It's the Same, Now It Sucks
Fans have a tendency to want to be surprised. They don't just want another rehash of the same things that they had last year, they want something new and different, yet the same basic characters/story/gameplay/etc. Often they claim that they want a perfect, line by line recreation
of their favorite comic book, but there are also the inherent problems with transferring any form of media into another.
Obviously the balance between keeping things similar while still making it work is difficult to maintain, which often results in an Unpleasable Fanbase
More often this is a video game trope, due to the nature of the industry. Sports games in particular are targeted because they are based on a game that already exists with set rules; there are only so many ways to change the gameplay and user interface. The situation isn't very compatible with the companies' insistence on releasing new versions every year.
With video games, if it warrants a sequel obviously people enjoyed playing it in the first place. So you really do not want to mess around with the general set-up, but you can always tweak it around to give a new experience. But with fans being the way they are
, you'll usually get one side praising the changes with another side wanting the old game back
. An Updated Re-release
is sometimes unfairly judged according to this, but it is also justified.
Video Game Long Runners
will be all over the spectrum, with some games remaining faithful to the core design while others will use an entirely different style. Some gaming mainstays get this from fans claiming the formulas are growing stale. Of course, they'll then complain about attempts to change said formula just as vociferously as they complained about stagnation, to the point where it's obvious the games can't win. A game series typically gets this reputation when they release one too many a Mission Pack Sequel
Just like They Changed It, Now It Sucks
, sometimes the complaints of the fans are legitimate, in that trying to hold onto the past gameplay can become a fundamental flaw. It's also important to note that this will
happen to people who are usually not
fans of the work in the first place, yet expect it to be radically different sometimes to the point of when they lose the original fans
. People who aren't fans of the work will typically pull this argument specifically because they do not notice the differences in between individual works and have a very minimalistic view of genres or series as a whole.
This trope must be distinguished from They Copied It, Now It Sucks
, where different material
is considered to be too similar. With It's the Same, Now It Sucks
, the problem is that different installments of the SAME THING (such as remakes, adaptations, parodies, sequels etc.) are considered to be too slavishly imitative of their original material.
See also Sequelitis
, Status Quo Is God
, Capcom Sequel Stagnation
. On the opposite end of the spectrum is They Changed It, Now It Sucks
. It is mostly impossible to balance It's the Same, Now It Sucks
and They Changed It, Now It Sucks
, due to a general trend of Unpleasable Fanbase
between the two.
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Video game examples:
- Dragon Quest has received this complaint at least in the US, which isn't surprising given the conservative nature of the series compared to Final Fantasy. Dragon Quest VII, the first post-Super Nintendo installment, was especially bashed for not really pushing forward with the gameplay or the graphics. Since Enix and Square merged, it seems they've been trying to expand the series with more online multiplayer options and with more immersing gameplay, but given the series' huge popularity in Japan it's unlikely they'll experiment with the fundamentals of the series that much.
- Gears of War 2 had a list of detractors who would frequently say things like "Everything looks the same. The chainsaw bayonet, the roadie-run, the torque bow... they're just remaking the first game." Apparently it was a big enough concern that X-Play's review deliberately said something to the effect of, "This is not Gears 1.5, it is a real sequel." Upon launch, no one has complained that it is just a rehash of the first game, it was much bigger and better.
- Instead, everyone cried They Changed It, Now It Sucks regarding the shotgun nerf.
- Or, if you're a lancer guy, then you got the problem of a shotgun which seemed to be more overpowered than ever.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was They Changed It, Now It Sucks for many... and later, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was accused of this trope by some. Actually, every single entry of the series ever since Ocarina of Time (if not even earlier than that) has received both of these at the same time. One second you find a comment trashing the game for not changing the Zelda formula at all, demeaning its new features as "gimmicks", and the next second you find another one that trashes it because those "gimmicks" are new features that totally change (and ruin) the Zelda formula.
- Of course, TP was purposefully designed that way, since Nintendo vowed that it would be "the last Zelda game as you know it" before the gameplay of Ocarina of Time was retired. Similar to Ocarina changing Zelda to fit 3D and analog control or Phantom Hourglass changing Zelda to properly fit the DS' stylus control, the series is set to receive a major overhaul to become a proper Wii game. Twilight Princess shipping for the Wii at all was something of a fluke, caused by excessive delays during its GCN-only development.
- Some people accused Spirit Tracks of being this to Phantom Hourglass. The trailer and plot summary dispelled this, however, to the point of one article writer at Zelda Informer issuing a public apology to Nintendo for ever doubting them.
- The two lowest reviews for Skyward Sword use both this trope and the polar opposite.
- Ironically, the fanbase by and large loves A Link Between Worlds because it is almost literally A Link to the Past using Ocarina-era tropes and gimmicks.
- New Super Mario Bros. was the first Super Mario Bros. game in a while that played similar to the original SMB. Guess what its biggest complaint was.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii had this even worse, described as just New Super Mario Bros. for DS put on Wii. What about the better graphical rendering, new platforming obstacles not possible on DS or previous consoles, or the fact that the game had four player multiplayer in all its levels in addition to a fairly large VS mode?
- There's also a lot of disagreement between whether every level is exactly the same, or every level has an over-powered gimmick that puts the game too far from its roots.
- New Super Mario Bros. 2 has been getting a lot of flak for being too similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
- Mario as a whole (or at least, the recent 2D games in particular, see above) is often accused by some of having too little changes from early titles in the series. The constant use of remixes and the same Save the Princess Excuse Plot is especially blasted.
- When it comes to the music, the third game ("2") and fourth ("U") suffer from this trope. U and 2 had a small number of new tracks and most of the soundtrack being re-arrangements and recycled songs.
- Miyamoto himself accused the beta of Paper Mario: Sticker Star of being "too similar to The Thousand Year Door" and convinced the developers to do it away with the plot and change the battle system completely. The result, of course, was greeted by the fans.
- Hanging around the GameFAQs message board for it, people complain that Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. Abaddon-Ou is too similar to Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army. Considering how many people complained that the first game was a great idea that needed more improvements, you'd be surprised anyone would make this complaint considering how Atlus did exactly what they asked for (i.e. same engine, better battles, more demons, deeper story, etc.). Then again, these are gamers and gamers...you know the drill.
- The issue was that the 3D-over-2D-backgrounds engine of the first game (which was badly-dated even when it was first published) was the main thing that needed improvement. Most of the complaints were that they reused it rather than coming up with something else, not that the gameplay was the same.
- Pokémon tends to get a lot of this, especially in regards to the core gameplay remaining as the monster count climbs. In general, Game Freak's strategy seems to be to keep the main titles to the formula while releasing periodic spinoffs - if you want a Pokémon action game, there's Ranger or Rumble. If you want an RPG with a deeper plot, there are the Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. Some people just think these are "inferior" because they aren't part of the main series...and what are their complaints? "It's not Pokémon Red and Blue".
- Animal Crossing: City Folk has been receiving plenty of criticism for being too much like its predecessors.
- The reason why the Dynasty Warriors series is hated by reviewers. Even if they make what most people would consider major changes to the combat scheme.. it will still get panned as more of the same.
- Same with the .hack video games. But then, the .hack series is two games for the price of seven.
- Dynasty Warriors is also unique in that this trope is subverted among its fanbase, or rather, that the fanbase has always held the opposite opinion to the reviewers on this issue. This was shown with the backlash when 6 tried to change things up, mostly because what they tried (Renbu) was not well implemented.
- Plot has always been a strength of the Avernum series, so when Avernum 4 turned out to have the exact same plot as Avernum 3, many fans of the earlier games were not at all happy.
- The Castlevania series has been a victim of this trope this decade, with purists missing the days when Castlevania titles weren't all Metroidvanias—or, as they call them, Symphony of the Night with a new map and some sort of gimmick.
- GameSpot's complaint with the second and third Ace Attorney games on the DS? Same gameplay, different cases, with no DS-exclusive features, never mind that adding additional cases, unless rendered completely independent of the main story, would make the series' continuity go haywire. The only new case with DS-exclusive features was a bonus DS-only case for the first game.
- The thing about the Ace Attorney, though, is that the first three games were ports from GBA games released in Japan. They didn't make a DS original game until Apollo Justice.
- Armored Core gets this fairly frequently, as well, the biggest complaint being the antiquated control scheme (using the shoulder buttons to look up and down instead of the second analog stick which has that feature in almost every other game ever but wasn't used for anything in Armored Core for far too long).
- Sonic the Hedgehog. The most interesting part is that each member of the Unpleasable Fanbase has a different way to apply this trope to the series as a whole.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4 has the special distinction of being this trope and They Changed It, Now It Sucks. While people were ranting about the use of the Adventure-era designs, the different gameplay, and other things changed from the Genesis games, others were deriding it for being a retraux of the first two Genesis games in terms of visuals, enemies, and level progression-all four level tropes, the special stages, badniks, and nearly every boss from Episode I was a direct rip from either Sonic 1 or Sonic 2; and while Episode II was significantly more original in almost all instances, people still drew parallels to or singled out direct retrauxes of specific events and/or similar content of the sort from the Genesis games.
- Resident Evil was infamous for sticking to its formula of pre-rendered, fixed camera zombie hunting, even when the series moved from the PS to the GameCube (only the made-for-Dreamcast Code: Veronica, eschewed the pre-rendered backgrounds in favor of real-time ones). RE4 underwent a massive genre shift to more action-oriented gameplay and was widely acclaimed. Then Resident Evil 5 came along and was called a rehashed RE4.
- Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, Resident Evil 2 was nearly finished when Capcom executives thought the game was too similar to the first one and didn't expand on the playable areas enough (it would have been confined to a mansion again, basically). The game was redone and the end result was what is generally considered the best game of the "pre-rendered" era of RE.
- When Persona 4 was announced to be on the PS2, and using the exact same engine and practically the same system as Persona 3, it met with much skepticism from fans that they were just cashing in on P3 (especially with P3:FES, a remake of P3, also being announced), instead of pushing the game forward into the next generation with a PS3 or Xbox 360 title. Of course, then the game came out.
- Any Rhythm Game series has been around long enough will get this. The sameness is somewhat justified with games that use peripherals, since there's only so much you can change before making a sequel require new controllers to be playable.
- The longevity of Dance Dance Revolution makes it a prime target for complaints of staleness. When Dance Dance Revolution X introduced a new difficulty rating system and announcer, this trope once again rubbed shoulders with They Changed It, Now It Sucks. (It is an annoying announcer, but his disastrousness can get blown all out of proportion.)
- The Fallout 3 hatedom is interestingly split between this trope and They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The former party accuses the game of being essentially "Oblivion with guns", while the latter considers it too great a deviation from Black Isle's original Fallout games.
- Applies at some point to the first five Tomb Raider games, the point at which this happens for someone tends to be entirely based around the point they consider the game quality to drop
- Tomb Raider: Underworld. Pretty much the same as Legend, only Darker and Edgier, but still with the same problems (and a few new ones to boot). Considering that Anniversary fixed some of these flaws (in particular the length), Underworld feels like a step backward.
- Tales of Vesperia is one of the highest acclaimed games for the 360 and easily one of the best reviewed JRPGs of this generation. And yet, the biggest complaint? It plays exactly like the other Tales games.
- This is a recurring complaint lobbed against the Tales Series as a whole (mainly because so many games are released in such a small amount of time). Whether it's a genuine complaint or not is up to debate, but fans of the series don't tend to mind the similar-styled games.
- JRPGs in general get this for consisting of the same basic gameplay. Not surprisingly, any game that does attempt to break from this trope is usually badged with They Changed It, Now It Sucks, even if it's a company like, say, Square Enix, that attempts to break the mold with something really gutsy like...their flagship franchise.
- Before it became a long-loved classic of 64-bit gaming, Banjo-Kazooie was accused of being a Mario clone simply because it was a 3D platforming game.
- The first Mega Man Star Force game was given a low rating by IGN simply because it felt too much like Battle Network (and yet the fanbase feels it isn't enough like it...). The series in general tend to get flak for changing very few things from sequel to sequel (though Mega Man X 7 proved why that's a good thing).
- Well, later NES Mega Man games were a victim of this too. Until 9 where everyone immediately begun to dry-hump them for being NES-like, then criticized 10 because it was just like 9.
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon appears to be getting this from the general fandom. People say that this is a "step backward" because the latest entries were in 3D, had a rescuing system, skills, and many, many more aspects that made the game more complex. Intelligent Systems said this was a remake and it looks more like a port.
- To note, this example isn't quite as jarring because not as many people play the original 3 Fire Emblems anymore (which play very similar to this), and the truly popular Fire Emblem games were beginning from the fourth one... which was extremely different in terms of mechanics than Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
- Wario Land The Shake Dimension was criticised for being too similar to the previous game, Wario Land 4 despite its core mechanic not even being possible before the Wii.
- Punch-Out!! Wii is being accused of this, people saying it's just a $50 NES remake that has nothing new or different from the original game. Fans have been dying for another Punch Out that remained true to its roots and now they complain it's too much of the same.
- The Madden franchise has accused of only making incremental improvements.
- Left 4 Dead 2 was bashed for this AND They Changed It, Now It Sucks before the game was even out. People complained that the sequel was just the exact same game as the first with just different maps, weapons, and characters, but they also complain that including daytime and using totally different characters ruined the feel of the game.
- StarCraft II is getting hit hard by this trope and They Changed It, Now It Sucks at the same time. It's not uncommon to see a forum thread complaining that the game is more like "Starcraft 1.5" rather than a true sequel, and then see a thread right below it complaining that the game changed too much and doesn't capture the essence of the original.
- It is basically the same game strategy-wise (the majority of the units structures are the same ones) but on a new engine and all the perks of modern RTS features, shortcuts, hotkeys, options, etc. So that does explain how it could be both "changed" and the "the same" - it depends on if you are looking at the tactics and units, or at the system used to enact them.
- Some have complained that it's simply Warcraft 3 IN SPACE.
- Some people are bashing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up, because it has the Super Smash Bros. engine, panning it because they think it will be Super Smash Bros. with Turtles, but the gameplay is showing that there are some differences, namely that there are health meters rather then stock damage, the enviroments change consistently, and guard breaks are different, and the people developing the game in question? The team who MADE Super Smash Bros., as well as Team Ninja, so they're really bashing themselves.
- And now the game is showing there are tag battles lets see how much of the fanbase will like it or hate it.
- The developers only actually had a very, very small part in the development of Brawl, that's all.
- While on the subject of Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Reshelled is a rather fascinating case study. We have a game that started as an arcade game, Then got ported to the SNES with some added content, and most recently, has been remade for the X-box. The primary complaint that critics site is that they removed the added content from the SNES port, making it the same as the original arcade game. Thus we have 'it's the same as the original, but that sucks because we wanted it to be the same as the SNES port'. Some critics don't even seem to be aware that there was an original arcade port
- Both applied to and averted by Command & Conquer Command & Conquer 3- it was released around the same time as Supreme Commander, leading to something of a rivalry between the two fandoms. The SupCom fans bashed C&C for being nothing more than a shiny graphical overhaul of the early days of the RTS genre, with none of the innovations that have appeared since (like, say, in Supreme Commander). The C&C fans responded by pointing out that there are plenty of innovative RTS games around, and that all they really wanted from Command & Conquer 3 was... well, another Command & Conquer game, only prettier.
- Similar to the Zelda example above, Final Fantasy fans wanted a classic (1-6) style game with the technology of the PS1 era game. What they got was Final Fantasy IX, which they complained about being too much like the classic games. Then they got Final Fantasy X, which they complained was too much like the modern (7-8) games.
- People complained about all the WW 2 games in the Call of Duty series until Modern Warfare came along. Then they complained when the next game was a WW 2 game. Then they complained when MW2 was largely a refinement of the original. See the "Casino Royale" example above for something similar.
- As far as the WW 2 complaints go, most of them are due to the sheer umber of WWII shooters there are, while WWI, Vietnam, Korea, etc. get ignorednote .
- The arcade Double Dragon II is criticized for being DD1 with new graphics and tweaked levels/backgrounds.
- The WWE Smack Down! series has recieved some criticism in recent years for having too little variation between each release, although considering that it is currently in its eleventh iteration, this is hardly surprising.
- Even art gets this. They seem to especially be cracking down on Tetsuya Nomura, who can't make any of his characters resemble another of his characters in the least bit or else he's supposedly re-using designs of Sephiroth and Cloud. He also is not allowed to have any characters wear black or have white hair, because then they're a ripoff of Sephiroth, even if the only black are shoes or a black T-shirt.
- Let's also not forget the people who dislike Yoshitaka Amano also point out that he too has his own trends.
- Amano's characters rarely make it verbatim to the actual game, while all characters Nomura has designed actually appear in game. Yes, Amano's concept art is similar, but the characters themselves don't look that much alike.
- Except for the line of expies called the heroes (and Kuja). Even the concept art for Bartz depicts him as someone who looks like Cecil with a haircut, Firion with no bandanna, Kuja's more masculine brother...And in the remake, this does not look like him at all.
- Half-Life Source. Valve essentially imported the original meshes and graphics from the first game into their new engine, resulting in the only appreciable changes being the introduction of physics and improved water effects. It's gotten some pretty heavy flak from the fanbase.
- In E3 2010, when Nintendo showed off several titles, ranging from a several Mario sports game in one, a revival of Donkey Kong Country, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Metroid: Other M, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, and a remake of GoldenEye, many people were naturally pleased but just as many others, such as the SpoonyOne, wrote all these games off as just being more of the same as they been playing for the past 15 years, ignoring the fact that most of the games clearly were not.
- Part of the reason X-Box's Conker: Live & Reloaded failed to reach the same hype and praise won as its former N64 self as Conker's Bad Fur Day was due to this. The other part was Microsoft's, replacement of mini-games featured in Bad Fur Day with copies or expansions of the war-based games, even heavier censorship to Live & Reloaded than that of Bad Fur Day, among others.
- Crackdown 2 takes place in an identical environment to the original—they literally copy and pasted most of the city, and in many ways it lacks the charm of the original, even with the nightly Zombie Apocalypse that occurs. Many were not pleased at how little was new.
- One of the in-game problems of Heavy Weapon. After going through the first nine levels and defeating the first nine bosses, you are treated to a Your Princess Is in Another Castle scene. After that, you have to go through the first nine levels with harder enemies and defeat the first nine bosses again, except that most of them are just rehashes with more health and faster speed.
- Tales of the Abyss 3D is likely going to get this reaction from western fans. It's basically the north american Playstation 2 version on the Nintendo 3DS. It's "new" to japanese players, as some of the second Mystic Artes did not get implented into the original japanese version.
- Anybody complaining about this will be ignored, as Namco had said that it was a port and not a remake.
- One of The Angry Video Game Nerd's criticisms of Rambo on NES was that the developers followed the plot of the film too closely story-wise.
- The Sims 3 suffered from this complaint. Granted, they did reuse a lot of object meshes and animations from the previous game. It also got hit with They Changed It, Now It Sucks because of WHAT was changed.
- Crash Bandicoot falls here prior to Crash Twinsanity. After Naughty Dog sold their ownership do a different company, the Crash series started to look a lot like the same game over and over again. Then those owners sold their owership, and it started all over again.Crash Of The Titans and Crash Mind Over Mutant fall under They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
- Same thing happened to poor Spyro the Dragon, where the new owners just copy what the original owners did.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn got some of this, with many people complaining that it felt like Camelot stapled the first two games together, without any of their original charm.
- Almost any FPS out there can suffer from this because, besides a small range of gameplay variation (corridor shooters vs. fighting humongous hordes of Mooks being the main two), they all boil down to the same few things and use the same skills. While Call of Duty's Metagame is worlds away from Serious Sam and Doom, the similarities you can draw between the two are still vast.
- A Super Smash Bros. with Playstation characters has been in demand for a very long time now. Yet from the very second it was officially announced, people were already whining about PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale being a "ripoff" of Super Smash Bros., despite many more Smash Bros.-inspired games having already been released. In fact, not even Smash Bros. was the first game of its kind.
- To be fair, the game was a No Export for You meaning that no one but people in Japan would know of the first crossover game ever made.
- God of War Ascension is already getting hit with this, with Bennett The Sage calling it God of War: Back to the Well. Previously, it was getting this kind of criticism with the third game's weapons (excluding the lion gauntlets) and having unchanged, identical gameplay throughout the entire series.
- Almost any MMO out there that follows the traditional style of World of Warcraft complete with the tank/healer/dps MMO holy trinity, the level cap, the epic gear grinding, will be dismissed as just another unimaginative World of Warcraft clone.
- This is the primary complaint leveled at Bioshock 2, which uses the same setting and same gameplay elements as the previous game. The only noticeable changes are the hacking minigame and the use of a Big Daddy as the protagonist (which does give a different feel to the mechanics, as well as add some intriguing narrative elements as the game progresses).
- The most common complaint against Nintendo is the company "always producing the same games with the same plot elements". People tend to ignore the fact that Nintendo always refines their flagship franchises so that it's still familiar with older fans while also bringing something new for them and new fans alike. There's also the point where Nintendo tries to do something different, only for people to complain They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
- This is what some have been saying about Saints Row IV and not just in terms of the re-used city of Steelport, but, bizarrely, about gameplay as well. The last game was a wacky, over the top GTA style game, whereas IV is a wacky, over the top superhero game who's gameplay is only similar in that you can still drive a car and shoot guns, ignoring that you really don't have to anymore.
- The ''Syphon Filter Trilogy for the original Playstation got complaints of having the same graphics and gameplay. The former was probably because when better graphics meant better games.
Anime and Manga
- The Gundam universe. Though, in their defense, Sunrise does have an unhealthy obsession with rehashing old character & mech designs. Not to mention when they decided to change the design in ∀ Gundam, it was met with heavy derision from the community.
- Mainly the reason Slayers Revolution/Evolution-R didn't go over too well with the fans. But it's true that they did bring back a series 10+ years later just to retread the first season and bring back a villain who's already been killed twice, and not bother to advance the rating of the series but air it at night during the adult crowd...
- If you've only seen the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist and haven't read the manga, you might feel this way about the remake Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Sadly, some who feel this way haven't watched past the first 13 episodes, which is when it gets to the part where the 2003 anime started being different from the manga.
- The Pokémon anime gets hit with this a lot, in the west at least. While it still has its fans, people who grew up with the show initially tend to find the anime to be predictable and bland, citing the lack of a strong central story and the formulaic nature of the episodes.
- A common gripe with the New 52 is that despite a large number of changes, the Continuity Lock-Out that was typical for the old DCU did not disappear, and many characters (such as Green Lantern) still require extensive knowledge of their old DCU stories to understand what is going on, instead of having a fresh start. What makes things even more confusing is that many older fans who would be otherwise immune to Continuity Lockout are confused as well, due to the fact that whatever continuity that has been retained has been very hazily defined. For example, according to the new "superheroes debuted five years ago" compressed timeline, Batman started his career and took on all four male Robins, one of whom is his 11 year-old son by an archnemesis's daughter, within six years. When did he have time to develop the romantic relationship that would lead to an eleven year-old?
- When the child is artificially aged up several years to get rid a lot of the wait time, it's more forgiveable. Since the Heretic, Damian's killer & clone, was grown after Damian forsook his mother's ways, one can only assume that Talia took a few years out of Damian's childhood.
- The page image compares the 1960 and 1998 versions of the film Psycho. Gus Van Sant basically made a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's film, only it was in color and had stereo sound. The film was thrashed by critics and audiences for that reason.
- A common complaint in reviews about Quantum of Solace. After the mindblowing awesome of Casino Royale, critics were admittedly disappointed with it by comparison to the first since it was more of the same but with less of the bite that goes with being fresh.
- Disney fans and outside observers share this viewpoint from time to time, particularly about Disney's 1990s Renaissance films. The formulaic princess stories, the wisecracking sidekicks, the musical numbers, and the happy endings embody both what we love about the Disney Animated Canon when they do it right, and what we roll our eyes at when they do it for too long in one stretch (and what rival studios have since attempted to imitate). Expect all fairy tale animated movies to be met with this trope, with certain fans and non-fans agreeing that it has a tendency to get all too predictable, and by contrast, Lord help Disney when they try to change things up. The public goes batty every time.
- Warner Bros.'s Animaniacs parodied this accurately with their skit on Pocahontas, "Just The Same Old Heroine".
- One reason newer Star Trek and Star Wars films/shows tend to have lukewarm reception by fans is that nowadays they're nothing but attempting to continue "what you loved" in the original - every Star Wars fiction has one droid who is or looks just like R2-D2, enemies that are or look just like Stormtroopers and Mandelorians, Jedi fighting evil as the underdogs, etc. The villains in most Star Trek movies will either be criticized for being crappy Khan rip-offs, or criticized for not being enough like Khan.
- Or in [[Star Trek Into Darkness, criticised for being Khan. Along with homages to Wrath of Khan, and the damaged and fiery Enterprise falling to Earth in posters and trailers garnered responses along the lines of "Oh great, they're blowing up the Enterprise ... again."
- In the case of Star Wars, Lucas and others have occasionally said the use of repeating motifs is intentional, to evoke the feel of classic myths, tying into the whole Hero's Journey archetypal thing they were going for.
- The movie version of Watchmen has been criticized for following the comic too closely. It was also criticized for changing too much. Lose-lose situation either way.
- Guy Ritchie falls victim this trope as well as its inversion. His first film Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels was an indie success and critical darling for its fresh, vibrant style. When Snatch came out, Ritchie got heat for rehashing his first film. So he did Swept Away, in a completely different genre, and everyone hated it. When he returned to the crime thriller genre with Revolver, he decided to add an Evil Plan and an Anvilicious Aesop, causing everyone to hate it so much that it didn't even see wide release in America. Ritchie then released Rock N Rolla, an obvious attempt to recapture the violent underworld hijinks of his first two films. By this point, people seemed to have lost interest in his original style and the film tanked. Whilst his adaptation of Sherlock Holmes has received mixed reviews, one of the points of criticism is that Ritchie's style isn't appropriate for the Great Detective... it seems the guy can't win either way.
- The Live-Action Adaptation of Speed Racer was lambasted by critics because of this. Since it was directed by The Wachowski siblings, they went into a live-action film based off a well-renowned anime and expected to see The Matrix with cars...and were legitimately surprised that they got a live-action film based off a well-renowned anime that fully captures the campiness of the original.
- The Omen 2006 remake. To be fair, the remake does make some changes, so it's not a complete shot-for-shot remake ala Psycho but at the same time stays extremely faithful to the original.
- One of the key points of criticism raised about Casino on its release was that it treads a lot of the same ground as Goodfellas, also made by Martin Scorsese.
- Some of the most ridiculous Hype Backlash for Titanic will enumerate the characters and scenes that are too similar to previous Titanic movies without realizing that all of them are depicting the same, real event. Like if there was not enough Romantic Plot Tumor to bash...
- The first sequel to The Gods Must Be Crazy is often accused of suffering from this.
- When The Grudge 2 came out, most critics admitted to liking the scenes set in Chicago; similarly, the plot of the three schoolgirls was seen as typical horror fare, but mostly avoiding any true detriment. The plot of Aubrey, however, came under fire for rehashing her sister Karen's investigation into the curse from the first film.
- The Hangover: Part II has been critiqued for falling prey to this. The wedding backdrop, the missing character, even Alan being entirely responsible for the events of the previous night. Some full scenes are taken shot-for-shot from the original.
- The Home Alone movies follow this formula. The second movie tried to change the setting to New York, the third had different characters (who still had striking similarities to the previous characters), and the fourth introduced a third robber but otherwise, they were almost identical movies.
- The remake of Let the Right One In, Let Me In, was criticized for being too similar to the original film. Especially since director Matt Reeves had actually hyped up his film as being an adaptation of the (very different) novel and instead just copied the Swedish adaptation verbatim, right down to concepts and scenes that were exclusive to the first film. It got positive reviews, but the critics' general attitude was "It's good because the original was."
- Men in Black II was criticized for recycling most of the first movie without much improvement to the original story.
- Men in Black 3 got much the same. After fifteen years in the MIB, Agent J still somehow plays the part of the newcomer who faces something from the organization's past which he was ignorant of.
- Terminator 3 and Terminator 2 (a Tough Act to Follow to boot) are so similar as far as the plot goes that it's easy to identify the similarities of both movies. Some key moments and characters are transplanted almost directly. A thorough analysis can be read here. Retcons aside, a refreshing change does exist at the ending.
- A common complaint against The Lone Ranger is just that it's simply Pirates of the Caribbean in the The Wild West. Tonto is Jack, The Lone Ranger is Will Turner, The Royal Navy replaced by the U.S Cavalry etc.
- Professional Wrestling fans express this sentiment by chanting Same Old Shit! Same Old Shit!
- In the WWE, in the latter part of 2010, the continual swath of matches featuring Randy Orton vs. John Cena week-in week-out became this trope to some fans. Example? To quote internet reviewer The Spoony One (Noah Antwiler) on the subject of an early September episode of RAW:
- The general complaints from those who don't like [[TNA]] are that the company is either trying to mimic off of WWE or that it's basically WCW during the former company's later years.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (both book and film) have met criticism for following the structure of the first installment rather closely. The formula did decay rather quickly after that, though. Executive Meddling figured into that with the book. Rowling originally put a lot more into Chamber of Secrets but had to take it out to appease the publisher. She had to play catch-up in Half-Blood Prince because of this.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld series features a constantly rotating cast of familiar characters and, after a run of some twenty-plus books, unsurprisingly they started receiving criticism from some fans and critics for trotting out the same jokes, character observations and traits. Whether in response to such criticisms or not, the series picked up again by introducing a new wave of regular characters and gradually retiring some of the older ones.
- When other playwrights adapted Agatha Christie's murder mysteries for the stage, Christie herself felt that these adaptations were hampered by following the original books too closely. This prompted her to start adapting the stories herself, and she was ruthless in making changes that she felt were necessary.
- One of the biggest complaints directed at later seasons of Heroes is that they either changed their characters or were completely failing to move them forward. Claire and Noah still had the same argument every year; Peter was still aiming for Incorruptible Pure Pureness and getting the Idiot Ball; and Hiro and Ando were still having their Wrong Genre Savvy hijinks.
- The first few episodes of The Office (US) suffered from this. In an arguable subversion, after they changed the show completely from the original English production, it actually got a lot better.
- House is often criticised for its formulaic nature, which includes never changing its protagonist's unlikeable personality.
- Another problem is that the show is quite predictable on most occasions. Patient comes in -> House thinks he's figured it out -> House is wrong -> Patient has another symptom -> House has a crazy theory after an epiphany from an argument with his staff -> Nobody believes him -> House is right -> Everyone is surprised! This happens nearly every episode.
- Season 5 focused on changing him through a series of harrowing personal experiences before delivering a sadistic "Gotcha!" to both the fans and the doctor.
- The American version of Top Gear is suffering from this horribly. Fans were expecting a familiar setting with loads of new content. Instead, they got a setting that only pays lip service to the original's style while completely ripping off the challenges almost shot-for-shot. The producers didn't seem to realize that anyone familiar with the original show wasn't going to bother turning in to see the exact same shows with much lower production values.
- The presenters even seem to try to fit Clarkson, Hammond, and May's positions (one said to be slow, etc.), and it's so forced it's almost painful.
- MTV's adaptation of the British show Skins, which originally aired on Channel Four. MTV attempts to use the same aesthetic and similar scripting in their adaptation, but much of the show depended upon aspects of British culture that don't translate effectively to the US. The result is a show that's overly conscious of its being "indie".
- The American version of The Inbetweeners did exactly the same thing, only much worse, changing the word "wankers" to "turds" and essentially working word-for-word from the original - which heavily relied on British humour, experience, and cultural references, something that can't be recreated IN AMERICA! simply by making the script different.
- This seems to be the main issue had with The Middle. It's pointed out that its plot and characters are fairly similar to Malcolm in the Middle. To be fair, the former is something of a Spiritual Successor; however, it's a little inaccurate to say that the two are exactly the same.
- Some TV viewers felt this way about GSN's 2012 revival of Pyramid, which was mostly a back-to-basics version that paid homage to the 1980s $25,000 Pyramid and $100,000 Pyramid franchises. It probably didn't help that GSN airs reruns of said versions.
- Star Trek
- You can fairly say that Star Trek: The Original Series is often cheesy and Anvilicious, and the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was nearly always cheesy and anvilicious, except that what was anvilicious in the 80's (discrimination is bad etc) was Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped in the 60's.
- Star Trek: Voyager got a lot of criticism for trying to be "TNG Lite" at the behest of the network execs. Particularly as the series premise seemed like it was designed to not be like TNG and create a lot of character conflict, what with a crew half made up of anti-Federation rebels.
- Star Trek: Enterprise probably gets the most criticism for this, at least in the first two seasons. Although it was set in an era where a lot of technology staples were supposedly undeveloped (or very new, like the transporter), the crew frequently encountered them from other species, so there didn't seem to be a lot of difference. The plots also seemed like fairly generic Star Trek thing-of-the-week for the first two seasons.
- Evanescence fans tend to give this treatment to We Are The Fallen, made up of former Evanescence members Ben Moody, Rocky Gray and John LeCompt and singer Carly Smithson. Carly is often accused of sounding too much like Amy Lee, and the band of being an Evanescence ripoff.
- Live recordings have a tendency to be subject to this. People who enjoy live recordings generally don't want the live versions to sound too much like the studio versions. On the flip side, though, other people don't like live recordings because they feel that it tends to "ruin" the songs that they love so much.
- Also expect this reaction whenever a band covers a song but remains very faithful to the original recording.
- Franco-British avant-garde post-rock band Stereolab began their career in the early 1990s, performing dangerously modern Krautrock-influenced lounge pop songs with lilting, Marxist-themed lyrics. And that is how they ended their career, nineteen years later, by which time the critics had given up on them.
- Averted by Australian hard rock legends AC/DC. Reviewers are contractually obliged to point out that each of their new albums sound exactly like every single one of the band's previous releases of the last thirty years, and that this is a good thing.
- Though Angus Young has declared: "I'm sick to death of people saying we've made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we've made 12 albums that sound exactly the same".
- When Michael Jackson released Bad in 1987, many reviewers complained that it was too much like Thriller. The title songs were fairly similar, and other songs just barely avoided being analogues for others from the previous album. The 1991 followup, Dangerous didn't have quite the same problem... until after Jackson died, where polls and iTunes charts showed that certain songs from Bad seemed to be making a comeback and Dangerous seemed to signal the beginning of the end. Because Jackson clearly moved in a different direction with Dangerous and it's the first album of his adult solo career not to be produced by Quincy Jones, it could be a retroactive case of They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
- The funny thing is, Quincy Jones (and at least two generations of fans, apparently) seem to think that Bad is a superior album to Thriller, since his remastered "Essentials" greatest hits album from several years back contains almost every track from Bad (almost every one of them chart-toppers) but only choice cuts from Thriller (which does contain a fair amount of Filler). And it's hard to say that Bad is just a retread of Thriller, since it's clearly Darker and Edgier and has a more consistent sound throughout.
- Musicians that don't change their sound tend to get this as well. That's a reason for the huge Hatedom for Nickelback: their songs sound exactly the same.
- When Nine Inch Nails released the 2005 album "With Teeth", one reviewer complained that making music for angsty teenage girls worked for Trent Reznor back in the 90s, but that there's something sad about a man in his 40s making the same kind of music as if he still doesn't have his shit together. Then we got the political message-filled "Year Zero" two years later.
- Lady Antebellum's Own the Night album got mixed critical reviews for overall sounding way too similar to Need You Now (particularly the "epic" production and heavy use of string sections).
- A similar complaint is given of labelmate Luke Bryan, whose 2013 single "Crash My Party" has been criticized as being a big, melancholy midtempo song just like his last three singles ("I Don't Want This Night to End", "Drunk on You", and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye").
- Psy's Gentleman has been criticized as being the same thing as Gangnam Style.
- Suffocation's second album Breeding the Spawn got some flak for this. Then they started re-recording the songs on other albums and people realized that it was actually far more technical than Effigy of the Forgotten. That's not to say people love it now - after all, there's a reason people mistook it for an Effigy clone in the first place.
- Iron Maiden 's No Prayer For The Dying is often regarded as writing to a formula without having the catchy tunes to back it up. It's commonly regarded as breaking their string of classic albums.
- FoxTrot had a strip years ago that played with this trope. Jason was tired of waiting for the sequel to Myst to come out, so he created his own sequel. He showed his brother his game, "Here's the observatory and here's the library..." and Peter said, "Wait, these are all the same levels of the first game. What makes this different?" The computer then beeped and said, "Warning, velociraptor approaching." Jason replied, "You have to solve the puzzles a little faster now."
- Open GL 3 got this and They Changed It, Now It Sucks; the original idea was to completely overhaul the API, making it more like what Direct 3 D 10 ended up being. This made it quite far into the process, before Kronos declared the standard needed a few tweaks, entered a media black out and released a glorified Open GL 2.2; people following the standard were not amused.
- The concept of bus rapid transit (BRT) has been promoted as an alternative to "expensive" rail that can arguably offer the same basic services as rail, which has led some BRT proponents to say that rail sucks more than BRT.
- To be fair, BRT is more flexible than light rail transit (LRT) and offers the speed and comfort advantages of rail and travel times that are comparable. It is more flexible than expensive rail. It provides capacities comparable to a subway at much lower cost, the prime example being the TransMilenio BRT system in Bogotá, Colombia. It is more cost-effective than rail in the sense that the average LRT line will likely cost $1-billion, while the average BRT line (busway) will probably cost $200-million, perhaps less. BRT is an umbrella term for virtually any non-local bus. Even express buses running in 100% mixed traffic constitute an example of bus rapid transit. BRT can offer all the amenities of rail at a fraction of the cost.
- The proliferation of 1.5-mile ovals in NASCAR over the last twenty years has brought a lot of this reaction from the fanbase, especially among older fans, due to the perception that they all race the same. Not helping is that their basic design relies heavily on two track types - tri-ovalnote and quad-ovalnote (the only exception is Homestead-Miami, a more traditional oval with a completely straight frontstetch). Also not helping is that many of these tracks proliferated at the expense of older, more "interesting" tracks like North Wilkesboro, Rockingham and Darlingtonnote , which also plays into the They Changed It, Now It Sucks mentality that is prevalent among many NASCAR fans.
- Pathfinder being a reimagining of 3.5 and a completely new 4th Edition. D&D is one of the Long Runners out there, going on for about four decades by now. In it's time, it has developed considerably and changed hands several times, having once belonged to TSR, then Wizards of the Coast, and finally Hasbro (though they own Wot C, not just the D&D property). It's had a Broken Base which goes rabid every time there's a big change; there were players who reacted with They Changed It, Now It Sucks back when the game transitioned to Advanced D&D. With the advent of 4th Edition, the base breaking went supernova, with critics claiming the game lost a great deal of flavor because of its MMO-like mechanics while fans claimed the easier playability, clear focus on balance, and streamlined form made the game much more fun.
- The previous edition, 3.5, had allowed many third-party companies to publish and use much of the intellectual property, including the mechanics, of D&D freely. Paizo released Pathfinder, a re-tooled 3.5 which addressed a lot of the balance issues and improved the mechanics while not resembling 4th Edition. As the product line developed, it began to add many features not seen in 3.5 and develop its own setting into a fully-fledged fantasy world. Some players like it, some don't, and when arguments start expect plenty of flame wars and Fan Dumb. However, this is all Older Than They Think; there are players still playing with books which were printed before the Reagan era.
- And then in January 2012, they announced the 5th Edition...
- The uproar over the story material not being "up to par" aside, when LEGO discontinued its BIONICLE setline and launched Hero Factory in its place, some complained that the new toys could easily have passed for Bionicle sets, as they used the exact same building formulas, only with new parts. The villains especially looked no different than any generic Bionicle bad guy. Turns out this was just an "introductory" line, and the following wave drastically redesigned the entire construction of the toys, nearly from scratch. note
- Zero Punctuation is starting to come under fire for making "nothing but" poop and dick jokes.
- Some people complain this way about Survival of the Fittest V1, V2, and V3, despite the fact that they all have radically different characters and storylines, just because they start from the same basic set up (a bunch of kids get put on an island and forced to kill each other).