Okay, so the game doesn't have to be shitty (nor does the sequel have to be incredible), but it happens too many times where a company has a meh first game, but then follows it up with a great sequel that mostly fixes what was wrong with the original game and achieves the greatness the previous game was just hinting at. What are some instances of this you can name from personal experience?
- Age of Empires (meh) to Age of Empires II: Age of Kings (amazing)
The first Age of Empires game had some good concepts going on in the background, but it was held back by too many questionable design decisions. The second game came along, and realized the potential of the original game. In the process, it delivered arguably the best strategy game of all time, and one of the greatest games ever.
- Assassin's Creed (flawed) to Assassin's Creed II (amazing)
The original Assassin's Creed suffered from the Ubisoft curse of too many great ideas bouncing around that all falter in execution. While it was still a great game, it had too much that held it back, and its promise was ultimately realized by its sequel that became among the best games of its generation.
- Far Cry 2 (crap) to Far Cry 3 (great)
Far Cry 2 was just an ill conceived and poorly thought out game- its sequel, Far Cry 3, came as a big surprise to everybody, because no one expected it to creep up like it did. Great gameplay and some excellent characterization helped Far Cry 3 stand out in an otherwise mediocre year for gaming.
- Persona/Persona 2 (mediocre) to Persona 3/Persona 4 (amazing)
Persona and Persona 2 (both Persona 2 games) were ultimately really poor spin off takes on the Shin Megami Tensei concept. The promise of the Persona concept would ultimately be realized in Persona 3, which was a breath of fresh air in a fast stagnating genre, and then further improved in Persona 4, which would cement Persona as one of the forerunners in the RPG genre.
- Metroid/Metroid II (promising) to Super Metroid (GOAT)
Let's face it, the first two Metroid games were largely underwhelming, with a lot of poor design that got a free pass because we flat out didn't know better. The true realization of Metroid would come with SNES's seminal 1994 masterpiece, Super Metroid. With tight game design that stands at the pinnacle of what 2D has to offer, Super Metroid, regarded as one of the greatest games ever made, was an amazing leap from its limited predecessors.
This is just the five examples that came to my mind. Some others I was considering were GTA II to GTA III, Assassin's Creed III to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Killzone to Killzone 2, Uncharted to Uncharted 2, and so on.
What are some instances of an underwhelming game followed up by an amazing sequel, in your opinion?