Sequels – Addition or Replacement?

Sequels usually fall into two camps for me. Those with storylines like adventure games or first person shooters I consider an ‘addition’ to that franchise – even if the gameplay is improved and tweaked, the story gives you reason to go back to the previous entries. On the other hand, sequels in franchises like sports games or racing games are more ‘replacements’ – they bring advances to the gameplay and give you no reason to go back. Occasionally though, a sequel will transcend these definitions and give you enough new gameplay outside of a story to be a great experience without stepping on the toes of it’s predecessor.
One such example is SSX 3.

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The game before it was SSX Tricky, which was just amazing. It was just outrageous in every aspect – the characters, the tricks, the speed, even the soundtrack. This is still the best game I’ve played in terms of pure fun – no complications or distractions, just massive tricks and massive points.
So where could SSX 3 go? There was no narrative so they couldn’t just tweak the formula and put a new story on it. What they did though, was retain enough of the gameplay – the crazy tricks and the races – whilst placing it in a new setting. Here you had a more complete structure to the events in the game, more organised tracks and mountains and just a little bit of an open world feel. It was a stunning game in it’s own right without diluting the simplicity and, frankly, preposterousness of Tricky.

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I originally played this games on Playstation 2 but have recently picked them up on the cheap for the original Xbox. I’m surprised and pleased to report that they are still fantastic games all these years later! Normally I would only consider one game in this kind of franchise for my All Time Top Games List. If I didn’t use that policy that list would be full of 6 Forza Motorsport games, multiple Mario Karts and a multitude of FIFAs and PESs. But SSX Tricky and SSX 3 are both worthy enough, and different enough, to get separate places on that list.

SSX Tricky Intro from The Gamer Boys on Vimeo.

Now I’m going to head back to Garibaldi and see if I can get back to when I could get well over 1 million points on the way down there!
What about you? Which other sequels have been great without just replacing the game before? Let us know in the comments below.

Round-Up: Top 10 original Xbox games

The recent announcement that we will see some games from the original Xbox brought to Xbox One via backwards compatibility has got me thinking about which games I would want to see on there. I actually have an old Xbox in the house at the moment that I’m borrowing from someone because I fancied having a play through of the first Splinter Cell game again.

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I have mainly enjoyed backwards compatibility of Xbox 360 games to mop up the ones I missed at the time (eg SSX) or to play through a game again before it’s sequel was released (eg Mirror’s Edge). So I don’t know if I actually would go back and play all my favourite original Xbox games if they came up on backwards compatibility but if I did, it would be the ones below. I remember very fondly that console and that time in my gaming life, here are some quick memories from my Top 10 games I played on it:

#1: Halo: Combat Evolved

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‘Shall we do The Silent Cartographer on Legendary?’ I never said no to that.

#2: Splinter Cell

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Knocking out the light bulbs in a room and sneaking past all the NPCs without them ever knowing.

#3: Moto GP 2

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However much I’ve enjoyed gaming there has rarely been anything special about my skills but for some reason I was unbeatable on a bike.

#4: Jet Set Radio Future

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Just spending the entire game grinding on rails and it almost becoming a dance/rhythm game!

#5: Project Gotham Racing 2

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Throwing a Porsche Cayenne around roads at unreasonable speeds.

#6: Forza Motorsport

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I discovered Bathurst for the first time – what a track!

#7: NHL Hitz 20-03

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Having more fun from the violence than the sport! And the crazy character customisation.

#8: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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Best ever conversion of movie/tv show into a game. Felt like being in an episode!

#9: Sega GT 2002

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Proper handling – even gave Gran Turismo a run for it’s realism-money.

#10: Colin McRae Rally 3

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Being really closely matched in multiplayer with a friend of mine – great racing even when not technically on the same track. N.B. I know this photo isn’t from this game specifically, please forgive me, they are hard to find and I no longer have it myself!

What about you? What are your favourite memories of the original Xbox?

REVIEW: Halo: Combat Evolved

  • Released: 2002
  • Played on: Xbox
  • Also available on: PC, Mac, Xbox 360 via ‘Anniversary Edition’ and Xbox One via ‘Master Chief Collection’

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Fair use, Link

Short Review: This changed gaming in many ways, or shooters at least. The graphics were astounding and the gameplay perfectly balanced. And the story, whilst itself fairly standard, was told in a great way.
Review5

REVIEW: Splinter Cell

  • Released: 2002
  • Played on: Xbox
  • Also available on: PC, Mac, PS2, Gamecube and PS3 via ‘HD Collection’

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By Perplexing – Own work, Public Domain, Link

Short Review: The engaging story and smooth gameplay were good but it was the light/dark dynamic that enabled you to go about most levels in a few different ways of your choosing. I have found myself wishing I could shoot out the lights in other games ever since.
Review5

REVIEW: Jet Set Radio Future

  • Released: 2002
  • Played on: Xbox
  • Also available on: –

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By Copied from http://www.gametab.com/xbox/jsrf.jet.set.radio.future/3235/ website, and intellectual property owned by Sega., Fair use, Link

Short Review: This should have been a really crazy game – a wacky city setting, skating about the place spray painting in peoples faces – but somehow from the first second it felt totally natural. As a result the craziness only made it more fun.
Review5