While some video game sequels feel like they're just going through the motions, others take their series in a bold new direction. Many sequels and even spiritual successors rely on tried-and-true formulas; however, a few daring sequels bring something wholly new to the table. Games like Metroid Prime successfully experimented with the formula to transform the 2D series into a critically acclaimed trilogy of first-person shooters. On the other side of the spectrum, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link failed in its quest to adapt the top-down action of The Legend of Zelda into a 2D adventure.
Success or failure, these longtime gaming franchises deserve respect for refusing to play it safe with a paint-by-numbers sequel. Here are 15 video game sequels that took a hard turn from their original entries. Don't forget to vote for the video game sequels you feel shook things up for the best.
The Yakuza games have been lauded for accurately portraying the yakuza lifestyle while simultaneously creating a campy, over-the-top world for players to lose themselves inside. In that regard, the seventh game in the series, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, is no different. What is different, however, is the switch from hand-to-hand combat to a JRPG-style fighting system.
This new JRPG approach to Yakuza is a reflection of the series transitioning to a new protagonist named Ichiban Kasuga, who is a big fan of Dragon Quest.
On the NES, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy, the Metroid games were always 2D side-scrollers that placed more emphasis on exploration than action. That all changed when Metroid made its stunning 3D debut in Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube.
Instead of going for a third-person perspective, Metroid Prime gives players a first-person view of its new alien world through the lens of Samus Aran's visor. While Metroid Prime plays like a first-person shooter, it never relinquishes the adventurous spirit of the 2D games.
Platform: GameCube, Wii
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was an unbelievable departure from The Legend of Zelda for the NES. Instead of making another top-down action/adventure game, Nintendo made Zelda II a 2D side-scroller that played similarly to the likes of Castlevania.
While Zelda II is generally considered a good game, the 2D transition was not without its flaws. Nintendo chose not to return to the format, and Zelda II remains the only 2D adventure game in the series.
Release: Jan 01 1987
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System, GameCube, Wii, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 3DS, + more
Though 3D platformers ruled the world during the Nintendo 64 era, they nearly went extinct during the days of the Xbox 360. To adapt to the changing times, the third Banjo-Kazooie game on Xbox 360, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, gave the bear-and-bird duo a hot pair of wheels.
Nuts & Bolts is a vehicle creation game that provides players with tools for creating imaginative automobiles that are best-suited to the various missions. The game received a cold shoulder from fans who wanted a traditional 3D collect-a-thon, but it has since gained a following through its Xbox One re-release in Rare Replay.
Release: Nov 11 2008
Game Engine: Havok