Video Games: Sequels, Expansions, Remakes
Video game sequels are some of the most anticipated products in the market. They can be more anticipated than television premiers and sell more than blockbuster movies. Franchise games like Halo, or Grand Theft Auto are among the more popular, and more highly anticipated, video game sequels. Both have released games that have broken all sorts of records for video game sales. The first day these games were on the market they made more money than record-setting movie Spiderman 3, and more money than record-setting book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The problem is some games are billed as sequels when they’re nothing more than expansions. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is one of these games. The game was a lot of fun, it was beautiful looking, and it had a good amount of playable characters and a great storyline. I enjoyed playing it a lot, but it felt too simple. There was very little added to the game that wasn’t in the first one. The customizable aspects and powers gained on each level were watered down a bit, but the way to use your character was a little simpler. The graphics were better and the camera movement was much better, but all of this basically makes the game seem very similar to the first, with a different story.
I enjoyed the storyline; I went out and started reading the Civil War comic books that it was based on. There is a choice that has to be made in the game that branches it into two separate set of levels before they reconnect later, which gives the game a pretty good replay value. The cast of characters is nice, but there are always more superheroes you can add. It’s neat to be able to control some of the supervillians in this game, due to the nature of the Civil War story line.
Another troubling trend in video games is the remake. This seems to happen more often with Nintendo and the Wii. A couple of weeks ago I picked up Wii Punch Out!! which is a remake of the old Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on the NES. The game, obviously, has superior graphics. It has the benefit of modern controls and animation. Even some modern day toasters have more power than the NES system. All this makes for a very nice game. However, the problem is that anyone interested in the game is probably only interested in it for nostalgia’s sake. It doesn’t contain a ton of new content. It almost felt like cheating, because I knew all the tips and tricks to play the game.
This isn’t all bad. You can get a lot of enjoyment out of playing a game spruced up from an old classic. Franchises such as Madden NFL, NHL 2K10 or MLB: The Show release what is basically the same game every year and do wonderfully. The difference is that these games put a lot of work into doing what they can to be at the forefront of video game development. These sports franchise games, unlike other remakes like Punch Out!!, know they have to make people want to buy a game that is basically the same game they bought a year ago. Keeping up with one of these games is like tracking the evolution of the video game industry as they add new features and better graphics and utilize everything they can think of. MLB: The Show added weather to their games, Madden 10 introduced an online franchise mode and improved tackles. The graphics and animation get better every year, and they’re getting to the point that at first glance you could think you’re actually watching the real thing. The Madden franchise doing this for 20 years suggests that remakes, if done properly, can be very successful.
Video games have taken huge strides in the entertainment industry over the last decade, competing with many of the other top products. With the market and technology available to them only growing video games will continue to be a top seller. Whether it’s remakes, franchises, sequels, or expansions, people are buying them at record rates.