#1 Edited by isomeri (1246 posts) -

A couple of Bombcasts ago the crew were discussing how we've been seeing a lot of 3's in our game titles in the latter parts of this console cycle. Games like Uncharted 3, Killzone 3, Modern Warfare 3, Mass Effect 3, Assassin's Creed 3 and Crysis 3 have not received the same kind of praise as their influential predecessors.

This left me wondering if there is a sort of curse behind the second sequel. Can you duders think of any trilogies or game series where the third game is undoubtedly better than the first two?

The only two recent examples of "Great 3's" that come to my mind are Saints Row: The Third and Far Cry 3, but these games are not really a part of an ongoing story line.

#2 Edited by Zornack (194 posts) -

Off the top of my head, WarCraft III was the best of the WarCraft RTS games.

#3 Posted by Yummylee (21475 posts) -
#4 Posted by Marcsman (3177 posts) -

I know I sound like a broken record BUT, Would Level 5 please make Dark Cloud 3.

#5 Edited by Pr1mus (3858 posts) -

There's definitely a strong presence of PS1/2 era. I agree on most of those (everyone i played really) but also this generation has been a lot less favorable to third entries compared to the previous ones i feel. More very high profile franchises tripped on their third outing.

Or maybe it's just the scar left by Uncharted 3 that refuses to heal after how magnificent Uncharted 2 was. :(

#6 Posted by Winternet (8012 posts) -

@zornack said:

Off the top of my head, WarCraft III was the best of the WarCraft RTS games.

What the hell are you talking about?!

#7 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Oh yay hyperbole because Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space 3 sucked.

Crysis 2 wasn't influential and 3 seems to be getting similar scores to that game, it's kind of hard for that game to disappoint as it seems more of the same, Crysis is hardly setting any benchmarks aside from visual fidelity, and arguably it's only the first game that did that as 2 was certainly not the best looking game out even on release.

#8 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3789 posts) -

Damn those are two AWFUL sequels to me. Completely lost the charm of the first in addition to everything else I didn't care for. But hey, tastes.

Yeah I think this may be a bit of a recent revisionist history thing. Even this gen there have been good 3's.

Halo 3 and Gears 3 come to mind right away in addition to what you said.

#9 Posted by DaMisterChief (628 posts) -

Halo 3

Gears 3

I really cant think of any other 3s that ive played personally

#10 Posted by Yummylee (21475 posts) -

@artisanbreads: Really? I know what you mean with Warrior Within (though I still really enjoyed that game), but iirc Two Thrones took it back to the style of the original, with a much more light-hearted Prince character and so forth.

#11 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3789 posts) -

@yummylee said:

@artisanbreads: Really? I know what you mean with Warrior Within (though I still really enjoyed that game), but iirc Two Thrones took it back to the style of the original, with a much more light-hearted Prince character and so forth.

hmmm I don't see what you mean. Maybe the Prince was a bit more like he was in 1 but otherwise the art style and everything was very much Warrior Within.

Oh and back to the OP, Max Payne 3 was an amazing third entry for me.

#12 Edited by Yummylee (21475 posts) -

@pr1mus said:

There's definitely a strong presence of PS1/2 era. I agree on most of those (everyone i played really) but also this generation has been a lot less favorable to third entries compared to the previous ones i feel. More very high profile franchises tripped on their third outing.

Or maybe it's just the scar left by Uncharted 3 that refuses to heal after how magnificent Uncharted 2 was. :(

Well, the PS2 era also had GTAIII, one of the most important Third entries that there ever was :P But yeah, I think our disregard for the ''3'' in games is no doubt because of the recent marching of lackluster or at least gravely disappointing third games. Uncharted 3, as you already mentioned, along with Mass Effect 3, Dead Space 3 and... well, I'm actually pulling a blank when it comes to naming anymore, but they're the most notable.

Also, I just remembered Hitman: Contracts, another awesome third entry. Or at least it was for me, as someone who was first introduced to the series with Contracts. In that sense you could say I lack the perspective to ascertain where it stands as a third game in a series, but goddamn did I have some fun with that game.

#13 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I'd argue that Saint's Row the third belongs in the category of disappointing third's. Not because I loved 2, I in fact never played it. Just that the hype of the game was such that I was disappointed.

#14 Posted by believer258 (11776 posts) -

Super Metroid, Crash 3, DMC3, Jak 3, arguably Ratchet 3, Halo 3 was a damn fine game.

#15 Posted by shivermetimbers (763 posts) -

I can totally see where you're going with the other ones, but God of War 3 is the epitome of poor sequels. It had a grand scale when it came to environmental detail, but the whole war against Zeus was poorly realized, as was the rushed ending of Kratos' supposed redemption. Also I don't like when games randomly transition to a different perspective just to show off executions (as in the killing of Zeus).

#16 Edited by Yummylee (21475 posts) -
@shivermetimbers said:

I can totally see where you're going with the other ones, but God of War 3 is the epitome of poor sequels. It had a grand scale when it came to environmental detail, but the whole war against Zeus was poorly realized, as was the rushed ending of Kratos' supposed redemption. Also I don't like when games randomly transition to a different perspective just to show off executions (as in the killing of Zeus).

It's not my favourite GoW game (that handily goes to GoW2), but it still had some of my favourite boss battles, musical scores, and it's the only GoW game where there was an alternate weapon besides the blades that was worth a damn -- by which I mean of course those lion gauntlets you get off of Hercules. Also, the Titans, man. Fucking incredible.

Definitely has flaws, though, most importantly being the Zeus boss battle, and the part where you gotta chase Hermes was kinda crap and far too overly scripted, too. This was also the GoW game where I was finally starting to get fed up with Kratos' whiny bullshit, and then the game throws that terrible ''Kratos represents hope'' wankfest nearing the end, which nearly made me throw up my intestines I gagged so hard. Overall, though, I had a lot of fun with GoW3 all the same.

#17 Posted by Veektarius (4750 posts) -

Final Fantasy 3? Okay, that's cheating. Uh.. TES 3 was what, Morrowind? I think that one passes the test. Halo & Gears as people said, both of those delivered conclusions I don't think anyone would complain about. (well, of course someone would). I think most people would say Devil May Cry 3 is the best DMC, for whatever that's worth, but it also marked the last hurrah for that series as a major attention-getter.

Personally, I'd chalk this up to sequel fatigue. The trilogy is a tried and true arc for a story. But when that third game is not the end of an arc and is instead of a continuation of story with no clear end of sight, it's all up to the gameplay to try and innovate on itself and keep things fresh without changing so much as to alienate fans... we all know that's a losing game. So, I think that's the lesson here. Even if your train is planning to come around for a second circuit, be sure to leave people with a useful destination where they can get off when it's time.

#18 Posted by RecSpec (3799 posts) -

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is still the best Layton game.

#19 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

You know why this phenomenon seems apparent, right?

When the second game in a series isn't all that, it generally doesn't get a third game. See Fatal Frame II, No More Heroes II, Darksiders II, The Conduit II, and Deus Ex: Invisible War (requiring a nigh-on total reboot for Human Revolution.) There are obvious exceptions (Devil May Cry 2 and Lost Planet 2 come to mind) but it's generally how things work.

When the first game in a series isn't all that, it generally doesn't get a trilogy, either. See Advent Rising, Too Human, Dante's Inferno, Prey, Dark Sector, and so on. Again, there are obvious exceptions (Homefront is probably the most recent example) but a bad launch tends to remove chances of a trilogy.

And when a third game does well, it's usually not the end of a trilogy anymore, so the series continues forward. There are plenty of examples of quality third entries, not to mention the fact that these trilogy enders are at worst divisive. With the possible exception of Fable III, I can absolutely find people who adore Mass Effect 3 (myself,) Dead Space 3, Assassin's Creed III, Uncharted 3, and so on. Killzone 3 was actually pretty damn well-received, too, as far as I was aware! And while MW3 was disappointing for some, I found it the most accessible version of the multiplayer so far and had a great time with its matchmaking.

#20 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

Mass Effect 3 was better than the first two, Halo 3, better than the first two, Battlefield 3, better than the first two, The Elder Scrolls III, better than the first two, Forza 3, Modern Warfare 3, Fallout 3......

#21 Edited by AlexW00d (6231 posts) -

Europa Universalis 3 is the greatest game of all time so I dunno whatchu talking 'bout son.

#22 Posted by BeachThunder (11807 posts) -
#23 Posted by DrIntrovert (81 posts) -

Mother 3 is an incredible game, Persona 3 is great, I thought Civ III was pretty good but apparently most people don't agree with me, Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best game of its generation. I think you are generalizing too much based on recent series.

#24 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2216 posts) -

Heroes of Might and Magic III and if you consider Deus Ex: Human Revolution to be the third entry in the series rather than chronological order.

#25 Posted by Vinny_Says (5700 posts) -
  • Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
  • Gears of War 3
  • Far Cry 3
  • Forza 3
  • Saint's Row 3
  • Deus Ex Human Revolution

....And more are awesome games in their franchises. Having 3 games isn't the problem. The real problem is separating a strory line over 3 games and having the ending dissapoint. Unlike movies where you can just make 3 movies about one event and move on, in video games you need to come up with new gameplay concepts every itteration that need to fit the story you've come up with in the first game. Meaning that if your first game was an RPG about chinese spies the 3rd game cannot be a racing game (unless you're insane and want to fuck over the playerbase of the first 2 games). So here you are, stuck with the choice of making the same RPG 3 times and having people grow tired of the formula or decide to make crazy changes that piss off a bunch of people. It's an extremely tight rope to walk, and very few devs manage to make it.

The thing I like about Rockstar is that they make self-contained stories and just improve on their existing formula with every new game. That's why people are excited for a new GTA game despite it being the 5th (or 10th if you think about it) in the series.

#26 Posted by JeanLuc (3577 posts) -

I think Metroid Prime 3 is fantastic. It was a great end to an awesome trilogy.

#27 Posted by Grimluck343 (1149 posts) -

Sometimes people just have a hard time writing endings to their "epic trilogies."

#28 Posted by big_jon (5723 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

Mass Effect 3 was better than the first two, Halo 3, better than the first two, Battlefield 3, better than the first two, The Elder Scrolls III, better than the first two, Forza 3, Modern Warfare 3, Fallout 3......

I disagree with so much of this.

Badcompany 2 was a better game than BF3.

Halo CE was a better game than Halo 3, which had the weakest campaign in the trilogy.

Mass Effect 2 was miles above Mass Effect 3, aside from combat.

Call of Duty 4 was a better experience that MW2 or 3.

Fallout 3 is not even comparable to the first two, which I doubt that you even played.

Forza, that is correct. But hey that's just how I feel.

#29 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

Mass Effect 3 was better than the first two, Halo 3, better than the first two, Battlefield 3, better than the first two, The Elder Scrolls III, better than the first two, Forza 3, Modern Warfare 3, Fallout 3......

Mass Effect 3 is only better than 2 if you wanted a third person shooter. They stripped out even more of the exploration stuff and reduced the amount of options you had in conversations. Gross.

and Halo 3 MP sucked compared to 2, at least initially until a lot of Halo 2 maps made it over to 3.

Fallout 3 shouldn't even be mentioned, it's not even remotely comparable to Fallout or Fallout 2.

#30 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@jdh5153 said:

Mass Effect 3 was better than the first two, Halo 3, better than the first two, Battlefield 3, better than the first two, The Elder Scrolls III, better than the first two, Forza 3, Modern Warfare 3, Fallout 3......

I disagree with so much of this.

Badcompany 2 was a better game than BF3.

Halo CE was a better game than Halo 3, which had the weakest campaign in the trilogy.

Mass Effect 2 was miles above Mass Effect 3, aside from combat.

Call of Duty 4 was a better experience that MW2 or 3.

Fallout 3 is not even comparable to the first two, which I doubt that you even played.

Forza, that is correct. But hey that's just how I feel.

Bad Company 2 isn't even in the same series as Battlefield 3 (Battlefield 2 is....).... Who cares about campaign, the only reason people play Halo is the multiplayer and 3 was miles better than 2 and CE. Mass Effect 3 played faster, smoother and looked and sounded much better than 2. Played Fallout 1, it sucked. MW3 perfected the online shooter.

#31 Edited by big_jon (5723 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

@big_jon said:

@jdh5153 said:

Mass Effect 3 was better than the first two, Halo 3, better than the first two, Battlefield 3, better than the first two, The Elder Scrolls III, better than the first two, Forza 3, Modern Warfare 3, Fallout 3......

I disagree with so much of this.

Badcompany 2 was a better game than BF3.

Halo CE was a better game than Halo 3, which had the weakest campaign in the trilogy.

Mass Effect 2 was miles above Mass Effect 3, aside from combat.

Call of Duty 4 was a better experience that MW2 or 3.

Fallout 3 is not even comparable to the first two, which I doubt that you even played.

Forza, that is correct. But hey that's just how I feel.

Bad Company 2 isn't even in the same series as Battlefield 3 (Battlefield 2 is....).... Who cares about campaign, the only reason people play Halo is the multiplayer and 3 was miles better than 2 and CE. Mass Effect 3 played faster, smoother and looked and sounded much better than 2. Played Fallout 1, it sucked. MW3 perfected the online shooter.

I love how you speak in such ignorant absolutes, I play Halo for both aspects of the game, and considering that over a million people had beaten the Halo 4 campaign a week after its launch you are factually wrong. MW3 did no such thing, I played it and was baffled by how poorly that game played, no flow what so ever, junky sounding, and looking, like you sound like you're joking with a statement like that. Mass Effect is about the universe and story before the gameplay to most people, Mass Effect 2 was a better and more interestingly told story BY FAR, and visually was on the same level as the third game.

Also, I enjoyed Halo 2's multiplayer more than Halo 3's multiplayer.

And Fallout 1 sucks? Really? I have heard it was pretty great.

It's cool that you feel the way you do, but I think you're wrong.

#32 Posted by mylifeforAiur (3482 posts) -
#33 Edited by QuistisTrepe (628 posts) -

@little_socrates said:

You know why this phenomenon seems apparent, right?

When the second game in a series isn't all that, it generally doesn't get a third game. See Fatal Frame II,

Taking an extremely niche title like that isn't a very good example. And FFII was actually an excellent game. So much so that FFIII saw a NA release.

As far as bad 3's, I don't know that Halo 3 qualifies since Halo 2 was pretty awful. Halo 3 while still not a very good game, did restore the series to mediocrity IMO. I would agree with Persona 3 being an example of a great third game.

#34 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

@quististrepe: Whoa, wait, Fatal Frame III came out in the states? I didn't realize the one being held up was the fourth game. My bad.

Also, y'all can pretend Fatal Frame II was a good game all you like, but I will firmly disagree. Might've been better at the time, but having played it about a year ago, I do not think it holds up at all, and I never really liked it that much when I played it back in, like, '06/'07 either. And I know I was playing games better than Fatal Frame II in 2003.

#35 Posted by Levius (1097 posts) -

Killzone 3 was probably the best multiplayer game I played this generation. Halo 3 is probably the best Halo game tied with Reach, anyone saying Halo:CE is better has not played it in a long time, as Halo:CE is really rough in parts. Assassins Creed: Brotherhood is the best AC game as well.

#36 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10864 posts) -

I am here to make my obligatory "Uncharted 3 is better than Uncharted 2" statement.

That is all.

Moderator
#37 Posted by frankfartmouth (1016 posts) -

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Ninja Gaiden 3: The Ancient Ship of Doom

Super Mario Bros. 3

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

#38 Edited by zenmastah (888 posts) -

The only suckies that come to mind lately have been ME3 and AC3, cant speak for Crysis 3 yet but i mean you play as Prophet so..

#39 Posted by m3ds334 (38 posts) -

Yeah, it's definitely a phenomenon of this generation. In the Bombcast they certainly explained the refinement process for the first two games in a series (First game is creation of the universe, second is smoothing out the game), but I'm not sure why the third game in series has often felt lacking. I mean, we could just blame it on greed, I could certainly see that explaining Mass Effect 3 as that game felt a little rushed. But, I feel like there has to some examples of trilogies in this generation that disprove this.

I don't know if it counts, but I would say that Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse was the best of the Sam & Max series that Telltale released this gen.

#40 Edited by EuanDewar (4873 posts) -

ii fuckin hate video games

#41 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -

There are plenty of series that lose steam by their third game. However, there are a lot of examples (as shown above) that are great. Some of the ones I didn't see include:

  • Castlevania III
  • Command & Conquer 3
  • Grand Theft Auto III (c'mon, how did y'all miss this one?) Oops, stupid ctrl+F
  • Mega Man 3
  • Shinobi III
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  • Street Fighter III: Third Strike
  • Suikoden III
  • Smash Brothers Brawl
  • Virtua Fighter 3
#42 Posted by GnaTSoL (792 posts) -

People will always harp on sequels for being more of the same. With a view like that, yeah a lot of sequels aren't great.

Most sequels now adays are great games. You guys just come in each iteration expecting to be impressed with nothing but huge innovations. Things don't work like that no more and developers are doing the right thing in essentially upping the quality with each iterations, while adding a couple small new caveats.

Developers shouldn't shun current fans just to impress newer, POTENTIAL ones.

#43 Posted by Druminator (1676 posts) -

Does GTAIII count?

#44 Posted by Yummylee (21475 posts) -

@skrutop: Um...

@yummylee said:

Well, the PS2 era also had GTAIII, one of the most important Third entries that there ever was :P

C'mon, how did you miss that one? x)

#45 Posted by SerHulse (685 posts) -
#46 Posted by QuistisTrepe (628 posts) -

@quististrepe: Whoa, wait, Fatal Frame III came out in the states? I didn't realize the one being held up was the fourth game. My bad.

Also, y'all can pretend Fatal Frame II was a good game all you like, but I will firmly disagree. Might've been better at the time, but having played it about a year ago, I do not think it holds up at all, and I never really liked it that much when I played it back in, like, '06/'07 either. And I know I was playing games better than Fatal Frame II in 2003.

Not trying to bust balls or anything, I just think that Fatal Frame II is unappreciated. 2003, damn I forgot how long ago it was. Now that I think on it, perhaps FFIII might have been mediocre (I never played it) which may be why FFIV never made it out of Japan, so there's more on the bad 3's topic I suppose.

#47 Edited by Aterons (198 posts) -

I can think over very few where "3" wasn't considered better than all the others before ( meaning original and 2), that of course if a "3" ever existed.

The reason a lot of 3's are bad in recent years is the fact that they are "closing" titles for this console cycle and thus were milked the shit out of and very few graphical/gameplay improvements could be made due to lack of hardware on consoles.

#48 Posted by TyCobb (1961 posts) -

3s suck because nowadays the series is normally annual or becomes annual after the sequel. Great 3rd installments are normally ones that have had a few years between the 2nd.