If you happen to achieve something great, it can be really tough to repeat your initial success. Geniality happens rarely and usually by mere chance, but sometimes exactly the very foundations of an initial work can lead to something that equals it or becomes even greater.
In the video gaming world making a good sequel could be quite a painful topic, as some sequels never reached the quality of the original and heavily hurt all fans. Some prime examples are Devil May Cry 2 or Fallout 76. Even worse – some ruined their whole franchises forever. (Cough…Duke Nukem Forever…cough).
But let’s try to forget about those. You came here to bear witness to some of the best video game sequels of all time and, hey, good news – they definitely exist, and are still coming out. Actually, there are so many of them that there is no way we can include all of them in this humble top 10 list. So, prepare to travel back to several generations of gaming, because here, in no particular order (there’s no way we can do that, as they are all fantastic), we are giving you the top 10 video game sequels.
God of War 2
Today Kratos is an old man that takes care of his son while butchering the Norse Gods, which is pretty badass. But how did he get to this? If anyone knows how he was crowned with the title of a God-killer, please raise your hand! Anyone? Well, long story short – in 2004’s God of War for PS2, he killed Ares, the back-then God of War, and sat on his throne. The game was a masterpiece but somehow its sequel God of War 2 surpassed it in almost every aspect. To get any of these games, make sure you have some PlayStation Gift Cards at hand. You won’t regret it!
In God of War 2, you have more brutal weapons, more diverse and hardcore enemies, even more unique boss battles, breath-taking locations such as Atlas’s body and the Isle of Creation, and you even travel back in time. Without stealing any glory from the original, the game is like a message to all gamers, which states – “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
The guys from Santa Monica truly gave us a pillar in the gaming world and something hard to be surpassed even almost 15 years later.
Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
There was a time when BioWare made an unthinkable breakthrough to deliver us the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules in a dynamic way which changed the RPG genre in video games forever. Baldur’s Gate from 1998 was remarkable but its sequel Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn was what made the most noise back then.
It improved over the original, expanded the world, and extended the possibilities of the original. It continues the story of the main protagonist of the first game and lets you face the evil Jon Irenicus and his machines, alongside many powerful factions, conflicting with each other.
A deep character creation system, meaningful to the story and gameplay player choices, tactical combat with almost no analogue, fascinating story, dragons and the hamster Boo, might leave you with the following thought – Is this the greatest RPG of all time?
“By three they come,” is the iconic tagline of Diablo IV, but it actually originates from the ground-breaking Diablo II. Being one of the most flawless games ever made by Blizzard, we were promised that we will go back to its darkness in the upcoming fourth installment. Fingers crossed, it actually happens that way because lately, Blizzard has been all over the place…
What is so special about Diablo II? Well, it was built on the solid basis of the original and is a superior game. But how? You do not simply beat the Lord of Terror himself. Say Hi to Diablo’s brothers – Mephisto the Lord of Hatred and Bhaal the Lord of Destruction. Taking place in 5 different areas, this hack-and-slash RPG will face you against numerous types of enemies and quests.
But don’t worry, on your side are going to be 7 different hero classes and an almost infinite amount of spells, weapons, and items, to aid you on your journey to save the world of Sanctuary.
Batman: Arkham City
When Christopher Nolan’s movies blew everyone away, we didn’t even have to ask for a game, as it was clear it was the best moment for one. It was a surprise when Arkham Asylum turned out to be that good. But the highlight falls on its sequel Batman: Arkham City, which is arguably the best Batman game ever made.
It followed the formula of the original but expanded the gaming possibilities by adding a huge open world. The story from Arkham Asylum is continued, but here you will be able to meet even more of the classic Batman villains and characters. The world’s greatest detective is once again voiced by none other than Kevin Conroy himself.
If you ever wanted to wear Bruce Wayne’s bat costume and become the protector of Gotham, there is one place you could go- Arkham City!
Portal 2 is one of the most incredible pieces of gaming you can experience out there. It is a great example of what a good sequel should be like. The original Portal was flawless in every aspect, but this sequel proved that there is always something you can improve on to make a good game even better.
Portal 2 dropped hard in 2011 with a bigger story, more comprehensive gameplay, diversity in puzzles, great multiplayer, even wittier humour, and a level editor.
Taking place in the same universe as the Half-Life franchise, Portal 2 is definitely a unique and enigmatic gaming experience, that will make you question not only how complex your mind is, but also if you should trust the world around you. We all know that “the cake is a lie.”
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
There are tons of Star Wars games out there – some good, some bad. To make a good game based on one of the most influential movie franchises out there, you have to make sure it contains the spirit of the movies.
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast showed us how it’s done. It is a direct sequel to Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and felt true to Star Wars canons, but most importantly – true to the original trilogy.
You ever wanted to know how good of a Jedi Han Solo would be? The main protagonist, Kyle Katarn, is the closest thing. Witty, sarcastic, and able to use both blasters and the Force, he is the one to face the combined forces of the Remnant of the Empire and the Dark Jedi Desann. Wait, you don’t have to be a Jedi to do so at all. “Just a guy with a lightsaber and a few questions,” is all that is needed.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was what actually made Ubisoft a famous and respected company. Despite having problems, we cannot deny the greatness they reached with the Prince of Persia franchise. It was a bold decision to head for a dark and gritty approach in the second installment – Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, but everything worked like a charm.
Fuse the classic platforming with the fresh and deep free-form fighting system, add more gore and wrap it up with the music of Godsmack, and you get a working formula. The Prince had to go to a dark place and escape the Guardian of Time – Dahaka to revert the trouble he had caused in the Sands of Time. This is no easy task.
We got a sequel that did not try to repeat the original, but to shine with its own originality. A game definitely ahead of its time. But of course, the Prince always travels in time after all!
Doom is the king of the FPS genre and everyone should know that. It was a game-changer in the early 90s, but after Doom 3 it seemed like we had forgotten about its amplitude in the gaming world. Id Software brought the franchise back to life with 2016’s Doom and, oh boy, they did it in such style! Everything was boiling down to one thing – a sequel.
Doom Eternal was recently released and all hell broke loose, once again. It definitely topped its predecessor with even more blood, flesh and metal! One of the best shooters of 2020, hands down. The dream of every FPS fan out there. Such a sweet therapy to crush the skulls and the bones of the most disgusting demons on Mars.
Red Dead Redemption II
There are two kinds of sequels in this world, those that suck and those with loaded guns. Red Dead Redemption II is loaded and ready to shoot! Rockstar Games have always shined with quality. Red Dead Redemption rocked the seventh generation of consoles and was a blast, which undoubtedly led to RDR 2.
This game is your best try to actually feel and relive the harshness of the Wild West era. Taking on the role of Arthur Morgan, you will be galloping with a horse, fast draw dueling, robbing trains and banks, exploring a huge world filled with random encounters and so much more. Did we mention that there’s a Dead Eye system that lets you use slow motion for massacring your adversaries in Tarantino style?
We even got a sweet cherry at the top of the cake – an online mode to ravage the Wild West with your pals.
Probably the most mysterious and enigmatic franchise of all time. People are still wondering if we will ever get a Half-Life 3. Which is no surprise after the euphoria we were in when Half-Life 2 and its expansions came out. We recently got Half-Life Alyx, which is still a huge thing.
Instead of taking place in Black Mesa, Half-Life 2’s main setting was City 17 which was heavily inspired by Orwell’s “1984” and offered much more freedom to the player. It showcased the fantastic and quite realistic world for its time thanks to the Source engine. The advanced AI, the physics, and the story helped in the shaping of something quite extraordinary.
Half-Life 2 will offer you a convincing and believable approach to how an alien invasion would look like. A flawless cinematic experience told in the form of a video game that should go down in history as one of the best Sci-Fi stories ever told. We are talking about a game with numerous awards, loved by fans and critics alike. Some even say it is the greatest game of all time. Which is not far from the truth at all.
Nowadays we are getting tons of sequels. Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed are already annual titles that most likely will be coming out forever. This is definitely taking away some of the needed originality and fresh air in the gaming world. Not every game must have a sequel, sometimes it’s best to leave it as it is.
Of course, as the list above proves sequels can be a sweet thing, especially if they have their own charm and charisma and do not rely too much on the popularity and the essence of the original game. Lightning doesn’t hit twice in the same place after all. Yes, we do need sequels, but only if they are constructed and crafted masterfully as the ones above.
So, what are your thoughts on this – Do we need all those sequels or should the gaming industry focus on originality and new stuff? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Passionate writer and certified night owl. Currently drowning in coffee.