What happens when you create something the world loves so much, they cry for more? Do you go bigger and better or focused and honed? It is a question that has haunted developers for years; how do we go beyond what already took everything we had in the first place? Sometimes sequels can only linger in the shadow of their big brothers, but once in a while the young protege steps out of the classroom and becomes the master. Here are my top 5 best follow ups that lived up to the expectation.
5. The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Direct sequels to Zelda games don’t come along too often, so when they do, the whole world is watching to see what happens. No one could see a way of following up the legendary Ocarina Of Time… but Nintendo had a trick up their sleeve.
They took away the bright sun of Hyrule Field and replaced it with the dark, brooding Moon of the land of Termina. Time was always slipping away and with the clock always running down to your doom, the atmosphere was electric. A real mind blower and a classic that will always test even the sturdiest of resolves when the Moon comes crashing to the floor time and time again.
4. Mass Effect 2
ME2 took all of the grandiose spectacle and Sci-Fi wizadry of the first and made it streamlined and accessible. The Universe was even more dense than last time and the story was a real eye widener. A beautiful game intertwined with superb voice work and a cracking sense of scale made this not only a worthy follow up, but a true successor in every single way.
Now, some might say that the third was even better… but in fear of my life I shall say no more.
3. Soul Calibur 2
The first Soul Calibur was a masterpiece; it wowed us all with its graphical clout and epic battles. Considered by many to be near perfect, no one thought the second would blow it away, but that’s just what it did.
Filled with even more characters and content than should be possible back on those PS2 era consoles, it is truly a monster. The fighting was smooth, gorgeous and each character had their own personality that shone through in their delightful animations. There was even an RPG type mode where you could unlock weapons and fight through dungeons. This is what springs to my mind when people say games are “a time sink”; a world to get lost in and a game for the ages.
2. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
If the first Sonic showed the world that Mario wasn’t the only hero in 16 bit town, then Sonic 2 was Sega throwing a haymaker straight at those folks at Nintendo.
The level design was impeccable and the difficulty level seemed designed to delight and frustrate in sublime balance. Sonic felt responsive and the boss fights took skill and precision. The first time you collect all of the Chaos Emeralds and see your little blue pal turn into the invincible Super Sonic, you know that Sega meant business. Was it the best of the 2D platformers? Debatable. Was it the fastest? Most definitely.
1. Resident Evil 2
With Resident Evil, Capcom showed the world that creepy mansions could be scary all over again, it took us on a journey we would never forget. The second though, took us into the heart of Racoon City and let us explore the vast halls of the maze-like RCPD Police Station. The atmosphere could be cut with a knife and the haunting melodies that played as you crept through the desolate corridors sent a chill down your spine.
It is challenging, scary, thrilling and intriguing; the new ‘lickers’ gave us all sleepless nights and the twists and turns kept us guessing. I even played this recently to make sure it wasn’t just nostalgia, but the exquisite pacing still kept me on the edge of my seat. A series that hit its peak with its second lap of the horror park; never bettered and never beaten, a true horror classic.
Maybe Capcom should take a walk down memory lane; they might enjoy the scenery.