30 Days of Video Games: Day 22, A Disappointing Sequel

We all know the feeling: you’ve played a game and loved it dearly, and then the sequel is announced!  The release date is given; you go pre-order, and may even spring for the limited edition.  You count the days until the midnight release, and come said release date you’re waiting in line eagerly.  You get home, pop it in, begin playing and… it’s not really that good.  So you give it a while longer and you still don’t really like where it’s going.  You begin to pine for the original, the one that you loved so much and got you hooked.  You start comparing.  You become resentful and then angry.  You throw controllers.

Okay, so maybe not quite that extreme.  But the sequel that most disappointed me did indeed have me throwing a controller at the wall.  It’s not my proudest gaming moment, but I think it speaks volumes about just how much I did. Not. Like. This. Game.

I’ve played games that were just okay, or that I didn’t like and just didn’t care for (see my apathy toward Dead Space).  But the sequel that most disappointed me was Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for the Game Cube.

Before my extreme Dragon Age love, there was Metroid.  When I came back to gaming after a long apostasy, it was because I decided I wanted to play Metroid again.  I got involved in a large Metroid community and played every Metroid game I could get my eager hands on.  I played through Metroid Prime at least four or five times, so my glee was great when Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.  The forum community I moderated exploded in a flurry of discussion.  What would the plot be?  With each new bit Nintendo teased us with we speculated.  We wondered if they’d block attempts at sequence breaks and secret worlds.  Who and what were the Luminoth?  What was the Ing?  Was the Metroid Prime’s real form inside of Dark Samus?  So many questions awaiting answers!

I pre-ordered at my local GameStop and proudly wore my prize: an olive-green retro-style Samus the Bounty Hunter t-shirt.  Then I waited until release day.  I don’t remember if they did a midnight release; probably not.  But the day it came out I went straight from work and picked up my shiny copy, got home, and popped it into my Game Cube and started playing.

The disappointment wasn’t immediate.  My love of all things Metroid pushed aside any objectivity I may have had.  I worked my way through the Agon Wastes and the Temple Grounds; I talked to the Luminoth and found my way through Dark Aether.  I got my first suit upgrade.  Great.  But as I started trying to navigate more of Light vs. Dark Aether, and got more into the game, the more redundant the game felt.  I tried to tell myself “Hey, it’s early on.  Give it a chance.  You’re only in Torvus Bog!”  And the Metroid community was very helpful toward a poor sot like me who needed assistance figuring out the puzzle of the Light vs. Dark worlds.

Then I hit the Boost Guardian.  Metroid Prime 2 continued on with Prime’s formula of having a guardian of sorts for major upgrades.  Prime’s guardians were challenging, and did frustrate me from time to time.  But they were manageable.  But this one?  I asked for help; I got kind replies giving me tips.  I watched videos (I think).  But no matter what I did I could not beat the damned Boost Ball Guardian.  I watched for its cues that it was going to boost; I fired all the light ammo I could at it when it was in blob form.  I exploited the tiny ledge on a pillar to stand on that the developers hadn’t taken out.  And I just couldn’t beat the thing!

I spent hours one night trying to defeat it.  I took deep breaths and did relaxation techniques.  And finally after about 53 tries it beat me again.  So I made a “Aaargh!” of defiance and threw the controller at the wall and flopped back in defeat.

I did eventually beat the Boost Guardian, but then I had to go on to the Spider Guardian and the Power Bomb Guardian and do all the back and forth through the light and dark worlds and then go collect the stupid keys… by then I was just done.  The game was so repetitive and needlessly difficult that I just threw in the towel when I threw that controller.  To this day I’ve never finished Prime 2, and I really don’t have any interest in it. Every time I think “Maybe I could give it another whirl” I just don’t, because I don’t feel like putting myself back there.  I loved the music and atmospheres, but the game play and everything just turned me off.  If I remember right I’m on the second to last boss (Emporer Ing?  Or was it Dark Samus?  See, I can’t even remember).  But oddly, that doesn’t bother me at all.

I’ve played and finished Prime 3: Corruption, and I LOVED that game.  It was Metroid the way it was meant to be, in my opinion.  In my opinion we could also play Prime and Corruption and call it a day without the interruption of Echoes.

Tomorrow: Day 23, Game with Best Graphics and/or Art Style.  Or, JayRain goes way out of her element…

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6 comments on “30 Days of Video Games: Day 22, A Disappointing Sequel

  1. “When I came back to gaming after a long apostasy…”

    Holy crap, you just legitimately used “apostasy” in a sentence! And I had to look up the definition, hilariously, because I only ever hear it regularly used in the DA sense. 🙂

    “In my opinion we could also play Prime and Corruption and call it a day without the interruption of Echoes.”

    It’s something about “Part 2 of 3,” I think. I tend to really like the “middle of a trilogy” parts, because they are so full of potential (and “it looks bad for our heroes”-ness). They’re very full of adrenaline, they don’t have to introduce the world nor wrap everything up, and that is what often makes them my favorite part. But sometimes, because they neither get to introduce a world nor wrap anything up, the middle part turns into nothing more than a weak bridge that is rendered useless by Part 3. I feel like this happens a lot especially in video games (although it is certainly not solely a video game issue), Companies will just throw something out knowing that 3 is already in the works, not even trying to make a story that’s capable of standing on it’s own. The thing about the potential of Part 2 is that whether a disappointing sequel is just a weak bridge that can be redeemed or strengthened (or at least harmlessly ignored) by Part 3, or itself the decline of a series that should never have been sequelized at all cannot be seen until Part 3! I feel like that’s where we are with Dragon Age, for the record.

    And then sometimes a sequel is just a sequel that manages to kick all kinds of ass on its own two feet, like Portal 2.

  2. Master of Orion 3 for me. “We took out all the ship battles so you don’t have to micromanage!”

    I LIKE micromanaging. I live for that! Best part of the game ended up being that my cat found the blue cursor entertaining. They took all the stuff that I found fun and got rid of it, and they took all the stuff I hated and expanded on it. I definitely had a disappoint.

    That’s one of the pitfalls of sequels. Sometimes they change it up in very disappointing ways.

  3. Neverwinter Nights 2……The single player ok…..the multiplayer (the whole basis for me wanting the game) HORRIBLE. No online servers can host it well. WORST WASTE OF MONEY….EVER

  4. Uncharted 3. Like so many others, I had such high hopes that the game would surpass the brilliance of Uncharted 2 (which set the bar incredibly high to begin with), but it didn’t. Uncharted 3 was a fun game, but its story fell short and it just got unnecessarily weird at points. Plus, it didn’t really add upon the gameplay – just more point, shoot, move. But that would have been fine if the story had been stronger.

  5. Most sequels I have typically found to be as good or better than the original (assuming we’re talking about the 2nd game in a series). Worst exception: Final Fantasy II (Japanese NES, not the awesome Final Fantasy IV). Runners up: Dragon Age II, Dungeon Master II, Zelda II, Super Mario 2, the difference being that I still enjoyed them.

    I agree partially with Jared on NWN2. Hate the multiplayer compared to NWN1, but because the single-player experience was expanded greatly, I consider it a success.

  6. I’d have to go with Interstate ’82. Interstate ’76 is the best driving game I’ve ever played. It was Mad Max on steroids with a 70’s groove. Story, game mechanics, everything was perfect in this game. Then some idiot decided to try and fix what wasn’t broken in the sequel. Most notably the way the cars felt. I ’76 NAILED the car physics down, I ’82 broke them completely. It was really sad. I might have even cried.

    As far as current gen, I have to go with Fable 2. Don’t promise me an open world and put me on rails. And GTAIV, the graphic improvements were nice but the gameplay pales in comparison to Vice City and San Andreas. And seriously, after 20 years of programing games you’d think they’d know to put in more save points during a mission. Nothing worse than having to drive across half the map 16 times because it’s near impossible to shoot a guy off a bike who has a head start on you while trying to dodge dumbass denizens of digitized New York through alleyways.

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