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The Rest => General Discussions => Topic started by: Dincrest on December 08, 2014, 07:57:38 PM

Title: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Dincrest on December 08, 2014, 07:57:38 PM
In replaying Chrono Cross, I kept thinking about it and Chrono Trigger.  Chrono Trigger captured a certain type of magic that's made it a timeless classic.  Chrono Cross followed it and while it could be considered the better game, it left a lot of people feeling cold.  I didn't like it, initially because I was expecting Chrono Trigger part deux and got something that felt out of left field.  Replaying it now, I love it for that.  I love that it's the complete opposite of everything Chrono Trigger was and is brilliant for that. 

So when it comes to sequels, follow-ups, etc. of games, movies, books, albums, etc. that you really love, how does change play into your opinion?  Like if the follow-up to a beloved album does things completely differently than its predecessor, do you laud it for creativity or burn it for straying too far from what made the predecessor great?  But then if the follow-up is very similar to the predecessor, do you laud it for saying true to its roots or lament it for stagnating?  And if you revisit a sequel that you once reviled later in life and now find it brilliant, do you think to yourself, "Man, I wish I had seen the brilliance of it back in the day?" 

So, yeah, let's talk about our perceptions of sequels/follow-ups to beloved classics.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Taelus on December 08, 2014, 08:04:21 PM
I like a little of both. I try not to dislike a sequel for being different-- in fact, I think that's a much harder route to take. It's not always successful, but I like ambitious moderate successes more than totally safe rehashes.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Rucks on December 08, 2014, 08:17:57 PM
When I was much younger, I would constantly get very angry when the bands I was into evolved.  I remember calling them all sellouts or corporate shills.  In some cases this is true (The Used is probably the best example, they got famous after their first album and immediately streamlined their sound for a broader appeal), but in other cases it's simply a natural progression of style that comes as a byproduct of the particular individual responsible for the music being in a different place in their life (Thrice, for example, went from an INTENSE hardcore sound to a much more mellow prog rock one over the span of about 5 albums).  I didn't really understand how much a person's point of views can change over time until I got older (and my point of views changed).  


But still, even saying that, if it's clear that an individual or group has redirected their artistic vision in order to appeal to a broader audience, that person can figuratively die in a hole.  I have little patience for someone who has taken something beautiful and dumbs it down for mass production.   Books, movies, games, music it doesn't matter.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Annubis on December 08, 2014, 08:23:37 PM
Funny enough, as far as music goes, I usually hate most CDs after the first one of a band.
It's like they lose focus or they expired all their best material after the first one.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Lard on December 08, 2014, 08:25:36 PM
It still bugs me that both Chrono Cross and Legend of Mana are maligned simply because they aren't copy/pasted sequels of Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: mecharobot on December 09, 2014, 06:22:50 AM
My reasons for not liking Chrono Cross don't have much to do with Trigger. I think the game is simply unfun to play due to its slow battle system which makes no sense, its leveling system which makes no sense and choices that are leaps of faith and make no sense. Of course this could all be ignored since the game is easy, but I kind of like to have some kind of idea of what I'm doing. There's too much junk and almost none of it works. I do like its general aesthetic, which I consider to be among the best on PSX. I just don't like to actually play it. There are games where I eventually got around their terrible systems, but it has yet to happen with Chrono Cross.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Aeolus on December 09, 2014, 12:52:02 PM
Same but with LoM. On normal mode, LoM is a total cakewalk that hardly requires any effort on (only the Tropellco fight is really all that difficult due to the reasons I listed in the "Fuck that fight!" thread), but once you crank it up to Nightmare everything turns into a slog because everything suddenly has a fuckton of HP so now fights just take longer, but its still kinda manageable if you use the almost impenetrable Forging system to make yourself a more powerful weapon than anything you can find in shops (it also helps immensely if you get lucky like I did and end up finding a Land Dragon; which may be in need of serious raising to become useful but doesn't require the sheer amount of farming/probing of the Forging system to make useful like a Golem), except when it comes to exploration where the constant and boring ass fighting simply wears you down (I mean, battles in LoM basically consist of shuffling over to an enemy and start wailing on it with your weapon until it explodes into crystals and coins that need to be picked up, you might do a special attack (especially if you need the invincibility frames) or you could use your two set abilities to maneuver around or block or counter or something; magic is worthless due to magic damage scaling really badly, the AI is pretty fucking stupid no matter what you do (and are worthless on anything above Normal) and Pets/Golems require fuck tons of investment to do anything with).
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Dice on December 09, 2014, 07:15:15 PM
My reasons for not liking Chrono Cross don't have much to do with Trigger. I think the game is simply unfun to play due to its slow battle system which makes no sense, its leveling system which makes no sense and choices that are leaps of faith and make no sense. Of course this could all be ignored since the game is easy, but I kind of like to have some kind of idea of what I'm doing. There's too much junk and almost none of it works. I do like its general aesthetic, which I consider to be among the best on PSX. I just don't like to actually play it. There are games where I eventually got around their terrible systems, but it has yet to happen with Chrono Cross.

IIRC, level ups happen with any boss fight.  It means that all 40+ character stay uniformly strong (barring whatever stats differences in individual strengths/weaknesses).
I don't like CC for being slightly messy in how the story is told and the cluster of plot telling in key segments.  Otherwise I do think it's a great sequel, worthy of the world and lore of the original title and a perfectly divergent-enough title that's not "LET'S TIME TRAVEL....AGAIN".  Albeit Trigger is stronger for being more concise masterpiece that didn't need to complicate its plot to be effective.
I definitely think that Cross has without a doubt some of the best visuals and atmosphere on the PSX.  And holy crap that opening theme (hell, and ending) might just be the best piece to grace a videogame introduction.

I'm not sure how i like sequels, but the more I think about it the more annoyed I get with Tales of Xillia 2.  It's without a doubt a better title than the first game, but with a truly unforgiveable amount of recycling.

Funny enough, my "favourite game I've never beaten", Baten Kaitos Origins similarly re-uses a TON of assets....  Still, the game new when to add new elements and dramatically changed the cast and battle system to suit new needs so it felt "newer" by comparison.  The game also creatively puts "off shoots" to old dungeons that makes a new explorable path to traverse.

For books, I love when book series start kind of small or have one masterfully wrapped up plot, then start the second book with a new protagonist or shifted point of view (like the second to main character having the spotlight) with the main one from the first book popping in for an extended cameo.  Weird, but I like it. x)
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Rucks on December 09, 2014, 07:26:44 PM
Funny enough, my "favourite game I've never beaten", Baten Kaitos Origins similarly re-uses a TON of assets....  Still, the game new when to add new elements and dramatically changed the cast and battle system to suit new needs so it felt "newer" by comparison.  The game also creatively puts "off shoots" to old dungeons that makes a new explorable path to traverse.

BK:Origins is one of the few direct sequels/prequels (in gaming at least) that's so head and shoulders better than the original that the two games aren't even in the same conversation.  When I think of Baten Kaitos, I'm pretty much always thinking about Origins.  They fixed almost everything that made the first game tedious at times, and the time travel/hallucination method of connecting Sagi with the distant past is one of the more creative plot devices I've seen.

Can anyone think of any other examples of a direct sequel/prequel that's almost universally considered much better?  Xenosaga 2 and SMT: Digital Devil Saga 2 are better for sure, but not so much that they completely overshadow the original.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Annubis on December 09, 2014, 07:41:07 PM
Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner
You just can't go back to the first one.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Rucks on December 10, 2014, 05:33:42 PM
Was reading up on the lol/face palm/long deep sigh worthy Breath of Fire 6 that supposed to come out next spring (for those who don't remember, it's going to be a free to play mobile/browser game) and it got me wondering about which sequels effectively rang the death knell for a particular series.

Some are obvious: Unlimited SaGa is a good example of a game that is so reviled that it killed off an already fringe franchise.

Others less so: When the Mana series jumped the shark largely depends on taste.  Many would say Legend, other Seiken Densetsu 3, and some held out all the way to Dawn.

And some series actually ended on a relatively high note: Shadow Hearts:To the New World wasn't a bad game at all (it was probably the weakest of the 3, but considering how wonderful the first two are, it's not that much of a negative).  While Chrono Chross is actually pretty great.

Any other, more articulate, thoughts on when a specific series began circling the drain?
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Dice on December 10, 2014, 06:34:19 PM
I'm super torn on Shadow Hearts' sequel.  I love that it's a million times more polished in every way with better graphics, a better battle system, and (from what I'm at so far) a unique premise.  Hell, the graphics for SH2 are better than the FMVs in SH1. :P
But it lost a TON of heart meanwhile and became a haven for bad jokes, shittier dungeons, and using one tune for most town themes....
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Klyde Chroma on December 10, 2014, 08:13:10 PM
I think one of the best sequels I can think of is Lunar Eternal Blue. The way it builds upon the world and lore of the first and developed characters and concepts was daring and it worked. I say daring because it is one of the few games I can say is clearly for he who played the first. The level of appreciation a newcomer to the series would have with it is crippled. The pay off is a narrative that drops the jaw of he who loved the Silver Star. Now, the reason I say I loved Eternal Blue is BECAUSE I loved Silver Star. In no way do I think objectively a sequels narrative should depend so much on having a comprehension of the first.

Moreover, Eternal Blue gives fans more of exactly what they want in terms of atmosphere, design, gameplay et cetera... You simply get more Lunar. It is one perfect way to approach a sequel.

By my measure, the other "perfect" way is the Neptunia MK2 approach. Yup, I put Neptunia and perfect in the same sentence. Zero understanding or time with first is necessary to fully appreciate MK2 and CH/IF stripped away just about everything they knew didn't work. Learning clearly from the miss-steps of its predecessor MK2 is a prime example of how improved upon a title could be and just how much a good game could clear ones palette of the bad taste leftover from a horrible offering.

I could list more examples of both types of sequels but you get the idea. To me, a good follow up picks its direction and tackles it. Improve upon a winning formula and great game or hit "reset" and fix what those who are loyal did not like whilst attracting a wider audience.

The 3rd avenue approach I see is the non-sequel. Not that this cannot be done right, but I generally don't appreciate it as much. I'm speaking pretty subjectively on my two favorite approaches to the "Sequel" here.^^^

Special props go to the Persona series in my book for being the best at not disappointing me in the least with each successive entry despite its evolution into something so far removed from the initial product. Hell, it takes some magik mojo for certain to take persona 1 and evolve it to 2-d fighter down the road without pissing me off.

KLYDES "THE MOST DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL" AWARDS GOES TO  Ar Tonelico 3 Quoga. Without getting into it, Quoga totally let me down on every front with the exception of art direction. This seems historically more common for me when a game transitions from 2-d to the 3-d as they evolve.

NOTE: I'm not trying to antagonize or instigate any argument. This post if purely my own opinions on the matter. And there-in lies the  curse of the sequel. Everyone goes in with individualized expectations and not everyone can be satisfied.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Aeolus on December 11, 2014, 03:50:30 PM
I still like that Fire Emblem 3 was both a remake and a sequel. Namely because they not only cleaned up the first game (in as much as the first game could be cleaned up in; at least Magic now ran off a stat and more classes could promote), but they then turned around and basically gave you the Second Quest version that was literally a full second quest (as in by Chapter 2, the game was dropping promoted enemies on your team along with a secondary objective; the game did not fuck around, and it clocked in more Chapters than the first half).

Phantasy Star 4 was also a great sequel since it was basically an amalgamation of all the previous games set to a stand alone story (and a good one at that) with a number of callbacks sprinkled in for flavor. One of probably the handful of good capstones to a videogame series.


For terrible sequels: Final Fantasy Tactics Advances 1 & 2 and the entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy (there, I said it). The former, not just because we simply didn't get more of the same, but that what we did get was a bloated mess that never presented a challenge (it took FFTA2 to do so, but then only for the wrong reasons) and really had almost nothing to do with the first game. The latter, first because it was hardly even a game (flipping Paradigms at key moments wasn't a bad idea on its own, and it was put through its paces, but it really needed more than just that to really carry the game and unfortunately, the game was too busy trying to drill you for the umpteenth time on how to play it to bother with anything else), the second because its literally a retcon of the first game's ending (and while expanding on the gameplay to cover more than just the core battle system, pretty much ignored the core battle system in favor of giving you two chucklefucks and a bunch of random monsters, allowing the game play to be broken wide open with almost no effort on the players part), and the final one was so far removed from 1 & 2 that it could've been an entirely new game in an entirely new setting and it would still fulfill the same purpose as the current game did within the trilogy (seriously, they could've taken the shades of Valkyrie Profile that linger in the game's mechanics and plot and slapped a VP style veiner on and called it Valkyrie Profile: Hrist and it would've totally worked (and I would've enjoyed playing pretty princess dress up with a pissed Hrist than with so-over-this-shit Lightning); at least the gameplay was both tighter and far more entertaining due to the expanded nature of the player's agency within the setting, with plenty of options to serve as a distraction to the shit going on in the main game ("Meow Meow, Choco Chow")).
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Dincrest on December 11, 2014, 05:50:26 PM
And if you revisit a sequel that you once reviled later in life and now find it brilliant, do you think to yourself, "Man, I wish I had seen the brilliance of it back in the day?"  


This has been a biggie for me.  I talk about this a lot and use a ton of examples, like how many Tool fans were lukewarm toward Lateralus after the incredible Aenima, but after a waiting period and letting it grow on them, they changed their tune to "Lateralus is f'n brilliant!"  Kyuss's album "...And the Circus Leaves Town" left me feeling lukewarm at first (Blue for the Red Sun was still my fave Kyuss album at the time) but now I love it and I actually listen to it a LOT more than I do any other Kyuss album.  

And, obviously, Chrono Cross is a game that I only recognized the brilliance of ex post facto.  Like what makes it so brilliant is that it's the antithesis of everything Chrono Trigger was and represented an unbridled artistic vision without any pandering. 
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: mecharobot on December 12, 2014, 08:43:10 AM
IIRC, level ups happen with any boss fight.  It means that all 40+ character stay uniformly strong (barring whatever stats differences in individual strengths/weaknesses).

Actually that's not how it works at all. I said it doesn't make sense, but I do actually know how it works. The bosses give you star levels, which give you a window of opportunity to level your stats. These stat gains don't get shared with everyone, I'm pretty sure (might need to test this). Once you beat the next boss, the opportunity is lost. So if there are two bosses in quick succession, you should go back fighting some ~7-10 battles (per party) if you want the stats. The gains don't come from beating strong enemies in new areas like in normal games, but from how many battles you fight. Usually you gain stats after each battle, then not any in a few, then MAYBE a big stat gain again after not getting anything.

This system is an OCD nightmare and not very good if you wanted to do something like trying to get the max potential out of your unused characters in endgame. While this doesn't necessarily get in the way of the game, there isn't really anything I can praise about it either. It seems like some failed attempt to stop powerleveling. FF XIII did it much better.
Title: Re: On the subject of sequels, follow ups, etc.
Post by: Aeolus on December 12, 2014, 03:05:53 PM
IIRC, level ups happen with any boss fight.  It means that all 40+ character stay uniformly strong (barring whatever stats differences in individual strengths/weaknesses).

Actually that's not how it works at all. I said it doesn't make sense, but I do actually know how it works. The bosses give you star levels, which give you a window of opportunity to level your stats. These stat gains don't get shared with everyone, I'm pretty sure (might need to test this). Once you beat the next boss, the opportunity is lost. So if there are two bosses in quick succession, you should go back fighting some ~7-10 battles (per party) if you want the stats. The gains don't come from beating strong enemies in new areas like in normal games, but from how many battles you fight. Usually you gain stats after each battle, then not any in a few, then MAYBE a big stat gain again after not getting anything.

This system is an OCD nightmare and not very good if you wanted to do something like trying to get the max potential out of your unused characters in endgame. While this doesn't necessarily get in the way of the game, there isn't really anything I can praise about it either. It seems like some failed attempt to stop powerleveling. FF XIII did it much better.

Actually, you get an immediate boost once you gain the Star Level, but additional fights nets you a few minor stat points here and there which anybody can get (which means lots of switching people out for the sake of a few points more), and one big boost that can only be gotten once per Star Level (the big boost isn't as large as the immediate boost but it will skew stats more towards people you favor or use more frequently and discourages using characters that you might like but might have fallen behind somewhat). Really though, only Serge really shows this off since he's constantly a member of the party and he only goes from JRPG Protagonist syndrome sufferer to overpowered JRPG Protagonist syndrome sufferer.

(Edit: I may have gotten the stat boost priorities mixed up and only the minor boosts occur once per Star Level while the secondary boost can happen to anybody who fights a couple of battles after one. Additionally, I have no idea what goes on with characters that are unavailable due to a late joining time or due to getting shipped off with not-Surge during the midgame.)