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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    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
'It's not more or less linear than the others while adding a lot of ideas.'

I think it is definitely more linear than the 1st. The 1st Prime was so open-ended and often you would find a path on one part of one area and end up on the other side of another area you had already explored. Stuff like that never happened in 3.

But it's still awesome and the sky sanctuary whatever it is called is amazing.

Posted by 
 on: 06/24/09, 06:50:48
How about the Splinter Cell series. The first one had great single player stealth action. The second introduced great multiplayer but single player was more of the same. Third made the series much more visceral. And then the fourth just fell apart. Conviction looks like a solid reboot. Turning more toward Bourne style action with the same great stealth elements.

Posted by 
 on: 06/24/09, 08:05:29
Well, I'm not defining open-ended by the amount of paths available, necessarily. It's more a mindset, how the game makes you FEEL, how well it creates the illusion. It's probably true that at any given point in the respective games there are the same amount of directions you can go to actually PROGRESS (which is usually only one at any given time for any game, really, just that adventure games build the one correct path to go within a more open-ended exploration feel) but Prime 1 had more "tease" going on. There were a bunch of rooms you walked into that had 3, 4 ways out. Most of the time you could only open 1 or 2 of those at that moment, but it still always felt like you had all of these unexplored paths waiting for you. Every time I got a new upgrade I'd be trying to remember where to use it since there were always a bunch of places I had seen along the way to use it on. Mind you half of those would just be one room secrets, but you don't KNOW that until you get there. Especially since Prime 1 was the only of the Prime series to do the Super Metroid-ish map, which is to say, you download the map but it only shows part of the world, it expands way beyond the map. Which is also part of the tease, really, the feeling of having no idea how big this world is going to get. Finally, add in the fact that there were connections between the worlds outside of the elevators, basically just one huge interconnected map, and you really felt like you had more to explore and could end up pretty much anywhere.

Posted by 
 on: 06/24/09, 18:26:15
#4 was nice. Mostly because I absolutely hated their designs, so it was like a backwards brilliance that I got to kill them. Like if Nintendo made a Zelda and let you kill Tingle. Except I never really had a problem with Tingle, Majora's Mask was a kind of Alice in Wonderland type game, anything goes.

Posted by 
 on: 06/25/09, 20:25:59
I dunno, they seemed to me to fall from the same generic sci-fi game mold that the space marines fell from. The only interesting one was the robot in the even bigger robot... or whatever it was. It's not like they were bad next to industry standards for sci-fi character design, but that's not saying much. Metroid to me has always been like 100 steps above other sci-fi franchises.

Posted by 
 on: 06/25/09, 23:27:58
I miss the campiness!! Bring it, Team Ninja!

Posted by 
 on: 06/26/09, 18:43:35
I'm not ncessarily talking about camp, I'm talking about the physical character designs. I have always thought Metroid managed to stay far from non-genericness in the actual style, the Prime games included, but everything about the new bounty hunters (in both Prime 3 and Hunters) seemed like, well... something you would see in a Halo game.

Then again, Prime 3 took camp to the next level as well...

'Hey, relax! We're the good guys! Justice will prevail and all that stuff - right, Samus?' - Rundas

Gah. Luckily I got to shut him up.

Posted by 
 on: 06/26/09, 18:51:14
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