LL Cool J warned us all to not call it a comeback, but he never said to not ask for one.
And in the world of video games, sometimes a comeback is just what’s needed. Even in a gaming world where franchise attempts spawn from even the most unremarkable of titles, some games never get the second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) chance they richly deserved. It’s a shame to, as I can think of at least five titles that deserve a sequel.
While technically predating it, the “S.W.A.T.” series is a tactical team based FPS that bears a strong resemblance to “Rainbow Six.” The difference of course being that “Rainbow Six” has you playing a squad of elite globe-trotting operatives, while “S.W.A.T.” has you playing as…well a S.W.A.T. team.
You may think that would be a step down, but the key difference lies in the mission design, as some truly creative scenarios and missions were crafted for this series that were beyond the usual international terrorism intrigue. A great example is a mission in “S.W.A.T. 4” where you have to make your way into a suburban house where a deranged serial killer lives with his mother. Everything looks normal, until you make your way into the basement which doubles as a twisted den of horror. It, along with the well implemented preference towards non-violent solutions when possible, represents what this series does so well even over similar titles.
This license is as cold as it comes, and not a whisper of the series continuing exists anywhere, which is unfortunate as there’s still a lot of potential here.
In 2003 Bioware stopped the video game presses with their release of “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.” While a watered down version of their earlier PC games in many respects, “KOTOR” blew away nearly everyone that played it, and would change gaming by popularizing the idea of good and bad choices.
For their next big release, Bioware planned on taking that same mechanic, and applying it to a world of their own based heavily on Chinese mythology. “Jade Empire” was the result of that creation, and its seamless blend of ancient China design with just enough mythological elements mixed in, resulted in a game world with few creative peers. There was also a fun, if very simple, combat system based around the use of several martial arts, combined with magic attacks, that helped tie the game together.
Truthfully “Jade Empire” had a lot of flaws, but the groundwork was there for something truly great. It’d be incredible if Bioware would take another stab at getting it all to come together, as by all rights this should have been a franchise.
Hunter: The Reckoning
Okay, so this game did get a sequel, but that’s not my point.
My point is that the horror genre is unfairly shoehorned into only a couple of gameplay ideas, and “Hunter: The Reckoning” puts it into the multiplayer action realm where it so rarely gets to venture. You and three friends take the role of some classic horror movie charchter archetypes and fight your way through a gothic horror world filled with wolves, vampires, zombies, and even giant evil teddy bears and Santa Clauses. No horror stone is left unturned, and getting to shoot and slash your way through it with three friends is an experience not found in many games.
Whether as a retail release or downloadable title, considering the brave new online world we live in, now is the time for a new “Hunter” game, and sooner is definitely better.
Here’s another series that got a sequel, but just not enough of them.
“Stuntman” for the Playstation 2 was a gem of a racing title that had you play the role of a movie stuntman, as you perform dangerous driving scenes through various films. Due entirely to its trial and error gameplay which required pinpoint actions at a moment’s notice, “Stuntman” was a brutally challenging game that was constantly frustrating, but always rewarding, and exhibited creative uses of its film based concept, including splicing in your stunts into a trailer for the fake movies you were shooting at the end of each level.
“Dark Souls” and “Demon’s Souls” proved there is still a market for impossibly difficult games, and with its unique concept and fresh approach to the stagnate driving genre, it would be great if someone could put it all together and make the quality of game the series is capable of.
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
Sometimes you have to admit defeat and move on with your life, but in the case of “Crimson Skies,” I just can’t do that.
I will never, ever understand how this game didn’t get a sequel. It takes place in an alternate 1930s where America has taken to the skies instead of the road, and gangs of air pirates rule the day (it’s even cooler than it sounds). As famed air pirate Nathan Zachary, you’re on a quest that sees you run amok of every gang in the country, and engage in incredible aerial battles all the while.
From the great graphics, perfectly implemented arcade style controls, variety of awesome planes, weapons, and characters, insanely inventive world, “Indiana Jones” style plot, intense zeppelin fights, gameplay variety, roaring soundtrack, and still fun to this day (and incredibly welcome at the time) Xbox Live multiplayer, “Crimson Skies” did everything right and is still one of my favorite games of all time. There is really nothing quite like it, which is why it has aged so well and remains enjoyable while other games from the era waste away.
How the game never got a sequel is far beyond me, as it must be stuck in some serious licensing hell. It may not break sales records, but even with minimal efforts, a proper “Crimson Skies” sequel would almost be impossible to ruin considering the wealth of material to work from.
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