10 Video Game Franchises That Peaked With a Sequel
1. Mass Effect 2
The first Mass Effect was not a bad game, but was hampered by RPG mechanics clumsily mashed up with a shooter interface. The sequel streamlined the gameplay to simplify all the tedious elements. But then Mass Effect 3 brought the story line to a controversial ending.
2. Diablo II
Diablo maybe invented the action RPG, but it wasn’t designed with a strong multiplayer mode in mind. The sequel fixed all that, and with more robust online play. Diablo III came out in 2012, but was just missing some of that old Diablo II magic.
3. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Baldur’s Gate was the first of Black Isle’s Infinity Engine Dungeons & Dragons adaptations. Although the gameplay was solid, the world felt empty. The bustling cityscapes of Baldur’s Gate 2 took the mechanics and bolted them to a better-designed game world. A third game fell apart when Black Isle went bankrupt.
4. System Shock 2
Among the first shooter-RPG hybrids, System Shock had a deep world, but terrible graphics. Its sequel brought a slightly improved visual feel and sinister difficulty to the immersive game world. Although System Shock 3 was never made, the Bioshock games are considered to be at least spiritual successors.
5. Street Fighter II
The obscure Street Fighter was an arcade machine favorite from the 1980s. Its sequel opened up character selection, deepened the controls, and became massively popular, generating several sequels of its own.
6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
The basic gameplay mechanics of the Sonic series were present from the first entry in the series, but a cleaned-up visual presentation and the addition of sidekick Tails make this arguably the best of the Sonics.
7. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill for the PS1 distinguished itself from the survival-horror masses with a more restrained, less combat-oriented style. The sequel introduced signature villain Pyramid Head, and the deeply psychological story attracted many new players.
8. Resident Evil 4
The first Resident Evil invented the survival-horror genre. But it was the fourth installment that blew players away with top-notch voice talent and breathtaking detail.
9. Fallout 3
Another of Black Isle’s amazing 1990s RPGs, Fallout created a post-apocalyptic world with a 1950s propaganda aesthetic, but featured a relatively closed world. Fallout 3 finally delivered the opened-ended gameplay that fans craved.
10. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
The first Tony Hawk game married video games to the extreme sports icon, but it was the second outing that brought huge success. Publisher Activision tried numerous times to catch lightning in a bottle again, but never exceeded this digital 900-degree flip.