a lot of successful games playing this role.  Am I suddenly good at team based shooters?  No.  Not at all.  But this game plays in such a different way that I found myself being useful.  I often played as Symmetra who shields her team mates and sets up turrets to harass attacking players on the opposing team.  Direct confrontations tend to end badly though.

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This is a direct confrontation about to end badly.

The way the game plays prevents you from sticking with the same character throughout a match though.  Depending on how your opponents are playing, you may need to change to something more aggressive (I like to go for Reaper personally, with a pair of shotguns and the ability to teleport) or defensive.  The large variety of characters with differing playstyles means you’ll almost certainly find a few to suit you.

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Using Reaper’s shotguns.  Over long range.  Because I’m smart like that.

Now, I played this on a PC.  A 4 year old PC.  A 4 year old laptop to be precise.  And it played exactly as well as that makes it sound.  On minimum settings I had a pretty shaky framerate so if I were to get the full version of the game I may well go for a console copy.  That’s certainly more a problem with my hardware than the game though.  Running at full clip I could really enjoy this game.  My only worry is a concern I often have with these types of games: longevity.  I can get fairly bored of multiplayer only shooters, even ones as varied as this.  A single player component can alleviate that, but I don’t think that’s likely to appear anytime soon.  It’s something of a shame as Blizzard have built an interesting world full of entertaining characters.  It would be nice to have a campaign that explores that.

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I’m the pretty lady on the right.  Obviously.

Overwatch is developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.  I played the game on PC and would normally write a recommendation here!  I won’t this time though as this isn’t a full release.  The beta is still going on for a little while after I post this, so you might want to give it go whilst you can!

Rocket League

Rocket powered cars playing football.  If that sentence doesn’t excite you then this may not be the place for you.  Now, I may be a little late to the party in writing this, but the hoops game mode (rocket powered cars playing BASKETBALL) has just been released and so it seems like the perfect time to talk about this.  Also the people have demanded it apparently.  I’m not really much of a fan of sports games, although I am a bit partial to the occasional racing game.  So this was an interesting game for me to have a go at.  Thankfully it’s brilliant fun.  Especially online.

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You can obviously customise your rocket powered football car with hats.  My daughter chose the cake.

The game’s premise is exactly what you’d expect, 2 teams of 1 to 4 rocket cars try to stick a ball in a goal.  There’s really not much more to say than that.  It’s the game’s execution that makes it what it is though.  Speed boosts, wall driving, back flipping cars scoring goals.  The lunacy of the matches adds to the fun as cars smash each other out of the way to header (roofer?) the ball into the goalmouth for a team-mate to leap through the air to put the ball in for the lead.  The basketball mode is fairly similar, just a lot harder to score.  Controlling the ball in the air using a super-sonic car is about as difficult as it sounds.

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The basketball games, like most of the modes in fact, tend to start with everyone making a mad dash for the ball.

I found it a little tricky to get to grips with playing the game at first.  Keeping track of the ball as well as 5 other cars meant I spent a lot of time crashing into other players and driving up the walls.  Obviously I’m something of an expert now and score goals constantly.  Sometimes I even score in the opponent’s net!  I’m just that good at it now.  The game is great fun online against other players (of which there seems to be a never ending supply!) but the single player Season mode is a good place to go to learn the ropes.  You get a lot of content for your money!

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See!  I told you I could score goals!

Rocket League was developed and published by Psyonix.  I played the game on Playstation 4 and would recommend it if you like having fun.  Hope I see you on the pitch sometime!