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Franchises that have lost their initial luster and fast
Editorial by 
June 19, 2009, 20:39:07
NEGATIVITY THREAD! Well, this is the Negative World, after all.

I've been thinking about a few franchises lately that started off with a ton of potential, but for one reason or another they have lost themselves along the way, to the point where I can barely even care about them anymore. Here are a few offhand...

Katamari Damacy- Man, I went nuts over this game. Sure it's gimmicky and short, but it was so much fun. And the style and music rocked too. I'd play the stages over and over and over just trying to up my scores. The sequel didn't have quite the same appeal, but I still enjoyed it. And after that... meh. In this case I do have to wonder if it was simply that they did as much as they could with the gimmick and there just plain isn't much of anywhere else to go with the franchise. Yet I have to think, in the right creative hands, it could move to the next level. Hmm. Well, it seems to have mostly disappeared now anyway, though the PS3 is getting that "best of" version.

Super Monkey Ball- Rolling around seems to be the theme here. The first Super Monkey Ball is, quite simply, one of my favorite games ever. Few games have both a completely satisfying single player mode and a completely satisfying multiplayer mode. It had the right blend of casual pick-up-and-playness and definite challenge in later stages. Again, the sequel was great but didn't have quite the same impact. And again, ever since then... meh. I do think the single player in the Wii version was decent, if they polished it up a bit more and went back to 10 or so focused mini-games instead of 50 terrible one... maybe? Tough to care too much at this point though, especially since Amusement Vision is, effectively, no longer. And yet, I think if a sequel was announced the hype train would once again start chugging... well, depending on how serious they are taking it.

Animal Crossing- The first game was such an awesome and fresh concept. Maybe there was something like it before, I dunno, but to me the idea of a constantly changing game that works off a real time clock was amazing. Put a ton of time into it. Then came the DS version... first rehash, but at least it had online, so that was new. And then the Wii version was announced. We all had so many awesome ideas for it. Tons of massive hype threads. And... it was basically the Gamecube / DS versions all over yet again. This game, more than any other, is my biggest disappointment simply because the franchise is pretty much screaming to expand into something even bigger and better. Unlike Katamari Damacy and Super Monkey Ball where I am hard-pressed to think what more they could really do, I (as we all do) have a billion ideas for Animal Crossing. Alas, it was not meant to be.

So... what franchises started off with a bang and ended (so far) with a whimper for you guys?

Now for some POSITIVITY. I just want to add that even after 3 games in a relatively short amount of time, I am still excited for the new Trauma Team game. That is a series where you would think it would get old fast due to the (somewhat) limited gameplay, but I still want more, more, MORE. I probably would have been ok with another basic sequel even, though I'm definitely glad that they are mixing it up.

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Posted: 06/19/09, 20:39:07  - Edited by 
 on: 04/08/13, 01:44:41    
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You picked the ones that I probably would've...

Mainly Animal Crossing (they took out the NES games!!). It was easily one of my favorite Gamecube games. I never really enjoyed Katamari that much.

There are a lot of franchises that get whored out, but I never particularly enjoyed most of them.

Burnout? Wipeout? And the first Need for Speed on PS1 was actually really good.

Posted by 
 on: 06/19/09, 20:56:07
Oh that reminds me, Guitar Hero! LOVED the first game and liked the second one a fair amount as well, but by the time the 3rd came around it was tough to care, so I skipped it. And that was even before the massive whoring out. Rock Band was interesting in that it brought the formula to a more party-like atmosphere, but I don't have many (or any besides the one) parties and don't care about rocking online so really all it added for me was a mic (don't care) and drums. My major problem with those franchises is outside all of the window dressing, the gameplay is EXACTLY the same every time... just new songs. Not sure what they could even do at this point to make me care again (though I probably will buy another one eventually, not expecting much.) The make your own song thing added into the newest Guitar Hero sounds cool, but apparently it's difficult to use. Maybe if they ever got a truly intuitive make your own song thing built in?

DJ Hero looks interesting though. Albeit I'm 99% sure I will hate most of the music in the game.

Posted by 
 on: 06/19/09, 21:14:03
If the new Trauma Center ditches the lame sci-fi stuff, I'd be all over it.

Posted by 
 on: 06/19/09, 23:16:07
PFF. The lame sci-fi stuff makes it interesting. And sets up some insane end boss bat... erm, end operations that wouldn't be possible sticking to normal, boring problems.

Posted by 
 on: 06/19/09, 23:25:54
How could you forget Tony Hawk? The first one was totally awesome with really slick gameplay. The fourth one revolutionized the series making the whole system open world. Then it was just year after year of the SOS. Skate finally came around and forced Tony Hawk to rethink it's formula. Although Skate 2 is really not as revolutionary as the first.

I would agree that the Burnout series definitely had been going that way until Paradise came out. That game really mixed things up and brought the franchise to the modern generation. Need for Speed is a good example of a franchise that just completely fell apart.

Posted by 
 on: 06/20/09, 00:06:39
Animal Crossing- I still love the original though I don't play it anymore and haven't played it in a very long time. I'm sure theres a lot of stuff I still could do. I was hoping for so much more with the Wii version enough for me to really want it.

Posted by 
 on: 06/20/09, 00:12:26
Yeah New Blood wasn't quite as good as Under the Knife (Second Opinion on Wii) but I still liked it a lot. And co-op was pretty fun, though you need someone you work well with otherwise you just end up doing WORSE. Under the Knife 2 on DS was also not quite as good as the first. But still great. It's the kind of series that probably will get old on me eventually, but I'm still into it. Plus I kind of like how they are going back and forth between DS and Wii, makes it

The main reason I didn't list Tony Hawk is that I never got super into it to begin with. The only one I played much of was 3, and I had just borrowed it for a few weeks then returned it. Weird, because I was a skateboarder my whole life and had Skate or Die 1/2 etc. on NES and kept hoping for a full 3D skateboarding game to come out, but by the time Tony Hawk 2 came out on N64 (I had no PS1) I just didn't care anymore.

Also, even though there is a very fine line between the two, I was thinking more of games that only got one main iteration every so often. Obviously milked games lose their luster eventually. But some franchises lose it even when there are years in between. Like Animal Crossing.

I think all of these series CAN be saved as well. I just think, at the moment, it's tough to care about them. Some franchises I get excited over a simple announcement that a new one is coming. These franchises would need to prove themselves to me again.

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/09, 01:28:58
I struggle to think of many. Of the ones you mentioned though, Animal Crossing by far is the strongest offender.

I'm going to grab the DS version again so I can play it on the go because I miss it, and I still have the GCN version (my favorite), but outside of that? The Wii version needed to do something more and it didn't...

...argh, then again maybe I'll pick up the Wii version used online down the line, just to get all the new outfits and such later. I'm such an addict.

Still greatly disappointed though.

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/09, 07:35:24
Haven't had enough of Trauma Center yet. I'm still stuck dismantling that bomb on Second Opinion, been that way for a while now and I get to the last part of the procedure and boom. Don't remember the last time I played it...I think sometime back in March possibly and still no luck. I know I want New Blood still, but I want to beat this SO first at least.

Posted by 
 on: 06/21/09, 11:57:46
Dang, I foregot about the Healing touch, cause I refrain from using it so much I guess and I almost can bout nail that bomb without it...almost. Just one wrong slip with the laser and BOOM. Don't worry you didn't spoil anything for me. Now I would love to get TC: New Blood and play it with another player.

Posted by 
 on: 06/22/09, 03:31:14
Hmm, good topic.

Jak - The first one was about 10 hours of platforming fun. I had some issues with the controls, but overall it was enjoyable. The second game absolutely jumped the shark. They gave Jak an "attitude" (haven't we learned anything from the 90s?); imposed on gamers a boring open world that you'd have to traverse in its entirety many times, and sometimes with a time limit! Etc. And the less is said about the racing missions the better. Naughty Dog sucks.

Ratchet and Clank - Again, a solid 12 hours of fun. I didn't mind too much that it was more a shooter than a platformer, I liked the characters and the game's world. Soon after that I played the second one, and I didn't care anymore. It was just (a lot) more of the same, and I was tired as hell of collecting bolts and upgrading weapons. After playing the demo of the PS3 game, it looks like nothing's changed.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was one of my favorite games of last gen. Then came the sequel with the angry prince filled with generic rage. And then another sequel that was a little better, but I couldn't care anymore.

Soul Calibur, though I'm not a huge fan of fighters in the first place. Too technical for my taste, I don't want to have to study and master move lists and counterattacks.

Metroid Prime - Let's face it, while the first game is a masterpiece, the other two are utterly forgettable.

Viewtiful Joe - See Metroid Prime.

Metroidvania - I can't stand these games anymore. Each new game feels like a remix of the previous ones. Do something new with the Castlevania franchise, please!

Puzzle Quest - Hailed as a hardcore gamer's casual game initially, now being milked for all it's worth, and none of the spinoffs are anywhere near as good as the first game.

I think I'm done.

Posted by 
 on: 06/22/09, 03:57:19
'Metroid Prime - Let's face it, while the first game is a masterpiece, the other two are utterly forgettable.'

O... M... G. While I'd agree the first is the best, I think 2 and 3 are also very, very good. Far from forgettable for me. In fact, I think it is the best "trilogy" in the modern industry.

Viewtiful Joe though I'd probably agree with. I liked 2, but it didn't stand out much. And then came the fighter and the DS game. That's actually a pet peeve of mine, come to think of it... Super Monkey Ball did the same thing. When a developer puts out one or two MAIN games in a series and then just starts doing a bunch of spinoffs or handheld games instead of continuing the main series.

Posted by 
 on: 06/22/09, 06:29:12
I agree that the Metroid Prime 3, while I couldn't stick with it, certainly didn't feel forgettable.

Soul Calibur, though I'm not a huge fan of fighters in the first place. Too technical for my taste, I don't want to have to study and master move lists and counterattacks.

I disagree there as well, but that's probably because I'm a HUGE fan of fighters, it's my favorite genre. Soul Calibur 3 was the only "dud" IMO. I grew away from the series for a while, but I dig SCIV alot myself, thought they did really well... Vader and company aside.

Viewtiful Joe DS didn't do much for me, though I don't think it was a bad game. Beat-em-ups in general only go so far though.

I do want to give VJ2 a try someday though, may have to order that one online.

Posted by 
 on: 06/22/09, 07:40:11
Have you played Kororinpa 2, or are you just going by reviews? I picked it up, but it's still sealed.

Posted by 
 on: 06/22/09, 19:07:19
I liked the puzzles in VJ 2! But yeah, that is a case of a sequel which is pretty much a complete rehash, which is a shame since the first was a pretty unique game. At least each Prime game offers something different and though we might disagree, I can see how some would prefer any of them over any of the others.

Posted by 
 on: 06/22/09, 19:08:50
Hmm, I knew Metroid Prime would be the more controversial choice. I got to say, I enjoyed Echoes but to me it's exactly as I said, forgettable. As for Corruption, well after one cutscene too many I just stopped playing early on. It was really feeling to me like it was trying to be like every FPS game out there. I'll go back to it eventually, and I may revise my opinion of it then.

I'm kind of surprised at the lack of reaction about Castlevania. I guess the rehashing is blatant and inarguable.

Posted by 
 on: 06/23/09, 05:28:56
I think even the biggest Castlevania fan would have to admit that they've been hitting that well pretty hard. I think Aria of Sorrow was probably the best of the recent crop, because it didn't focus on grinding. Circle of the Moon also made a good case for its existence, with its considerable difficulty.

That said, I haven't played Ecclesia yet, and that one sounds pretty awesome.

I wonder what Igarashi is up to, since Kojima stole his 3D baby. Maybe he's making a 2D Castlevania on Wii to put Lords of Shadows to shame!

Probably not.

Posted by 
 on: 06/23/09, 18:07:33
'I'm kind of surprised at the lack of reaction about Castlevania. I guess the rehashing is blatant and inarguable.'

6 games over two platforms... kind of tough to not rehash. Ecclesia erm... it's good, but I think it got so much pre-release hype as this huge reinvention, like a modern Castlevania 2 or something, and then it came out and was basically the same idea as the others. Except instead of one huge map it has selectable stages with smaller maps. And frankly, I'd rather just have one huge interconnected map, though it DID open up more possibilities for variety in the stages themselves (instead of needing a bunch of stage types you can cram into a castle.) I'd say it is my 4th favorite of the 7 Metroidvania's, right smack in the middle... SOTN, DOS, COTM, OOE, AOS, POR, HOD. Yeah yeah I know, Aria of Sorrow is supposed to be one of the best, but it didn't do much for me. It was so short and easy I burned through it in two sittings and felt a huge "was that all?" feeling at the end.

Corruption really doesn't have many cutscenes overall after the beginning. Basically there is the whole "intro" thing but eventually it opens up into just hunting down a few erm... to not ruin the story let's just say rogue elements... and from that point on there aren't too many cutscenes. The cutscenes are definitely a weakpoint, my brother and I have this ongoing inside joke about the commander being the cliche Marine sergeant or whatever, I'll put on my gruff voice and be like "SAMUS, I NEED YOU TO REGROUP WITH ALPHA TEAM AND ADD COVER SUPPORT FOR DELTA AND BRAVO, PRONTO... ON YOUR FEET SOLDIER!" or another such generic thing. But the good part is, like I said, these type of cutscenes are mostly only at the beginning, later on it feels a bit more traditional Samus alone on a planet exploring.

Posted by 
 on: 06/23/09, 18:33:51
Alright, I'll bump its priority up in my backlog. I do want to see that sky city all the kids are talking about.

Posted by 
 on: 06/23/09, 23:00:59
Mortal Kombat possibly? MK vs. DC was alright.

Posted by 
 on: 06/24/09, 06:14:28
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