Usually, when a game is critically acclaimed, amassed a large following or more recently, sold a bunch of copied regardless of its reception (*cough* Ubisoft) gamers have come to expect a sequel. Unfortunately, some great games go overlooked, underrated and do not perform well enough in the sales department to warrant a sequel. Here at AButtonGames, we have comprised a list of 5 such games. Great games (we feel) that for one reason or another may never get the sequel they deserve. This list is in no particular order and focuses on slightly older games since most new games are too early in their life cycles to tell if a sequel will indeed be released.
Note: We have chosen to omit some of the more popular cases like Half-Life (3) to focus on some possibly lesser known games that deserve a second chance at fame. This list is not limited to one off franchises and is open to games with multiple entries in the series but will focus on the latest entry.
Initial release date: November 22, 2007
Developer: Sting Entertainment
Publishers: Atlus, Sting Entertainment, Bigben Interactive
Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2
Dokapon Kingdom is an exciting multiplayer RPG game with a board game feel. The game plays out like a mix between Mario Party and Final Fantasy Tactics. You start with a base class, earn gear, skills, items, and magic to conquer castles and dungeons. The game is enhanced by it’s party game elements and unlike most party games is based more around strategy than luck. You move around a map of the world in a turn based fashion and can find secret classes, hitman, ultimate weapons and other ways to make things fun. It’s one of the best party games for players that want a bit more depth and skill. Unfortunately the party game genre isn’t huge in the United States and is appreciated mostly in Japan. It seems that Atlus is more interested in making money off bigger titles like Etrian Odyssey and Persona and that a sequel release is not in the future for Dokapon Kingdom (At least not in the USA).
The Last Remnant
Release Date: March 24, 2009 (NA)
Platform: XBOX-360 and Windows PC
Publisher: Square Enix
The last Remnant follows the main protagonist Rush Sykes in a (massive) fictional world split into many kingdoms. After Rush’s home is invaded by unknown foes and his sister kidnapped Rush begins his journey to rescue Arena. Along his way you will encounter MANY enemies, forge many friendships and , discover the true powers within the many remnants that still stand. The Last Remnant features a very unique turn based style of combat where the player sets up ‘squads’ consisting on the characters you have acquired throughout your journey. The player does not control the individual attacks of each member within a squad but rather the general actions of that squad (trust me this is for the better). In battle, the player will choose from a variety of actions for each squad (melee, magic, healing.. etc..), once an action is chosen for that squad each character will use whatever skills available in that category to destroy the opposition. This game also features a very unique twist on character progression. For starters, characters do not level up in a traditional manner. Upon completion of each battle any of the characters may gain a slight boost to any of their stats. The game keeps track of the overall strength of your squads through ‘Battle Rank’ (BR). As your BR increases the enemies become stronger, but will drop better items and offer better rewards. As for equipment, you have complete control over what Rush equips but less control over the other characters. The other characters will request certain crafting parts to upgrade their gear based on how you want them to play (they will ask periodically). This is a very nice touch as managing each piece of gear for every character (trust me it’s a lot) would feel like an endless task while also being very difficult to maintain game balance. Between all of the side quests, dungeons, secret bosses and enemies, this game is packed with well over 100 hours of content. Unfortunately, this games was hurt by poor reviews due to a multitude of performance issues on the console version. Low framerate and inconsistent performance did not help the overall sales of this game and will likely be the reason we never see a sequel.
The Legend of Dragoon
Release Date: June 13, 2000 (NA)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Before we begin, I will admit that I am biased towards this game and I will always hold this game in a special place as one of my all-time favorite games. Our story begins when Dart, the protagonist, is heading home from a five year long journey to pursue the black monster, who killed his parents and destroyed his birth city, Neet. On the way, he is attacked by Feyrbrand, a mantis-like dragon controlled by the Sandora, a rebel faction in the Serdian civil war. Dart is saved by a mysterious female heroine named Rose, though they soon part ways. When he arrives at his hometown, Seles, he discovers that it has been destroyed by Sandora, and that Shana, Dart’s childhood friend (and later in the game, his love interest), has been taken away. Dart sets out to rescue her. Throughout the game, he is periodically joined by people that he helps along the way. This game is a traditional turn-based rpg with a twist, additions. When the ‘attack’ command is used in battle, depending on the currently equipped addition a series of button prompts (similar to a QuickTime event) will require the player to press the respective button at the proper time to continue the addition and chain additional hits. As additions are used successfully they will upgrade to include more attacks and damage. Additional additions (try saying that five times fast) are unlocked through both natural character progression (i.e their level) as well as through more rigorous means, like mastering certain other additions. To master an addition the player must successfully perform the addition in battle a certain amount of times (a few hundred usually). Overall, the fantastic story coupled with the engaging combat and loads of side content, Legend of Dragoon is a worthy if not often overlooked entry into the playstation 1 library. Unfortunately, this game will likely never see the sequel it deserves, lackluster sales and too much competition in the JRPG market would make this a high risk development project.
Release Date: February 11, 2005 (NA)
Platform: Playstation 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Black was a very ambitious first person shooter developed for the Playstayion 2. This game had some of the best graphics of any ps2 game, fairly straightforward but tight mechanics and a decent selection of weapons. Unlike most modern games, Black was not open world but was mission based (think army of two for a quick comparison). Each mission had multiple objectives in which the player must complete. A unique twist was that the player could only carry two weapons at once, meaning, using the correct weapons with the correct strategies is imperative if you are to be successful (especially on the harder difficulties). Part of what made Black so fun was the addition of end game unlockables for future playthrough or mission repeats. If a player finished the game and all objectives on the hardest difficulty they received ‘Silver Guns’. These guns, while functionally the same to their non-silver brethren, had unlimited bullets. Running around in a game with tight mechanics, unlimited bullets, destructible environments and bad guys who totally had it coming!! Is a great way to relieve stress. This game was a blast and certainly deserved a proper sequel.
You may have noticed I said ‘proper sequel’. Although this game was rather well received, an interview with co-creator Stuart Black (I see what they did there) revealed that while plans for a sequel were underway, both companies had conflicting visions for said sequel and it was eventually scrapped by EA in favor of other projects. However, a few of the game’s original developers and creators did join forces to release Bodycount in 2011. Bodycount, was a spiritual successor of sorts, but was not the game we wanted or deserved. Many of the fundamental mechanics that made black so great were removed or changed to an unrecognizable degree. Due to the company’s differences, I do not think we will see a Black 2.
Drakan: The Ancient Gates
Release Date: January 28, 2002
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Most of us can agree that bathing grotesque creatures in dragonfire is one of those most satisfying experience in games and if you have never done this then you should give it a try. Sadly there is a serious lack of games that allow for you to ride a dragon and set baddies ablaze. That’s what Drakan is, an amazing dragon riding, hack and slash, free roaming, exploration RPG. You play as Rynn who starts the game by burying the dead from her destroyed village. She then finds the culprit: The Desert Lords, and she must stop them from amassing an army of monsters. Rynn sets off on a mission with her Elder Dragon (Arokh) to open the 4 gates that will lead to the mother dragon: Mala Shae. Drakan features battles where you can burn enemies to a crisp with Arokh, enter dungeons and slay monsters (Arokh can’t follow here), and even aerial battles. The game is so satisfyingly gory and has pretty good graphics for a PS2 game. Surreal Software made Drakan as a sequel to Drakan: Order of the Flame but there seems to be no additional sequel in the future. In 2005 Surreal Software was taken over by Monolith Studios and they have been busy making games revolving around Lord of the Rings. I haven’t given up hope for a 3rd Drakan game but it may have to wait until Monolith Studios sucks all the money out of the LOTR franchise, and that may take a while.