We form a lot of discussion based around video games in general at this site, but some occasions call for someone to look more specifically into the topic of video games and talk about something that a lot of people can relate to. Today, I’m here to discuss the best sequels to video games. This doesn’t mean every single mention in this list will be the second of the series, as the definition for a sequel pertains to a continuation of a story or further development of a theme. So if you’re expecting to only see the second of each series, don’t worry, I’ve done the necessary research to throw together 15 video game sequels that I feel are worth mentioning for their successes, their place in the story, or they just hold a special place in my heart.
I imagine down the line some of these will still hold a special place in my heart in regards to gaming as most if not all of these titles on this list have had some form of interaction with how my life turned into the way it is today. There is a mixture of older games and some newer ones, but at the end of the day, I write this in the hope that I can push forward the idea that we can be proud of a video game franchise that pushes the story to bigger and better things, as opposed to losing what made the original game in the series so special. *cough* Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts *cough*
15. Banjo – Tooie (2000)
Back in what I consider the golden era of 3D platformers, we were not only gifted with one of the best platforming games Rare ever developed, but we were also gifted with one of the best sequels of one of the best platforming games ever made. Banjo-Tooie, to my knowledge, is pretty well known and well received across the argument of what could be considered a fantastic sequel. In the early days of Banjo-Kazooie, people were instantly taken away with everything the game had to offer; beautifully crafted environments, tough bosses, and even the need for collectibles was a positive. When Banjo-Tooie was announced, we as a fan base had every right to set our standards high because not only did this sequel need to follow what made the previous game great, but it also had to give us more insight as to the story involving the beloved bear and bird, and my God did Rare deliver. To me, even with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts existing today, Banjo-Tooie is easily in my top 5 and probably yours as well as being one of the very best video game sequels ever made. It’s everything to love about Banjo-Kazooie, and so much more.
14. Halo 2 (2004)
In the glory days of the first Xbox ever released, Halo was the main game. Everybody wanted to be the Master Chief, which you can’t blame them, can you? His badass armor and mysterious character really drew people into not only the character itself, but the story that surrounded the Halo universe. I will certainly go on record as saying that the second game in the series, Halo 2, is by far the most superior sequel the original Halo ever received. Now, I’ve not played a lot of the recent Halo titles, I believe the last one I played was Halo: Reach, and although that game is great in its own right, I have to credit the team behind Halo 2 for really putting themselves forward and delivering a game that fixed a lot of the issues the previous game had while simultaneously continuing to create a story that really brings us into it. Plus, being able to play as the elites with the energy sword is by far one of the coolest additions into the Halo universe.
13. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)
Everybody by now knows about The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and we are all aware by now that it is easily one of the darkest and skin crawling experiences ever released on the Nintendo 64. It’s been the birth of conspiracy theories and creepy pastas alike, but what it holds still to this day is being one of the best Legend of Zelda sequels the franchise has ever seen. I’m a humongous Legend of Zelda fan, and I mean humongous. I’ve played through The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker multiple times, and to this day it is my favorite Zelda game, but The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask holds a special place in my heart by not only bringing a fantastic story to the table, but for also providing one of the most nightmare inducing story lines in any game that had been made in that time. If you’ve never played this game or had the pre-conceived notion that the game was far too difficult, well…it is pretty difficult. But that’s what makes it worth it in the end. I urge you to play it if you haven’t yet.
12. Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords (2004)
It was tough to choose between a Star Wars video game sequel that I consider to be the best, but that’s because there are so many (which is also why there is another mention later in the article *hint hint*). Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords (or KOTOR II for short) is a continuation from the previous story as you progress through the timeline of the previous game a few years later. The sequel brought so many improvements that it almost makes the first game laughable, but it’s still great on its own merits. We were given the ability to persuade our companions, turn them into Jedi or Sith depending on the route you took, and the overall impact of your actions be it good or bad had an impact on the world around you which didn’t happen as often in the previous game. Unfortunately, while KOTOR I and KOTOR II are fantastic, we were never gifted a third installment in the series. Instead, we were given an MMORPG – Star Wars: The Old Republic. Hopefully one day we will get a third installment in this nearly perfect series, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
11. Team Fortress 2 (2007)
Team Fortress 2 is a bit of a wild card since most people know and played this game before realizing it is a sequel to the previous Team Fortress title. I’m in that same boat considering I didn’t realize the game was a sequel for the longest time. Some would say it’s obvious, but it wasn’t obvious at the time. Judging by the images and various videos around the internet, it’s fair to say that Team Fortress 2 is the superior of the two both in terms of graphics and game play mechanics. The main draw in for Team Fortress 2 would have to be the accessibility and simplicity of getting into a game and wasting hours on ridiculous team vs team combat. Unlike some other shooters, this one takes the more ridiculous route and allows you to literally blow up the opposing teams with different forms of weaponry and tactics. It’s become sort of a cult in the sense that people rely on this game for their ridiculous gaming needs. Still, it’s a fantastic game to play with your friends and the best part is – it’s free!
10. Bioshock: Infinite (2013)
I know the popular consensus is that Bioshock: Infinite isn’t a direct sequel from Bioshock 2, but again, definitively it is a sequel since it does follow behind the previous two games, story aside. Anyway, I actually played Bioshock: Infinite before I dove into Bioshock 1 and Bioshock 2 so perhaps I’m a bit biased in stating that the story with this game is far superior than the previous titles. It’s got what I love in a game in the sense that it incorporates a mind blowing and sometimes mind numbing experience that will leave you speechless in the end. I hope I don’t spoil it for those that haven’t played it, but the game has been out long enough, so in case this does spoil it, you’ve been warned. Moving on, I really like how they used the multiverse theory as a way to set up the story. Mixed with the beautifully crafted mechanics and powers your character can wield, this game is certainly a treasure.
9. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos & Frozen Throne (2002 / 2003)
I’m going to make the assumption that popular consensus favors Warcraft III and the expansion over the previous titles. Warcraft III and Frozen Throne are a combination of what I believe to be the best inclusion into the Warcraft universe, and yes that does include World of Warcraft. Jam packed with a beautiful story of a prince succeeding his father and falling to the darkness, you not only see the story of how Arthas traversed through difficulties in his life, but you also get to follow the stories of the blood elves, the orcs, etc. While the story is phenomenally built around a real time strategy base line, the custom campaigns and custom maps are a lot of fun, especially if you use cheats to your advantage. I mean, c’mon, the game is pretty dated as is, using cheats isn’t necessarily frowned upon anymore. I’ve played Warcraft II and although I really enjoyed the experience that game brought, I really feel that nothing will ever surpass Warcraft III and Frozen Throne. I’m not including Starcraft into that equation since that’s in its own caliber of awesome.
8. Doom 4 (2016)
Doom 4 was developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. Anything with the Bethesda name tied to it has to be great, which is why I was prompted to buy it when it went on sale recently. What I didn’t know was how amazing this game truly is. I know there is a pretty big following behind the Doom games, and while people love the original Doom (myself included), there’s been a lack of fan commitment to the series since Doom 3 was seemingly a disappointment. I can say from my own experience that Doom 4 is the exact Doom game we could have ever asked for. It’s jam packed with heart pounding multiplayer and the campaign is quite good as well. Graphically it can be stuttering from time to time, but nothing that negates its value. There’s so much potential for fun and overall ridiculousness with this that it really gives Call of Duty and possibly Gears of War a run for their money.
7. Fallout 3 (2008)
We’ve discussed Fallout time and time again here and I see no reason to bring it up again, especially when I consider this to be not only the best game in the series, but a revolutionary change from the previous titles. I know there are going to be a large number of people who feel Fallout: New Vegas deserves the title of “best,” but I owe my love of Fallout to playing through Fallout 3 for the first time. From the environments of post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. and the feeling of being alone is conveyed masterfully throughout the game. Fallout: New Vegas didn’t have the sense of feeling alone as much as it felt that people had already gotten used to a post-apocalyptic world. Fallout 3 made you feel what it would feel like to wake up a day later and figure out how to survive. Unfortunately, we were given the disappointment of Fallout 4, but this game is still good even for its age.
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)
This one was both troublesome and easy to narrow down to just one Call of Duty title for an assortment of reasons. The trouble originated from the vast number of Call of Duty titles out there, and I needed to ensure the one I picked was one that was quite generally welcomed. The easy part went to my very own experience which drove me to pick Call of Duty: Black Ops. This game was generally well received across the community with getting generally positive reviews through several means complimenting its campaign story and competitive multiplayer. Both of those reasons are why I chose to include this game. The story about Alex Mason is truly remarkable and one that I believe a lot of people still remember to this day. I don’t remember the last time I sat and played through an entire campaign of a game in one sitting, but I certainly did that with this game. I also remember putting a lot of time into the multiplayer because unlike a lot of the Call of Duty games, the multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops was fun, and competitive, and not just impossible to be good. If the creators ever want to redeem themselves, all they’d have to do to win me back is remake Call of Duty: Black Ops and give it away for free.
5. Borderlands 2 (2012)
This one was simple to choose for a variety of reasons, one of course being that it’s the only true sequel we got in the Borderlands franchise. Keeping attention away from the spin-off games, I still haven’t been able to play Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and enjoy it thoroughly. I know a lot of people really like it, but I believe the true sequel to the first amazing Borderlands is far more worth mentioning. If you’re unfamiliar with Borderlands, just think of it as a first person shooter with RPG elements and an open world. Borderlands 2 pretty much is the perfect sequel in the way that it picks up everything that the previous title had, and expands on a story driven campaign as well as access to more awesome weapons and gadgets. There really hasn’t been enough reason for people to disregard Borderlands as a franchise altogether, and even to this day there are hundreds even thousands of people praising Borderlands 2 with it allowing people to sink many hours into it.
4. Star Wars: Force Unleashed 2 (2010)
If you’re a fan of the God of War series or Dante’s Inferno, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is something you desperately need to check out. If you are familiar with the game, it should be no surprise as to why it’s being included on this list. Back when the first game was released, we were given such a treat of a game that everyone latched onto it and enjoyed it for what it is. An action packed Star Wars game. Fortunately, it did leave itself open for a sequel, and it was delivered. The only bad thing about Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is that it’s far too short. From what I remember, you traverse through ten or so missions until you finish the game with two separate endings. While I imagine this had something to do with time constraints, it doesn’t take away from how much fun this game is, and how rich and enticing the story is.
3. Grand Theft Auto 5 (2013)
Grand Theft Auto 5 still takes the name of a sequel because of the fact that it follows in accordance with the past Grand Theft Auto titles, and boy what a game this is. I’ve watched people play through the story mode many times and every time, I’m overwhelmed with how rich and delightful the story is. The missions never feel the same, the characters are assorted and fun, and mechanically everything works flawlessly. I’ve likewise watched people play the online mode and it also resembles a considerable amount of fun. The reason this title makes this list is on the grounds that the first time I ever watched the story played through, I couldn’t help but thank Rockstar for delivering time and time again with how emotional you felt for the characters and the story alike. They truly put all that they had forward and the outcome was such an experience, to the point that even today this game has stood the test of time. It was created a couple of years prior, but with the way it still holds up, it could easily be released today and nobody would know any different.
2. Soul Calibur 2 (2002)
In my childhood, I put many hours into Soul Calibur II, so much to the fact that I nearly mastered using Nightmare’s character. This game is so much fun, and it’s one of those games that makes my “favorite sequels” list simply for nostalgia reasons. Before you say anything, I’m very much aware that Soul Calibur V is obviously the superior title in the sequence of games, but Soul Calibur II is so much fun because of how the characters unlock their weapons, and the extra game modes alongside the one vs one fighting. This game got so much play time out of me that it became one of those games that I had to take a break from time and time again because my thumbs would start to get sore due to the poor quality of joysticks on an original Xbox controller. Soul Calibur II still holds a special place for me, and will never be a game that I end up hating under any circumstances.
1. Saints Row The Third (2011)
Now, if you’re like me and you never really felt the urge to spend $60 on Grand Theft Auto 5 even though you knew how great the game was, Saints Row The Third became the go to. I found this game while searching for other games that try to mimic the Grand Theft Auto franchise while still being its own thing, and before I knew it, I was spending hours at a time stealing cars, buying new weapons and property, and completing missions. Something I absolutely love about Saints Row The Third is it basically has no ceiling of ridiculousness, meaning everything is ridiculous and over the top, but in all the right ways. For instance, you can wield a giant purple dildo and smash people in the face and kill them. It may sounds weird right now, but imagine someone in game looks at you the wrong way. Whip out your giant purple dildo and kill them.