I love new IPs. There’s nothing like trying a brand new idea for the first time and loving it. However, once a new IP has been finished and put aside, it’s only natural to want to play more of that franchise, namely sequels. Some games get the sequels they deserve, some get way too many sequels (I’m looking at you, Guitar Hero), while others gets brushed under the mat, seemingly forgotten by the gamer gods. Some of the games I have listed below were more high-profile in their day, but all ten of these sequels are worthy of consideration.
- Jade Empire II
It’s hard to get on BioWare’s case for anything this console generation. Some companies have trouble making one successful franchise, but BioWare has created two of them (Mass Effect, Dragon Age). However, amidst all of their success, another IP of theirs has fallen by the wayside, a game that brought BioWare’s fantastic RPG stylings to the Far East: Jade Empire. Jade Empire featured a terrific story, fantastic martial arts-based combat system, and a dialogue system that laid the foundation for what we see in BioWare’s current offerings. If you call yourself a BioWare fan and you haven’t played Jade Empire, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. One playthrough and you’ll see why Jade Empire needs more time in the limelight.
- Darkstalkers 4
For a series that Capcom has mined for characters since its inception, the lack of a new Darkstalkers game is outright lunacy. It’s a shame when two kids I heard talking about Marvel vs Capcom 3 have this exchange:
Kid 1: “Who’s that bat girl? I’ve never seen her before.”
Kid 2: “No idea, but she’s HOT! What game is she from?”
Kid 1: “I don’t know, that’s why I asked you!”
Me: “DARKSTALKERS. Look it up.”
Darkstalkers was a unique fighter, with a cast of characters out of your worst nightmares: a zombie, a mummy, a succubus, a werewolf, etc. More importantly, Darkstalkers introduced a lot of core mechanics that fighters still use today. Most importantly, though, the games were just FUN. Somehow the franchise was overshadowed by the rest of the fighting library, but with rumors of a new game coming soon, that could change in a hurry.
- Shadow of Rome 2
When gamers think of Capcom nowadays, they think of Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and on-disc DLC. However, in the PS2 days, Capcom was taking a lot more risks with original IP. Games like Darkwatch, Haunting Ground, and God Hand are all example of excellent one-and-done Capcom games from last generation. My favorite example, though, is a bloody romp through the era of Julius Caesar: Shadow of Rome. The game sported excellent and uber-gory gladitorial combat, complete with some of the best bonuses in gaming (example: crushing an opponent’s head gets you the “Juicy Tomato” bonus). There was also some stealth missions that broke up the gore, but while the story improved from these scenes, the overall experience did not. If Capcom wanted to bring the bloodshed and pageantry of Ancient Rome back to life, I’m all about it. Just, not so much of the stealth, huh?
- Mario’s Time Machine 2
If you played this game, then you know where I’m coming from. What seems like a dumb shovelware offering was actually a deep and deviously hard game. It wasn’t enough that you had to go back in time and fix everything that Bowser screwed up, but you had to do it in order or else you wouldn’t be able to advance. Imagine this on the Wii U: you travel back in time to investigate Bowser’s shenanigans, and while you’re there you’ll examine objects, follow footprints, and talk to historical figures, all using the Wii U’s controller. That could be an enjoyable learning experience for young Nintendo fans, right?
- Kingdom Hearts III
I’m not dwelling on this. We all want it. They’re taking their sweet time. It sucks. This is my only commentary. Next.
- Brutal Legend
Brutal Legend got a bad rap. This game was truly incredible, save for a confusing real-time strategy approach to combat. This game did everything else right, but with such an important part of the game not satisfying the masses, Brutal Legend is most likely destined to one-and-done status. This is a damn travesty. I say give Eddie Riggs and his crew another shot, but make it more of a straight-forward hack-and-slasher. The open-world travel in The Deuce is fine, but no more Stage Battles. If the first Brutal Legend had done this, we would be talking about a sequel as a sure thing. Tim Schaefer, if you ever read this, I’d be happy to donate to Brutal Legend 2 via Kickstarter. Just tell me when.
- Sword of Vermilion
This is one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played, but MAN did I enjoy every minute of it. A fantasy RPG for the Genesis, Sword of Vermilion is one of those retro gems that you find in your drawer covered with dust, pop it into the Genesis “for old time’s sake,” then realize it’s four hours later and you’re late for dinner. It’s easy to get lost in this world, fighting monsters and traveling a giant world map filled with dungeons and danger. If Sega wanted to go back to the war of Excalabria and Cartahena sign me up. I’d be happy to fight the battle again.
- Comix Zone
Sticking with the Genesis, I have a confession to make: I miss Sketch Turner. I miss fighting my way through his comic, trusty rat Roadkill at my side. Imagine if this franchise came back as an open-world, Epic Mickey-style adventure game, fighting through different panels of a comic just like the old game. Would that not be an incredible game? That sounds like a XBLA game waiting to happen. Comix Zone now can be considered a “cult classic,” but with a new game Sega could have their next big thing waiting in the wings.
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Don’t give me that “Paper Mario is the sequel to this game!” garbage. It’s a spiritual successor AT BEST. I want Geno, Mallow, Booster, Marrymore, Nimbus Land, all of it. I want it to be done by Nintendo and Square again. I want the whole experience again. This game is one of the best Super Nintendo games of all time. It deserves a direct sequel. Dammit Nintendo, just do it already!
- The World Ends With You
Ah, The World Ends With You, one of the biggest surprises of my gaming career. A random recommendation turned into one of the most engaging RPG experiences on the DS. The dual-screen combat system takes a LOT of getting used to, but the excellent story is well worth the learning curve. Plus, this is the only thing in existence that had me enjoying J-Pop. ENJOYING IT. Square has shown that they haven’t forgotten about the game, including the main characters in the 3DS Kingdom Hearts game coming out this summer. Let’s hope they also remember to give this franchise another installment.
What sequels are you itching for?
Jason Fanelli oozes the blood of a gamer, having played games for over 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @bigmanfanelli for more irreverent banter you may not agree with. He’s all for good games discussion.