A brand new editorial from yours truly: should we be tired of sequels?
I have a confession to make, if you don't mind: I'm tired of sequels. I've played a handful of them from this generation; even when the overall quality of the game is shining (Uncharted 2, for instance), I hate the sense of deja vu that I experience. And it doesn't help that it seems like half the games that come out anymore end with a number.
I mentioned Uncharted 2, so let's start there. Is it an improvement over the original? Most certainly; I think that's a fair assessment. And while I did notice those improvements when I was playing, it hardly seemed to matter much in the end. By the end of the first one, I was pretty tired of Nathan "Cocksucking" Drake's adventures (yes, I hate Nathan Drake as a character!). I wasn't very far into Uncharted 2 before I could barely take it anymore. If I hadn't spent $40 on the game and felt obligated to continue, I would have quit then and there.
Now let's look at Mass Effect 2. Again, there were great improvements made over the first Mass Effect - although admittedly, the first Mass Effect was much superior to the first Uncharted. The problem was that I felt like I could have popped in the first Mass Effect and gotten such a similar experience that it was hardly exciting. In fact, at one point I did start playing the first one, and I barely skipped a beat. And for the record, Shepherd wasn't much more interesting than Nathan Drake, so as far as I'm concerned they can both go take a flying leap together.
I think I'm starting to see the problem here: video game characters aren't typically interesting enough to span out multiple stories and remain interesting. Maybe that's why I beat Fable 2 with a smile and groaned my way through Uncharted 2, even though Fable 2 was a vastly inferior game.
And what about the gameplay? Do the gameplay "evolutions" amount to all that much? Did Bioware's changes make Mass Effect 2 feel like much more than the first one? I didn't think so. Mass Effect 1 was fresh; Mass Effect 2 was polished but basically more of the same. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm a bit concerned that we're willing to wait two years and pay full price again for refinements that really should have been there in the first place. Oh yeah, and you're also getting a sloppy-seconds story too. I guess there's that much.
So what would I have you do? Would I have you give the industry the finger until they decide to stop rehashing? No, not at all. What I would like is for gamers to demand higher-quality the first time around; I would like the gaming community to care about quality instead of what the hype machine is putting out.
Maybe if we do that, crappy refinement sequels will be weeded out, and we can be left with the sequels that really matter - and all that extra downtime would let developers give us new experiences. Talk about your win-win.