The Top 7... sequels that improved nothing

5. Devil May Cry 2

Attempted improvements: A new playable character, bigger environments

But it’s on this list because: The first Devil May Cry didn’t so much break ground as invoke a global-killer asteroid to strike the Earth’s crust with enough force to give long-dead dinosaurs some seriously  troubling flashbacks. It was fast, it was tight, it was deep, it was beyond stylish, and it was a hell of a challenge. In short, it gave action games a kick up the arse hard enough to leave permanent bruising.

And then DMC2 arrived, with worrying speed. Worrying speed and a different development team. That combination is often the ear-splitting klaxon horn that heralds a disappointing sequel, and rarely has there been a better worked example of that particularly tragic rule than Devil May Cry 2.

It didn’t look as good as the first game (thanks to plainer urban environments that couldn’t hold an over-sized black candle to DMC’s gothic splendour), it didn’t play as well as the first game (thanks to simplified combat and weapons, and a new emphasis on bland, open environments over frenzied, close-range combat), it wasn’t as challenging as the first game (thanks to every monster – even bosses – being as hard as microwaved ice cream) and Dante was nowhere near as cool as in the first game (thanks to piss-weak scripting).

And that second character, with her own campaign on the second disc? Not too bad, but her game was nigh identical to Dante’s. Which, as we’ve subtly hinted above, wasn’t that great.

4. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

Attempted improvements: Putting two characters in each car (seriously, someone though it was a selling point), 16-player LAN play, dumbed-down gameplay (seriously, someone though it was a selling point)

But it’s on this list because: As fun as it was at times, the Gamecube’s Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was a sequel that didn’t seem to know where to go next. And with no clear evolutionary direction for the kart racing hijinx that Nintendo had pioneered eleven years earlier, it settled for more needless noodling and unnecessary bloat than an over-eating sumo.

Although briefly gigglesome in co-op multiplayer, putting two characters in each car was an unwanted gimmick that really amounted to little more than an elaborate reskin of a simple weapon-switching system. And worse, it heralded an unfortunate emphasis shift in the series’ gameplay. One of Nintendo’s earlier attempts at increased accessibility, Double Dash (we’re going to drop the exclamation marks now, because they demean us all) was much more about the weapons than the driving, making for silly, knockabout fun, but a game with a much-decreased care for player skill.

To that end, even Mario Kart’s iconic bunny hop was dropped in order to make banana skins harder to evade, and, possibly to make course navigation less intimidating, the tracks became wider and less challenging, which also killed the sense of speed. Want to know where Mario Kart Wii’s irritating weapon-spam nonsense came from? It all started here. Which was doubly frustrating given that Mario Kart DS managed to get things so right in between the release of the two home console versions.


Top 7


  • ShokuaHyuga - October 14, 2010 6:14 a.m.

    The most dissapointing sequel I've ever come across; Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution. All they did was take Clash of Ninja 3 and give it Wii controls, and add some pointless characters.
  • D0CCON - October 11, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    Sorry for the double post but scratch that. I just thought of Destroy All Humans. Oh, and FF7. Crap, this is easier than I thought.
  • D0CCON - October 11, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    I know it was released after this list was made, but Crackdown 2 felt worse than its predecessor, which is one hell of a feat I must say. Normally sequels can get at least .01% better, but I never thought they'd get worse.
  • JosefMotley - September 26, 2010 1:15 p.m.

    and the boosting is exactly the same as it is in every mario kart game as far as i'm concerned. the difference is purely aesthetic - you don't jump anymore - but the implementation is identical
  • JosefMotley - September 26, 2010 1:13 p.m.

    oops i just realised 4 months later that i meant to say "i will never understand anyone who thought mario KART 64 was a good game" not mario 64. my apologies. (both overrated though)
  • masternoone - June 4, 2010 5:12 a.m.

    i totally agree, all the dynasty warriors games are the same, BUT i do enjoy each new one. even though the gameplay is extremely similar if not the same, they always redo the story and almost always redo every characters attacks. i enjoy working on each character to final level, and when its all done, get the next game. its like replaying the first, but everything is different. if a game is good, why improve it? dynasty warriors is a game that cant really be improved. theres nothing to add. while it does belong on this list, i dont think its fair to say that its a bad thing that its not improved. just think of it as one game in 8 different installments. its like l4d2, gameplay is the same, but with new characters, enemies and weapons, and better graphics. i dont know about you guys, but im pretty sure thats what i want in a sequel. a sequel should be like an expansion on the original, not a completely different game. try new things in new titles, not sequels.
  • Clovin64 - May 27, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    Dont be so hard on Soul Calibur IV! The breakable armour option was an incredibly significant addition! For teenage boys at least lol. But your right, the singleplayer modes were a bit pants. And yes, Sheva is incredibly stupid. And yes, DMC2 sucked big hairy Dante balls.
  • avantguardian - May 26, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    to add a little, i think a lot of people's negative feelings towards these games stems from them not reaching expectations...this is more evident in games that are making a generational transition(such as double dash-yes there is boosting, i'm sorry it's just not the same), than games like MUA2, which doesn't seem like you really would expect too much improvement...they should almost be treated as separate lists; people expect to be wowed when they get a current gen(or is it next-gen?) version of a beloved series, and are disappointed when they're not...some people who don't own an older system or have a similar feeling of nostalgia for certain games may not understand criticism of current versions of games that they see no problems with...but i also like to think that we gamers over-think things a, ya, whatever..
  • avantguardian - May 26, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    @josefmotley: i don't make a point of commenting on games that i've never played...that's just...stupid...even the article itself points out the removal of the bunny hop, which i'm referring to, along with waggling the stick back and forth to MK wii, havn't played it, notice the lack of opinion...also.. "what.the.fuck." need to get butthurt if people don't like the games you do...
  • infestedandy - May 26, 2010 1:02 a.m.

    @gilgamesh310 Halo 2 definitely improved everything from the first game. Now, Halo 2 to Halo 3 is where the non-changes happened and I agree with you... why aren't they here!? Dave! Under your Resi 5 section you've got a few typos. Thought I'd give you a heads up: "So the gameplay remained exactly the same, but we got got slight pube-trimmings..." And then towards the end you spelled "falir" instead of "flair."
  • Gameguy94 - May 25, 2010 11:24 p.m.

    I would once again like to say I HATED Resistance 2. Now I'll leave...
  • Metroidhunter32 - May 25, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    I wouldn't complain to much about double dash killing the speed. It's about 3x as fast as mario kart wii. And also, I like it allot. More the the super nintendo one. and the DS one. And any others that they're about to make.
  • flabslapper - May 25, 2010 2:30 p.m.

    I disagree with MK:DD, only because MK:Wii was for worse for only one reason, and that reason was the exclusion of co-op Trophy mode. The reason why I had so much fun with MK64 and MK:DD was because my friend and I would play together against the atrocious AI and make sure one of us got in 1st place so we could unlock everything. When my friend drove TWO HOURS to my house so we could play MK:Wii together we were so disappointed that I nearly started crying, at least MK:DD was FUN for us But your opinion made sense to me at least, you made some good points that I will agree with. Also the ReCAPTCHA thing sys 'Series gissing', coincidence?
  • JosefMotley - May 25, 2010 12:47 p.m.

    also sorry to double comment but the guy above me reckons there was no drift boost in double dash cause there was no jump???? what. the. fuck. has he even played it?????? i will never understand anyone who thought mario 64 was a good game.
  • JosefMotley - May 25, 2010 12:46 p.m.

    oh it's so easy to poke fun at dynasty warriors. but aren't devil may cry and indeed afro samurai & dante's inferno just as ultimately shallow? button bashing is fun to some people, stop picking on dynasty, it's the biggest games journalist cliche ever. devil may cry one was just as painfully dull. also mario kart wii should really have been the object of your vitriol rather than double dash, which was way more playable and fair... but good points all round nonetheless.
  • avantguardian - May 25, 2010 11:44 a.m.

    i'm sorry, but double dash was sh*t... definitely a case (imho) of subtraction by addition... i LOVED MK and MK64 (though i never owned either system), but DD hurt me...ironically though, it was the one glaring subtraction that broke that game for me; without jumping the drift-boost was gone...unac****ingceptible... @oreopizza47 & authorityfigure; great points and i completely agree..GR needs to lay off on the RE5 hate(single player sheva is WeToddEd though, i'll give you that)... @phillipshaw: totally agree, probably in the "sequels that sh*t on potentially great game franchises" article...
  • gazdog9 - May 25, 2010 10:26 a.m.

    the Driver series . The first one , awesome driving physics , cool replays. Second one driving still good . On foot missions terrible. Driver 3 (No , I refuse to substitute the letter "e" in Driver for the number 3) , Window punchingly frustrating . How did it go so wrong
  • philipshaw - May 25, 2010 10:06 a.m.

    Spiderman 3 should be on the list, it took what was an amazing game in Spiderman 2 and added stuff to it which somehow managed to ruin what was great about the last game
  • AuthorityFigure - May 25, 2010 8:44 a.m.

    Go play Resident Evil IV after playing V and you'll see an undeniable difference... I think V is a successful sequel. IVs progression was imperfect anyway: the abandonment of all puzzles after chapter 2, the awkward save-points and single-stick control are things commonly critisized in GR articles anyway...
  • dpowers - May 25, 2010 8:19 a.m.

    even though its repetitive and hasn't changed dynast warriors is frickin sweet. samurai warriors was pretty good as well i'd say. the day they start having kills instead of KOs and blood and dismemberment is the day i never play another game (ok so bit of an exaggeration but it would be nice)

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