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n3rdabl3 Research Shows Sequels Aren’t All Bad

Exclusive research conducted by n3rdabl3 asks: do sequels ALWAYS suck?

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n3rdabl3 Research Shows Sequels Aren’t All Bad

One of the things that has always fascinated me is how much people hate on sequels. In all fairness, I get why people do it. I’ve had some real disappointments with sequels too – don’t you dare try telling me that Dragon Age 2 was better than Dragon Age Origins!

That said, there are some great games that are sequels, some of which shine much brighter than their predecessors.

The thing is – it’s all subjective. I can guarantee you that someone reading this is furious that I would suggest Dragon Age 2 is worse than Origins [really pal?]. With this in mind, I decided to investigate this in a (relatively) objective way. I took some of the biggest original games released since 1990 and compared their Metacritic review scores with the scores of their sequels or the next game in the series.

Here are five things that stood out:

It’s broadly even

Of the 42 games I looked at (21 intellectual properties), in 10 cases the original was the better reviewed game and in 11 cases the sequel was the better reviewed game. So first off, the view that sequels always suck is flat out not true.

The more down time, the better the sequel

Generally, the longer the timeframe between the orignal and sequel being released the better the sequel is received. This could be due to fatigue with the setting or gameplay or because waiting longer gives sequels a bigger hype, but those who released sequels within two tears of the orignal tended to receive lower scores.

Originals in the 90s were better (duh)

It seems that of games where the original and the sequel were both released in the 90s, the original fared better. The sample size of games released in the 90s is small so this might not be an as reliable conclusion as the others.

Sometimes they’re the same!

Surprisingly, for both the Tomb Raider reboot series and the Batman Arkham series the original and the sequel received the same score. Can’t imagine there are any complaints though, with both Tomb Raider games landing on 86/100 and both Batman games on 91/100.

The higher the score, the harder to beat

This seems fairly obvious but still worth pointing out. When a game scored 90 or above the sequel nearly always performed worse. The only exception to this rule was Mass Effect. The original game scored 91/100 but Mass Effect 2 topped that with 96/100. Anyone who played Mass Effect 2 will admit that it was a much better game than the original.

The full results are below:

Original game

Release year

Original Game Score

Sequel/next in series

Release year

Sequel/next in series score

Mass Effect

2007

91

>

Mass Effect 2

2010

96

Dragon Age: Origins

2009

91

Dragon Age 2

2011

79

Elder Scrolls: Morrowind

2002

89

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

2006

94

Resident Evil

1996

91

Resident Evil 2

1998

89

Tomb Raider

2013

86

Rise of the Tomb Raider

2016

86

Uncharted

2007

88

Uncharted 2

2009

96

Dishonoured

2012

91

Dishonoured 2

2016

86

Kingdom Hearts 

2002

85

Kingdom Hearts 2

2006

87

Watch Dogs

2014

80

Watch Dogs 2

2016

82

Borderlands 

2009

81

Borderlands 2

2012

89

Fallout

1997

89

Fallout 2

1998

86

Bioshock

2007

96

Bioshock 2

2010

88

Metal Gear Solid

1998

94

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

2001

96

Luigi’s Mansion

2001

78

Luigi’s Mansion 2

2013

86

Batman Arkham Asylum

2009

91

Batman Arkham City

2011

91

Dark Souls

2011

89

Dark Souls 2

2014

91

Perfect Dark

2000

97

Perfect Dark Zero

2005

81

Call of Duty

2003

91

Call of Duty 2

2005

86

Infamous

2009

85

Infamous 2

2011

83

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Dale is a gamer, writer, baker and all-round geek. While he hearts his Xbox One he's known to cheat on it occasionally with a host of other consoles - our little secret - and he's recently developed an unhealthy obsession with Overwatch.