-> (talking about ''Superbabies: Film/BabyGeniuses 2'') ''"Y'know, I want to write and direct the third installment of this franchise, and make it the best thing anyone has ever seen, just so I can force critics to say "My God, you have to see ''Baby Geniuses 3''!"''
-->-- '''Ash''', ''The Shitty Movie Night Podcast''

So you've read a book, watched a movie, or played a video game, and you're underwhelmed. Maybe the story was cliched and unoriginal, or it was difficult to follow. The characters were little more than a handful of personality traits. If it was a video game, the gameplay maybe had some good ideas but they were handled poorly and the effort was wasted.

The book, film, or game may even have been pretty good, it's just that after reading it you try out the {{sequel}} and you're completely blown away. It's much better. The story is more original, the pacing was fixed, the characters who seemed so flat before are now more fleshed out and interesting in their own right. If it's a video game, the gameplay has been much improved and everything comes together more tightly. You weren't expecting the next product to be this good, but it seems the creator(s) did indeed learn from their mistakes. You're rightly impressed.

There are several reasons for the surprisingly good sequel. Franchises with more regular production cycles can help studios retain talent and acquire financial backing more easily. It can also allow the production team more time to hone the stylistic aspects of their works. In fact many authors and directors claim that some of their first work in a series was a near miss and they didn't really hit stride until the sequel. Franchises which plan things beforehand are particularly able to take advantage of this because they're less likely to get caught in in the sort of death spiral an open ended series can fall into.

Note [[Administrivia/TropesAreFlexible this trope can still apply]] in a [[DownplayedTrope downplayed fashion]] if the original is utterly terrible and the follow-up is merely SoOkayItsAverage - the improvement is still very much there, even if the end result isn't as notable.

The opposite of {{Sequelitis}} in many cases, though sometimes a great sequel can produce a bad third or fourth installment (which would make it the opposite of SophomoreSlump). One rule espoused by some fans of comic-book style movies is that the sequels will have a chance to be better films overall, due to not having to get the origin out of the way.

GrowingTheBeard is similar, but it deals with a television series that becomes remarkably better once it finds its stride.

Note the name of the trope! This is about the sequels to products that either sucked or weren't that good to begin with, but somehow magically improved a lot in the next installment. This is not about products that were already very good but got better. '''If the original was excellent to begin with rather than mediocre, then it's an EvenBetterSequel.''' Naturally, examples will be subjective.

See also MorePopularSpinoff, SequelDisplacement.

----
!!Examples
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'' was seen as this over its predecessor and prequel, ''Anime/YuGiOhZEXAL''. ''ZEXAL'' is the least popular series for its cartoonishness, poor pacing, weak duels that rely too much on Xyz monsters, and the divisive main character. ''ARC-V'' brings back the franchise's now-staple darker storylines, incorporating ''all'' summoning methods (a franchise first), better duels, and more realistic and serious characters that aren't afraid to be comic relief when appropriate. [[SubvertedTrope Unfortunately]], while ''ZEXAL'' is generally agreed to have [[GrowingTheBeard improved as it went on]], ''ARC-V'' [[SeasonalRot wasn't so lucky.]]
* ''LightNovel/VampireHunterD'' was basically another cheesy 80's {{Gorn}}tasic OVA/movie with a terrible dub. ''Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust'', on the other hand, is far more serious, the story and aesthetics are much improved, and the art and animation are vastly better.
* Apparently, ''Anime/{{Stratos 4}}'' falls under this trope, what with ''Advance'' having a better, more sensible plot that the [[MindScrew original]].
* ''Anime/MDGeist'' was a mediocre OVA from TheEighties given popularity in North America due to a widespread advertisement campaign by [[Creator/CentralParkMedia those who licensed it]]. This popularity managed to sway the director of the OVA to make a sequel after ten years; those ten years of experience are very evident.
* ''Anime/BirdyTheMighty: Decode'' is widely regarded as a vast improvement over the original four-episode OVA.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''
** The movies are usually seen as shallow MerchandiseDriven children's movies, and although the first two movies have their fans, they didn't fare well at all with critics (though this may be due in large part to Creator/FourKidsEntertainment's [[{{Macekre}} god-awful English dubs]]; the Japanese are considered a lot better, with the first movie in particular being well-received in its homeland). ''{{Anime/Pokemon 3}}'', however, is dark, more personal, better animated, and spends a lot of time developing its antagonist, who goes in far more of a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds direction than the previous fairly bland villains. Among the subsequent sequels, ''Anime/PokemonHeroes'',''Anime/PokemonLucarioAndTheMysteryOfMew'', ''Anime/PokemonZoroarkMasterOfIllusions'' and ''Anime/PokemonKyuremVsTheSwordOfJustice'' are fan-favorites for their surprisingly good plot and character development.
** The ''XY'' series is considered by many fans in the West to be amongst the best yet, while the preceding ''Black & White'' series is considered the worst. Ironically, the reverse opinion is held in Japan, with ''XY'' being seen as inferior to ''Best Wishes''.
* The first entry in Nitroplus's science adventure series, ''[[VisualNovel/ChaosHead Chaos;Head]]'', was not terribly well-regarded, especially in anime form. Both the ''[[VisualNovel/SteinsGate Steins;Gate]]'' visual novel and anime, on the other hand, are regarded as high-tier science fiction.
* ''Anime/{{Jewelpet 2009}}'' was regarded as a SoOkayItsAverage little girls' anime. ''Anime/JewelpetTwinkle'', the 2nd season, was praised for its likable characters and interesting (and [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids surprisingly dark]]) plot.
* ''Anime/TransformersEnergon'' is commonly regarded as one of the worst series in the franchise for its lazy plot, flat characters whose development is continuously nullified, amateurish CGI work and a horrendous American version with a [[TranslationTrainWreck nonsensical script]] and enormous plot holes. ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'' is a somewhat downplayed example since it's mostly seen as SoOkayItsAverage, but it's an improvement in all areas: the characters are more memorable, the CGI's much more polished (if still not stellar), the story has pacing problems but at least doesn't run out of steam halfway through, and the dub had a lot of effort put into it. And it's ''fun''.[[note]]''Cybertron'' was originally released as a sequel to ''Energon'' only outside of Japan, although it was actually conceptualized as such even there. However, Japanese fiction has later abandoned this idea, and now regards ''Cybertron'' as a real sequel to ''Energon''.[[/note]]
* ''Anime/GoPrincessPrettyCure'' has been this for the post-''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'' era of ''Franchise/PrettyCure'' series in terms of story, ratings and sales as all three have been consistently better than its two predecessors, ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' and ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'', the former being accused of focusing too much on its lead while the latter suffered from a RomanticPlotTumor.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/GodzillaKingdomOfMonsters'' was criticized during its publication for its [[DecompressedComic slow pacing]], unpleasant artwork, overly cynical tone, lack of focus or momentum, shallow and mean-spirited social commentary, and excessive pop culture references that became dated within months. Its sequels, ''ComicBook/GodzillaOngoing'' and ''ComicBook/GodzillaRulersOfEarth'' surprised fans by fixing pretty much all the problems present in the first series, and most readers now skip ''Kingdom'' entirely due to how little it contributes to the overall storyline.
* Volumes 1 and 2 of ''ComicBook/UncannyAvengers'' suffered from controversy and uneven writing. The third volume saw a change in the creative team and managed to fix nearly every problem people had with the first two.
* ''ComicBook/TheNew52'' is generally regarded as a well-meaning but ultimately failed attempt to revamp Franchise/TheDCU. The initiative was plagued by [[WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants poor planning]], [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy ill-conceived attempts]] to be DarkerAndEdgier, and a general sense of being [[LostInMediasRes directionless]]. Sales plummeted. Than ''ComicBook/DCRebirth'' happened. Not only did nearly every book that suffered under ''The New 52'' recover spectacularly, but sales skyrocketed and many feel that ''Rebirth'' has brought DC into a new golden age.
* Rick Remender's ''Uncanny ComicBook/XForce'' run is this to pretty much every ''X-Force'' run before it. Previous runs (with the exception of Peter Milligan's, which was deliberately InNameOnly) tended to criticized as poor attempts to be [[DarkerAndEdgier edgy]] and [[WereStillRelevantDammit relevant]], often seen as embodiments of everything wrong with UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks. Contrastly, Remender's run is praised for its intelligent writing and {{Deconstruction}} of the NinetiesAntiHero concept. It's now regarded not just as the best ''X-Force'' comic, but as one of the greatest ''Franchise/XMen'' comics ever.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* This has happened twice in the ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' film series, interestingly both with movies [[OnlyTheCreatorDoesItRight that involved series creator]] Creator/WesCraven [[OnlyTheCreatorDoesItRight more actively]].
** ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet3DreamWarriors'' is considered a markable improvement over ''[[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreetPart2FreddysRevenge Freddy's Revenge]]'', which while not completely bad, deviated too much from the [[Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet1984 first film]]'s plot.
** ''Film/WesCravensNewNightmare'' is considered a marked improvement on the 4th, 5th and 6th installments (regarded as a second nosedive after part 3) and some even think its as good as the original.
** ''Film/FreddyVsJason'' is (surprisingly enough) generally considered to be one of the better films in either franchise and a ''vast'' improvement over both ''Film/JasonX'' and ''Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare.''
* ''Film/BrideOfChucky'' is viewed as a much better film than the two previous ''Film/ChildsPlay'' sequels.
** ''Film/CurseOfChucky'' managed to successfully bring the series back to horror after the overly silly ''Film/SeedOfChucky''.
* ''Film/ThePinkPanther1963'' is widely regarded as a slightly above average '60s caper film, elevated by the presence of Capucine, Creator/DavidNiven, and Creator/PeterSellers in the (supporting) role of Chief Inspector Clouseau. Its sequel, ''Film/AShotInTheDark'', performs a bit of a genre shift (it's a DolledUpInstallment that shifts the focus to Clouseau), and is widely regarded as one of the best comedies of that particular decade. It also introduced characters and elements that became series staples: manservant Cato and his karate attacks, former Chief Inspector Dreyfus and his being driven to madness by Clouseau, etc. [[{{Sequelitis}} Regrettably, they didn't know when to quit when they were ahead.]]
* ''Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp'' was seen as a vast improvement over the original, not that that's very surprising, since the original was Godawful.
* The ''Boogeyman'' sequels are generally viewed as a step up from the entirely mediocre original.
* Music/RobZombie's first movie, ''Film/HouseOf1000Corpses'', was panned by critics as {{gorn}}. Its sequel, ''Film/TheDevilsRejects'', received mixed to positive reviews. It even received Two Thumbs Up when reviewed on At The Movies with [[Creator/RogerEbert Ebert]] and Roeper!
* Downplayed with the TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons films. The original ''Film/DungeonsAndDragons'' movie was mind-bogglingly awful. The sequel, ''Film/DungeonsAndDragonsWrathOfTheDragonGod'' was more faithful to the source material and was generally considered SoOkayItsAverage.
* ''Film/TheExorcist'' is considered a classic horror film, its sequel ''Film/ExorcistIITheHeretic'' is considered a classic example of {{sequelitis}}. ''Film/TheExorcistIII'', while not as good as the first one, is definitely agreed to be much better than its immediate predesessor. This can be seen in the Rotten Tomatoes score with the first getting a fresh 87%, the second a really low 22% and the third a barely rotten 59%.
* The third and especially fourth ''Franchise/FinalDestination'' films are considered a DorkAge for the franchise... a DorkAge that many critics deem to have ended with ''Film/FinalDestination5'', which has been called the best since the original. But not in a financial sense, since the film was enough of a failure to be its FranchiseKiller.
* ''Film/FridayThe13thPartVIJasonLives'' is considered by many to be a step up over the previous installment in the series, ''Film/FridayThe13thPartVANewBeginning'', which had the poorly-received [[spoiler: [[JackTheRipoff copycat killer]]]] -angle to it.
* ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'' featured better actors, no cheap gimmicks, the costumes of Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes were impressive, the effects were really good, which made it seem like more of an effort to be a GI Joe movie this time around than [[Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra the previous effort]].
* Every ill-received ''Film/JamesBond'' has a better follow-up (many times involving [[TheOtherDarrin an actor change]]).
** The exemplar for the series would have to be ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe''. ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'' is considered one of the weakest, if not ''the'' weakest entry in the entire series, in terms of box office gross, fan reactions, and critical reception. ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'', on the other hand, was a great commercial success and a hit with both fans and critics. It's almost guaranteed to land on any "Top 10 Bond Films" list worth its salt, and some Bond fans consider it better than ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}''.
** It happened again with the badly-received ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'', which suffered from the writers strike of the mid-2000s. ''Quantum'' was subsequently ignored by ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', which many fans consider to be nearly as good as or even better than ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006''. Of course, ''Casino Royale'' (considered the best Bond film of the 2000s) was itself a follow-up to the universally reviled ''Film/DieAnotherDay'', marking the series' reboot after the Brosnan films' JumpingTheShark moment.
* While ''Film/MenInBlackII'' is widely considered a mediocre rehash of the original, ''Film/MenInBlack3'' has been surprisingly well-received.
* ''Film/PsychoCop'' was an incredibly generic and forgettable slasher film, while [[Film/PsychoCopReturns the sequel]] (the uncut version, that is) was amusingly zany and over-the-top, and benefited greatly Robert R. Shafer's much improved acting (in the previous film, he somehow combined LargeHam with DullSurprise).
* While the first two ''Film/PuppetMaster'' movies are fairly decent horror flicks, the third one, which actually goes into Andre Toulon's back story, is considered a classic.
* ''Franchise/{{Saw}}'':
** ''Film/SawVI'' was regarded by fans and critics alike as a huge improvement over the two [[Film/SawIV previous]] [[Film/SawV sequels]], and generally regarded as a worthy successor to the original trilogy. Unfortunately, given that moviegoers had been burned twice by those two prior films, its disappointing box-office performance helped convince Creator/{{Lionsgate}} that [[Film/Saw3D the next film]] [[FranchiseKiller ought to be the last]].
** Downplayed with ''{{Film/Jigsaw}}'', the series' comeback in 2017 after laying fallow for seven years. While it only got a critics' score of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, it compensated with a whopping ''92%'' audience score, the highest of any ''Saw'' movie including the original.
* ''Film/ScaryMovie3'' was generally considered a great improvement on ''Film/ScaryMovie2'', with the [[GrossOutShow gross-out humor]] being replaced by more straightforward humor reminiscent of ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' and ''Film/TheNakedGun'' - helps that it has one of its stars (Creator/LeslieNielsen) and directors (David Zucker) of both.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' was dull, padded out with LeaveTheCameraRunning scenes, and didn't really feel like ''Star Trek''. ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', however, is widely regarded as one of the franchise's finest moments. Everyone pretty much agrees that the rest of the films vary in quality between the two; this gave rise to the StarTrekMovieCurse, which posits that the even-numbered films in the series are the better ones.
** Also continued in the ''Next Generation'' films. ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'' was in general badly received by fans and critics. Its sequel ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' is generally viewed as a vast improvement, being widely considered as by far the best Next Generation film and by some as one of the best Star Trek films.
** And now the Kelvin Timeline has its own case. ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'' is considered a very "meh" film due to [[Creator/JJAbrams the director]] [[Film/StarWarsTheForceAwakens getting ready to jump ship to the franchise he really wanted to direct]], a weak rehash [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan of one of the best villains]], and a muddled plot. The sequel, ''Film/StarTrekBeyond'', is hailed as the best of the Kelvin Timeline series and the first time Trek has managed to make a great Away Mission Film.
* Although downplayed due to still not being as well-regarded as the original ''Franchise/StarWars'' trilogy (save for perhaps ''Return of the Jedi''), critics generally gave much better reviews to ''Episode III: Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' when it was released in comparison to the first two prequels, and even fans who loathe the prequels sometimes regard it as "the least bad".
* ''Film/TheForceAwakens''. Regardless [[ContestedSequel of one's feelings about the Prequel Trilogy]], and although it has its share of detractors, most fans agree that it is the best ''Franchise/StarWars'' film since the early eighties.
* ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' is considered to be one of these by some, especially those who don't mind the Transformers movies and Creator/MichaelBay in general. After critical consensus deemed its predecessor, ''[[Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen Revenge of The Fallen]]'', to be [[{{Sequelitis}} not great]], Michael Bay went and directly addressed the problems with the film (such as the various [[TheScrappy Scrappies]], [[VulgarHumor the juvenile humor]], and the lack of plot and emotional depth) and worked on averting them for the sequel.
* ''Film/TransformersAgeOfExtinction'' is considered an improvement on the improvement, with all the new Autobots getting a ton of personality, a darker story, and introducing fan favorite characters rather than create movie-exclusive characters.
* ''Film/XMen'':
** In a prequel example, ''Film/XMenFirstClass'' saved the Film/XMen franchise after the disappointing critical and commercial response to ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine''.
** Reviews for ''Film/TheWolverine'' seem to be placing it as one to ''X-Men Origins: Wolverine''. It can also be considered one to ''X-Men: The Last Stand'', since ''The Wolverine'' takes place after [[spoiler:Logan was forced to kill Jean Grey]].
** ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' is not only seen as a massive improvement on ''LastStand'' by critics and fans alike, but it even goes the extra mile by erasing the previous movie's controversial plot elements from the film canon via CosmicRetcon.
* After ''Film/IronMan2'' was {{Sequelitis}} for the first ''Film/IronMan'', ''Film/IronMan3'' is considered this by critics featuring a fully scripted screenplay (the previous movies had been loosely scripted and improvised) and a more focused plot with more effective villains and a better personal character arc for Tony.
* Downplayed with the ''WebVideo/{{Fred}}'' MadeForTVMovie trilogy, which is considered to be not very good, but people think that each succeeding movie is better than the preceding one.
* ''Film/TheFastAndTheFurious'' starts out in typical {{Sequelitis}} fashion. The first one wasn't particularly well received, and the following entries got progressively disdainful critical receptions (53 -> 36 -> 36 -> 27 on Website/RottenTomatoes). Then ''Fast Five'' was released and was generally considered by critics to be a solid heist movie. ''Fast And Furious 6'' didn't get as much critical acclaim but is still considered a worthy sequel to its predecessor. ''Furious 7'' became the most critically well-received and the highest-grossing film of the series, which can partially be attested to the film acting as a touching send-off to Paul Walker and his character Brian O'Conner ([[AuthorExistenceFailure as Walker died during Furious 7's production in an unrelated car accident]]).
* ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'': After two movies where Pinhead suffered VillainDecay and an overuse of splatter horror while losing the creepy atmosphere, [[Film/HellraiserInferno the fifth movie in the series]] returns Pinhead to his roots and tones down the gore a lot by moving to mainly psychological horror.
* ''Film/ExorcistIITheHeretic'' is mostly well-known for demonstrating all the problems with [[{{Sequelitis}} making a sequel]] to one of the [[ToughActToFollow most iconic horror films ever.]] ''Film/TheExorcistIII'', while still not as good as the first one, is a neat little cult film in its own right, with some genuinely entertaining scares, a creepy villain, and excellent performances from George C. Scott, Brad Dourif, and Jason Miller.
* ''Film/RamboIV'' is often considered to be the best of the three ''Franchise/{{Rambo}}'' sequels.
* The first ''Film/MissionImpossible'' movie was pilloried for its convoluted, incoherent plot, and many fans from the original series cried foul at [[spoiler: Jim Phelps from the original TV show being the villain]]. [[Film/MissionImpossibleII The second movie]] was criticized, particularly for those who liked the first, for relying more on action than the plot - with the former being too over-the-top and the latter too generic. Despite this rough start, the series soldiered on, breaking away from the failings of the first two installments to great critical and audience acclaim starting with [[Film/MissionImpossibleIII the third]].
* The ''Franchise/{{Rocky}}'' series has a well-known trajectory: the [[Film/{{Rocky}} first installment]] is a classic, the [[Film/RockyII second]] is a worthy, if perhaps unnecessary, successor, and the three that follow are various degrees of bad. The final installment, ''Film/RockyBalboa'', may not have set the world on fire, but succeeds in recapturing the heart and underdog spirit of the first two. While not a direct sequel, ''Film/{{Creed}}'' has been extremely well-received as the best since the original.
* The general consensus is that after two disappointing sequels, the [[Film/JurassicWorld fourth]] movie of the ''Film/JurassicPark'' franchise is an effective action flick that manages to recover most of the original movie's spirit.
* ''Disney/CinderellaIIDreamsComeTrue'' consists merely of three blandly written, poorly animated episodes of an unaired ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'' TV show. ''Disney/CinderellaIIIATwistInTime'' boasts a more exciting storyline and animation that sometimes looks as good as that of the first movie, and even makes Cinderella and Prince Charming [[TookALevelInBadass take a level in badass]] so they would [[EarnYourHappyEnding earn their happy ending]] instead of make animals and servants do all the hard work.
* Popular opinion is that ''Film/ThePurge'' came down with a bad case of TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot. Instead of the titular event being the primary focus of the film, it was instead relegated to being a FramingDevice for an otherwise SoOkayItsAverage [[ProtectThisHouse home invasion]] flick; as a result, it was largely panned by critics and moviegoers alike. Its sequel, ''Film/ThePurgeAnarchy'', addressed the issue head-on by throwing the spotlight onto the Purge itself, telling stories from both perspectives (those reveling in the anarchy, and those trying to stay alive) and going much deeper into the causes and consequences of the event. General consensus is that the sequel was what the original film should have been.
* The horror film ''Film/{{Ouija}}'' was universally panned by critics. The prequel ''Film/OuijaOriginOfEvil'', however, is getting ''far'' warmer reviews, currently holding an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' isn't considered a bad film per se, but some people still view it as Creator/{{Pixar}}'s weakest film due to its [[ClicheStorm rather generic story]] and being somewhat of a CashCowFranchise. Then came ''WesternAnimation/Cars2'', which served as a sore spot in Pixar's filmography due to how much it detracted from the original, and, as a result, became their first critically panned film. In noticeable contrast to the two previous films, ''WesternAnimation/Cars3'' got a much better reception for returning to the original aspects of the first film and having improved storytelling. Some even went as far as to say it's [[EvenBetterSequel better than the original]].
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'' was controversial among fans and lambasted by critics enough to get a 27% on Website/RottenTomatoes. The prequel OriginStory ''Film/WonderWoman'' has a ''92%''.
* ''Film/{{Annabelle}}'' is considered a weaker movie than ''Film/TheConjuring'' and has a 29% from critics on Website/RottenTomatoes. ''Film/AnnabelleCreation'', the prequel's own prequel, has a significantly higher 69%.
* ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' is usually cited as one of the weakest entries in the entire Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse. The follow-up, ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', received absolute rave reviews from critics, and is currently one of the best reviewed films in the entire canon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* An older literary example, is that Creator/AnthonyTrollope's celebrated novel ''Barchester Towers'' is actually the sequel to the lesser-known ''The Warden'', both from the series ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfBarsetshire''.
* The first two books of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', ''Storm Front'' and ''Fool Moon'', are considered to be okay, if nothing special. Book 3 onwards, when the main plot kicks in, is far better.
* Creator/BruceCoville:
** ''Literature/MyTeacherIsAnAlien'' is a decent standalone science fiction story. The three sequels, however, are an epic, philosophical, and surprisingly deep look at the human condition through the eyes of extraterrestrials. When people praise the series, it is almost always the sequels they are talking about, with the original being more like a pilot episode that sets up the characters.
** The ''Literature/RodAlbrightAlienAdventures'' books follow the same pattern.
* R.A. Salvatore's ''[[Literature/TheIcewindDaleTrilogy The Crystal Shard]]'' reads, especially in its first hundred pages, like it was written by a sixteen-year-old who'd just read ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. His later novels are a marked improvement in comparison.
* ''[[Literature/InheritanceCycle Eragon]]'' is ''Film/ANewHope'' [[RecycledINSPACE not in space]]. ''Eldest'' and ''Brisingr'' have started getting a little bit more original, though are still rather downplayed examples.
* ''[[Literature/{{Shannara}} The Sword of Shannara]]'' has some rough patches and comparisons (justified or not) to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' abound. The later books found more solid footing. Brooks has stated that ''The Elfstones of Shannara'' (the second book) needed a lot of editorial work, but it's his favourite as a result. In fact, if the long awaited film project ever gets off the ground, ''Elfstones'' will be the first book filmed as ''Sword'' is considered far too similar to LOTR to even attempt.
* The first [[Literature/TheCulture Culture]] novel, ''Consider Phlebas'', is a passable science fiction novel. The next, ''The Player of Games'', is the first in which the whole impact of what the Culture is like can be felt, and is usually the one recommended to read first. The key problem being that in ''Consider Phlebas'', the Culture are the antagonists, with the [[AntiHero hero]] of the story being an enemy soldier, more or less, who is obviously none too fond of them. The criticisms he raises of this society are a lot easier to understand and ponder on when you actually know more about just what the Culture ''is''.
* Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/TheLostSymbol'', sequel to ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'' - he breaks away from a lot of the cliches that had bogged down his earlier books (the formulaic opening sentence, the first good guy mentioned dying, a TokenRomance) - and spins a thriller that ends up not postulating a likely incorrect view of history, but one that hinges on the idea that wisdom lives inside us.
* Even Stephen King admits that ''Literature/TheDrawingOfTheThree'' was a huge improvement on ''Literature/TheGunslinger''.
* ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'': The first book ''The Lost Hero'' was considered rather lackluster, with flat protagonists in Piper and Jason, a by-the-book quest, StrangledByTheRedString romance and excluding characters from the previous series. However the second book ''Son of Neptune'' introduces the badass Roman Camp, brings back the universally-beloved Percy as a narrator and better-developed new characters (Hazel, Frank, Reyna, Octavian). The third and fourth book fall into EvenBetterSequel. As all the books are a SequelSeries to ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', the improvements saved the overall series from {{Sequelitis}}.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Morgan Spurlock's documentary series ''30 Days'' can be considered this to Spurlock's earlier documentary ''Film/SuperSizeMe''. Like ''Super Size Me'', each episode explored a social or political issue via a 30-day experiment with a different lifestyle, but it lacked the former film's {{Anvilicious}} nature and questionable scientific methods, since it was about honestly examining people's reactions to dabbling in different ways of life. It helped that most episodes featured a volunteer participant living out the experiment (rather than Spurlock himself), meaning that it came off as much less preachy than many people perceived ''Super Size Me'' to be.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers''. While the continuous story of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' did allow for some great plots, twists and turns, it was also LOADED with filler, and the rangers all underwent {{Flanderization}} to some degree. Later seasons such as ''[[Series/PowerRangersInSpace In Space]]'' or ''[[Series/PowerRangersTimeForce Time Force]]'' have a tighter, more interesting story overall. One of them even got nominated for an Emmy (It was in sound editing, but still).
* Season five of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' was considered a major improvement and WinBackTheCrowd moment of the show by fans and critics after its [[SeasonalRot divisive season three and four]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/ToriAmos' original band, Y Kant Tori Read?, paled in comparison to her first solo album, ''Little Earthquakes''.
* Music/{{Radiohead}} got a significantly more sophisticated sound with ''Music/TheBends'', than they had in their debut. Even more so with ''Music/OKComputer''. Their sound has continued to evolve, but that one's generally considered their best.
* Music/VanMorrison's first album, ''Blowin' Your Mind'', was a compilation of earlier singles, including the BlackSheepHit "Brown-Eyed Girl", and was disowned by Morrison. His second album, ''Music/AstralWeeks'', is usually regarded as his best.
* Music/MotleyCrue's debut album, ''Too Fast for Love'', was a decent glam metal album, held back by inexperience on behalf of the band and rather inept management. Their next album was expected to be more solid, but when ''Shout at the Devil'' was released it blew said expectations out of the water. This happened again later, twice. After Vince Neil killed someone in a car crash and served a jail term, no one expected much out of the Crue, but ''Girls Girls Girls'' ended up being a great album. Unfortunately, the band's well-publicised substance abuse problems made the tour complete crap, and between Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear's marriage, Nikki Sixx's near-fatal heroin overdose, Mick Mars' struggle with alcoholism and ankylosing spondylitis, and Vince Neil effectively leaving the band for a time, they were pretty much dismissed as washed-up former stars. Then, they released ''Dr. Feelgood''. In just over a month they were number one on the charts. ''Dr. Feelgood'' is still considered their best album by most fans.
* After the release of their first album, Music/TalkTalk was dismissed as a cheap Music/DuranDuran knock-off band. With each successive album, however, their sound matured and they ventured into more experimental territory, eventually dropping the New Wave genre completely and becoming an influential PostRock vanguard, culminating with their final album, 1991's critically adored ''Laughing Stock''.
* Some people might wonder why Music/PyotrIlyichTchaikovsky's three symphonies are numbered 4, 5, and 6. That's because his ''first'' three symphonies aren't nearly as good and are usually ignored.
* [[Music/SergeiRachmaninoff Rachmaninoff]]'s first symphony was a complete critical failure and flopped so hard on its first (and only, during Rachmaninoff's lifetime) performance in 1897 that it almost destroyed Rachmaninoff's career, launching him into a severe depression during which he composed almost no music for over three years. When he finally started composing again in 1900, he started with his Second Piano Concerto, which is now one of the most famous pieces of music in the entire repertoire. He also wrote a second symphony in 1906-1907 which met much greater success than his first.
* This actually happens quite a bit with the classical composers. For example, listen to the first piano sonatas of [[Music/FryderykChopin Chopin]], [[Music/AlexanderScriabin Scriabin]], ''Prokofiev.'' They don't really have the "je ne sais quoi" you expect from those composers, do they? Now listen to their second piano sonatas and suddenly, all is well with the universe.
* [[Music/WolfgangAmadeusMozart Mozart]] wrote his first few symphonies when he was eight and nine years old. Now granted, [[ChildProdigy writing symphonies at age eight is very impressive]]... but you still don't hear those symphonies performed in the concert hall very often, especially compared to his last two.
* Music/KatyPerry was just an unpopular pop wannabe with ''One of the Boys'' (with the exceptions of "Thinking of You", "Hot n Cold" and "Waking Up in Vegas"). But then she released "California Gurls". Catchy, [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar radar-dodging]], but nothing special. But then the song "Teenage Dream" came. And the whole album came. It changed her music career forever, with a string of #1 hits it gained a legion of fans. ''Prism'', the next album, managed to be alright with critics, getting a 61 on Metacritic.
* While we're on the topic of pop albums, Ke$ha hasn't really been known for thought-provoking lyrics. However, her second full album, Warrior, was praised by critics for being a bit more edgy and meaningful than her recent efforts, giving the album a 71 on Metacritic.
* Who would have thought that one of the '80s' many interchangeable {{Glam|Rock}}/HeavyMetal bands that couldn't get arrested would later become [[Music/{{Pantera}} one of the pioneers of the '90s post-thrash sound]]?
* Music/{{Nirvana}}'s ''Music/{{Nevermind}}''. The band's first album ''Music/{{Bleach}}'' is a muddy sounding and sporadically brilliant album (compare "Blew", "Negative Creep" and "About a Girl" with the less distinguished songs like "Big Cheese", "Swap Meet" and "Downer"). Few people at the time saw any reason why Nirvana were any more promising than other Seattle bands like Mudhoney, TAD, and Mother Love Bone.
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins's first album ''Gish'' was a weird mashup of pre-grunge, post-80s Hard rock. By comparison, ''Music/SiameseDream'' is considered on par with ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'' when it comes to 90s alternative.
* Imagine if, tomorrow, Tiffany released an award-winning, angsty, introspective, multi-platinum-selling album that would become one of the defining albums of the decade it was released in. Got that picture in your head? Good, because that is exactly what happened in 1995, when a [[CanadaEh Canadian]] TeenIdol by the name of Music/AlanisMorissette [[NewSoundAlbum switched]] from cheesy bubblegum pop to chick rock and released ''Music/JaggedLittlePill''. There's a reason why nobody mentions [[OldShame the first two albums]] in her discography.
* Even as far back as the mid-1980s, Music/FaithNoMore showed an amazingly promising, interesting and unique sound brought down by inconsistent songwriting, lack of direction, and a "singer" by the name of Chuck Mosley who was little more than a Music/WesleyWillis-esque novelty act that could only take the material so far. With ''The Real Thing'' the band's sound and vision became much more cohesive and realized, and they jackpotted on [[MikePatton a replacement you might have heard a few glowing things about]]. Oh and there's also the thing where it had a hit song and sold a lot of copies. And then came the next album...
* Music/KellyClarkson's first album ''Thankful'', made just off of her winning ''Series/AmericanIdol'', was a modest hit. Its success was credited to the popularity of the show more than to her. Her second album ''Breakaway'', featuring such hits as "Behind These Hazel Eyes", "Walk Away", "Since U Been Gone" and the title track, was ''huge'' and established her firmly as a pop star.
* Music/SimpleMinds' first album is... Well, let's just say that "Simple Minds play ThreeChordsAndTheTruth" is at best a ''flawed'' proposition. Had they not made ''[[CultClassic Reel to Real Cacophony]]'' but a year later, it's doubtful that any but the most devoted punk fan would have had the slightest recollection of them.
* The Slits. Though their early work was never ''officially'' released, an appearance in ThePunkRockMovie, various high profile gigs supporting Music/TheClash and Music/TheSexPistols, and a Peel Session (which is more than many of their peers ever got around to doing) firmly established them as a shambolic but enthusiastic Punk band, most notable for being one of the very few all women line ups of the time. When they eventually recorded an ''official'' first album, 1979's Cut, they'd learned how to play their instruments and veered wildly off into Dub and Funk territories. It was a landmark release in Post-Punk history, but was such a radical shift in style and playing ability it prompted accusations of hiring session musicians and never actually playing on the record.
* Similar to the Music/{{Radiohead}} and Music/VanMorrison examples, Music/JethroTull and Music/{{Rush}} have parallel origins: Their first albums, ''This Was'' and ''Rush'' respectively, were basically just rip-offs of Music/{{Cream}} and Music/LedZeppelin, again, respectively, then their second albums, ''Stand Up'' and ''Fly By Night'' were considered improvements, their third albums ''Benefit'' and ''Caress of Steel'' received mixed reviews(though more so in the latter case), and their fourth albums, ''[[Music/AqualungJethroTullAlbum Aqualung]]'' and ''2112'' are considered their breakouts, establishing them as legends of ProgressiveRock.
* It's generally accepted that Music/{{Blur}}'s debut ''Leisure'' has its moments, but is overall a rather patchy late-"baggy" era album. Without the benefit of hindsight, there's nothing to indicate that three years later they'd be one of Britain's biggest bands of the mid-90s with the iconic Britpop release ''Parklife''. (The change in direction- and improvement- started with ''Modern Life is Rubbish'', but that wasn't a major success on its first release).
* Music/NewOrder's first album ''Movement'' has its fans, but it was their [[NewSoundAlbum more synth-based second album]] ''Music/PowerCorruptionAndLies'' (and the non-LP singles issued around the same time) that established them as something more than the rump of Music/JoyDivision.
* Very few people rated Music/{{Eurythmics}}' first album ''In The Garden'' - it was largely ignored at the time, spawned no hits, and although still in print, nevertheless remains pretty obscure today. Their second album ''Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)'', on the other hand...
* Music/ShaniaTwain's first album was mostly-forgettable and mostly-forgotten mainstream country of the early 1990s. Her second and third albums, ''The Woman in Me'' and ''Come On Over'', are two of the best-selling country albums of all time by a female artist, and both were loaded with extremely popular singles.
* There's nothing particularly bad about the first three albums by Music/{{Queen}} - at their worst, they're SoOkayItsAverage - but their fourth album, ''Music/ANightAtTheOpera'' is regarded as one of the best albums they ever produced and widely seen as one of the best albums of TheSeventies. (RollingStone ranked it at #231 in their top 500 albums.)
** Similarly, their later album ''The Works'' was also a great improvement on its predecessor - although this has more to do with the fact that the predecessor in question, 1982's ''Hot Space'' is widely seen as the worst album Queen ever did.
* 1969's ''Empty Sky'' was a fairly competent, psychedelia-infuenced debut album, but it barely hinted at [[Music/EltonJohn Elton John's]] talents, save for the ballad "Skyline Pigeon", which Elton would re-record as a B-side in 1973. Elton's 1970 SelfTitledAlbum with "Your Song", "Take Me To The Pilot" and "Border Song" would be Elton's BreakthroughHit album.
* ''Music/TheScore'' (1996) by Music/TheFugees was a bestseller which met with more critical acclaim than their poorly received debut album "Blunted On Reality" (1994). Even the band themselves saw this record as a failure, because of all the ExecutiveMeddling.
* ''[[Music/MadonnaAlbum Madonna]]'' (1983) was SoOkayItsAverage. For a debut it's not bad, but it received mostly mixed reviews at the time. The follow-up, ''Music/LikeAVirgin'' (1984), changed Madonna into a superstar.
* Tears For Fears' debut album The Hurting (1983) received some good reviews, had a few of its songs released as minor hit singles, and got the band noticed. Their follow up album, Songs From The Big Chair (1985) went all the way to number one in the U.S., and had several hit singles that are still played regularly on radio to this day.
* Music/{{Slint}}'s debut album, ''Tweez'' (1989), was a decent, if unremarkable PostHardcore album. Their followup album, ''Music/{{Spiderland}}'' (1991) kickstarted [[PostRock two whole]] [[MathRock genres]] and is a landmark in underground music.
* The first three Music/{{REM}} albums released after drummer Bill Berry quit the group, ''Up'', ''Reveal'' and ''Around the Sun'', are often considered the band's DorkAge. ''Up'' and ''Reveal'', while generally regarded as some of the band's weaker material, at least have their share of fans, while not even the band themselves liked ''Around the Sun''. Their disappointment with that album led them to take extra time and care into crafting its follow-up, the much harder-rocking ''Accelerate'', which debuted at #2 on the ''Billboard'' 200 and is often thought of as the best album of the post-Berry era.
* Music/KillSwitchEngage's first titular album mostly went unnoticed. Their second album ''Alive or Just Breathing'', however, achieved cult success. Then front man Jesse Leech was replaced with baritone singer Howard Jones, and the rest was history.
* Most of Music/ScottWalker's 70s albums were uninspired, contractually obligated covers albums. 1984's ''Climate of Hunter'' was only relatively well-received, but in retrospect it was a dry run for a loose avant-garde trilogy of critically acclaimed albums released across three different decades: ''Tilt'' (1995), ''The Drift'' (2006) and ''Bish Bosch'' (2012).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* The first pinball machine themed on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', made by Data East and [[Pinball/TheSimpsonsDataEast sharing the same name as the show]], is widely considered a competent but unremarkable table, with simplistic rules that have nothing to do with the show, a tendency to lose the ball even when playing well, and a sparse sound package with minimalistic quotes or clips taken from the show. 13 years later, Creator/{{Stern}} released ''Pinball/TheSimpsonsPinballParty'', with a complex set of rules deeply integrated with the show, more things to do on the machine with nothing aimed at the drain, and extensive voice work from the actors recorded just for the machine. ''The Simpsons Pinball Party'' is considered by pinball fans to be one of Stern's greatest pinball machines, if not one of the greatest pinball machines ever made.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Most of Matt Ward's 5th edition codexes are rather ''divisive'' among ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' fans. The Space Marines codex has some divisive fluff. The Blood Angels Codex has several GameBreaker elements, while the Grey Knights codex has ''both''. The reaction to the news that Ward would be writing the 5th Edition Necrons codex was... less than stellar. But when the codex was released, it turned out that Necrons Codex was mechanically well balanced, and while it did introduce several massive retcons to the existing Necrons fluff, most fans agree that those changes were long overdue and rescued Necrons from being a GenericDoomsdayVillain.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Street Fighter|I}}'' was a broken mess, with bad controls being the one huge problem that brought it down. By [[AscendedGlitch turning the]] GoodBadBugs [[AscendedGlitch into gameplay features]], removing the truly bad bugs, and generally improving the controls, ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' is credited with [[GenrePopularizer popularizing the one-on-one tournament fighter genre]] and becoming a phenomenon.
* Due to the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' franchise and its BrokenBase, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' received a lot of venom for fans for its [[NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom linearity]]. Then came ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'', a game that not only ''doesn't'' feel like a narrow corridor, but has side-quests out the wazoo.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyAllTheBravest'' is usually regarded as the absolute nadir of the entire franchise, and a microcosm of everything terrible about mobile gaming in general. By comparison, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyRecordKeeper'', its SpiritualSuccessor, is generally seen as a pretty solid mobile game.
* The first ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters'' was an average, plotless, mildly quirky FetchQuest game. The series really took off to its cult status at the [[VideoGame/TimeSplitters2 second installment]]; a [[RuleOfFun fun]], [[RuleOfCool badass]], and most importantly ''[[RuleOfFunny HILARIOUS]]'' SpiritualSequel ''and'' AffectionateParody of the behemoth that was ''[[VideoGame/GoldenEye1997 GoldenEye]]'' in its day, courtesy of Rare veterans. Think of everything that made ''[=GoldenEye=]'' good, turn it UpToEleven, add [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys monkeys]] [[EverythingsDeaderWithZombies and zombies]] [[MoreDakka with shotguns]] and you're not even close to the utter craziness this series embodies. '''''[[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ZOMBIE MONKEYS.]]'''''
** Whilst the [[VideoGame/TimeSplitters2 second game]]'s campaign consisted of mostly [[StandAloneEpisode stand-alone missions]], the [[VideoGame/TimeSplittersFuturePerfect third game]] has a much stronger, inter-connected storyline that culminated in the reveal of the [[BigBad series villain]]. Whilst not quite as fast-paced and insane as the previous entry and with a weaker multi-player, the faults of both games balance each other out and they're often considered on par with each other, with which is better depending largely on [[BrokenBase one's personal preferences]] (most fans do consider them both great games however).
* ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'' sold well [[JustHereForGodzilla mostly because]] it [[PreviewPiggybacking came with a demo]] for ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''. The game itself was decent enough but suffered from repetitive battles, criminal shortness and [[{{Wangst}} 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 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 [[TookALevelInBadass leveled in badass]] in the intervening time between games.
* ''VideoGame/BloodyRoar'' was an obscure, poorly balanced mess of a game, with overly simple but awkward controls, poor AI, and a wannabe SNKBoss, thus the only appeal of the game was its relative simplicity and novelty, and possible pandering to furries ([[{{Stripperific}} or Alice]]). ''Bloody Roar 2'', however, was an elegant masterpiece, fixing the system into something much less cumbersome and very easy to play, yet empathizing mind games and strategies, and allowing the player (or CPU) to easily counter fools who would try to button mash, the balance was much better (though still far from perfect..), Story mode was introduced, and the game's story improved tenfold, the AI was dramatically improved, the low levels still being fairly easy and welcoming to new players (you could button mash most of the opponents on setting 1 and 2, though if you tried it on the final boss you would be horribly beaten down) and the hard levels capable of challenging an experienced and intelligent player, and the Final Boss was extremely hard and clever, yet he was still balanced for VS play, and fought fairly (no reading your buttons, or moving at impossible speeds, or moves that take off half your life in one hit, though he could combo you painfully). Sadly the game only managed a small yet strong fanbase, possibly due to the first game, and the lack of a budget. The later games are inferior; 3 and Primal Fury/Extreme are still fun, but 4 managed to kill the entire franchise.
* ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors 1'' and ''2'' were bashed by reviews and many gamers alike, but from the third game onwards, the line was well received for a while. After a while the series ended up being mocked by reviewers (but still maintains a base of hardcore fans) [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks because it remains a similar game in every incarnation]].
** As a note, ''Dynasty Warriors 1'' is not part of the same series, which is why the Japanese series numbers are one less than the NA series numbers.
** The crossover series ''VideoGame/WarriorsOrochi'' had a surprisingly improved third game. While it stays true to the ''Warriors'' formula of "kill as many bad guys as possible", it also added a level editor, cooperative and online play, a single overarching story arc in place of the usual faction-based approach, and a [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters ginormous cast of characters]] from the series' history[[note]]A total of 132 characters from both sides as of ''Dynasty Warriors 7'' and ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors 3'', along with guest appearances from other famous Tecmo and Koei games such as ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'', ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive'', and ''VideoGame/BladestormTheHundredYearsWar''[[/note]].
** It's also agreed that ''Dynasty Warriors 7'' was a vast improvement over the previous installment (which was certainly a step back from the other games).
* ''VisualNovel/MuvLuvExtra'' plays with this by [[TrollingCreator initially pretending to be an average-to-bad]] [[HGame eroge]], but on its second half it [[GenreShift changes the setting]] and becomes a sci-fi war drama. Its OddlyNamedSequel is widely considered one of the best eroge stories ever.
* While the original ''VideoGame/{{Dragon Quest|I}}'' scores points for innovation, it's aged terribly compared to the first installments of ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' and ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar''. ''VideoGame/DragonQuestII'' fares worse since it can't even play the innovation card. ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIII'' on the other hand takes the basic job class system and expends on upon it. It also most likely contains the UrExample of the MonsterArena and building a new town. The UsefulNotes/GameBoyColor [[VideoGameRemake remake]] is even better, adding a new job class, a BonusDungeon, a redone localization and a whole lot more.
* ''VideoGame/HitmanCodename47'' featured a good concept but had very twitchy AI, a buggy disguise system, and no ability to save during missions (apparently as a way of artificially lengthening the game). ''[[VideoGame/Hitman2SilentAssassin Silent Assassin]]'' added the ability to save as well making improvements on the shortfalls of the original, as did each installment afterwards. ''[[VideoGame/HitmanContracts Contracts]]'' also added better non-lethal takedown methods and ''[[VideoGame/HitmanBloodMoney Blood Money]]'' added the ability to use the environment to make your kills look like accidents.
** Also, ''Contracts'' was mostly a remake of ''Codename 47'' with gameplay and level-design improvements, justified through unreliable memories of the player character [[spoiler: as his life is flashing before his eyes during a near death experience.]] Because of this (and because the first game was PC-only while the others had console ports) the "Hitman Trilogy" re-release only features the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th games.
* The first ''VideoGame/{{Frogger}}'' game from Creator/{{Hasbro}}, ''Frogger: He's Back!'', received a mixed-to-negative response from critics due to the game's [[NintendoHard high level of difficulty]], which can largely chalked up to the gameplay being a awkward mix of the original arcade game's rules (three lives, OneHitPointWonder, [[CheckpointStarvation no checkpoints]]) imposed onto a puzzle platformer (the frogs the player has to collect are scattered in maze-like levels, filled with [[EverythingTryingToKillYou all sorts of deadly hazards]]). Also owing to the difficulty was the game's realistic JumpPhysics controls and occasional bouts of CameraScrew. The sequel ''Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge'', developed by Creator/BlitzGames (the first game was made by [[Creator/SonyComputerEntertainment SCE Cambridge]]), retooled the gameplay into a more conventional platformer (the maze-like levels are now streamlined into a linear direction so players no longer have to search for the frogs) and [[SequelDifficultyDrop toned down the game's difficulty]] (the frogs now act as checkpoints, and lives are easier to obtain). The game also had better controls, a better camera, and added collectable coins, which unlocked more characters and multiplayer modes. The result was ''Frogger 2'' being much more positively received by reviewers.
* While the earlier ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore'' games had their own fandom, the games had really problematic graphics, confusing storylines, and [[SomeDexterityRequired really, really laggy controls]]. It wasn't until Master of Arena that the arena system even came in, and until the 3 series that the graphics and controls received good reviews.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' did not have a pleasant entry to the world of [=3D PS2=] gaming. ''Journey to Jaburo'' was aimed fully at the fanboys with loads of FMV and well-done audio, but horrible in-game graphics and controls combined with lackluster melee combat ruined the game even for many fans of the series, and worried fans were concerned that the series would be abandoned or left as schlock. ''Federation vs Zeon'' managed to make a surprisingly good [=VirtualOn=] knockoff with a worthwhile campaign mode and decent replay value. ''Zeonic Front'' actually made an enjoyable squad-based tactics game with actually memorable original characters and strategy, and ''Encounters in Space'' was likewise playable even for those that weren't already into the series.
* The ''VideoGame/GundamVsSeries'' went through {{Sequelitis}} (''AEUG vs Titans'' and ''Gundam vs Zeta Gundam'', which were little more than ''Fed vs Zeon'' with new machines) before swinging back around into this trope's territory with the ''Alliance vs ZAFT'' games (which refined the game engine by speeding things up, making melee more viable, and adding in new tricks like boost dashing and shield defense) and the ''Gundam vs Gundam'' games (which continued the refinements while bringing in mecha from the Gundam franchise's 30-year history rather than focusing on just a single show at a time).
* ''VideoGame/LufiaAndTheFortressOfDoom'' was a bog-standard RPG. ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals'' added puzzles, a more compelling storyline, one of the first randomised bonus dungeons, fun-to-use and not-too-rare random drops that give you special abilities... and created one of the best SNES-era [=RPGs=]. Had the developers not run out of budget or time for a couple towers late in the game (the only puzzle-free dungeons), it would be perfection.
* The first ''VideoGame/PokemonRanger'' game was [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness different]], and it was neat to play as something other than a Trainer, but many gameplay elements were hard (must not slip off edge of disgustingly slimy floor!) to nearly impossible (hold still, Pokémon, so I can draw twenty loops around you without lifting my stylus!). The second game, ''Shadows of Almia'', had a better and longer plot, let you explore your world more, made it so you didn't have to draw twenty loops in one go, and actually had adults that were worth something besides giving you your initial equipment. Much more fun. The third game was even ''better'', taking all that good stuff and expanding it.
* The first two ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games were mild successes that garnered mixed reviews due to somewhat dodgy gameplay and older style graphics. The only real reason why they attracted much attention was because of [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity the controversy that they caused]] -- which had been largely whipped by the developers for exactly this reason. With the jump to 3D in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'', the game garnered near universal acclaim, kicked up a firestorm of controversy, and changed the entire industry with its WideOpenSandbox gameplay.
* [[Creator/TakeTwoInteractive Rockstar Games]] as a whole are very good at this. ''VideoGame/RedDeadRevolver'' was a regular game at best. ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' is basically ''Revolver'' plus the ''GTA'' formula, with next generation graphics and a much richer plot.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearAcid'' was ambitious, but very unrefined, with potentially broken gameplay. ''AC!D 2'' sharpened the graphics, tidied up the engine, made the story more coherent, and added a lot of depth and spontaneity to the gameplay.
** ''AC!D 2'' also played to the fans of the first by bringing back what many would acknowledge as the first game's best moment - as the final boss of that game comes back (and, in a masterful bit of foreshadowing, you ''run on top of it'' without noticing unless you ''really'' paid attention), only tightened and with a potentially nasty time limit to make it harder.
** If you didn't like all the GuideDangIt and lack of good stealth options in the original ''VideoGame/MetalGear'', its sequel, ''VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake'', could be considered to fit this trope.
* ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters '94'' was a very good game, but TheComputerIsACheatingBastard and the controls are tough to get used to, although the music is awesome. '''95'' has some improvements, but the AI is even worse. ''The King of Fighters '96'' is widely considered the point where everything really took off.
** ''KOF XIII'' made up for ''KOF XII'''s deficiencies in a major way, keeping the high-definition visuals and bringing back some of the fan-favorite characters that were left out of ''XII'', as well as a tutorial mode and a story mode that chronicles the final events of the Tales of Ash Saga.
* ''[[VideoGame/FreeSpace Conflict FreeSpace: The Great War]]'' was a fun space combat simulation game with a nice game engine and a solid storyline, but it wasn't outstanding in any field. The sequel, ''VideoGame/FreeSpace2'', was darker, with a far more gripping and surprising storyline, vastly-improved combat, visuals that still impress today and a jaw-dropping and somewhat ambiguous ending that has provoked debate ever since. ''[=FreeSpace=] 2'' was such an awesome space-combat game it killed the genre stone dead by making every other game in the genre redundant... a problem that was exacerbated by it being an AcclaimedFlop.\\\
How good is ''[=FreeSpace=] 2''? The fan community has released several professional-quality campaigns, long since taken over operating the multiplayer component, made several total conversions (the most well-known turns ''[=FreeSpace=] 2'' into ''Babylon 5'': The Videogame,) and to top if off, they've been ''upgrading the engine'' non-stop since the source-code was released. On a decent computer, the source-code project makes the game look like it came out two or three years ago, when, in fact, it's over a decade old.
* After ''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderAngelOfDarkness Angel of Darkness]]'' and the last game or two before that (along with the [[VideoGameMoviesSuck movies]]) many considered the ''Franchise/TombRaider'' franchise beyond saving, but a change to another developer brought the series back again with ''Legend'' which went on to be the fastest selling (note, not highest selling) game in the series so far and got high critical acclaim. Depending on your feelings about many of the changes in ''Legend'' this can also extend to ''Anniversary'' and/or ''Underworld''. The 2013 reboot also won back those who felt ''Underworld'' failed to deliver.
* [[ZigZaggingTrope A rollercoaster]] with the ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' core series. The localization of ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat3Electrosphere Electrosphere]]'' had its [[{{Macekre}} entire plot surgically removed]]. ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies Shattered Skies]]'' fared better, and had a better plot to begin with, but its strength was in the delivery. ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar The Unsung War]]'' brings everything together with sympathetic characters, a clever plot, and the astounding, epic presentation the series is known for, which it continued with for ''[[VideoGame/AceCombatZeroTheBelkanWar The Belkan War]]'', except bigger. ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat6FiresOfLiberation Fires of Liberation]]'', however, goes a step back with a textbook, straightforward plot and a cast consisting of only supporting characters, none of whom get much individual screen time or, indeed, even matter until the very end.
* The original ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' game on the Nintendo UsefulNotes/GameBoy was clunky, with minimal plot and a ''lot'' of GuideDangIt moments. Each game's taken steps since then, with its first sequel actually using the pilots and storylines from the series in question, and producing Banpresto's first OriginalGeneration batch, featuring Masaki Ando, Bian Zoldark, and Shu Shirakawa.
** Similarly, the first ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'' was fairly clunky compared to the earlier ''SRW'' games on the UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance, with a pretty basic story and minimal animation and effects. It feels a lot like a side-project Banpresto wasn't ready to commit to (it was, after all, essentially a crossover ''without'' the crossing over). Compare to ''Original Generation 2'', which featured more plots and better animation and effects that nearly match the first ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha Alpha]]'' game on the [=PS1=].
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRow1'' was your stereotypical WideOpenSandbox, released to faint praise for having a solid, fun game, but still being a shameless ''[[Franchise/GrandTheftAuto GTA]]'' clone. Only one thing really changed between its release and its sequel--''GTA'' decided it wanted to be taken seriously, and we got ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV GTA IV]]''. ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'' went the other way--the main character became an over-the-top HeroicComedicSociopath and the game took RefugeInAudacity. Critics loved it, as did players. Then ''[[VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird The Third]]'' pushed it even further. Although some people bash it for being outright strange, a lot of players enjoyed it for the pure insanity and strangeness they gave you to play around with in an open world, in a more stark contrast to ''GTA'' which is serious in nature.
* The original ''VideoGame/StarControl'' was a 2D space combat sim with hardly any story elements (at least not [[AllThereInTheManual in the game.]]). ''VideoGame/StarControlII'' kept the good parts (the space combat, aka Super Melee) and added a surprisingly complex and fun story mode.
* Downplayed with ''50 Cent Bulletproof'', which was trashed for all the bugs and bad gameplay. (The PSP version was by a different developer and fared slightly better.) ''VideoGame/FiftyCentBloodOnTheSand'' received above average scores due to great control based on established shooter conventions, and a story that's praised as hilariously SoBadItsGood.
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Killzone}}'' was a heavily hyped [=PS2=] shooter that ended up falling quite short of expectations, though it wasn't bad at all, just mediocre. ''Killzone 2'', on the other hand, has been well received by both critics and gamers, and "lived up to the hype".
* The first two ''Manga/WanganMidnight'' arcade games were basically just ''VideoGame/TokyoXtremeRacer'' with ''Wangan Midnight'' characters and stage-based gameplay, with few players remembering or thoroughly enjoying them. ''Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune'', on the other hand, gave ''VideoGame/InitialDArcadeStage'' a run for its money.
* The first ''VideoGame/InitialDArcadeStage'' had a poorly done multiplayer mode which, among other problems, required the second player to insert his/her coin(s) within 9 seconds of the first player, and had no incentive whatsoever to play a head-to-head battle over just playing Time Attack mode. ''Initial D Arcade Stage Ver.2'' significantly improved the multiplayer mode.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'', despite its interesting story and quirky take on the RPG genre, was a [[ForcedLevelGrinding total grindfest]] with some insane [[SchizophrenicDifficulty spikes in difficulty]] at times (such as in Mt. Itoi). Its sequel, ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', fixed many of the problems the original had, such as removing the RandomEncounters, easing difficulty, and [[DenserAndWackier taking itself much less seriously]].
* The first ''VideoGame/{{Age of Empires|I}}'' game was released to lukewarm reviews. All the following games and spinoffs received critical acclaim.
* By many accounts, the second ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'' (''VideoGame/DarkChronicle'' overseas) is an immense improvement over the original. One area is the fact that the weapon system was fixed. In both games, [[BreakableWeapons weapons break if you use them too much without repairing them]]. In the second game you could fix broken weapons, but in the first they'd be gone forever. Several other things were fixed as well.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** Downplayed with ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'' and ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'', and played straight with ''VideoGame/SonicColors''. While the games still suffered from significant flaws (with ''Secret Rings'' having a lousy [[{{Waggle}} motion control scheme]] and ''Unleashed'' having [[ScrappyMechanic the Werehog]] [[UnexpectedGameplayChange brawler levels]]), they were generally agreed that they weren't as bad as the widely-panned ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' and ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006 Sonic '06]]''. Then ''Colors'' managed to be the first Sonic game to actually avoid incorporating (blatantly) gimmicky mechanics into the game, and was praised as the first solid Sonic game in years (and for those who aren't fans of the pre-''Unleashed'' 3D titles, the first 3D Sonic game to break the PolygonCeiling and be genuinely good).
** While ''VideoGame/SonicBoom: Fire & Ice'' does have its detractors and isn't considered a great game, many journalists and fans are in agreement that it's certainly a step up from the previous two ''Sonic Boom'' games, ''Shattered Crystal'' and especially ''Rise of Lyric''. It helps that Sega delayed the game from its intended holiday 2015 release to nearly a year later to give the developers more time to work on it and ensure it doesn't suffer the same fate as its predecessors.
** Sega's first attempt at RevisitingTheRoots with ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog4'' was heavily panned by the fanbase of the original games as an awful successor to what are still considered the series' best games; and while it wasn't received with as much vitriol from reviewers at the time of release, they later agreed in retrospect that the game was a misfire. Like the ''Skyfall'' example above, ''Sonic 4'' was subsequently ignored by ''VideoGame/SonicMania'', which was not only praised as a proper sequel to the original games by both critics and fans, but garnered wide acclaim as the series' first truly exceptional entry in decades. ''Sonic Mania'' was also the first ''Sonic'' game on consoles released after the aforementioned ''Rise of Lyric'', which is considered a top contender alongside ''Sonic 2006'' as the ''worst'' ''Sonic'' game in the series.
** As far as [[FanWork fan games]] go: the original ''[[http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_Robo_Blast Sonic Robo Blast]]'' was considered a great fan game for its time, being ambitious in its scope, albeit stymied by the primitive GameMaker programs it was made on. By comparison, ''VideoGame/SonicRoboBlast2'' is several major steps up, being a standalone total conversion GameMod of ''VideoGame/{{DOOM}}'' that fans and [[http://www.gamesradar.com/the-coolest-and-weirdest-doom-mods-ever/ critics alike]] claim actually surpasses Sega's official games.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena'' wasn't bad for its time, featuring things like day/night cycles, seasons (with changing weather), holidays, and an advanced lighting engine, but despite having a rather large world, there wasn't anything particularly interesting to see or do, with a fairly generic setting and a clichéd plot (evil chancellor usurps emperor, have to collect 8 magic staff pieces to beat him). Then along came ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'', which expanded the world (both in size and in richness) by several orders of magnitude, and added tons of things to do (dozens of factions to join! Vampirism! Lycanthropy! [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Real estate!]]), one of the most detailed character creators seen in a CRPG, and a well-written plot with twists and political intrigue galore (as well as [[ObviousBeta bugs and glitches galore]]).
* ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonFranticFarming'' is a Surprisingly Improved Sequel to the confusing and disappointing earlier ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' PuzzleGame, ''Puzzle de Harvest Moon''.
* ''[[VideoGame/BackyardSports Backyard Basketball]]'' on the [=PS2=] improved on everything ''Backyard Basketball'' on the PC, released two years earlier, had. There were no glitches, the game never freezes, there are NBA teams, and there are 9 more playable characters (while removing 1). There are even unlockable powerups!
* ''VideoGame/{{Contra}} 4'' came after four consecutive installments that sat poorly with fans of the series (two lame [=PS1=] releases and two so-so [=PS2=] releases) and whipped the series back into what it should be.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' had a nearly universally despised [[{{VideoGame/MegaManX7}} seventh game]] (an unusual instance in the extremely [[BrokenBase divided fanbase]] that ''Mega Man'' has); but the [[{{VideoGame/MegaManX8}} eighth game]] is considered a vast improvement.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce''[='s=] second game was hard to take even for the people who liked the first one, but the third game made up for it in incredibly unexpected ways, to a degree that some consider it the best in the entirety of the ''Battle Network/Star Force'' continuity.
** ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'' is considered to be a fairly lackluster game in the [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Classic]] series, with incredibly bad ([[NarmCharm though hilarious]]) voice acting and annoying gameplay elements like the snowboarding sections and Rush's function in the game being changed entirely, causing the Classic series to sputter to a halt with only a single GaidenGame coming after[[note]]two in Japan, though the second was for the obscure UsefulNotes/{{Wonderswan}}[[/note]]. Then, over a decade later, Capcom decided to go back to Mega Man's 8-bit roots with the much better received ''VideoGame/MegaMan9''.
* Games based on ''Anime/DragonBallZ'':
** ''The Legacy of Goku'' for the UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance was, for lack of a more inventive word, terrible. The combat controls are stiff, the plot is [[ContinuityLockout impenetrable to all but the most seasoned DBZ fans]], and the game is way too short (beatable in about 6-8 hours, ending after Goku's battle with Frieza). Its sequel, ''Legacy of Goku II'', corrected almost all of these flaws, as well as giving the player the ability to control characters other than Goku.
*** And then, the relatively few flaws and lack of depth found in ''Legacy of Goku II'' were completely gone in ''Buu's Fury'', which added an expanded range of special moves, such RPG basics as equipment and shops, and the ability to ''block''.
** ''VideoGame/DragonBallZBudokai'' was generally considered a playable-if-nothing-special fighting game that captured some of the essence of the series, but also was criticized for the blocky graphics, simplistic combat, and tedious method for unlocking extras. ''Budokai 2'' did improve several things (namely the graphics), but it wasn't until ''Budokai 3'' where ''Creator/{{Dimps}}'' truly started to step things up. ''Budokai 3'' was not only a much better ''DBZ'' game than its predecessors, but it was quite popular with gamers in general, due to vastly improved fighting mechanics, more individualized physical combos for each character, greater variety in special moves (which you could do on the fly), gorgeous cel-shaded graphics, unlocking extras being made much easier and much less tedious, a single-player campaign titled ''Dragon Universe'' that gave the game near-infinite replay value, the inclusion of Beam Struggles and the actual ability to fly into or from the air, and a roster that not only spans throughout the entirety of the main DBZ story, but also the Broly and Cooler movies, and some of GT as well.
** ''VideoGame/DragonBallZBudokaiTenkaichi'' had a creative enough idea for a fighting engine, but it didn't really work that well; CameraScrew was a recurring problem and the whole thing felt a bit unwieldy. The second game tightened up the fighting mechanics a lot, expanded the roster, and added more options... and then the third, after tightening them up a little more, proceeded to make [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters basically every character ever associated with the series playable,]] while adding in a big pile of quirky "recreate the series" elements. It's considered a close race between it and ''Budokai 3'' for the title of "best ''Dragon Ball'' game."
** ''[[VideoGame/DragonballZBudokaiTenkaichi Ultimate Tenkaichi]]'' and ''Battle of Z'' had good ideas (faithful recreation of the anime's aesthetics and custom characters in the former, four-on-four team combat in the latter) that were poorly executed. While made by a different developer, Dimps's ''VideoGame/DragonBallXenoverse'' is a marked improvement over those games, with improved combat, a new story that puts a twist on the ''DBZ'' mythos, and expanded character customization.
* ''VideoGame/AstonishiaStory'' was an RPG originally made for [=PCs=] in the mid-1990s and remained exclusively a Korean property until 2006, when the game was remade for the PSP and distributed worldwide. The port hadn't aged well at all, and the lackluster localization effort by Creator/{{Ubisoft}} didn't help. Three years later, ''Astonishia Story 2'' (titled ''VideoGame/CrimsonGemSaga'' in non-Asian countries) was released to a much warmer reception, with tighter character development, a retooled battle and skill system that emphasizes {{combination attack}}s, much less ForcedLevelGrinding, and a better translation by the team at Creator/{{Atlus}}.
* ''VideoGame/LuminousArc'' for the DS was an ClicheStorm of an SRPG with a particularly {{Narm}}ish voice acting in ''every. Single. Chapter''. The next game, ''VideoGame/LuminousArc2'' moves the story to another world with a better plot, vastly improved voice acting and a more streamlined user interface. The fact that they added a fast forward button, as well as bringing in MultipleEndings (which are ''further'' expanded in ''VideoGame/LuminousArc3'') helps a lot.
* ''VideoGame/ThunderForce III'' was a huge improvement over its rather average predecessor ''Thunder Force II'', they got rid of the annoying overhead scrolling stages (which were all that the obscure first ''Thunder Force'' game had to offer), improved the graphics and [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic music]], and made the gameplay a lot better. ''Thunder Force IV'' and ''Thunder Force V'' continued on the tradition of awesomeness and were pretty much the peak of the franchise. Unfortunately, {{Sequelitis}} took effect after that.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' had really good LeParkour gameplay and the beginnings of an interesting AncientConspiracy story, but was burdened with boring characters and levels, padding, and repetitive side quests and assassinations. ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' had a likable main character, levels that were memorable, and missions that were actually fun.
* Compare ''VideoGame/FireEmblem: [[VideoGame/FireEmblemMysteryOfTheEmblem Mystery of the Emblem]]'' to the original ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemShadowDragonAndTheBladeOfLight Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light]]''. While the latter was a good game that helped [[TropeCodifier establish]] an entire [[TurnBasedStrategy genre]] it was plagued with a terrible inventory system, staves didn't give EXP, and the graphics and story were rather bland. Then the former comes and fixes most of the gameplay flaws as well as much needed character and story development and wraps it up with a more streamlined version of ''Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light''.
** The remakes went through the same cycle. ''Shadow Dragon'' is one of the most widely disliked games in the series by fans ([[AmericansHateTingle at least in the West]] for being a bare-bones remake without many new features, axing support conversations entirely (which meant little to no development for 90% of the cast) and a sidequest system that bizarrely encourages players to ''kill off their own characters''. ''New Mystery of the Emblem'' [[AdaptationExpansion expanded on the story of the original Mystery]], put Supports back in and made sidequests no longer rely on killing characters. It also added a character creation system and more accessible difficulty levels, mechanics which were vital in making the next game, ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', the major success it was.
* ''VideoGame/RedSteel'' was an ambitious shooter/swordplay launch title for the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} marred by bad swordplay controls and an overall rushed presentation. With the implementation of the Wii [=MotionPlus=] allowing for more precise controls, ''VideoGame/RedSteel2'' is being hailed as what its predecessor should have been and even being regarded as one of the best-looking Wii games.
* ''VideoGame/DuneII''. The original was a boring adventure game. The "sequel" (which had really nothing to do with the original) was one of the most important games of all time and the progenitor of the RealTimeStrategy game.
* ''VideoGame/JustCause'' was a WideOpenSandbox game with a few nice ideas (like giving you a parachute you can use at almost any time) some beautiful vistas, and a gargantuan open world to explore, but had clumsy controls, kind of boring characters, the world was fairly bland and repetitive, and it was definitely not something you'd want to pay full price for. ''Just Cause 2'', however, vastly improves your ability to use the grappling hook in conjunction with the parachute, all but allowing you to ''fly'' around the landscape, and has tons of things for you to blow up whenever you want, literally ''thousands'' of collectibles, and a much more interesting and varied world, making it a solid A-list title. It's worth noting that the first ''Just Cause'' was Avalanche Studios' first ever release, and they obviously spent a lot of time learning from their mistakes for the sequel.
* The early parts of the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series were a minor success, held back on the NES by its [[BlindIdiotTranslation extremely questionable translation]], bugs, and frustrating puzzles. It wasn't until ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', with its improved localization and gameplay, that the series took off.
** Later in the series, ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps'' was a competently made game that showed great potential with its army building mechanics. However, the controls suffered on the PSP, the story (despite a great villain) felt more like a side-story, and the army building mechanic showed potential, but didn't quite live up to it with a lack of variety and frustrating issues. Then came ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker''. Under Kojima's direction (unlike ''Portable Ops''), ''Peace Walker'''s controls were more refined, its story felt more connected to the overall picture (particularly with Big Boss' CharacterDevelopment) and the potential that ''Portable Ops'' showed with its army building mechanics were ''thoroughly'' lived up to, with an entire, constantly-growing, base of operations, a variety of options that expanded over the course of the entire game, and with the frustrating features simplified or removed. All that along with being the biggest ''Metal Gear'' game ever made at the time, meant it blew ''Portable Ops'' away.
* ''VideoGame/SoldnerX: Himmelssturmer'' was a serviceable [[ShootEmUp side-scrolling shoot-em-up]] with excellent visuals, but was mainly held back by its sluggishness and [[ItsShortSoItSucks brevity]]. Its sequel, ''Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype'' improves on both of these aspects while adding more playable ships and weapons, a revamped power-up and combo system (no more [[PoisonMushroom power-down items]]), and assorted challenges and an expansion pack to keep the game fresh even after completion.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'': In-between the standard danmaku games, which have been slowly improving, ZUN has done a bit of experimenting. The concepts he reuses tend to be much better the second time around:
** ''Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream'' is, bluntly, terrible, suffering from cheating AI, little plot, ugly graphics, and boring battles. ''Phantasmagoria of Flower View'' still isn't great, but is at least reasonably passable. The AI cheats less blatantly, a fairly interesting story, it's fairly pretty, and you're actually dodging your opponent's patterns instead of stage enemies.
** ''Shoot The Bullet'' was mostly made for the sake of having a game to go with the fanbook's release, and it shows. The game is fairly short, has a lot of very similar patterns (Spinning! Streaming! Spinning while streaming!), mostly fairly ugly patterns, an unpolished UI, and is really hard, even by ''Touhou'' standards. ''Double Spoiler'' is longer, has more variety, fixed most of ''STB'''s annoying issues, and is reasonably clearable by the average ''Touhou'' player.
** Then there is the fan game ''VideoGame/KoumajouDensetsu'' -- where the second game has received massive improvements over the first as well as added really well done voice acting.
* ''VideoGame/DementiumTheWard'', although enjoyable, had a number of flaws. The most known one being that [[CheckpointStarvation when you die, you go ALL the way back to the beginning of the chapter]]. ''Dementium II'' had numerous improvements, like an omnipresent minimap, the ability to crouch and jump, the ability to save up health-restoring items, more fluid controls and more balanced and varied levels.
* The original ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'', while still a fun Strategy RPG, was riddled with [[GoodBadBugs exploitable]] [[ArtificialStupidity bugs]] and [[FakeBalance poor class balance]], while having too gradual a difficulty curve. Later entries have not only fixed these problems, but also introduced new concepts, such as [[SummonMagic summoning]] and weapon skill levels, to add to the variety of the gameplay.
* ''VideoGame/LegoIsland 2'' is mostly a ContestedSequel, but the most common opinion on it is that it was killed by [[LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading long load times,]] dull and lifeless voice acting, poor animation, glitchy physics, low replay value, and [[GuideDangIt poorly explained]] mini-games. ''Lego Island Xtreme Stunts'' on the other hand fixes nearly all of these problems, mostly by adding far more replay value, shortening the load times, explaining the minigames better, and having far less glitches.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'':
** ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaTheAdventure The Adventure]]'' had unresponsive controls, FakeDifficulty in losing whip power after only ''one'' hit and extremely slow gameplay. Sub-weapons and such were absent, and hearts, normally used for subweapon power, restored energy. ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaIIBelmontsRevenge Belmont's Revenge]]'' rectified this in many ways, with only losing whip power if you die or get hit by the snake tower's fireballs. Christopher Belmont still moves slowly, but nowhere near as slow as his first adventure. The much more responsive controls, a non-linear level select format, like in ''Franchise/MegaMan'', even better music and a password system were welcome additions. The sub-weapon system reappeared, albeit it's only limited to the Cross (or Axe in the non-Japanese versions) and the Holy Water.
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaCircleOfTheMoon'' had a lot of complaints leveled at it for being too dark and hard to see on the un-backlit original GBA and having a lackluster plot (which was eventually [[CanonDiscontinuity deemed only semi-canon by Konami,]]) and ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaHarmonyOfDissonance'' is considered to be [[ItsEasySoItSucks way too easy,]] while the brighter graphics (made to counter complaints about the previous game) caught flak as well. ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow Aria of Sorrow]]'', however, was easily the best-received of the three.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' fans, following the [[ContestedSequel lukewarm reception]] to ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'', were rightfully skeptical that ''[[VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution Human Revolution]]'' could live up to the original, with the long time frame and the closure of Ion Storm with a new development team taking over. It's an almost unanimous opinion that the original game will never be matched, but many agree that ''Human Revolution'' is the worthy followup that ''Invisible War'' wasn't.
* ''Outpost'' was a turn-based colony management game that was well hyped before its release, but it turned out to just be [[RecycledINSPACE Simcity IN SPACE!]] Not only that, it had several bugs, and was basically unfinished. ''VideoGame/{{Outpost 2}}'' on the other hand, took some of the key plot elements from the first, and made it into an enjoyably complex real time strategy game with a heavy focus on colony management. The story (which ignored the first in almost every conceivable fashion) was very detailed and interesting, becoming a tale told from the point of view of two factions, both trying to survive and avoid extinction. The inclusion of the story in the form of a novella, along with all the well-researched science (the game leans heavily towards hard science fiction), makes the game more enjoyable than one would expect from its predecessor.
* The first ''VideoGame/ArcTheLad'' is a fairly average SRPG: The battle system is fast-paced but flawed, while its characters are likeable but severely underdeveloped; and to top it off, the game is criminally short. The sequel, on the other hand, has a much more detailed (and [[DarkerAndEdgier darker]]) plot, more characters with more interplay amongst themselves, a relatively revised battle system and a longer campaign. To this day, ''Arc the Lad II'' is considered to be the apex of the series, and all games that came after are generally agreed to have failed to live up to it. As for the first, fans usually recommend it on the grounds of "well, it's the first in the series... also, the second one is a direct sequel."
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' was an unimaginative RealTimeStrategy with two cosmetically different sides and little backstory. Then came ''Warcraft II'', still with very similar sides (except for mage spells and archer enhancements) but a fairly well-developed backstory. Along with ''VideoGame/DuneII'', ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'' is considered to be one of the progenitors of the RealTimeStrategy genre. ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' has 4 ''very'' different sides and an even richer backstory, the success of which prompted Blizzard to make [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft the most successful MMORPG in history]].
* The original ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'' had an interesting concept -- the whole series is a metaphor for the UsefulNotes/ConsoleWars -- but was critically panned for its awkward pace, SchizophrenicDifficulty, and frustrating game mechanics, including the inability to sell old equipment or even use items during battle as in most [=RPGs=]. Creator/IdeaFactory and Creator/CompileHeart took these criticisms to heart with ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2'', reworking the game almost from the ground up with a new battle system, ItemCrafting, and better implementations of some of the systems used in the first game (such as quests and the "Shares" system). While [[CriticalDissonance still not a critical hit]], some reviewers who hated the first game were pleased with the improvements in ''mk2'', saying that ''mk2'' actually came close to being a "good" or even "great" game. The first game was also given a pseudo-UpdatedRerelease (technically both the original and the remake take place in separate universes) with gameplay based on ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaVictory'' that is widely considered to be the superior version.
* ''VideoGame/RecordOfAgarestWar'', another Creator/IdeaFactory[=/=]Creator/CompileHeart series, experienced this with ''Agarest War 2''. The clunky strategy game-type battle system from the original game and [[VideoGame/RecordOfAgarestWarZero its prequel]] was replaced by a new system that while somewhat quirky, is also easy to control and makes the game's difficulty curve [[DifficultySpike look less like the Swiss Alps]]. This is probably also one of the only game series that was improved with the ''addition'' of RandomEncounters, as opposed to having to fight three to eight long strategy battles of random difficulty before reaching a safe spot.
* While the fourth and fifth ''Generation of Chaos'' games[[note]]the first two to be released outside of Japan[[/note]] were met with general indifference, the sixth game in the series, ''Pandora's Reflection'' (a joint effort between Creator/IdeaFactory and Creator/StingEntertainment), opted for a much simpler and more streamlined approach than its predecessors. ''Generation 6'' scored better review scores in the U.S. than either of the previous two games.
* The first ''[[VideoGame/SengokuSNK Sengoku]]'' game on the UsefulNotes/NeoGeo is a sub-par brawler with some cheap enemies, stiff controls, and power-ups that are likely to transform you into a worthless character. The sequel is an improvement, but not by much and still bears several of the major problems the original game had. ''Sengoku 3'' is better than the first two combined (to the point of being one of the most beloved beat 'em ups in general) and features much better gameplay and amazing visuals.
* ''Fallen Enchantress'', the second game in the ''Elemental'' series, was a deliberate attempt by Stardock to fix the numerous problems that plagued its predecessor, ''VideoGame/ElementalWarOfMagic'' -- namely the busted A.I. opponents (who could [[AttackAttackAttack do nothing but attack]]) and the mountains of other bugs. It still lacks an online multiplayer component, but the overall reception to ''Fallen Enchantress'' has been much better than ''War of Magic''. It was done again with ''Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes'', which added new stories and factions.
* ''VideoGame/TwoWorlds II'' fixed pretty much everything in the first game while retaining the WhatCouldHaveBeen elements, including [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjt4QpJSBIs an innovative spell system.]] The first game suffered from numerous glitches, missing animations, and extremely cheesy dialogue and its UsefulNotes/{{Xbox 360}} port was a [[PortingDisaster disaster]], which turned a buggy but playable game into a trainwreck. The second game is mostly remembered for its HUGE amount of content and a variety of multiplayer modes.
* ''VideoGame/RobotArena 2'', while not a [[CultClassic well-known]] game was a massive improvement over the original game. The sequel had much more customization options in regard to the chassis and weapons you could use, better AI, and an actual physics engine.
* ''Spec Ops'' was a middle-of-the-road shooter franchise from the UsefulNotes/PlayStation 1 days, perhaps only notable as being one of the first franchises set in the modern day while World War II was the standard setting for a military FPS. Flash forward about a decade, and the series is revived with ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'', considered one of the best examples of storytelling in gaming ever.
* ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' was relatively well received and had fun gameplay, but the storyline was non-existent [[note]]unless you read the box on the left side of the screen where you accepted missions, but this wasn't voiced and you weren't told that it's anything but filler[[/note]], the characters weren't all that developed, and it tended towards RealIsBrown. ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' addressed basically all the weaknesses; the storyline was much more complex, the characters (both the PC and [=NPCs=]) were much more developed, and the settings were far more varied. In general, the production values were ratcheted up in every way, though at the same time the second game also marked an increase in meme and pop culture humor that [[BrokenBase drove a wedge into the fanbase.]]
* After the pinnacle of the ''VideoGame/MetalSlug'' series with ''Metal Slug 3'', the series suffered from Creator/{{SNK}}'s bankruptcy and transformation into SNK Playmore. While the gameplay didn't suffer too badly, ''4'' ended up with recycled backgrounds and Marco and Eri getting replaced with [[ReplacementScrappy two new characters]], and ''5'' was rushed out the door before it was finished, resulting in a game devoid of a story and most of the series' personality (especially JustForFun/{{egregious}} with the FinalBoss, who's a giant winged, silhouetted demon who [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere comes right out of nowhere with no foreshadowing or explanation]]) and a lot more linear than previous games. Not only was ''Metal Slug 6'' released in full and with no recycled backgrounds, but it gave every character unique perks (like Fio starting every life with a heavy machine gun and getting more ammo from pickups, and Tarma having several vehicle-related perks) and includes Ralf and Clark from ''VideoGame/IkariWarriors'' as playable characters. ''6'' is considered by many to be the proper revival of the series.
* While ''Tecmo Cup Soccer'' introduced a fair hybrid between soccer and RPG, the game is still a [[ExcusePlot loose]] [[CulturalTranslation adaptation]] of ''Manga/CaptainTsubasa'' with rather clunky menu systems and controls. Then comes ''Captain Tsubasa Vol.II: Super Striker'', the sequel that makes huge improvements. It fixed all problems with the menus, has better interfaces, has faster pace, has [[AlternateUniverse its own interpretation of the series' plot]], and is satisfyingly challenging.
* ''Crazy Cars'', one of Creator/TitusSoftware's earliest games, had hideously ugly graphics and boring course design. ''Crazy Cars II'' had much cleaner graphics, but the roads remained strangely empty. ''Crazy Cars III'' made its predecessor look like an ObviousBeta.
* ''VideoGame/NESRemix'' is a decent MinigameGame that had a somewhat undercooked selection of classic NES games--genuine classics like ''VideoGame/{{Super Mario Bros|1}}'' and ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' feature prominently, while Nintendo's early sports titles (''Baseball'', ''Tennis'', ''Golf'', etc.) are included almost as an afterthought. However, the game was successful enough to spawn a sequel in ''NES Remix 2'', which features a higher quality selection of games (including ''VideoGame/KirbysAdventure'', ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2'' and ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3''), more creative remix stages, and the ability to view replays of other players' best times.
* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings'': The original game, while it had its fans, was definitely a flawed game, with a TroubledProduction and quite a lot of bugs. ''Crusader Kings II'', on the other hand, has received by far the smoothest launch of any Creator/ParadoxInteractive game to date, and received almost universal acclaim from the fans. Expansions like ''Sword of Islam'', ''Legacy of Rome'' and ''The Old Gods'' have only served to make it even better.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Two}} 2]]'' is, according to WordOfGod, better than its predecessor ''VideoGame/{{Crazd}}'' And it shows with the more polished gameplay and aesthetics, the latter of which feel more cohesive and charming despite still being [[LineBoil erra]][[StylisticSuck tic]].
* The original ''Film/TopGun'' for the NES was very slow-paced and boring, lacked dogfights, [[NintendoHard was extremely hard to land the plane]] (made famous thanks to ''WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd''), and difficult refueling scenes. The sequel, titled ''Top Gun: The Second Mission'', however, [[ActionizedSequel was much more action-packed]] [[SequelEscalation and fast-paced]], has much easier landing, no refueling scenes, and dogfight sequences. Not only that, but the game also gave you the ability to [[DoABarrelRoll perform barrel rolls]] to dodge missiles.
* ''VideoGame/AdvancedVariableGeo'' is a BleachedUnderpants remake of a UsefulNotes/PC98 [[HGame eroge]] that was little more than a waitress porn knockoff of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII''. The cast of characters was expanded and the storyline fleshed out to compensate for the toned-down sexual content.
* ''VideoGame/MotorToonGrandPrix'' had a lot of promise for a MascotRacer, such as the incorporation of realistic driving elements like working suspensions and slipstream, but it was brought down by a lack of content and a wonky physics engine. The sequel made the physics a lot better and added plenty of new content such as tracks, secret characters, and mini-games, all while improving the graphics.
* The first ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' was not a particularly remarkable game, and was seen as a ''Virtua Fighter'' clone, featuring blocky graphics, cheap music, and boss characters who were direct clones, as well as not many special moves. The home versions did not have any extra modes apart from Versus and Options modes. ''Tekken 2'' addressed all the issues and added a lot more cool characters and many modes.
* Even the most staunch defenders of the franchise will find it difficult to deny that the very first ''VideoGame/JustDance'' was practically the epitome of UsefulNotes/{{Shovelware}}, with barebones gameplay and extremely dodgy motion detection. Then the sequel came around and fixed all of the flaws of the original while adding in a boatload of new features (most notably DLC and Duet dances). Each sequel from then on has generally been regarded as an improvement over the previous installment.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioColorSplash'', while not without its own flaws, was considered to be a significant improvement over the poorly received previous installment ''VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar'' and fixed a number of (albeit not all of) ''Sticker Star'''s problems. It's far from being considered better than the [[VideoGame/PaperMario64 first]] [[VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor three]] [[VideoGame/SuperPaperMario games]], however.
* Gameplay-wise, the original ''VideoGame/SoundVoltex'' is pretty neat for its time, with its use of analog knobs to bring something new to "falling notes" {{Rhythm Game}}s as well as sound effects that give the impression of mixing the track in a live set. However, its tracklist mostly comprises remixes of existing Franchise/{{BEMANI}} songs of questionable quality (let's put it this way: [=LamazeP=] of "[=PoPiPo=]" fame [[OldShame personally]] [[http://twitter.com/lamazeP/status/180595072436416512 apologized]] for [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSlHsVKlZSY his remix of "Second Heaven"]]), SoBadItsGood Music/{{Vocaloid}} songs, and a handful of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' arranges. ''Sound Voltex II -infinite infection-'' is when the series started to pick up, introducing a lot of new songs at launch that were much better received, many of which are originals, helping to give the series a better sense of identity.
* The general consensus for ''VideoGame/WatchDogs2'' is that it's surprisingly much better than the mediocre [[VideoGame/WatchDogs first game]] in the series. It has a more likeable cast of characters, improved controls (especially while driving vehicles), new ways of solving hacking puzzles, and it doesn't take itself [[LighterAndSofter so seriously]].
* While the original ''VideoGame/{{MUSECA}}'' is a decent game, it suffers from some needlessly complex mechanics pertaining to Graficas that are not easily understood, especially by [[AmericansHateTingle players in US arcades]] as many of them don't speak Japanese well. ''MÚSECA 1 + 1/2'' recitifies this by making Grafica mechanics more simple (you only need to worry about one stat and one of five elements, and their unlocked effects if any don't affect your score or [[InterfaceScrew mess with the interface]]), making it easier to unlock Grafica (instead of a sequence of objectives or a random pull, just find the Grafica in the Mission mode list and use Graficas with high enough attack power to complete the mission), and finally, making Grafica ''completely optional'' (there's a "simple" mode where you just play songs for score like in other music games, charts are unlocked simply by purchasing them from the songlist, and even if you decide to use a Grafica all it does is decorate the interface and gain EXP for leveling up).
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'':
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil7Biohazard'' marked the return of the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series' horror roots, right after ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' went too far with the over-the-top action.
** As far as side games go, the little-respected ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilGunSurvivor Gun Survivor]]'' series was mostly known for being insubstantial fluff among its first three installments (''Survivor'', ''Survivor 2'', and the non-''RE'' ''[[VideoGame/DinoCrisis Dino Stalker]]''), but then the fourth and final one, ''Dead Aim'', was praised as surprisingly playable and fun.
* ''{{VideoGame/Stuntman}}'' was a [=PS2=] title that featured realistic handling physics and an interesting twist on the driving genre, but ultimately received meager popularity due to its' punishing difficulty. ''Stuntman: Ignition'', released as a console-generation-bridging title ([=PS2=], [=PS3=] and 360) featured a completely overhauled game system that kept the games difficulty nearly-intact, but made it ''much'' more fair for the player. Didn't hurt that it was also a much better looking game.
* For all the praise ''VideoGame/NieR'' gets for its story, cast, and interesting gameplay ideas, most people agree the actual gameplay is serviceable at best and outright obnoxious at worst. ''VideoGame/NierAutomata'' improved on almost all regards in the gameplay department thanks to the involvement of Creator/PlatinumGames and maintains the fantastic narrative and cast that the first game was known for, making it Creator/TaroYoko's most critically acclaimed work to date by a wide margin.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Onechanbara}}'' series were known for cheap not so good or mediocre games that were like a weird cross betweeen ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' and ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'', until ''Z: Kagura'' came out and became more [=DMC=]-like[=/=]Bayonetta-esque. While not perfect, it had two new characters, better level design (previous games were full of padding in stages), bosses that put up a fight, and enemy variety other than just zombies. ''Z2: Chaos'' took it even further with four playable characters that you could switch on the fly at any time, and new power-ups that were useful.
* The first ''VideoGame/FinalFight'' was what it was. ''Final Fight 2'' was a MissionPackSequel with somewhat more well-worked graphics, {{Suspiciously Similar Substitute}}s for Guy and Cody, even more of an ExcusePlot than the original[[note]]suddenly Mad Gear is an international gang, [[CutLexLuthorACheck and one would think that they'd do more than ferry mooks around countries to inconvenience the heroes looking for Guy's in-laws, like invest the money that would take into actually effective defenses]][[/note]] and repetitive BGM. ''Final Fight 3'', on the other hand, massively expands upon the combat formula, with running and {{Dash Attack}}s, an elaborate grappling system, the ability to perform {{Limit Break}}s, and divergent routes adding replayability. The problem is that [[ItsEasySoItSucks the revamped combat made the game so much easier, many fands didn't like it]], and it came out very late into the SNES's useful life.
* Among the ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal'' games, ''Twisted Metal III'' is universally considered the worst. ''Twisted Metal 4'', however, is seen as being better than ''III'' and almost as good as the first two games.
* ''VideoGame/{{Knack}}'' was a divisive game when it launched with the UsefulNotes/PlayStation4, seen largely as a mediocre showcase for the new console and an inferior successor to Mark Cerny's previous work with the ''VideoGame/CrashBandicoot'' series. Despite the odds, it sold well enough to warrant a sequel four years later. ''Knack II'' smoothed out the previous game's difficulty and made it more forgiving, and gave Knack greater variety in combat options, resulting in a more enjoyable experience overall.
* While ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' wasn't a bad game overall, it was met with mixed reception by the fans due to the overall tone being LighterAndSofter compared to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics''; ''Tactics'' was about war and betrayal while ''Advance'' deals with a group of adolescents that use escapism to avoid life's problems while the main protagonist tries to get them to face reality. The overall difficulty was also broken beyond recognition thanks to many of a GameBreaker (stealing abilities without having to learn them the normal way and making attacks so accurate that instant death skills made battles a joke for example). The law system was widely hated due to how restrictive it made battles, even with the ability to manipulate said laws. ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' addresses all of the problems of the previous game and deals them out in a nice package; the story is treated as just an adventure to have a good time on with some darker themes mixed in, the game breakers were nerfed (while some do exist still, it isn't as huge as they were before), and the law system was simplified and made less punishing for those who break the rules.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* The 'sillies' that run alongside ''Webcomic/CtrlAltDel'' have fewer panels (so the punchline comes at the end), stylised art (a complete lack of [[OnlySixFaces B^U]]) and a steadily rotating roster of secondary characters including the GrimReaper. On the other hand, they [[ScheduleSlip don't have a set schedule]].
* Website/PlatypusComix's "2008 Character Strike" series brought some comics that relied heavily on old material, as well as a simplistic ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' parody. These provided a few giggles, but not enough to hide the fact these ranked among the cheapest stories at the website. Then, the Head Executive decided to hire ComicBook/SpiderMan to replace the usual characters, resulting in ''Webcomic/TrueBelievers''. Released a few weeks after Marvel's polarizing ''ComicBook/OneMoreDay'', ''True Believers'' sent Spidey and Mary Jane Watson on a suspenseful, emotionally-driven adventure to prevent Creator/{{Joe|Quesada}} [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed Quesadilla]] from forcefully ending their contented and iconic marriage. Peter Paltridge went on to declare this one of the best comics he ever wrote.
* The Bad Webcomics Wiki [[http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/The_Wotch:_CHEER took this view]] of ''Webcomic/{{Cheer}}''. The comic it spun out of, ''Webcomic/TheWotch'', received a scathing review for being seen as [[TerribleArtist ugly]], [[AuthorAppeal fetishistic]], [[UnfortunateImplications offensive]], and [[ExcusePlot badly-written]], with special attention being paid to the arc that introduced the characters in ''Cheer!'' for being [[DethroningMomentOfSuck among the worst in its run.]] By contrast, the review of ''Cheer!'' was a lot kinder, claiming that the comic was nothing spectacular, but it was better-drawn and better-written, with likeable characters and clear attempts to avert or even deconstruct the sexism and perversion of its roots.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's "Top 5 Least Awful Disney Sequels" review, she admits that ''Disney/CinderellaIIIATwistInTime'' got the top spot in part because it fixed a lot of the problems inherent in [[{{Disney/Cinderella}} the original story]] (and [[Disney/CinderellaIIDreamsComeTrue the second movie]] was bad enough to make her corresponding "Worst Sequels" list). The ''{{Disney/Pocahontas}}'' sequel gets an Honorable Mention for similar reasons; she found it dumb, but still more interesting than the original.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic admits that ''Film/BabyGeniuses 2'' is better than the original, though downplayed in still being quite bad.
* Creator/DougWalker actually didn't like ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' very much, but really enjoyed the second movie.
* [[Website/PlatypusComix Peter Paltridge]] deemed ''Addams Family Values'' more interesting than ''Film/TheAddamsFamily'', because of the increased amount of FishOutOfWater situations for the clan.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The early proto-WesternAnimation/BugsBunny short "Elmer's Candid Camera" was a total disaster, suffering from poor characterization, mediocre gags and positively abysmal timing and pacing, and as such [[OldShame received such bashing from]] Creator/ChuckJones, the director of the short, in his autobiography. Creator/TexAvery learned from Chuck's mistakes, and promptly remade the cartoon as the first real Bugs Bunny cartoon "WesternAnimation/AWildHare".
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls'' was extremely polarizing when it was released, both among its target demographic and [[PeripheryDemographic the bronies]]. ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsRainbowRocks'' is considered superior in every way, and it's been received far better by both groups. Even fans who still aren't wild about the AlternateUniverse premise are willing to admit that the soundtrack to ''Rainbow Rocks'' includes some of the series' best songs.
* All of the ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' movies from ''The Magic Ring'' onwards.
* ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'' is considered to be much better story and characterization wise than ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983''. It also features subtly improved animation and character art. Unfortunately it didn't last as long due to the toy line not selling well.
* Book Three: Change of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' is considered to be a major improvement by fans and critics from the [[BrokenBase fan-polarized]] Book Two: Spirits.
* ''Ghouls Rule'', the first ''Franchise/MonsterHigh'' DVD movie isn't ''terrible'', but it suffered from a ''lot'' of writing and plot problems. Its sequel ''13 Wishes'' was a vast improvement in every way and is considered by many fans to be one of the franchise's high points. And while ''Frights, Camera, Action'' was pretty mediocre and had a bad case of TheScrappy, ''Freaky Fusion'' is delightfully weird and introduced several {{Ensemble Dark Horse}}s to the fandom.
[[/folder]]

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