Jagged Alliance 2 surpassed its predecessor in every aspect of gameplay, music, writing and humour. The game is longer, has more tactical features and weaponry, more mercenaries with a myriad of responses and interactions between each other.
The first Jak and Daxter game was a fairly respectable and appealing kids collect-a-thon that could have been the PS2's answer to Super Mario 64—but like that game, it also suffered from very low difficulty and short length, and a pretty thin story. But Jak II took the series in a completely new direction after that, and it turned out all for the better—the story became a million times better, the overworld system of the original was altered to be suited around mission based gameplay rather than just grabbing as many objects as possible, the difficulty was considerably beefed up (for better or for worse), you had a new power-up where you could turn into a raging killer monster if you collected enough Dark Eco that only gets stronger as it gets more powers, you got to use cool gun weapons, you could hijack vehicles ala Grand Theft Auto, you could compete in races, you got a hoverboard, the levels and bosses were much more elaborate and fun, and the whole game is an example of a Darker and Edgier turn done right—oh, and Jak actually became a real character, and learned how to talk, too.
Red Dead Revolver was a mid-console-life Western-themed shooter that was, while fun and incredibly stylish, seemingly incomplete. This is because Capcom started the production, cancelled it, and sold it off to Rockstar, who finished it and polished it as best they could. The end product is fondly remembered but still only a Pretty Good Game, at best. Its pros outweigh its cons, but it still feels like it's missing something. Then, Rockstar made Red Dead Redemption, which has been hailed by no less than the New York Times as one of the finest games ever made, and a strong contender for the case for Videogames As Art.
Just Cause was an entertaining yet heavily flawed sandbox game and relatively obscure. However, Just Cause 2 was an unlikely sequel with breathtaking graphics, incredible gameplay, and adrenaline-rushing stunts. It enjoyed far more popularity and received far better reviews than its older brother.
Twisted Metal for the PS One was a great game, but it had its share of flaws. It was easy to crash into walls, all the buildings looked the same, controls felt "slippery." Then Twisted Metal 2 came out and many consider it the greatest Vehicular Combat game ever made, as well as being the best-selling game of the series.
The first installent of the Professor Layton series, Curious Village was a revolution in gaming, opening up a whole new genre. The sequel, Diabolical Box, built on top of it, with better, more elaborate mini games, an arguably more interesting plot and a wider variety of backdrops, making the game's world seem bigger. It also introduced the Memo function, which was a big help when it came to puzzle solving.
Halo was the Xbox's killer app. Halo 2 was it on awesome, rock, more Elites, and a hotter Cortana. Halo 3 has a bit of a Broken Base on this subject, but the side that thinks this way normally sites the MP as being better. Halo 3: ODST was a return to the Halo 1 awesomeness mixed with the Halo 2 awesomeness. And it had the Halo 1 Pistol. And Reach is being praised as the best Halo game yet.
It could be said that even the advertising campaigns for ODST and Reach are an example. While the ads for the first Halo games showed gameplay graphics mixed with a bit of story and suspense, although they were appealing, they were generic video game ads for the most part. ODST took it Up to Eleven with the live-action segments showing actual (stunt) soldiers in combat in the spirit of the gameplay style with a bit of a Tearjerker story with the memorials.
While the original Assassin's Creed I was generally liked by the gaming community, it was notorius for the somewhat repetitive nature of the missions (even the bonus ones) and its long, simplistic combat. The sequel however, Assassin's Creed 2, blew it out of the water by having improved dramatically in nearly every way from the original with a much wider mission variety, an improved combat system with more options, a more compelling main character and deeper story, more ways to get to your targets (and take care of them), and lots of fun extras for the completionists out there.
Baldur's Gate was an incredible and incredibly fun game that sold huge numbers and almost singlehandedly saved CRPGs, but was also a flawed game in many ways. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn gave its far more sympathetic characters greater depth (even with such simple characters as Minsc (and Boo!), and the development between the first and second), had more complex and varied maps, pitted players against much better designed combat encounters, topped it all off with stunning graphics accompanied by the most epic soundtrack ever, and even removed many of the flaws.
Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, was somewhat imaginative and creative Real Time Strategy game for computers. Warcraft II: The Tides of Darkness, built on that: It added naval and air combat, better graphics, more easy-to-use controls, a more original story, cooler units, and removed the need to build roads in order to build your towns. The work paid off, and WC2 was Blizzard Entertainment's first game to win "game of the year" awards from several publications. Beyond The Dark Portal, the expansion pack, was one of the first expansion packs, particularly for a strategy game, to feel more like its own game as opposed to a campaign cobbled together from random missions. Years later, Warcraft III: The Reign of Chaos managed to avoid Hype Backlash by adding RPG elements that differentiated it from StarCraft, the company's earlier super-popular hit RTS. The story was one of the best told in a strategy game and the very powerful Map Editor allowed the creation of custom maps that are still being made and played today.
World of Warcraft also deserves a mention here, as the second expansion pack (Wrath of the Lich King) makes significant improvements over the first (Burning Crusade), especially in the way it gets players involved in the plot and makes them feel like they are having an impact in the world (something that's particularly hard to pull off in an MMORPG). Other improvements include significant revisions to class balance, a return to the high fantasy roots of the game (many considered Outland to be too Magitek for the game's theme), and a main villain who's tightly integrated into the story. In Burning Crusade, Illidan makes a few brief appearances, but otherwise seems content to sit in the Black Temple and wait for players to come kill him.
Diablo was a fun, quirky game that is still an excellent play, but its sequel Diablo II and its expansion Lord Of Destruction was so huge that many people are still playing it today, nevermind the number of clones it spawned.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. Even deeper insight to the character's pasts, have the most epic plot of any of Ace Attorney games with the added novelty of playing as Mia and even the chance to play as Edgeworth in the last case.
Super Mario Bros. was a great game. While its immediate sequel, Super Mario Bros. 2, wasn't particularly amazing in either the Japanese version or the American version (though the latter is regarded a Cult Classic for its offbeat gameplay and canon additions to the series), Super Mario Bros. 3 took the already superb gameplay and level design from the original game, and added all kinds of great new features, such as more power-ups, the overworld map, new abilities, and a much greater variety of enemies and levels. And then came the fourth installment of the series, known in the West as Super Mario World. It went on to become one of the highest-selling video games of all time, and introduced novelties like Yoshi, the Ghost Houses, and a non-linear overworld map.
Super Mario 64 was also a great game, and the first real 3D platformer to get the gameplay in general right and be the codifier for many future games. Super Mario Galaxy topped Super Mario 64 in the 3D Mario series. It got better reviews from many critics, brought back the airships, had more epic pretty much everything and with its 97%+ reviews, even was ranked higher than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for a while, currently ending up being the second best game of all time review wise on many review aggregate sites.
Later on, Galaxy got a sequel itself, which might have scaled back on the depth of the story somewhat, but more than made up for it with several gameplay-updates (most notably the return of Yoshi) and absolutely phenomenal level-design. It is forever contested as to whether the game is truly better, but it's at least on par with the original.
Super Smash Bros. was awesome, but Melee was a HUGE HIT! And not just better than the first: It was the Nintendo GameCube's BEST Selling Game! Finding someone who actually hates that game is like trying to find a microscopic needle in a country-sized haystack. YMMV BIG TIME for the fans, but generally, the critics liked Brawl more than Melee. Critics gave Brawl a very positive review, receiving a 93% score on Metacritic, and 92.7% on Game Rankings. Brawl was ranked "Fighting Game of the Year" of 2008 by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. As of March 2010, it has sold a total of 9.48 million copies worldwide, and is the eighth best-selling Wii game. And the music score for the game was highly praised as well.
Super Mario Land (the first game) was already a decent Mario platformer on the Game Boy, but Super Mario Land 2 was even better, getting better review scores, having more levels, more interesting enemies and bosses and far better graphics and music. Wario Land (Super Mario Land 3) might be even better than that, getting some reviews of the Virtual Console version saying it's even better than the games starring Mario.
Rayman, considered good already, underwent a massive upgrade for Rayman 2: The Great Escape, adding a better plot, many interesting or funny characters, extra action, a ton of Scenery Porn, a neat soundtrack and more well-designed levels.
Mega Man 1 was a revolutionary combination of solid graphics, gameplay and soundtrack, widely regarded as a great game. Mega Man 2 improves on every aspect of the original, removes the unnecessary point system, garnering it universal praise typically referring to it as at the very least "better than the original." 2, 20+ years and four generations of console gaming after its release, remains securely entrenched as the best-selling installment of the Classic series.
Star Fox 64 took a fun SNES shooter and increased the variety of missions, balanced out the weapon power ups, actually made your teammates useful for something other than human anthropomorphic shields, and just seems to run better. Notably, it was intended as Sequel Displacement, since the designers considered it the definitive remake of the first game.
Sonic the Hedgehog was a fun platformer for the Genesis that featured the novel concept of rolling into a ball and smashing into enemies at high speeds. Unfortunately, the game required you to accelerate for lengthy periods before you were allowed to do this, and many of the levels were standard platforming affairs, not the rollercoaster-in-the-sky designs the series later became known for. The sequel added Sonic's best friend Tails, more varied bosses and enemies, better music, multiplayer, streamlined level design, Sonic's trademark Spindash ability and Super Sonic.
And for many, Sonic 3 was even better than THAT. Even faster gameplay (unlike past Sonic games, there was no speed cap in play here), richer visuals thanks to more elaborate graphics, MUCH larger levels with more interactive environments, a plethora of new additions to the core gameplay (new gameplay additions for Sonic and Tails, boss acts in every level, elemental-themed shields, extra bonus stages, a revamped multiplayer mode, etc.) and a more complex story featuring Robotnik teaming up (albeit through deception) with Knuckles the Echidna against Sonic and Tails, told through in-game cutscenes (which also included transitions in-between levels and interactions between characters). Not to mention one excellent soundtrack that had the involvement of the freakin' King Of Pop himself. What's not to like?
All of the above is just Sonic 3 by itself, when it's not connected to its second half Sonic & Knuckles. In addition to having Knuckles as a playable character, complete with a moveset considerably different from Sonic's and levels designed around said moveset, Sonic & Knuckles also uses its "digital lock-on technology" to combine itself with past Sonic games in the trilogy. Pairing it with Sonic 1 gave you Blue Sphere, a minigame that provided a near-endless supply of different level layouts for Sonic 3 & Knuckles's special stages. Pairing it with Sonic 2 allowed you to play Knuckles in Sonic 2. Pairing it with Sonic 3 formed Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the "Director's Cut" of Sonic 3 that took the two games and streamlined them as the one big game as they were originally intended, with all features from both games intact along with a few new ones (namely the one-game-only collectable Super Emeralds, which in turn provided a Super form for Tails and the Super Saiyan formshyper forms for Sonic and Knuckles). Many fans fans considered Sonic 3 & Knucklesthe pinnacle of Sonic's career, even more than Sonic 3 by itself.
Secret of Mana for the SNES was a great game, but was sorely lacking in replay value. Its sequel, Seiken Densetsu 3, improved tremendously on this aspect with three different potential final bosses, each with their own set of endgame dungeons and Dragons, as well as six unique characters to build a team of 3 out of. The addition of the class change system (4 final classes per character) meant that there were literally hundreds of different party combinations to try out.
While the original Guitar Hero was a success, the hammer-ons and pull-offs had a hopelessly tight timing window, forcing most folks to ignore them entirely and strum every note. Guitar Hero II fixed this, giving the gameplay a much more natural and fluid feeling. Add to this the second game's co-operative game mode (where one player plays lead guitar and the other can play either bass or rhythm guitar) and practice mode (where players could play any individual part of a song as slowly as they wanted until they got it right), and you're set.
And now that the same team has made Rock Band, it's doubly true for them.
City of Heroes is a successful recreation of the superhero genre in MMO form, featuring exciting combat, an amazing array of choices when it comes to powers and abilities, and a character creation engine that other MMOs wish they had. Nevertheless, it had problems (repetitive missions, long travel times, unpopulated zones, etc.). The sequel/companion game City of Villains uses fewer zones (thus avoiding underpopulation), has tighter content, and the storylines are much less repetitive. And best of all, it uses the same amazing character creation software. (And yet, on many servers, Villains still has problems with underpopulation, because most people play Heroes...)
And now the the newest sequel/expansion/whatever, Going Rogue, arguably sets the bar even higher in terms of zone design and plot, allowing you to actually seem like you're influencing the world. At least until level 20, at which point you go back to the worlds of Co V with only a few slight differences.
Banjo-Kazooie was a good Super Mario 64 clone, with the player characters learning various moves to travel through nine separate levels that are accessible via teleportation from Gruntilda's lair. However, the game had little extras, an unnecessary life count and many events and collectables reset if the player died or left the level. Banjo-Tooie gives even more depth to the gameplay, with even more moves, massive levels that interconnected together (and were all part of the overworld) with a few cross-level puzzles and a wider variety of characters to meet. There's even multiplayer modes and the option to replay mini-games and boss fights, infinite lives, and all events and collectables stayed gone for good when finished.
Naughty Dog is known for always seeking this type of achievement with their games:
Naughty Dog repeated the same feat with Jak and Daxter and Uncharted. Put it this way: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was considered a great action-platformer-shooter, a compelling-but-not-perfectly-persuasive reason to get a PS3. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves? Currently ranked as the ninth-best game of all time on Gamerankings.com.
DCII is this for the Da Capo franchise. The original was a generic cuteness Eroge. The second one had some surprising twists and turns and a plot that was actually moving.
The original Spyro the Dragon was a creative, if underwhelming, platformer, with a unique premise and decent challenge. The sequel, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, however, managed to take everything good about the first and build on it. Spyro could swim now, instead of dying on repeated contact with water. New moves were available, power-ups were invented, levels were expanded and made less linear, and the controls got tightened up considerably. Minigames became important, there were secrets scattered all over the world, and the game rewarded exploration and innovation. The third in the series, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, managed to make it even better.
Indeed, in yet another shocking similarity between them and Naughty Dog, Insomniac did this with Ratchet & Clank. The first was a fun platformer with cool weapons, but had a few complaints about Ratchet being an unlikeableJerk Ass. The second game was a fun platformer with cool weapons that upgraded with use and were modifiable, his health increased with enemies defeated, the incredible Charge Boots were added, there was fun space combat, there were all new gladiator-esque arenas, the "Quickselect" menu paused the game while it was up, and the New Game+ (instead of just letting you restart with all your gear as it was in the first game) turned into "Challenge Mode" wherein there were new weapons and upgrades to be purchased, with a "multiplier" money mechanic, and tougher enemies. Plus, Ratchet was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap and became a Deadpan Snarker. The third game cranked up the weapon upgrading features from one upgrade to four in the main game (and two upgrades to three in the New Game+), added the "Lock-Strafe" control mechanism, added a new and improved weapon-switching mechanic, allowed two rungs on the Quickselect rather than just one, and best of all, added a very good online (and offline) multiplayer mode, while retaining all the pluses from the previous game. Then, the Future trilogy made things even better with a more in depth story and some of the best graphics on the PS3.
Likewise, the final game in The Legend of Spyro trilogy, Dawn of the Dragon, is considered vastly superior to the previous two games, some calling it the best Spyro game since it left Insomniac. A major factor in this is that Dawn of the Dragon was developed by French studio Étranges Libellules rather than Krome Studios who developed A New Beginning and The Eternal Night.
Birth by Sleep has been called by some reviewers the best game since the original. It returns the platforming elements that the first game had, retains the flashy and fun battle system from the sequel but ramps up the difficulty, and the story on its own (not including any of the downplayed backstory) is much simpler compared to the Kudzu Plot that the overarcing story of the series has become.
The Age of Empires games may be a renowned Real Time Strategy series today, but many reviewers found the first game to be lacking. It was with the second game that all the real acclaim started pouring in.
The first Gears of War game was a knockout hit with some relatively minor problems. Such as how the story never felt like a complete whole but just a series of things that happens, and it isn't until act four (of five) that anything important gets done. And while that doesn't affect the gameplay much, there were some issues with weapon balance and variety. Gears of Wars 2 openly addresses the concerns and creates a game with a stunning level of scope, a much wider weapon variety (including a supposed shotgun nerf), and a true sense of a major war going on. While leaps and bounds greater than the first game, it is still with its own problems; the final boss is a joke, although the lead up to it is a lot of fun...
The original Star Wars Battlefront was a excellent mix of strategy combat and shooter game, blessed with complex but recognisible maps and splendid sound effects. The sequel took all that, and added an achivement system that actively rewarded players, as well as a much wider collection of maps, units and game modes. And playable Jedi.
Taken even further in the PSP games where they let you customize your unit's load-out and stats, before joining battle, and while the battlefields aren't quite as expansive and complex as the PS2 games, (atleast in Elite Squadron) they combined both planet-side and space combat into one battle rather than making them be separate battlefields like Battlefront 2 had done while greatly improving the fighter controls in the process.
Tetris: The Grand Master is a great Tetris game sure to challenge those who think they're good at Tetris. Then there's Tetris: The Grand Master 2 (and TGM2 PLUS), which pushes the challenge even further for a more intense game.
SimCity, albeit suffering from Seinfeld Is Unfunny, started off rather exceptional for its day, being the father of the Sim, Wide Open Sandbox, and strategy genres of games to follow, but was even more improved with its first sequel Sim City 2000, which introduced new transportation options, zoning options, and a whole new isometric view, as well as several other perks.
It was then somewhat topped by Sim City 3000, which kept the same isometric view (but a little more realistic than previously) and added more realistic features such as waste management, aging infrastructure, and neighbor deals. The Unlimited version of 3000 also added an Asian and European tile sets.
However, despite what some say about 2000, all fans agree that Sim City 4 (and its Rush Hour expansion pack which then led to Sim City 4 Deluxe) is by far the greatest game to be made of the SimCity franchise for its deeply challenging gameplay and the boosted shelf life thanks to countless GameMods, despite being possibly one of the earlier users of the Real Is Brown trope.
Super Robot Wars (the classic series) was merely a massive excuse to throw a ton of mecha series into the same plot for the lulz, and the plot was not very thick at all (though F/Final somewhat subvert this slightly). Super Robot Wars Alpha was when the storywriting really took off, and the series attained fans for its story, not just its novelty.
It also helped that the attack animations from Alpha onwards actually looked like, you know, animations. As opposed to static sprites sliding around with some hit effects thrown in.
Super Robot Wars has gone through this numerous times even from game to game. The original NES game had a clunky (and practically worthless) upgrade system, the inability to select your mission lineup, no limits to overpowered attacks (more of a hindrance than a help, really) and you always had to counter enemy attacks. 3 changed things up for the better though still had a long ways to go. All in all, each game in the Classic Timeline built on the engine of the previous one, and Alpha brought it all together. Alpha Gaiden finally gave it that little extra polish by finally discarding a few gimmicks that didn't work (double movement) and including new ones (support), and then Advance brought in team attacks.
Say what you will about its balance, but Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is generally seen as better than its three awesome predecessors, enough to still have a tournament scene. If you're counting sequels in gameplay only, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is also sometimes seen as even better than that.
For most people, Capcom vs. SNK 2 is the best game of the SNK vs. Capcom series.
The first 2 Phantasy Star games were important as some of the earliest examples of JRPG's, however, they also have a lot of grinding, punishing difficultly and are quite light on story, making them difficult to get into. 3 was rushed and a Contested Sequel. Phantasy Star 4 is styled much more after modern JRPG's with plenty of story and character interaction, a lighter difficulty curve and faster pacing, such that it is still cited by many as one of the best JRPG's ever.
Pikmin was a good game, but too simple, and the time limit could be a bit suffocating. Pikmin 2 added far more depth to the gameplay and replaced the scramble to collect all the ship parts with a long adventure to find all the artifacts you can that much better suited the gameplay and overall mood of the game.
Thus making Pokémon Diamond and Pearl even better sequels to R/S/E because they brought back many of the features in G/S/C, as well as adding online multiplayer and improving the way moves drew upon attacking stats.
When they announced that they were remaking the first-generation games for the modern system, it was a Base Breaker. When they announced that they were doing it again with the second-generation games, the fandom celebrated. Of course, the rather infamous fact that the batteries of the original G/S/C games have been known to die out and prevent game-saving has something to do with that too.
Pokémon Black and White (and its sequel) have also been getting a lot of praise, finally changing the formula a bit by having only new Pokémon until you beat the game and a much more fleshed out plot. It can be said that HeartGold / SoulSilver, Black / White, and Black 2 / White 2 form a trio of modern-era Pokémon games released in the same timespan that are regarded as some of the best games in the series, receiving less flak and far more unanimous praise from reviewers and fans than previous games after Generation II.
Despite praise for the mechanics of Black, White and their respective sequels, some of the Pokemon◊ designs◊ were◊ met with incredulity from long term fans in particular. However, Pokémon X and Y has seemed to enchanted both old and new fans alike, particularly due to its inclusion of all generations of Pokemon from the beginning, as well as improving on everything fans liked from previous series.
Star Wars: Dark Forces was an innovative, successful shooter on its own merits. But each sequel was markedly better, with the apex in terms of story quality coming with Jedi Outcast. The most recent game, Jedi Academy, suffers from a somewhat lackluster story in comparison with its immediate predecessor, but Academy's gameplay and mechanics are best in the series.
Donkey Kong Country was considered a visual landmark in gaming when it was released, but its sequel, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, is largely seen as the better game, expanding and improving on the original.
Mass Effect 1 is seen as a landmark RPG, reconstructing eighties-style space operas and combining epic storytelling with Third-Person-Shooter combat and a fluid choice system that allowed players to tell their story any way they want. The game wasn't without its share of problems, mostly in the combat department. It was hampered with such things as an ineffectual cover system, a dice-roll damage calculator, and tedious exploration segments, making it was a gem with a few noticeable flaws. Mass Effect 2 came along and embraced its Shooter side, creating a far better cover system, an aim-and-shoot damage system, and an even deeper choice system (in fact, all of the choices in the FIRST game count in this one). The story is darker and more mature, and even the soundtrack got an epic makeover. Of course, some fans dislike the changes, but most enjoy the game anyway.
And then came along Mass Effect 3. The combat is much more fluid, the enemies are smarter, and the overly-simplified weapon system from 2 gets significantly fleshed out, with greater weapon variety and the return of weapon mods. The story sports numerous callbacks to beloved characters and fandom memes and brings plot arcs to a close with almost all of your choices throughout the series impacting the fates of races, people, and the galaxy at large. It also introduced multiplayer, which despite being feared at first turned out to be a massive and popular success which received numerous updates and expansions.
Half-Life 2 expanded on its predecessor in every way. The original was revolutionary in its use of storytelling techniques in a first-person shooter game, with superb level-design and gameplay insuring it would become regarded as a classic for years to come. The sequel featured a better graphics engine, with realistic physics and lighting granting a whole new level of immersion, and the same attention to polished level-design and fun, intuitive and balanced gameplay made Half-Life 2 live up to the legacy of Valve's debut title.
Endless Ocean: Blue World takes the basic gameplay (such as it is) of the original game and expands upon it greatly while streamlining several of the more tedious aspects and applying more structure to the previously random chaos. Judging by reviews it's been a major success in doing so, although the game is still quite niche in nature.
Burnout and Burnout 2 were fun racers with an emphasis on dangerous driving and spectacular crashes. Burnout 3 put the driving and crashes together with the Takedown mechanic and made it even faster than its predecessors. It's regarded by many as the best racing game of its generation.
Shadow Hearts was altogether an excellent game. The sequel removed pretty much every flaw from the original, doubled the gameplay length (a two-disc game on the PS2 was a rare thing), and improved pretty much every aspect of the game. Reviews will tell the same story.
Wii Sports was a solid pack-in game for the Wii showcasing what the system could do and being extremely accessible to the general public. In turn, Wii Sports Resort would not only serve as an excellent demonstration of the Wii MotionPlus's improved control, but it went beyond that by having more than twice as many games, even more individual game modes, more depth, if subtle, to several of the games, and the inclusion of in-game achievements.
Hitman series fits this trope quite nicely. Codename 47 was a nice stealth shooter. Silent Assassin greatly improved the controls and allowed the player to play as an actual assassin in every single mission by including new options and assessment of performance (and allowed the player to save in mid-mission). Blood Money introduced "accidents", notoriety meter and even more captivating story. Contracts, third game in the series also isn't bad, but half of its contents is a pack of refurbished missions from Codename 47.
Doom defined the First-Person Shooter genre even more than its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D, to the point that, for several years, FPS games were called "Doom clones." Doom II improved on every aspect of the game, with superior level design, more and deadlier monsters, and removing the episode system that was a relic of the first game's shareware origins.
Mushihime-sama: An insect-themed shooter; fun but plagued by oddball scoring systems.
Mushihime-sama Futari: Revamped shot types, a new character, much better (and more original) scoring systems, and a top-notch Xbox 360 port.
Mask of the Betrayer was an Even Better Sequel for Neverwinter Nights 2, containing a smaller band of more developed characters, a much better overarching story, and such complicated literary devices as symbolism and foreshadowing, as well as exchanging the cliched Sealed Evil in a Can out to destroy the world for a more personal and sensible mission.
Mother was well-received when it first came out in Japan and sold pretty well, but has attracted some criticism over its flaws, like an insane amount of grinding, unbalanced level design and a battle system ripped straight from Dragon Quest. EarthBound received better graphics and sound capabilities due to the upgrade from the NES to the SNES, cut down on the grinding by implementing an "instant win" maneuver for weaker enemies, polished the design noticeably, and revamped its characters somewhat (truly establishing Giygas as the horror we all know and fear). And for good measure, it's the only game in the series to officially make it to the USA.
Mother 3 made several gameplay improvements over EarthBound and its story and characters are more well-written overall, however, since it has its own theme and setting rather than the ones that the first two games were famous for, it is more of a Contested Sequel; in Japan, the majority opinion is that They Changed It, Now It Sucks; the international fanbase loves them both in their own ways, not really having a strong opinion on which of the two is better.
Macross Ace Frontier was a pretty good game, though it sorely lacked many things (like ubiquitous Mecha Expansion Packs and missing a lot of songs). Macross Ultimate Frontier picked up the slack, kept most of the things that was in Ace and added tons of new stuff. For example: giving Macross Zero a full scenario, split the original Macross between series and movie, the various packs were added, more characters and mecha, and added a shop which allowed people to buy some of the harder-to-get items (like some of the titles).
Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat both have this. The original Street Fighter was a somewhat popular, if RIDICULOUSLY hard fighter that was a nice change from Karate Champ. Street Fighter II came out, and pretty much launched the fighting game craze of the 90's and has been the inspiration for pretty much every fighter made since. For MK, the first one was popular (for obvious reasons) but the second game introduced the series' signature dark tone, and is widely considered to be the best 16-bit MK game, and possibly the best of the series.
The Adventures of Lolo was a classic NES game, but as the series went along, the games got better and better, expanding upon the concept and adding more puzzles, bosses, and such. In the third game, you can even play as Lala!
Tecmo Bowl was a hit in the arcades and NES, but come 1991, Tecmo Super Bowl would earn the hearts of many. While there were only a handful of playable teams in the original Tecmo Bowl, every NFL team (and most of the players) were playable in Tecmo Super Bowl. Super took the gameplay of the original and made it more lenient, even adding different modes of play, making it the ideal football video game of its time.
Team Fortress (and its pseudo-remake Team Fortress Classic) was very innovative and created an entire FPS sub-genre, but was very lacking thematically. After 9 YEARS in development out comes Team Fortress 2, with 9 distinct characters recognizable by silhouette or voice alone each with their own nationality, personality and unique weapons, not to mention the hats and the constant patches and fixes both major and minor valve keeps handing out. For free! Unless you own the Xbox version, in which case you don't get them at all. You can thank Microsoft for that.
The Touhou games for Windows are generally considered an improvement on the PC-98 games, but many Touhou fans still agree that the PC-98 games weren't exactly shabby to begin with. A lot of fans are still hoping for certain PC-98 characters to return in future Windows installments.
Sin and Punishment is a great rail shooter, only marred by the analog stick controls (although the game is designed around it). Sin and Punishment: Star Successor takes full advantage of the Wii's pointer functionality for more refined controls, succeeds in being significantly longer and more epic without resorting to Fake Longevity (an impressive feat considering the genre of the game), cranks up the intensity of enemy combat and boss battles, and boasts smoother visuals and framerate.
Harvest Moon was a cult classic Super Nintendo game. It was full of awesome and Heartwarming Moments, excellent characterization for its system, and bright graphics; it was well-recieved though released too late in the systems lifespan to get any proper love. Harvest Moon 64 is considered one of the best video games the Nintendo64 had to offer and upped everything that made the first game to eleven. It's also one of the only direct sequels to a previous game in the series.
Persona 3 was an excellent, intelligent game combining tried and true RPG devices with an intriguing social simulation system. Persona 4 greatly improved the battle system, provided even better artwork, smoothed out the pacing and writing, and generally provided a more cohesive gaming experience. However, there are people who think Persona 4 was vastly inferior to the third.
And there are also people who think both of them are inferior to Persona and Persona 2. Looking at them all, however, most agree that the original was the worst, so many argue over which of the later three games are the best and giving all three of those games this status.
Pac-Man: Championship Edition received positive reviews, praising the successful reimagination of the franchise. Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX received even more positive reviews. Eating a train of 30 ghosts for a massive score jump, anyone?
How could the original Pac-Man get even more addictive? How about randomized mazes, ghosts with unique movement patterns, and more power-ups? Slap a bow on it and you've got Ms. Pac-Man.
The first DJMAX Technika is a great and innovative Rhythm Game, breathing new life into the arcade rhythm game scene. Its sequel, DJMAX Technika 2, boasts a streamlined user interface, an unlock system that no longer requires you to complete missions (you simply go onto the Platinum Crew website and make your purchases there), and a less annoying way of unlocking alternate boss songs in Club Mixing sets.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2, the sequel to the already well-received Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. The graphics are better, the story is darker and more mature, the characters (especially the protagonist) are better-defined and more likeable, the gameplay has been polished and refined, the class system has been expanded, and there's enough content to easily last you over 150 hours.
Although it bears mentioning that both get compared poorly to the original, due primarily to the seriousness of the first game's plot compared to the rather mundane plotlines of the sequels.
Silent Hill 2 is generally considered superior to its predecessor due to its more original and complex narrative and excellent soundtrack.
Space Channel 5 was an awesome game. Then Part 2 came out, and took everything in the game and made it even better. Some people consider it to be "The near perfect sequel." The main improvements were larger variety of songs and better control response.
In The Elder Scrolls series, Arena was good, Daggerfall was considered even better, and many agree that Morrowind topped that, in terms of graphics, gameplay, and even story. Oblivion's combat system is widely considered to be better, and it received a 94% from both Metacritic and Game Rankings, compared to Morrowind's 89%, although many Morrowind fans believe that Morrowind was still the best game overall.
Based on the reactions from the public, Skyrim could be seen as this to Oblivion, having taken practically taken over every aspect of the gamer community, casual, hardcore, or professional alike, for months after its release, due to the expansive nature of the game. Fans of the series may feel otherwise though, as many consider the older games better for various reasons.
Overlord introduced novel gameplay features and a likable cast of extras, but never really developed the third-person slasher beyond a few puzzles to be solved by those novel features. Overlord II shipped with the mandatory visual and audio upgrades. It also expanded the cast of personalities and the personality of the cast, upgraded the previous features seamlessly with new, presented maps that put them to ingenious use, and most ballsy and brilliant of all, let the minions (the fan favorite) take the spotlight in gameplay and story without taking away control or credit from the player.
Batman: Arkham Asylum has been called by many the best superhero game of all time, and a good all around game in general. Its sequel, Batman: Arkham City, took everything that was awesome about the original Up to Eleven and added Catwoman as a playable character.
Portal 2 is considered by many to be even more awesome than Portal, as the second game vastly expanded upong the first, giving us new characters, a new story, and more gameplay features. It all adds up to about 6 or 7 hours of gameplay as opposed to the first game's 3 to 4 (or around 30 minutes if you've already beaten it), plus a co-op mode that's about the same length and filled with all-new puzzles.
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean was a cult hit for the Gamecube, and a great RPG for a system sorely lacking in that category, but it suffered from several flaws: bad, bad, bad voice acting, a battle system that was overly complicated and relied heavily on luck, an irritating level up system, and several infuriating Guide Dang It moments. Baten Kaitos Origins revamped the battle system to be quicker and simpler while still maintaining the strategic elements that made it fun, replaced the Fake Difficulty with realdifficulty, got competent voice actors, and had an even better soundtrack.
SSX was widely regarded as the best launch game on the PlayStation 2, with incredible graphics for its time, easy to learn but surprisingly deep gameplay, and awesome music. SSX Tricky added smoother, faster gameplay, much improved load times, a boatload of new characters, tweaked tracks, and even more awesome music.
Master of Orion was considered an excellent strategy game for its time. Its sequel, however, is considered one of the quintessential 4X games.
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee was an excellent game, but its sequel Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is generally agreed to be better, with better maps and areas, new features (such as Flying Sligs and being able to have multiple mudokons follow you), and more challenging puzzles.
inFAMOUS was considered a solid, fun sandbox game for the PS3 with an interesting premise. inFAMOUS 2 upped the ante with more and varied powers, a more versatile city to run around in, bigger differences between the good and evil paths (as well as 2 separate endings), improved graphics (now utilizing facial mocap), improved physical combat, and a more emotional and dramatic story.
Sega's cel-shaded skating/platforming/"tagging" hybrid Jet Set Radio was, and still is, unlike anything gamers were playing at the time. This Dreamcast gem, while having some flaws, is regarded as one of the system's stand-out titles. JSRF: Jet Set Radio Future blew everyone's mind (and the bar set by the first game) when it was released on the Xbox. Impressive (if a bit flashy) visuals, refined gameplay removing the tagging commands while re-vamping the trick system, an improved story (even if it was a re-telling of the original's), improved character designs (making Gum and Cube Hotter and Sexier, and Yoyo a favorite amongst the female gamers), and a huge world to explore put it leagues ahead of its predecessor. One thing it didn't improve was its music. Then again,not like they needed to anyway.The music just turns me onindeed...
Fancy Pants Adventures was a solid platformer, with smooth animations, and a few neat extras. It was a bit short, but that wasn't that much of a problem. Enter The Fancy Pants Adventures: World 2, with even better animations, smooth platforming that had solid controls, with tons of bonus levels, trophies, and pants. Then Fancy Pants Adventures was released on consoles (alternately called World 3), which upped the quality even more with achievements, headwear and pants, many, many minigames, and multiplayer.
Fallout was a landmark in the CRPG genre, with more freedom of action than any before it. Though you were given a broad goal, you were free to choose where you wanted to go and when, could interact with almost anything, and had numerous means of dealing with challenges based on your skills, abilities, prior knowledge, and personal morality, including defeating the final bosses with dialogue. Fallout 2, despite the bugs and cut content thanks to its rushed deadline, is basically an Even Better Sequel and widely considered superior because of it. And then Fallout 3, despite the stylistic change, is widely considered to be an even better game than the first two Fallouts.
Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest was regarded as having good gameplay, but lacking in the story department (IE, it didn't have much of one in the actual game). Heroes II corrected that (it might not have been the world's most original story, but it was well presented), enhanced the graphics but kept the same style, added two more towns, more creatures, the creature upgrading concept, skills learned as the hero gained levels...
Heroes III would be a clear example, but there is a fraction of the fanbase that disagree with some of the decisions made for that game (mostly the graphical style — the first two games had a colourful style carried over from the Might and Magic series, while Heroes III went for a more Real Is Brown palette).
Guild Wars made for a popular and well-received MMORPG that didn't have a monthly fee whatsoever, in part thanks to dividing the world up into instanced zones. However, this had the effect of making the game feel sparsely populated, as each map could only support a limited number of players. Guild Wars 2 upped the ante in every conceivable way. It played more akin to a traditional MMORPG, with a seamless and persistent world that could support thousands of players at once, five races to play as, and multiple crafts to take up. It replaced the traditional quest system with cyclical dynamic events that would unfold in real time and could result in small changes on the world depending on if they succeeded or failed. World vs World PvP was added to allow for hundreds of players to duke it out. And it was also released without the need to pay a monthly fee.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was a decent platformer, but Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil made it even better. Better story, better level design, better soundtrack, better graphics, etc. Only downside was that the difficulty was easier.
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 was a fun adventure game with some neat character interaction, animations and puzzles with a compelling storyline. Last Window improved on all of that, as well as providing more insight and development into the returning characters.
Zone of the Enders only sold well because of the demo for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The game was decent but it suffered from repetitive battles, criminal shortness and whiny and cliched characters, leading to a somewhat mixed reaction. As such, many people who liked the original concept were happy to see the sequel, The 2nd Runner, tighten up the controls, give you twice as many options in battle and include a long and interesting plot to follow. They were even more surprised to see whiny and annoying characters in the first game return in style, having leveled in badass in the intervening time between games.
Epic Battle Fantasy 1 was nothing special. 2 added save points, some basic customization, and an Excuse Plot. Then along came EBF 3, which quickly became one of the top-rated RPGs on Kongregate, thanks to a challenging, interesting combat system, excellent graphics, and even better music. EBF 4, released two and a half years later, then proceeded to unabashedly top all of its predecessors with a bunch of balance refinements, more customizability, a new player character, and even more pretty graphics and music. Plus it nerfedMonoliths.
Saints Row was a fairly standard GTA clone. However, when GTA 4 decided to get all serious about things, Saint's Row 2 decided to have fun, gave the player much more to do, and as a result is much better than the first one.
The NES version of Konami's Track and Field was a well-received conversion of the early 1980s arcade game. Track and Field II, released the following year to coincide with the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, was a huge improvement, with better music and more realistic (for the time) graphics, and the addition of several new events such as fencing, the high dive, and the pole vault. It also included a password function to save the player's progress after every three events in Olympic Mode ("Championship Mode" in the North American release).
Quest Of Yipe. The first game is very simplistic, has a ridiculous amount of Level Grinding, and has only two tasks to complete. The next game has slightly better graphics and further advances the gameplay. With the third game, the graphics improve massively (by late-90s Macintosh standards at least), and the game introduces a much, much larger world with far more side quests.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a much better game than the 1st, and the second was released on PC whereas the first was not.
Hexagon is a great game in and of itself, but Super Hexagon makes it even better with the addition of more stages and more music.
Myst was an interesting game that, at the time, looked great, and helped bring point and click adventure games further into the mainstream. However, the game itself can seem a bit dated—the plot can be confusing at times, the world feels very empty and dead, the puzzles can be needlessly obtuse, and the visuals don't hold up as well. On the other hand, Riven is essentially an improvement over everything that made Myst good at release—the plot is much more engaging, with the player having a more personal role in it, the world feels alive and interesting, the puzzles (while still fiendishly difficult) are at least somewhat sensible, and most importantly the visuals (even at such low resolutions) still look pretty damn impressive. Many fans wondered how Riven would be topped—then, along came Exile, with fascinating and sympathetic characters, much more logical approaches to puzzles, breathtaking environments, a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, and visual design that still looks incredible to this day.