In today's climate, video game sequels are inevitable. No matter how original an idea for a game is, or the one-off nature of the storyline, if it goes on to universal acclaim and sells millions of copies worldwide, developers automatically begin work on a sequel to maximize the games marketing potential.
There's nothing wrong with this of course, as the chance to progress a story or add new elements to an already established title is something gamers love to experience. Some of the best games of the past 19 years have been sequels, be they the second, third or six game in the franchise. Red Dead Redemption 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Resident Evil 4 are just three amazing sequels that are not only great games to play but complement the original while including new elements that take the story in exciting directions never thought possible.
But for every Red Dead Redemption 2, there's a Star Wars Battlefront II or Driv3r. Many of these sequels promised the world but failed to deliver, leaving fans frustrated and wanting their money back. Instead of improving on the previous release, these games are let down by poor scripting, major changes in gameplay, or the failure to capture the same spirit of the original title.
Having played plenty of good and bad sequels throughout the 00s I thought I'd be the ideal judge to let you know which games are worth a look and which are better off left on the shelf. So here are the 15 worst 2000s console game sequels along with 15 that are awesome.
29 Worst: Destiny 2
This call might not go down well with some of you, but give me a chance to explain. Destiny 2 isn't a bad game per se, it's just not that different from the first release. There isn't much separating the two releases, with Destiny 2 playing more like an expansion pack, with many fans even referring to it as Destiny 1.5.
As well as the lack of improvement in the gameplay department, the storyline, while vastly better than Destiny, is still a run-of-the-mill sci-fi plot that's quickly forgettable. The inclusion of microtransactions and how they are used is also poor form from Activision.
28 Awesome: God Of War (2018)
There are a number of sequels in the God Of War franchise worthy of being on this list, but for me, it has to be last year's epic God Of War. The sequel to 2010s God Of War III, this game is a huge step forward in the series.
Pairing an engaging storyline steeped in Norse mythology and featuring main protagonists Kratos and his son Atreus venturing across the nine realms to the highest peak to spread the ashes of their wife and mother respectively, God Of War is a beautifully created game worthy of every award its won.
27 Worst: Mirror's Edge: Catalyst
Mirror's Edge is an inventive first-person shooter set in a futuristic world that captured gamers attention thanks to its impressive visuals and parkour elements. The same can't be said for the 2016 reboot/sequel Mirror's Edge: Catalyst.
The open world setting is great and you can get lost for hours exploring it, but the storyline is weak and the combat sluggish. Many of the characters are unlikeable and the side quests often unreasonably hard.
All in all a boring and unfulfilling game.
26 Awesome: Watch Dogs 2
Building on the concept of the first game, Watch Dogs 2 was a big success with a grander and more visually appealing world to explore. Adding a little humor to the storyline takes away from the serious tone of the first game for the better, while the writing and dialogue fit well within the Watch Dogs universe.
Watch Dogs 2 improves on every aspect of the original and gives the main protagonist Marcus Holloway more humane traits, making him a much more rounded character and one that's a joy to control.
25 Worst: Devil May Cry 2
A PlayStation 2 exclusive, Devil May Cry 2 is set in modern times and focuses on main characters Dante and Lucia as they try to stop a demon being raised that will lead to the end of the world. Standard stuff really.
While the game does continue the mythology of the previous effort, a number of gameplay changes hindered Devil May Cry 2's chances of success. The combat system has a number of problems, the lack of difficulty is disappointing, and the campaign easily finished. Playing this one will leave you feeling flat.
24 Best: Resident Evil 4
A GameCube exclusive before being ported to a variety of other consoles, the sixth installment in the Resident Evil franchise is a fantastic mixture of the horror survival and first-person shooter genres.
Taking control of Leon S. Kennedy you must fight your way through hordes of the undead in rural Europe as you attempt to rescue the President's stolen daughter. This is one of the better looking Resident Evil games supported by solid voice work and acting in the cut scenes. The addition of more weapons to take out your enemies is also great.
23 Worst: Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)
Also known as Sonic '06, this 2006 release is part-sequel and part-reboot, created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the franchise. It was meant to draw a new audience to the series while getting older fans keen after a number of less than stellar Sonic games, but ended up a huge bomb.
There are not many positives with Sonic The Hedgehog, with the game visually poor and full of glitches, and the storyline nonsensical and the controls fidgety. You're better off grabbing a copy of the original Sonic and playing that if you really want to remember the glory days of this franchise.
22 Best: Gears Of War 2
Continuing the fight against the evil alien Locust horde, Gears Of War 2 builds on the first game and is an excellent third-person shooter sure to keep you entertained for hours.
As someone who's a fan of plots, Gears Of War 2 delivers on all fronts, with a much more in-depth and emotional storyline. The online multiplayer side of things is much improved, with more game modes added that are as fun as any similar multiplayer shooter on the market.
21 Worst: Perfect Dark Zero
Perfect Dark is one of the best 64 games ever released. Based around the same game engine as GoldenEye 007, it's a thrilling shooter with an enthralling plot that's hard to put down. The game was a huge success so a sequel was inevitable.
Perfect Dark Zero is an exclusive release title for the Xbox 360 that failed to set the world on fire. Released five years after the original, Zero feels dated and can't capture the magic of the first game, particularly in terms of the storyline and gameplay.
20 Best: Fallout 3
This game is an absolute classic. The first Fallout game from Bethesda Game Studios is great, but it's hard to go by this third installment when it comes to picking the best title in the series. Introducing 3D graphics and real-time combat, Fallout 3 is an involving RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world.
Fallout 3 is the kind of game you can get lost in for hours just wandering around the universe exploring, even if nothing is happening.
Some critics weren't overly keen on the ending, but this is a fully rounded game that will keep busy for weeks.
19 Worst: Bomberman: Act Zero
There was a lot of hype behind Bomberman: Act Zero, but both critics and fans were let down by the end product. Instead of the usual 2D platform formula that helped the series becomes so famous, Konami decided to turn Bomberman: Act Zero into a boring 3D action adventure game.
The end result is a glitchy title with horrible controls and even worse gameplay. There's hardly anything about this game that ties it to the original series bar the name, making it another worthy entry on this list of worst sequels of the 00s.
18 Best: Silent Hill 2
Although not a direct sequel, Silent Hill 2 continues the mythology of the first game in another creepy survival horror title. Taking control of protagonist James Sutherland, you enter the town of Silent Hill in search of your dead wife who is apparently residing in the ghost town.
Combining the spooky atmosphere of the first game with a detailed plot and a twist ending you'll never see coming, Silent Hill 2 is a worthy sequel that still holds up against today's horror games.
17 Best: Half-Life 2
Few games have been as critically acclaimed as 2004s Half-Life 2. Five years in the making and rumored to cost around $40 million, Half-Life 2 is the definition of a sequel that's better than the original.
Once again taking on the role of Gordon Freeman, you must find a way to rescue the human race while encountering all manner of puzzles and alien lifeforms. Everything from the graphics to the gameplay to the sound is spot on, making Half-Life 2 a tremendous sequel.
16 Worst: Star Wars Battlefront II
Adding Star Wars to the beginning of any game is usually a license to print money. Unfortunately, Star Wars Battlefront II is an exception to the rule, with the game ailing from a poor solo campaign and some tired multiplayer options. The addition of loot boxes that could be purchased with real cash before games also caused problems as it enabled cashed-up players the opportunity to have better weapons and armor earlier in the game.
Although the loot box problem was fixed, Battlefront II remains a disappointing gaming experience due to the boring storyline and poor downloadable content. Give this one a pass.
15 Best: Left 4 Dead 2
Zombie games are a dime a dozen these days but few combine an engaging storyline with non-stop action like Left 4 Dead 2. Focusing on four main characters after a viral outbreak has turned everyone into the undead, Left 4 Dead 2 is a violent and graphic first-person shooter that's hard to put down.
The addition of new weapons and improved co-operative experience make this game a joy to play, with Left 4 Dead 2 improving on all aspects of the original.
14 Worst: Dragon Age 2
Most people gave Dragon Age 2 props when first released in 2011, but in hindsight, there are a number of things wrong with the game that make you realize it's not as good as you might remember.
For starters, the storyline isn't original or compelling and the title lacks the strategy elements of the first game.
Setting the game in one city and the awkward dialogue system are two other major downfalls befalling the game. It plays like a cheap cash-in with little thought given to creating a fun and wholesome experience.
13 Best: Batman: Arkham City
The Batman Arkham series not only rejuvenated the Batman franchise in game form, but also resulted in some of the best action adventure games released this past decade. Batman: Arkham City is the thrilling sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum and is better in every single way than its predecessor.
Trapped in a secured prison that makes up the old part of Gotham, players take control of the Dark Knight and must uncover the dastardly plot of warden Hugo Strange while encountering various villains, including Batman's nemesis, The Joker. Relying on stealth to stalk your prey and complete missions, this is a gorgeously created game with an awesome vocal cast with an engaging storyline and an awesome open world to explore.
Batman games don't get much better than this.
12 Worst: Gears Of War 4
If Gears Of War 2 is a classic sequel then the fourth installment in the franchise is an utter disappointment. Although it received rather positive reviews from critics and went on to sell a ton of copies, it pales in comparison to other games in the successful series.
While the graphics and gameplay are solid, the plot is a little all over the place and the single-player campaign hardly worth your time. This one only takes four or five hours to crack, meaning longevity isn't one of its strengths.
11 Best: Halo 2
The Xbox often gets a rough deal when it comes to console specific games, but Microsoft hit the jackpot with the Halo series. If you thought the first game was genre defining then Halo 2 must have blown your socks off when released in 2004.
An all-encompassing first-person shooter with improved level design, graphics, gameplay, and sound, Halo 2 is a phenomenal gaming experience that's hard to match. Not only are the solo player missions great, but the online multiplayer modes are some of the best ever seen on Xbox Live.
10 Worst: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5
As someone who can't skate to save their life, Tony Hawk's was a way for me to connect with my skater friends and get a taste for what the hard to master sport is all about. Every game in the franchise got better and better until the disaster that is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.
Developed on a budget and in a short space of time, the game is a spectacular failure.
Glitchy as hell and full of bugs, Tony Hawk's plays as bad as it looks. It's almost like they couldn't be bothered to improve the game and put out a rehash of the last title but without the exciting gameplay. A major disappointment that marked the beginning of the end of this long-running series.
9 Best: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty
Now, this is what you call a sequel. Following on from the hugely successful action stealth release, Metal Gear Solid: Sons Of Liberty ups the stakes in another thrilling adventure game with protagonist Solid Snake.
The plot involves the kidnapping of the President of the United States and the destruction of the world interlaced with high concept themes that left many critics with mixed feelings, but you can take nothing away from the stealth gameplay or improved graphics. There's a reason this game has sold over seven million copies since its release, remaining a favorite amongst gamers.
8 Worst: Banjo Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts
I've never been a big fan of the Banjo Kazooie series so getting me to admit to liking any of the games is tough, but when it comes to discussing the worst, I revel in the disaster that is Banjo Kazooie: Nuts And Bolts.
What is meant to be a reboot of the original game turned into some strange vehicle building concept that's completely different to the platform style of previous games. Many of the vehicles have poor controls while the new game mechanics are just plain awful.
7 Best: Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Considering there have been 15 Call Of Duty games released over the past 15 years, it's safe to say there are a number of titles in the series that qualify for best sequel. For me, it's hard to go past Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
The fourth game in the long-running franchise and the first to be set in the present day, Modern Warfare takes influence from crisis threatening the modern world and brings them together with entertaining shooter gameplay. While it's doesn't make any significant changes to the game mechanics, the introduction of a new leveling up setting and various multiplayer modes makes it one of the best shooters released.
6 Worst: Mass Effect: Andromeda
The problems that beset Mass Effect: Andromeda occurred during production when the creative vision of the game was changed and many staff left the project. Although the team at BioWare managed to get the game on shelves without too many delays, the results are less than spectacular.
With a greater focus on exploration and an improved combat system, Mass Effect: Andromeda is let down by a rash of bugs in the game, with BioWare having to release a host of patches to fix the in-game problems. The disappointing storyline and dialogue also take away from this unfortunately shoddy release.
5 Best: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Most people will point to Grand Theft Auto V as the best in the series, but for me, it has to be the 2004 epic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Set in the fictional San Andreas that's based on California and Nevada, San Andreas is everything you expect from a GTA game.
Gratuitous violence, an eclectic soundtrack, top-notch vocal talents, and a well-written story all help make San Andreas a classic sequel of the 00s. While it's true the graphics can be glitchy, that's a small price to pay for a game that brought people so much joy.
4 Worst: Driv3r
The spelling of the title alone is enough to suggest Driv3r was always going to be a mistake. The game is set in an open world where you take on the role of undercover agent John Tanner as he attempts to take down a crime syndicate codenamed South Beach.
The plot sounds like a Hollywood movie but the game is far from impressive, let down by glitchy gameplay, lame graphics, and some horrible cut scenes. This is one of the worst Grand Theft Auto rip-offs ever, with the game's poor reception leading to the proposed GameCube and N-Gage ports being canceled.
3 Best: Bioshock: Infinite
Although it doesn't tie-in directly to the previous games, Bioshock: Infinite is a worthy addition to this brilliant first-person franchise. Set in 1912 and containing steampunk elements, Bioshock: Infinite is a high octane adventure title with a huge area to play through.
The combination of awesome graphics, a stellar soundtrack, and original storyline help make Bioshock: Infinite one of the better sequels seen over the past decade.
The twist ending is also one many didn't see coming.
2 Worst: Duke Nukem Forever
Expectations were high for this new vision of the Duke Nukem universe. First touted way back in 1997, it finally arrived in 2011 and was widely lambasted by critics.
Having been continually pushed back over the years, the finished product is a game that feels like it should have been released sometime in 2005. The graphics are dated, the humor tedious, and the game mechanics extremely poor. Even the multiplayer option can't save this one, with the entire experience akin to a bad date. You just want it to be over.
1 Best: Red Dead Redemption 2
My favorite game of the past two decades and one of the greatest games of all time, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the ultimate sequel. Set before the original and focusing on outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang, it's like playing a movie version of your favorite western.
From the beautifully rendered Wild West to the well written and directed story and the fabulous soundtrack, RDR2 has everything you could want from an action adventure game.