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#1 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -

  In reference to the title of the post, surprise can mean anything your want in relation so a game sequel.  Recently, I played The Darkness II and I am surprised it even exists.  It is a sequel to a some what popular release in 2007, The Darkness, that didn't seem to have enough of a following to warrant a sequel.  I am glad it does have a sequel, loved the first, but it is surprising that it managed to receive one so long after its initial release.  Another sequel that surprised me is Silent Hill 2.  It took the element of the first game, but made the story take place in a world that felt separate from the events of the original.  It was a very personal horror story that didn't rely on the mythos of the cult ( the Order) or how how the town came to be such a hellish place to begin with.  The horror was the reflection of the character, which made the tale far more powerful than most of the later titles that tried to mix that aspect with feeling as though it was necessary to push the cult aspects of Silent Hill.  So, what are your best sequel surprises? 

#2 Posted by emergency (1193 posts) -

Witcher 2 strikes me as being a sequel that was above and beyond what I had expected. The first Witcher was not overly polished and took a lot of continual updates to get right. Witcher 2 on the other hand is just a great sequel that builds on the first game in good ways, with great tech behind it. So much so that they are even comfortable to port it to Xbox 360, which I would have never expected given how PC centric Witcher 1 was.

#3 Edited by NTM (7263 posts) -

Modern Warfare 2. I'm in the minority on that one, but I didn't really find the first Modern Warfare to be that fun, so I was just completely blown away by Modern Warfare 2's cinematic approach. It made me like Price and Soap a lot, when I originally didn't care for them like I've seen others do so in the past. Oh, and Mass Effect 2, which when I first beat it, I thought it was great, but not as great as when I had got the DLC, that made it amazing, so much so that it made me replay the original and enjoy that too.

#4 Posted by kurtbro900 (117 posts) -

Assassins Creed 2 is one of my favorite games this generation and I didn't really like the first one.

#5 Posted by Phatmac (5721 posts) -

Assassin's Creed 2 is still a fantastic sequel to the first one. I'm a big fan of the series now, mostly thanks to AC2. To think that the series would evolve so much from the first one.

#6 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1731 posts) -

Fallout 3. I never expected another Fallout, and I think it did a damn good job of making it turn out okay. (However, it took Obsidian to get the proper feel of the world back).

Deus Ex: Human Revolution. More of the same. Didn't expect another game in the series; didn't expect it to turn out decent. Good for Squeenix/Eidos.

#7 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2004 posts) -

I thought Fallout: New Vegas was an even more surprisingly superior sequel than Fallout 3 was. Obsidian did a really great job with implementing companions/factions/The Strip and backed up with some really engaging player choice-based story - even moreso than Fallout 3.

Also, I definitely agree with Assassinś Creed 2. I remember being blown away by the leadup to its "late title card." As much as I really liked the potential its predecessor demonstrated, Assassin's Creed 2 definitely capitalizes on it in a way that blew me away. And it didn't get as repetitive!

#8 Posted by plaintomato (598 posts) -

@kurtbro900 said:

Assassins Creed 2 is one of my favorite games this generation and I didn't really like the first one.

That was a huge leap from a cool idea to a really excellent game. The rest bored me because they've been the same thing year after year, and ACII had enough excellent content to burn me out for awhile. So I mostly skipped Brotherhood and Revelations. I'll probably buy AC3 or it's sequel, but the improvement from 1 to 2 was a huge leap, enough that I'd say I'm a big fan despite skipping all of the games since 2.

#9 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1170 posts) -

Dragon Age 2 was a total surprise for me. I kept trying to convince myself through most of the game that it wasn't a bad game, but know I know I was just in denial.

#10 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -
@Paul_Is_Drunk: I am right there with you on Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I thought it was going to be another cash grab game with a well known name behind it, but I was completely blown away once I actually played through the game.  I even waited well after its release date to pick it up because the positive reviews weren't even enough for me to want it right away.  It is one of those games that grabbed me as soon as I started playing, and even made me want to play through it again once I was done.  I would also add Saints Row the Third as a sequel that I thought was just another attempt to make money off of a franchise that ended up being awesome, and in this case better than its predecessors.  
#11 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -
@Anwar: MGS 3 is one of my favorite sequels.  I didn't think that a sequel about the series main villain would end up so compelling, and trump all of the other games in the series.  Don't get me wrong, MGS 1 is awesome and in many ways has the right to be considered the best game of Metal Gear.  Yet, MGS 3 is my favorite game in the series for its innovations as well as the story line.   I am also right there with you on GTA 3 as being a truly surprising sequel in every way.  It not only revolutionized what game worlds could be, but really honed the idea of freedom in on a console.  While GTA 3 isn't one of my favorite games (that honor goes to Vice City), I recognize it as a sequel that changed, if not created, a genre.   
#12 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -

I just remembered another extremely surprising sequel, Red Dead Redemption.  While being very little like the first game, it is still pretty surprising how Rockstar took the name and old west setting of Red Dead Revolver and made Redemption.  Who knew that from a game cancelled by Capcom and picked up by Rockstar would lead to one of the best games of this console generation.  Truly a better game in every way, Redemption is also my favorite game by Rockstar.

#13 Edited by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

inFamous 2 because of those endings. However if inFamous 3 is announced at E3 I will be disappointed. They should just leave it alone as the greatest trilogy (if you count the PSN "what if" story) in video games.

#14 Posted by 71Ranchero (2675 posts) -

AC2 stands out the most this generation. Even more to me because I actually loved the first game.

#15 Posted by Sackmanjones (4652 posts) -

Uncharted 2 anyone? Sure the first one was good (more like OK) but this game was just incredible. Also I was blown away by how awesome ME2 was even though ME1 was still a good game. And Assassins Creed 2 and brotherhood because 1) AC1 was a bad game 2) I thought Brotherhood looked terrible at first, but its my favorite in the series now.

#16 Posted by Dom (436 posts) -

Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner. I remember how slow and tedious Zone of the Ender was to finish. When Konami announced The Second Runner, something told me that it was going to be good (it would be difficult to make Second Runner worst than ZoE, tbh). And Second Runner turned out to be great.

#17 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

Super Mario 2. I remember getting it, hating it, and then growing to deeply love it. This process took years.

#18 Posted by KaneRobot (1416 posts) -

Crackdown 2, and I mean that to be a horrible surprise. Loved the first one, don't think I spent more than 30 minutes on the sequel.

#19 Edited by Hector (3354 posts) -

Skyrim, I just couldn't get into Oblivion.

#20 Posted by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

Also Skylanders. Spyro wasn't even this well known in the PS-One era.

#21 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

@Hector said:

Skyim, I just couldn't get into Oblivion.

Same here. I think Oblivion is outright bad but they made a great game in Skyrim.

#22 Posted by jonnyboy (2920 posts) -

Miss 'Splosion Man, surprised the hell out of me.

LOVED 'Splosion Man, FUCKING HATED the sequel. 'Splosion Man worked because it was a simple concept, beautifully executed. Pretty hard to cock that up right? Ms 'Splosion man's camera, level design, and 'puzzles' were atrocious.

#23 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

Dragon Age 2. Not in a good way.

#24 Edited by Viking_Funeral (1731 posts) -

@supermariobrah: Oh, yeah.

Saints Row the Third was a huge surprise, mostly because the franchise was a merely-good GTA ripoff up until that point.

@VinceNotVance: I like SMB2 more than 3.

#25 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

Two Gamecube games, Wave Race: Blue Storm and 1080 Avalanche. I loved the original games, but the sequels just didn't hold that same feel and love of the originals. The damn things didn't even show up on the Wii. The fuck.

#26 Posted by crusader8463 (14413 posts) -

Not the best, but certainly the most surprising has to be Dragon Age 2. It blew my mind how the same people that made a game I loved so much in DAO could make such a Steaming pile of crap in DA2.

#27 Posted by 20ozmonkey (116 posts) -

Bejeweled 3. I never dreamed that I could match 3 and dig for gold at the same time.

(but really thought I think Saint's Row the Third and Ass Creed 2 deserve the awards for surprising sequels)

#28 Posted by Raven10 (1721 posts) -

I happen to be playing The Darkness 2 myself. I'm surprised about how good the story is so far. Starbreeze was a company known for atmosphere and compelling narratives. Digital Extremes wasn't, so I was surprised that I'm enjoying the story segments of the game more than I'm enjoying the combat, which is good but not as great as I thought it was going to be. Even if Prey 2 is never released, the announcement that they were continuing with the franchise six years after a first game that wasn't exactly a fan favorite kind of shocked me. Then they announced it was a Blade Runner inspired open world alien bounty hunting game, and I my mouth kind of dropped. In retrospect, it wouldn't be all that surprising if it was cancelled considering its ambition and the lack of a fanbase for the original game, but the sheer nerve of trying to make it in the first place has to earn it a place at the top of my list.

#29 Posted by MrBoBo (102 posts) -

Bioshock 2. Superior gameplay to Bioshock. Why people bad mouth it I have no idea. Bioshock is very overrated imo.

#30 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6075 posts) -

Police Quest 3, and in all the best ways.

Moderator Online
#31 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -
@VinceNotVance: I am with you on Kayne and Lynch 2 versus the original.  I recently bought K&L2 off of steam and played through it even though I had rented and played it on the 360.  After beating it I decided to play K&L1 on the 360, and was surprised by how off the shooting felt in that game compared to the sequel.  The first one felt so clunky, but I was able to look past it due to the interesting characters and story.  However, I don't know if I could play through it again event though it isn't that long of a game.  The second one I have played around three times now, and I still enjoy it.
#32 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -
@Raven10: I was also surprised at the quality of The Darkness II.  While it is a short game, I beat it in three two to three hour sittings, my enjoyment of the game more than made up for what it lacks in length.   I think the first game is better in almost all terms besides the combat, but number II is still a great sequel to a game I never thought would have one. I am playing through The Darkness, and I plan on taking a little more time with II as I replay it.   As for Prey 2, I really think that they should have just made the game a new IP instead of trying to use the name of a game that wasn't that popular to begin with.  It doesn't make sense to make a sequel that seems to have almost nothing to do with the original, and I think that it actually hurts the chance of the games success should it ever come out.  A similar thing happened with Silent Hill 4.  While it was still a decent game, it was intended to be its own game and not part of a series.  It is one of those instances where they put it in a series because they knew it would do better than if it was its own property.  While that isn't the best way to do things, it does make sense.  I have no idea what Prey 2's excuse is.
#33 Edited by zyn (2591 posts) -

@NTM said:

Modern Warfare 2. I'm in the minority on that one, but I didn't really find the first Modern Warfare to be that fun, so I was just completely blown away by Modern Warfare 2's cinematic approach. It made me like Price and Soap a lot, when I originally didn't care for them like I've seen others do so in the past. Oh, and Mass Effect 2, which when I first beat it, I thought it was great, but not as great as when I had got the DLC, that made it amazing, so much so that it made me replay the original and enjoy that too.

Modern Warfare 2 and Mass Effect 2 for me, too. (see what I did there?)

FIX: Didn't know why I typed Mass Effect "3" O_o;

#34 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

Napoleon: Total War. People chimed it was a cheap cash-in. But it's a superior game to Empire and does a great job of telling Napoleons campaigns from start to end.

It also introduced more importance on generals and drop in battles which was (and will be) carried over to subsequent games.

#35 Posted by adam1808 (1371 posts) -

SAINTS ROW THE THIRD.  How is this not the only answer on this thread? What other series has hit its stride by the second sequel?
Nobody expected that to be awesome and it turned out to be one of 2011's best.

#36 Posted by Masha2932 (1241 posts) -

@MrBoBo said:

Bioshock 2. Superior gameplay to Bioshock. Why people bad mouth it I have no idea.

This.

Also Spiderman 2 on the PS2/XBOX. Giving you an open world to swing around was really invigorating and despite the combat and story being a bit meh, the feeling of swinging made up for it.

#37 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -
@adam1808: Saints Row the Third is definitely up there with sequels that surprised me.  SR1 was one of the first games I played on the 360.  I thought it was a little bland and disliked a lot of the technical issues(cars disappearing were a huge deal to me), but i still enjoyed it quite a bit.  I didn't pick up SR2 until a while after it had come out, and it left me underwhelmed.  While it received some praise, it is one of the few games I own that I have never played to completion.  Overall I thought the first 2 were competent GTA clones that just weren't that great, so when I heard the third one was coming out I was about as unexcited as could be.  When it started getting praised, I was curious.  When I relented and bought it a few weeks after it had come out, I was amazed.  SR3 is one of the most fun games I have played in ages.  It is ridiculous, varied, and genuinely funny without feeling too forced.  Sure, the zaniness is in your face a lot of the time but it is also one of the few games that made me laugh out loud.  The wrestling scene with the chainsaw and the "Best Around" song from the original Karate Kid had me laughing so hard I had to pause the game.  Couple the crazy tone of the game with the fun game play, and SR3 found its way my heart and is making me look forward to its sequel.
#38 Posted by supermariobrah (51 posts) -
@Masha2932: Spiderman 2 was good, but I really have to give it to Ultimate Spiderman.  While not necessarily a sequel, it did build off of the concept of an open world Spiderman game while taking cues from the comic book.  I really enjoyed the look and action of the game, and I thought the story wasn't bad either.  The negative thing about Spiderman 2 is that the swinging mechanic and open world are the only things that make it decent.  The weak missions and side missions coupled with the lack of great story telling are only made up by the fact that it is a great Spiderman simulator.  Ultimate Spiderman was better in these areas, and this I think it is a better game.  I even like Web of Shadows, a game that I think received a lot more criticism than it deserved. 
#39 Posted by BeachThunder (11686 posts) -

X-com: Terror From the Deep; I had a hard time getting into the original, but I loved TFTD.

#40 Posted by wwfundertaker (1396 posts) -

Assassins Creed 2 was amazing, got real bored of the first one.

#41 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

Assassins Creed 2 and Dragon Age 2, both for reasons others have mentioned enough.

@supermariobrah: I actually think Saints Row 3 was a bit of a disappointment. It was crazy fun and the sillyness was hilarious in places, but I thought the second game was funnier, because it had a lot of really serious stuff as well. When stupid stuff happened, it seemed more random and more out of place, which was a lot funnier than the constant in your face wackyness of the third. I also thought the mission variety and structure in the second were a lot better. 3 was still amazing, but I hope they can strike a better mix in the 4th game.

#42 Posted by Morningstar (2137 posts) -

Dragon Age II. Quality, direction and the start of Bioware's decline.

#43 Posted by Stete (722 posts) -

The Darkness II. The first one had great atmosphere and it was a very interesting adaption of a beloved comic from my childhood, yet the gameplay was abit lacklustre. Digital Extremes took all the best stuff from the original and made the game really fun to play, resulting not only in a worthy successor, but one that is vastly superior to the original.

#44 Posted by The_Nubster (2045 posts) -

@MrBoBo said:

Bioshock 2. Superior gameplay to Bioshock. Why people bad mouth it I have no idea. Bioshock is very overrated imo.

I hated the first Bioshock and loved the second. I think people whine and bitch about the story, mainly. I mean, they have to, because the gameplay was better in literally every possible way. However, the story in Bioshock 2 was a lot more personal, I feel, and deep in a much different way. The way your choices culminated in the end was really effective too (the consequences of saving/harvesting, and the consequences of killing/sparing the human characters). Overall, I feel like it was a much better put-together game than the first, and there are a lot of moments that stick with me, even to this day.

#45 Posted by Revan_NL (332 posts) -

@The_Nubster: There's no question that BioShock 2 played a lot better then the original, it's just that there are some aspects of BioShock 2 that aren't as great. The whole 'defend the Little Sister' thing was tedious, and the main antagonist wasn't as great as Andrew Ryan. There's also the fact that the 'wow' factor had been deminished because we visited Rapture before. I do have to say that while I hold BioShock in a higher regard, the Minerva's Den DLC probably was the best BioShock experience in the series.

#46 Posted by Humanity (8798 posts) -

@The_Nubster said:

@MrBoBo said:

Bioshock 2. Superior gameplay to Bioshock. Why people bad mouth it I have no idea. Bioshock is very overrated imo.

I hated the first Bioshock and loved the second. I think people whine and bitch about the story, mainly. I mean, they have to, because the gameplay was better in literally every possible way. However, the story in Bioshock 2 was a lot more personal, I feel, and deep in a much different way. The way your choices culminated in the end was really effective too (the consequences of saving/harvesting, and the consequences of killing/sparing the human characters). Overall, I feel like it was a much better put-together game than the first, and there are a lot of moments that stick with me, even to this day.

I hated the gameplay of the first Bioshock - mainly the not regenerating health couples with just waves and waves of baddies - but I thought the story was excellent. Bioshock 2 I think infuriated me even more because now theres no compromises, you are supposed to be a Big Daddy from the onset - even though you're some Alpha prototype you still have a big ass suit on and a drill arm. It's safe to say you're tougher than a regular splicer, yet they make you laughably vulnerable to any damage. The story was good, and I think the level design later on in the game was much better than the latter sections of Bioshock 1 but I just hate the combat in those games for some reason.

#47 Posted by The_Nubster (2045 posts) -

@Revan_NL: I've still yet to get around to Minerva`s Den, but the Bomb Squad spoiled it in their GotY podcasts a couple of years back, so I don't think it'll hold the same weight for me. While I agree that Rapture wasn't as incredible the second time around, the part in Bioshock 2 where a main room flood with you in it was so incredible to me. The slower moments of Bioshock 2 were both touching and horrifying, something that the first Bioshock was missing. I do agree that Andrew Ryan was stronger than Lamb, though, but in the end, I felt like Bioshock 2 was about the protagonist, not Rapture or the antagonist.

@Humanity: Yeah, I know what you mean with the combat. I was kind of disheartened in the beginning of Bioshock 2 for that very reason. The marketing had been hyping up how badass you were from the get-go, then you start with a health bar smaller than a micro-penis and everything kills you like you're an insect. I feel like the inclusion of dual-wielding powers and guns made the combat a lot quicker, and they smoothed out the aiming, so it wasn't as jerky as in Bioshock 1. But really, the combat isn't the strong point of those games, so if that's what gets you off when you play, Bioshock doesn't hold much weight there.

#48 Edited by ProfessorEss (7274 posts) -

I gotta give it to Valve on this one.

Left 4 Dead 2. Seemed like more of an expansion than a sequel but once I got in that notion was totally erased. The addition of melee weapons couldn't be more meaningful.

Portal 2. I was definitely worried about the whole: How can they turn this little concept game into a full-fledged retail game? Won't it get boring? How are they going to mix up such a simple mechanic? How is the co-op going to be not impossible? Man oh man, was I outstandingly wrong. Tons of new mechanics, incredible visuals and some of the best written and delivered dialogue to ever appear in a videogame. Also (and this may have been the biggest shocker of all) it's one of the funniest games, if not THE funniest, I've ever played.

#49 Posted by Goly (843 posts) -

It's crazy how sequels in video games are usually a good thing and often surpass the original, whereas in literature and cinema sequels tend to be worse.

To stay on the topic, I think Uncharted 2 surpassed the first one in every possible aspect and set the series on a whole new level. In fact, I think this series is comparable in quality to the Indiana Jones movies.

#50 Posted by Revan_NL (332 posts) -

@Goly said:

It's crazy how sequels in video games are usually a good thing and often surpass the original, whereas in literature and cinema sequels tend to be worse.

To stay on the topic, I think Uncharted 2 surpassed the first one in every possible aspect and set the series on a whole new level. In fact, I think this series is comparable in quality to the Indiana Jones movies.

I fear the worst for Uncharted 4...

Uncharted 2 still is one of my favorite games of this generation, but it's baffling how much of a step backwards Uncharted 3 was.