Top 25 Games Where the Sequel Was Better Than the Original

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A company can have a great idea but miss the initial execution. Perhaps the budget needed to be bigger to match their vision, or the team needed more time to bring their concept to life fully. Whatever the case, a sequel can usually fix those problems.

One great example of this comes from Ubisoft and the Assassin's Creed franchise. Many people didn't care for the first game. When the follow-up arrived, however, most people loved it. To this day, Assassin's Creed II is often cited as an example during these discussions. 

1. Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2
Image Credit: Electronic Arts.

The original Titanfall arrived as an Xbox exclusive a few months after the launch of Xbox One. Titanfall came as a strictly multiplayer affair with no traditional campaign, something that the team at Respawn changed with Titanfall 2. The popular multiplayer action returned in this sequel, but the developers also included a proper story. The campaign remains popular among fans and a highlight of the game. Still, unfortunately, Titanfall 2 didn't meet its potential due to poor release timing on the part of its publisher, Electronic Arts.

2. Half-Life 2

Half Life 2
Image Credit: Valve.

The original HalfLife has become a seminal title in the first-person shooter genre. With that being the case, Half-Life 2 had big shoes to fill, but Valve succeeded in making a game even bigger than the original. At the time of release, Half-Life 2 pushed the industry forward with its physics-based gameplay. The story resonated with fans, partially because it ended on a cliffhanger, and Valve has refused to release any other downloadable content to finish the story.

3. Portal 2

Portal 2 Video Game
Image Credit: Valve.

The original Portal features quite a few iconic moments. The gameplay can also be a lot of fun. Valve took it up a notch with the sequel, continuing the story and introducing co-op. Going through a story explicitly designed to play with a friend, both players can get mocked by Glados while trying to figure out how to survive her deadly tests.

4. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag video Game
Image Credit: Ubisoft.

A few games into the series, Ubisoft struck gold with this pirate adventure. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag casts you out to sea as the player assumes the role of a pirate and an assassin. This entry in the Assassin's Creed anthology has become very popular with the fans. It features naval combat, sea shanties, sailing on the open sea, and a story where a pirate struggles to learn what it means to be an assassin. This particular Assassin's Creed title has gained so much popularity that strong rumors indicate the development team will remake the game for current consoles.

5. Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 Video Game (2010)
Image Credit: Electronic Arts.

The original Mass Effect started as an exclusive on Xbox 360. It featured RPG gameplay and decisions that would affect the course of actions in future titles. Mass Effect 2 had more of an action setting while retaining some of what made the original popular. The hybrid approach paid off, as many people selected Mass Effect 2 as the best game in the trilogy. 

6. Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption Video Game
Image Credit: Rockstar Games.

The successor to Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption, takes place during the decline of the American frontier in 1911. John Marston's family has disappeared, and he will do whatever it takes to get them back. This includes ensuring that three members of his former gang get brought to justice. Red Dead Redemption features an open world in the Western United States and parts of Northern Mexico. The gameplay utilizes the third-person perspective as well as a morality system. Other characters in the game respond to Marston depending on the decisions made in critical moments.

7. Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
Image Credit: Nintendo.

One of the best platforming titles of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3 showcases some ideas that become the benchmark for the entire genre. Super Mario Bros. 3 features a world map for the first time, along with branching paths that give the player a little control over which level gets cleared next. This game also introduces now iconic Mario moves such as the ground pound. Leading up to the game's release, the movie The Wizard also arrived in theaters, showcasing Super Mario Bros. 3 to the world for the first time.

8. Street Fighter 2

Street Fighter II
Image Credit: Capcom.

Street Fighter 2 has the interesting distinction that most people who like it never played the original game. Street Fighter 2 dominated the arcade scene when it first arrived and did well in homes once it came on consoles. The first game didn't show up in many arcades at all, which makes the fact that we got a second one a bit of a minor miracle. 

9. Mortal Kombat 2

Mortal Kombat 2
Image Credit: Midway.

Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter have always competed with each other. Mortal Kombat has always been about violence and performing fatalities on your opposition. Mortal Kombat 2 brought that to a new level, especially once it arrived on home consoles. From the comfort of their own home, gamers could now rip out their opponent's spine or go in the opposite direction and perform a Friendship finisher. 

10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

The first Uncharted game had some good ideas, but the execution could have been better. That changed when the sequel arrived, and Naughty Dog started showing off the power of the PlayStation 3. This game also introduced characters like Chloe, who would become very popular with fans and later receive her own spin-off adventure. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves allowed the player to get to know Nathan, Elena, and Sully better and enjoy their globe-trotting adventures.

11. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Image Credit: Activision.

The game that put Call of Duty on the map, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, has made a massive difference for first-person shooters everywhere. Released in 2007, the story takes place shortly in 2011. It started the Modern Warfare storyline that remains popular to this day. This game introduced the players to iconic characters such as Captain Price, Soap, Gaz, and Makarov. 

12. Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City Video Game
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, gives the player the freedom to explore Arkham City, a super-prison within Gotham City. This game features third-person action and has Batman battling with some of his most well-known adversaries. As Batman, the player can glide quietly around the city on his quest for justice or walk up to an enemy and punch them in the face. Some of Batman's famous gadgets also appear in this game, as the player gets to use the Cryptographic Sequencer to hack security consoles, a remote-controlled Batarang, smoke bombs, and more.

13. Super Metroid

Super Metroid
Image Credit: Nintendo.

The most popular entry in the Metroid franchise, Super Metroid, helped create the “Metroidvania” genre that gamers know and love. Released in 1994, Super Metroid follows up the events from Metroid II: Return of Samus. This story takes place on the planet Zebes. Samus must search the planet for a Metroid stolen by the leader of the space pirates, Ridley. Super Metroid features 2-D side-scrolling gameplay that rewards exploration. Previously inaccessible areas will open up once secrets become unearthed and Samus learns new abilities.

14. Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 Video Game (2012)
Image Credit: 2K/Aspyr.

Borderlands 2 picks up approximately five years after the events of the original. Players get introduced to a new group of heroes who must take down a new villain, Handsome Jack. Borderlands 2 features open-world gameplay that has both primary and optional missions. One of the calling cards for the Borderlands franchise, the procedurally-generated loot system, gives the player an almost unlimited number of weapons and other gear. Borderlands 2 also features four-player cooperative gameplay, which adds another layer to an already stellar experience.

15. Resistance 2

Resistance 2 Video Game (2008)
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

The first game in the Resistance franchise launched with the PlayStation 3. The first game could have done better, but the sequel changed everything for this trilogy. Players assume the role of Nathan Hale, a person battling against a Chimeran invasion on both the West and East coast. Resistance 2 also features a multiplayer suite with the standard modes gamers expect to find in these games. One thing that Resistance 2 does that many other games don't revolve around is a separate co-op campaign mode. 

16. Saints Row: The Third

Saints Row: The Third Video Game (2011)
Image Credit: THQ.

The Saints' popularity has grown substantially since we last saw them. Everyone looks at the Saints as celebrities now, complete with endorsements. The Saints have merged with the Ultor Corporation, creating their brand. The game begins with the Saints attempting to rob a bank owned by the Syndicate.

When that doesn't go well, the crew gets captured and then stage an escape. After the escape, the Syndicate's mission is to eliminate the Saints. Saints Row: The Third features open-world gameplay in a third-person perspective. Like Grand Theft Auto, players can do almost anything that comes to mind in this adult adventure. 

17. Dark Cloud 2

Dark Cloud 2 Video Game (2002)
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Dark Cloud 2 has procedurally generated dungeons where players must battle monsters and collect rewards. In most role-playing games, the characters level up, but the weapons gain experience in this one. As the weapons become more powerful, their stats increase, giving the player an edge in battle. Weapons can evolve into a more potent form once the player hits specific requirements. Weapons can degrade with use, though, and break. Once that occurs, it becomes up to the player to get them fixed before using the weapon again.

18. Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 Video Game (2009)
Image Credit: Valve.

Left 4 Dead 2 boasted five different cooperative campaigns during its initial release. Each campaign revolves around four survivors trying to get to a safe space, except for the final mission in each campaign. In that instance, the survivors must call for rescue and survive against an onslaught of enemies until help arrives. Left 4 Dead 2 also features five modes: the co-op campaign, single-player mode, versus mode, survival, and scavenge. Left 4 Dead 2 also features a Realism mode that increases the difficulty and makes survival much more of a challenge.

19. Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2
Image Credit: Capcom.

Mega Man 2 features Mega Man's ongoing battle against Dr. Wiley. Mega Man 2 features eight worlds and bosses to fight. The player can play these stages in any order. However, Mega Man gets the boss's signature weapon after defeating him. Keeping that in mind, the order in which the player goes in can impact the gameplay experience. Mega Man 2 requires precise platforming for veterans and newcomers, so going through the levels in the “correct” order can be important.

20. Halo 2

Halo 2
Image Credit: Microsoft Game Studios.

Halo 2 brought everything together for not only the franchise but Microsoft as well. While Halo: Combat Evolved moved a lot of Xbox consoles, Halo 2 cemented this franchise as one of the most important in Microsoft's stable of games. Halo 2 continues the story of Master Chief as he battles against the Covenant. The story featured an exciting twist where one could play as the Arbiter.

21. Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2
Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks.

Dishonored 2 gives the players a choice on how to handle situations. Will the player utilize stealth to try and accomplish the mission or take a more direct approach and engage the enemy head-on? The stealth approach makes the missions easier.  Dishonored 2 received praise for improving on this mechanic from the original game. 

22. System Shock 2

system shock 2
Image Credit: Nightdive Studios.

Presented as an action role-playing game combined with survival horror, System Shock 2 ended up being the unofficial predecessor to BioShockSystem Shock 2 features action from the first-person perspective with character customization and a development system. In the beginning, the player can choose which path to go on. Each route has its different advantages and will give the player additional bonuses. 

23. Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. Melee Video Game
Image Credit: Nintendo.

Super Smash Bros. has become a top-rated franchise for Nintendo. This second installment featured everyone from the first game and some new characters and ideas. Single-player action featured several challenges to complete, and multiplayer allowed up to four players in a free-for-all to see which character would be the last one standing. The majority of the stages in the game came from popular Nintendo franchises, such as the Temple stage from The Legend of Zelda.

24. State of Decay 2

State of Decay 2
Image Credit: Xbox Game Studios.

Featuring zombie survival action, State of Decay 2 puts the player into a world where the player needs to scavenge to survive. The game takes place in an open-world environment. It allows for up to four people to team up to build a base and create a small society that gives them the best chance of survival against the horde. The economy in the game includes trading items with people, helping them, or even potentially recruiting them into the group. 

25. Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2
Image Credit: Ubisoft.

Watch Dogs 2 has similarities to the Grand Theft Auto series of games with its open-world gameplay. Each mission can have multiple options, some better than others. Players assume the role of Marcus Holloway, a hacker who works with DedSec. Each time Marcus completes a mission, the follower count for DedSec grows. Try to hack the system or take a louder and more forceful approach. Watch Dogs 2 also has cooperative multiplayer with an exciting twist of being able to team up with other players to take down a problem maker.