Sequels. Some call them the games that come after the first title in the series, others call them the second games in a series, I call them Number Two’s.
There are many fantastic sequels in the video game world. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to pick favourites. In truly special moments, there are sequels that are even better than the originals. Of course, this is all up to personal opinion, but sometimes developers will see the great work they’ve done with a new game and go the extra mile to expand on it with the sequel, and that’s something we simply love to see.
In the spirit of Number Two’s, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about four of my favourite video game sequels (which will be the first four), as well as ask around and find out which direct sequels our team holds close to their gamer hearts.
This might be sacrilegious, but I actually played Bioshock 2 before the first game. And I fucking loved it. If anything, playing the second game first gave me a deeper insight into the Big Daddies and Little Sisters when eventually playing the first game. In fact, playing the second game made it so I couldn’t possibly harvest any Little Sisters when I played the original Bioshock. I felt too bad.
Bioshock 2 was one of those sequels that nobody asked for, got relentlessly compared to the original for a long while, but then over time became beloved by many. I loved it because I simply adore being a Big Drill Fella, and I thought the Big Sister enemies were cool as hell. Also, the teenie-weenie side plot of Mark Meltzer’s story in BioShock 2… You could say it Meltzer’d my heart.
Portal 2 is a mighty fine example of a sequel building on an original in a big way. This is one of my favourite games of all time. While still maintaining the gameplay and comedic stylings of the original Portal, the sequel brings in the stellar voice acting work of Stephen Merchant, further develops the portal systems and introduces all new gameplay aspects, and expands on the story of the original while also digging deeper into it’s origins.
The Portal 2 co-op mode is also one of the best co-op experiences I’ve had, only being trumped by It Takes Two in my eyes. Figuring out puzzles with a buddy while also being a huge jerk and messing with them by placing portals directly over toxic waste at the perfect moment? An absolute treat.
Costume Quest 2
I should probably start this one with complete transparency: I’ve not yet played the original Costume Quest. Not because I don’t want to! Believe me, I do. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet, and it was pure chance that I played Costume Quest 2, as it was available on the Xbox Game Pass when I was having a lazy day. In saying that, I can’t personally attest as to whether or not Costume Quest 2 is better than the original.
However, I can say with confidence that Costume Quest 2 is probably one of the most unique and entertaining experiences I’ve had playing a game, period. The visuals are adorable, and the writing is goofy yet engaging. I love the Halloween costume mechanic of different costumes turning you into different beings, with each costume being necessary to get to certain things. Very clever, very cute, and a whoooole lotta fun.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Alright, this could be considered a spicy take. I loved the first Ni No Kuni and really enjoyed my time with it BUT… I loved Ni No Kuni II a whole lot more. In saying that, I feel like they’re very different games mechanically.
Ni No Kuni II in my eyes basically took what the first game introduced thematically, and added a fuckload more. There’s RPG elements, city-building elements, skirmish-battle elements, the whole lot. This game has so much to offer, yet it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Of course, one of the many highlights is that composer Joe Hisaishi returned to compose the soundtrack for the sequel, and we thank him immensely for it. Ni No Kuni II is yet another one of my favourite games, and I feel like it deserved more eyes on it! That’s my opinion!
Both TF2’s (Team Fortress 2 & Titanfall 2)
Okay, I’m gonna be the guy: both TF2’s (Titanfall 2 and Team Fortress 2). Titanfall 2 was a tremendously engaging movement shooter, with a focus on piloting mechs, wall-running, and quickly switching between movement and tight aiming (its legacy lives on in Apex Legends). Team Fortress 2, building upon the original Half-Life mod, is a terrific team-based movement shooter, that built its own legacy to the point where it’s largely separable from the original mod. I can’t get over these games and it is a travesty that they have been left unsupported for so long.
– Zachariah Kelly
Team Fortress 2 (Again, Because We Love It)
Team Fortress 2 (circa 10 years ago) really fulfilled the promise of what gaming can offer: born from a mod, refined by a studio while still feeling like an open source (heh) project, where the community can build what they want to play. Watching the admin of a trade server give everyone bobble heads because he missed one too many headshots at 3am is the spiritual pinnacle of PC gaming. I will not take feedback.
– Mateus Brandao
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was the game CD Projekt Red hoped would put it on the map. It didn’t, CDPR would need to produce a third game before that would happen, but The Witcher 2 won the studio a small army of dedicated fans. Foltest, King of Temeria, is dead and Geralt of Rivia is considered the prime suspect. Geralt recruits the sorceress Triss Merigold to help clear his name and unravel the mystery of Foltest’s murder.
The first game produced in CDPR’s Red Engine, the game was a diamond in the rough. Brilliant writing, and strong quest and combat design were marred by its myriad technical problems (actually, this sounds awfully famliar). The experience was imperfect, but the journey was deeply memorable. Scuffed, yes, but a unique and rewarding RPG experience to this day.
– David Smith
These are just a few of our favourites, but now it’s time to hear from you. Which direct video game sequel is your favourite? What video game sequel do you think truly expanded upon the original? And for the spiciest take, which video game sequel do you think is MUCH BETTER than the original? Let us know!