Video game sequels give developers the chance to iterate on the systems and stories that they created previously. Sometimes, sequels are “just some more” of the original, however, a truly successful sequel will take what was great about the original and elevate it into being an even better game than they had made before. Below, you’ll find 10 games in no specific order that did just that and managed to outshine their already great predecessors.
10. Fallout New Vegas
Fallout New Vegas took the ideas present in the Fallout series as a whole and twisted them into something completely new by bringing them to the unique setting of Las Vegas, Nevada. There aren’t a whole lot of games with Las Vegas settings and the post-apocalyptic 1950s aesthetic of the Fallout Series gives New Vegas a way to truly shine. On top of that, its writing is the tightest that Fallout has ever been and its quest lines are some of the best in modern RPGs. Fans are keeping their fingers crossed that Obsidian gets the reigns to make another Fallout game soon following Bethesda’s acquisition by Microsoft.
9. Uncharted 2
The first Uncharted game was a surprisingly charming experience. It took the best that the third-person action genre had to offer and dressed it up as an Indiana Jones-type adventure romp, but it wasn’t until the sequel, Uncharted 2 that the series was cemented as one of the best in gaming. Uncharted 2 upped the stakes of the story from the first game and gave Nathan Drake and company another incredibly memorable adventure full of double-crosses, mythical items, and daring escapes. It truly established the series as one of PlayStation’s greats and revisiting it, despite its age, it’s still clear why.
8. Batman: Arkham City
There’s absolutely no denying that Batman: Arkham Asylum is a fantastic game, however, Arkham City took everything that the original did and pushed it through the roof. Now, Batman has all of Arkham to explore as he continues his quest to stop the Joker. The game feels like a great evolution of scope as the Joker’s plans expanded from trying to run Arkham Asylum to trying to run the city as a whole. As the scope increased, so did the reaches of the story forcing the player to confront a whole new cast of classic Batman villains that weren’t included in the first game along with plenty that were.
7. Dark Souls
Although Dark Souls isn’t technically a sequel to Demon’s Souls, its role as an immediate follow-up allows fans to compare the two in a reasonable way. Dark Souls took all of the systems present in Demon’s Souls and refined them until they were a superior version that’s, honestly, a little tough to go back to. That’s not to say that Demon’s Souls is bad, but just that From Software knocked it out of the park when approaching the changes and improvements from game to game such as the interconnected level design, the tighter feeling combat, and finer tuned difficulty curve.
6. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is widely regarded as one of the best horror experiences in all of gaming. Its atmosphere, story, and tone are all masterclasses in creating a narrative built around the interactive nature of gaming as it took a lot of lessons learned from the original Silent Hill and grew from them. Instead of being a cookie-cutter sequel to the original, Silent Hill 2 established the series as an anthology where the town itself was the main character, not the protagonist of each game. Silent Hill 2 is a gruesome look at the psyche of a man running from his past and it does so by jumping off the foundation laid by the original.
5. Assassin’s Creed 2
The original Assassin’s Creed game had some extremely solid ideas working in its favor, but in retrospect is a little slow. Assassin’s Creed 2 took all of the great mechanics of the original and integrated them into a cinematic story about revenge while also adding its own fair share of mechanical upgrades. For better or for worse, it was Assassin’s Creed 2 that really established the third-person open-world game that we’re seeing be used as the model for so many titles today. While it might be getting a little old for some people, Assassin’s Creed 2 is able to transcend the genre that it created through its ever-imaginative mechanics, setting, and narrative.
4. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
There are many arguments to be made about what is the best game in the Elder Scrolls series, but there’s no denying that Skyrim took just about everything that the franchise was doing and elevated it to great effect. The game’s world feels truly alive with miles and miles of land to explore and dungeons to pillage and it allows the player to choose any playstyle they like and roll with it. It’s an exciting step forward in the overall Elder Scrolls series and has fans excited to see what’s next whenever the next game in the franchise rears its dreary head.
3. Titanfall 2
As with many items on this list, the original Titanfall had a lot of great ideas but wasn’t able to capitalize on them properly. The main thing standing in the way of Titanfall being great was that it was a multiplayer-only experience. Titanfall 2 made up for that by having one of the best single-player shooter campaigns ever made. It took all of the fun of the pilot movement and shooting systems from the original title and paired it with a heart-filled story about a pilot learning to work with a titan. On top of that, its multiplayer experience added plenty of great new mechanics to the game that fans are hoping will either be added to Apex Legends or to a third Titanfall game.
2. Resident Evil 4
The Resident Evil series has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but Resident Evil 4 brought a whole new level of quality to the series. Leaning into the mix of camp and horror that the franchise was previously known for, Resident Evil 4 managed to toe the line of being both one of the most ridiculous games ever made and one of the scariest. It helped establish third-person shooters as the genre giant that it is today and breathed a new life into the Resident Evil series.
1. Mass Effect 2
The original Mass Effect was a highly ambitious sci-fi RPG, but Mass Effect 2 showcased the uncapped potential of the series. It made each choice presented to the player as something that would have major consequences and, more often than not, it did. With a galaxy-spanning narrative based around the bonds that the player made, it is the poster child for how effective (no pun intended) player choice can be in an RPG. On top of that, fan-favorite characters made their returns and the gameplay was greatly improved from the original game.