Thoughts about judging sequels

Posted by Gooddoggy (410 posts) -

So I played through Professor Layton and the Unwound Future a few weeks ago and wrote a review of it for the site.  Last week I was talking with some friends about it, and I got to thinking about the difficulty of judging sequels.  I think every game should be evaluated on its own merits, but at what point can series fatigue become a legitimate concern?  Should perfectly adequate games be penalized for adhering too closely to a formula?
 
I enjoyed this new Layton, but nearly as much as the first two.  Although there have been some noticeable improvements in puzzle variety and selection, playing through the game felt just a little too rote for me.  Every game so far has been almost exactly a dozen hours long and the charming artwork and settings are (for me at least) undermined by absurd plot twist in the last third of the story.  Buying no. 3 was a no-brainer for me, but I doubt I'll play the next Layton when it's released.  The thing is, if asked if I could recommend it, I think I'd have to say "yes," because it's still a good game, but its failure to innovate in any significantly interesting way means I'm less interested in the series now.

#1 Posted by Gooddoggy (410 posts) -

So I played through Professor Layton and the Unwound Future a few weeks ago and wrote a review of it for the site.  Last week I was talking with some friends about it, and I got to thinking about the difficulty of judging sequels.  I think every game should be evaluated on its own merits, but at what point can series fatigue become a legitimate concern?  Should perfectly adequate games be penalized for adhering too closely to a formula?
 
I enjoyed this new Layton, but nearly as much as the first two.  Although there have been some noticeable improvements in puzzle variety and selection, playing through the game felt just a little too rote for me.  Every game so far has been almost exactly a dozen hours long and the charming artwork and settings are (for me at least) undermined by absurd plot twist in the last third of the story.  Buying no. 3 was a no-brainer for me, but I doubt I'll play the next Layton when it's released.  The thing is, if asked if I could recommend it, I think I'd have to say "yes," because it's still a good game, but its failure to innovate in any significantly interesting way means I'm less interested in the series now.

#2 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -

I think it's very fair and even important to judge a game based on other games in the series. You don't want to be paying to play the same game over and over. Games need to evolve and get better with each release. I feel it's perfectly fine to hold it against a game if it's just more of the same and doesn't make any significant progress or changes.

#3 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

I think there's always a balance between judging a game based purely on it's own merits and judging it based on the games around it. You shouldn't compare features 1 to 1 with another game or anything, but I think the ability of a game to keep up with or surpass the current general level of other games is an important factor in determining how "good" a game is. 
 
I don't know if that made any sense.

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