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Franchise Original Sin / Video Games

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Most Video Games improve with each installment, but even those ones tend to leave themselves vulnerable to one crucial weakness.

Please place all new entries in alphabetical order.

Games with their own pages:

Other games:

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf, like some 3DS games, incorporate the system's Play Coins as currency for certain features. Among these is for the fortune cookies, which contain unique furniture if the player gets the corresponding fortune. As tedious as grinding the Play Coins itself and the fact that the items obtained are random (possibly duplicates), this is still considered fine for the fanbase, as there is nothing else that keeps the player from trying to get them all. And then comes Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and its own take on fortune cookies. To match its elusiveness with the New Leaf ones, only two that can be bought with Bells appear on the shop per day, but the option of using premium currency is also available. This proceeds to annoy a lot of fans, as the fortune cookie mechanics (Randomly Drops, Rare Random Drop, possible duplicates) become more detrimental for players who want to complete the Catalog and unlock Memories. Why? The event fortune cookies appear only temporarily and show up very rarely at the shop, leaving only the premium currency as a way to purchase, which is considered by fans to be way too expensive (a dollar equals 20 Leaf Tickets) thanks to how stingy the game is when it comes to free Leaf Tickets.
  • Before Origins heavily shook up the formula, the Assassin's Creed series received a lot of complaints about the fact that the core gameplay of social stealth and combat had barely changed since the first game, with later games merely adding a bunch of features to pass things off as new.
    • Assassin's Creed III is cited as the point where this became a problem, as many felt that the game's main missions were basically scripted events, even the Assassination missions, which should be stealthy and open-ended. It was also seen as being overstuffed with side activities and additional features. However, this was an ongoing trend since the well-liked Assassin's Creed II, and its follow-ups Brotherhood and Revelations, which had moved away from the stealthy original and were filled with additional features and content. What made them acceptable was that Brotherhood and Revelations were Mission Pack Sequels, and as such, the additional features were condoned and seen as part of the appeal of the touristy cities with exotic architecture. The fact that the New World setting of ACIII lacked the tall buildings, fancy architecture, and recognizable landmarks in favor of forests and colonial outposts only brought these problems to the forefront.
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    • III was also criticized for its Been There, Shaped History tendencies, with the hero interacting on a first-name basis with many of America's Founding Fathers and participating in several key events of The American Revolution, which to many beggared disbelief. Yet this was always part of the franchise's appeal. Altair in Assassin's Creed I conversed on even terms with the very Christian King Richard the Lionheart and later fought Genghis Khan, Ezio counted Leonardo da Vinci and Machiavelli among his best friends and interacted with a "who's who" of the Renaissance, and the later Black Flag had the hero interact with every famous English pirate of that time. In the case of III, the American Founding Fathers and the events of the Revolution were perhaps too prominent, known to every schoolboy, with the setting seen by foreign gamers as Eagleland. The other historical figures and settings, while somewhat well-known, aren't held in nearly the same reverence, nor are their memories part of current political discourse.
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    • Assassin's Creed: Unity is an inversion, an example of the franchise returning to its roots as a result of the divisive reaction to III — greater focus on stealth, less focus on side activities, more assassination missions, toning down the Been There, Shaped History aspect — and getting thoroughly trashed for essentially repeating its original sins. Assassin's Creed I was criticized in its time for repetitive side activities, lack of additional interaction with the open world, and endless collectibles. Unity returned with repetitive Side Story quests and endless collectibles that dotted out the map, to the extent that people became nostalgic for the much-reviled flags of I. Where III was criticized for Connor being too central to the Revolution, Unity was criticized for the hero being too marginal to the events, with the game being highly criticized for its shallow representation of history. The game which followed, Syndicate, received praise for making more diverse side missions, a fairer look at the historical events, and having additional features missing in Unity.
    • Many of the recurring elements that have been critiqued for being out of place, such as a modern day framing story, the silhouette of the Assassin outfit, and the overt nature of the Assassin vs. Templar conflict, have been there from the beginning. The difference was, the framing story started out as a major reveal (and could not be said to have overstayed its welcome yet), the outfit was chosen for a reason (it highly resembled the monks of the region, allowing for social stealth), and the Assassin vs. Templar conflict was rooted in the actual history of those organizations. At some point, the developers began to treat these as too iconic of the franchise and kept them around even as they became divorced from their original contexts. The modern day framing story remains even after its original plot has long since been resolved, the Assassins continue to wear similar outfits despite how incredibly conspicuous a hooded outfit is in most contexts (not to mention the increasingly prominent logos), and the central conflict is increasingly overt and now predates the historical organizations (the fact that the Assassins and Templars secretly existed outside of the Crusades at all, let alone into the modern day, was the other big twist, and was part of the concept that this was the truth of our own history being revealed through Genetic Memory 20 Minutes into the Future).
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • One of the biggest criticisms aimed toward Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Knight was present in Batman: Arkham City, where, despite Hugo Strange being marketed and presented as the main villain in the beginning of the game, you'll spent so much of it curing the Joker from his disease (all but one or two hours in the entire game) that the game needs to remind you that Strange exists from time to time. Making him the Big Bad of the first game was quite sensible because, well, who else would you pick? The second game was intended to be Mark Hamill's swansong for the character, which nobody would have wanted pushed to a side mission. But the third game had Black Mask (a relatively unknown villain) presented as the Big Bad, only to get upstaged by Joker. By the fourth game, the promoted main villain Scarecrow (considered one of the most memorable villains in the original game, and who had only made a full appearance there) is overshadowed by the Joker hallucination, who ends up being the final encounter while Scarecrow is defeated in a cutscene, and certain other villains who hadn't been utilized very much (such as Two-Face) are either not present or encountered only in side missions.
    • The City PC port was decent but sub-optimized and came a month after the console versions, Origins' was filled with bugs and then the Knight port happened. It was forgiven for City because the port was still good enough to be played on, and Origins was tolerated because the game was seen as a quick cash-in rush job by WB anyway.
    • It should also be noted that, while it become completely obvious in Batman: Arkham Knight (where there isn't a single Boss Battle outside of driving sections and Quick Time Events), the series always had a problem with Boss fights. For example, in Asylum, the Final Boss (a Titan-ized Joker) isn't fought directly and instead you have to fight waves of Mooks between Quick Time Events to damage the boss. It was forgiven in Asylum because it was the first game of the series by then-relatively unknown Rocksteady, and City had the amazing Ra's al Ghul and Mr. Freeze boss battles to make up for it.
    • Riddler Trophies. Arkham Knight had people complaining that some of them were out in the open without needing to do anything special to get them. In truth, this was the case all the way back in Asylum. The difference is that Asylum was on a much smaller scale and the Riddler trophy collecting was new.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has been criticized by some reviews and fans of having tedious backtracking and tiresome quest design. While some of these problems have existed since the first entry in the franchise, Borderlands 2 did mitigate some of the excessive backtracking and offered vastly improved gameplay and writing that helped distract from some of the sluggish pacing problems. However, as noted in this IGN review, The Pre-Sequel did not correct the pacing problems despite being the 3rd main installment in the series, thus making it more difficult to ignore these issues.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's Signature Scene was, by the opinions of just about every player and gaming outlet, the nuke. It was about as big of a Downer Ending as could possibly happen for the American side of the campaign: shocking, visceral, and utterly tragic. It's very likely responsible for lifting the series from merely a well-rated set of games to a Cash Cow Franchise. Later games, however, would try to top the nuke scene over and over, with Shocking Swerve after Shocking Swerve, moments that existed seemingly solely for shock value ("No Russian" in Modern Warfare 2, which at least had a story link to the rest of the game, and "Davis Family Vacation" in Modern Warfare 3, which... really did not), and a few sequences that just plain repeated the nuke sequence verbatim (respectively the EMP over Washington, D.C. in 2 and the gas attacks across Europe in 3). By Modern Warfare 3, the audience had come to expect these events, and they'd stopped being shocking and started feeling manufactured and trite.

      Furthermore, the nuke scene also foreshadowed the series' reliance on linear set-pieces that restricted the player's agency. This video pegs Modern Warfare 2 as the point where this problem got out of hand, arguing that it tried to create something like the nuke scene every forty-five minutes. It worked in the first Modern Warfare because it was an ending to that side of the campaign, and one explicitly designed to make the player feel powerless at that, but later games used similar highly-scripted moments as power fantasies instead, which went against legacy game mechanics that were designed to disempower the player back when the series was still focused on storming the beaches of Normandy as part of a team.
    • Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer started the trend of nerfing kill/score/pointstreaks for future games. While the developers' intent was so that there would be less offensive streak-spamming and spawn-killing by offensive streaks, this had the unfortunate side-effect of making high offensive-streaks almost useless to go after. In Ghosts' case, most players just ran either the Support or Specialist Strike Packages instead of the Assault Strike Package due to many items in the Assault Package being too weak to run with (this also contributed to Ghosts' criticism for encouraging camping-style play in multiplayer).
    • One of the biggest complaints you will see about the series' multiplayer is that the time it takes to kill seems to get quicker with each installment, resulting in a devolution into a simple 'whoever shoots first' style of gameplay. This can be traced back to Modern Warfare, which had a few annoying One-Hit Kill weapons, but were few in number and most players stuck with more Boring, but Practical weapons. The game also included the Stopping Power perk that gives a 40% damage boost to all ballistic weapons. When Black Ops came out, it removed Stopping Power but didn't adjust damage values to compensate. A common criticism of that game's multiplayer was that it now took too long to kill. From this point onwards, the damage of weapons were increasingly ramped up (by Black Ops II, even the pistols, at close range, rival the strongest of the assault rifles in damage) and many one-shot kill weapons became more prominent, leading to the oft-dreaded gameplay style used today.
    • One of the most derided parts of the series among critics and fans alike was the increasing shift to a futuristic sci-fi setting, beginning with Black Ops II and reaching a nadir with Infinite Warfare; the backlash from the latter leading to the series Revisiting the Roots with WWII. However, this trend can be found as far back as the first Modern Warfare, which took place Next Sunday A.D. and had multiple segments seemingly designed to show off cutting edge technology. This can be forgiven however as said technology was genuinely novel at the time. The aforementioned Black Ops II was the first to shift into 20 Minutes into the Future territory, but balanced things out with levels taking place in the 1980s, and having many of the futuristic elements be based on current emerging technologies to keep things plausible. But by the time Advanced Warfare gave us a Cyber Punk setting and Infinite Warfare sent the series into outer space, it was agreed that the series had completely lost its grip on the realism that it was originally renowned for.
    • Call of Duty games are often derided for being a series of military shooters that function as little more than right-wing, jingoistic murder simulators. Many of these criticisms started with the Modern Warfare sub-series yet may forget both Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, the games that kickstarted the modern military shooter genre, are actually deconstructions of propaganda games. In both entries, America doesn't save the day and its actions end in failure whether it's a nuclear bombing that kills thousands of Americans or a CIA agent participating in a civilian massacre that leads to World War III. However, the breakout success of Call of Duty led the franchise to embrace the militaristic Patriotic Fervor in hopes of escalating the series and capitalizing on its fame. Modern Warfare 3 deliberately indulged its blockbuster power fantasy with an America Saves the Day ending and Call of Duty: Ghosts was criticized for showing its American heroes as righteous figures while depicting the Latin American-based Federation as an Always Chaotic Evil. Not helping matters was that publisher Activision deliberately marketed the games as power fantasies and even brought on the US military advisors to endorse the series. Subsequently, Call of Duty fell victim to its own success as became the military propaganda that it once sought to condemn.
  • Chris Avellone is well-known for consistently deconstructing whatever genre, medium, or world he's working with, often through the use of mouthpiece characters. In the case of Planescape: Torment, this led to a massively-acclaimed examination of Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, Order Versus Chaos, and other core tropes of D&D. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was also well-liked, but his Author Avatar Kreia is a major Base-Breaking Character because she provides him an opportunity to rant on everything he hates about Star Wars and a lot of players considered Kreia to be almost as annoying as the buggy state of the game. However, things finally collapsed in the DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, when his author avatar, Ulysses, became a Creator's Pet of unimaginable proportions; not only is he a mouthpiece for Avellone, everyone else who talks about him is constantly shilling him as an epic badass, the DLC about him is portrayed as a fated confrontation, and it's spent fighting through an army of tough monsters while listening to him rant about how he hates the setting and wants to nuke everything again (because Avellone dislikes how Fallout has rebuilt itself from the post-apocalyptic setting of the first game).
  • David Cage has always had great moments in his games, but even back in Fahrenheit, it was noted that the overriding plotline was just weird, and didn't fit with the previous scenes. At the time, this could be forgiven due to Executive Meddling forcing the developers to rush the game out the door before they came up with a proper ending, leading to the Gainax Ending that it ultimately had. However, Heavy Rain had all manner of strange foreshadowing with no payoff, and in Beyond: Two Souls, the plot is in a chopped-up order and doesn't fit together at all. While Beyond still has quite a few fans, if the trend continues, the Original Sin will be revealed. Cage plots by imagining cool, individual scenes, but doesn't seem to know how to put them together in a sensible fashion.
  • Many Dead Rising fans disliked how the fourth game felt "dumbed down" compared to past entries, scrubbing away many of the series' more unique touches in an effort to reach a wider audience, to the point where Capcom released a free patch to go with the Game of the Year Edition that made several changes in order to Win Back the Crowd. In truth, many of the most criticized elements of that game could be found in the second and third games.
    • The strict time limit placed on the player was always one of the most controversial gameplay mechanics in the series, with about half the fans calling it a Scrappy Mechanic that gravely restricted the player's freedom and the other half arguing that it was one of the best things about the series, as it forced players to memorize the map and think about their next move. As such, when the third game made the timer far more lenient, extending it to six days instead of three, the reaction was decidedly mixed, though even those who didn't like the change didn't mind too much. Plus, there was an optional difficulty to make it more like the previous games. Then the fourth game dropped the timer completely, and one of the most common complaints about the resulting game was that, without the timer, it had lost a key part of what made the series unique, turning into a cookie-cutter Wide Open Sandbox game.
    • The second game, meanwhile, introduced combo weapons, letting the player MacGyver dozens of unique, powerful zombie-slaying tools out of the various other items around them. While the resulting game heavily emphasized the use of these combo weapons, they were treated very much as special items. The player had to visit workbenches in order to build them, meaning that the standard arsenal of "whatever isn't nailed down" was still very useful. The third game got rid of the workbenches and allowed players to build combo weapons anywhere provided that they had the two items required for it, which made them far easier to acquire — and the regular weapons far less useful as a result. The fourth game streamlined things even further, to the point where the only use for most of the various items lying around was to build special weapons. As such, one of the main concepts of the first two games, the creativity of being able to use anything you can get your hands on as a weapon, fell by the wayside. The reasoning behind doing so got weaker as well. While both Chuck Greene from the second game and Nick Ramos from the third had backstories as, respectively, motorcycle and auto mechanics to justify their creation abilities, Frank West could pull off all the same skills in the fourth game with nothing but a Hand Wave on how he took a shop class to meet girls. And on that note...
    • A major point of contention in the fourth game is its heavy emphasis on humor, which fans not only felt was a jarring departure from previous entries, but also didn't fit the mood the game itself was going for. Humor had its place in the series from the start: the first game let you go wild with joke weapons and wear silly costumes that would carry over into cutscenes, and you could meet multiple survivors and psychopaths that were at least partially played for laughs. The key difference was that it knew the difference between pure comedy and levity: the game's main story is still a stone-faced drama that every character takes seriously, most of its item-based physical comedy remained either out-of-the-way or optional, and even the sillier characters often had a tragic side that justified their behaviour. After the third game was criticised for being too dark, Dead Rising 4 course-corrected to an extreme. Frank has endless quips for everything, which bleeds into serious story moments and undermines some of its darker elements. Neither survivors nor maniacs are given enough development to balance out their quirks. Weapons that are joke-y or even just blatantly impossible are also given even greater prominence than before: the Laser Blade went from being an Infinity +1 Sword in the first game, to an oddball combo weapon in the second, to feeling downright tame in the fourth game when just about every combo weapon has some kind of elemental power. All these elements combine to make the fourth game feel like it cannot decide if it wants to fully commit to being a comedy or not, and the game's atmosphere suffers for it.
    • Finally, the fourth game's removal of the Psychopaths, people who had snapped and gone postal due to the stress of the zombie outbreak and served as boss battles, was widely criticized, with their replacement, the Maniacs, being broadly unpopular for lacking the distinctive personalities and introductory cutscenes that the Psychopaths had. (One of the big changes made in the aforementioned patch was to beef up the Maniacs, giving them more health, new attacks, and unique boss themes.) The third game had already begun toning down the Psychopaths, with most of the fights required to progress through the story being with conventionally evil military figures or gang leaders, and only six optional Psychopaths along the side. While the concept of having seven different Psychopaths based on the Seven Deadly Sins (the six optional Psychos, plus the story-critical Albert the sleazy surgeon, who represented Greed) was applauded by some fans for providing a theme to the boss fights, others found themselves wishing that there were more of them scattered throughout the game, especially in a setting that served as a pastiche of the ripe-for-satire Los Angeles. Dropping and replacing them altogether in the fourth game wasn't a big leap.
  • Dead Space 2 was an Actionized Sequel that set the Dead Space series on the road to abandoning the Survival Horror gameplay of the first game in favor of becoming a Third-Person Shooter. Dead Space 2's Sequel Escalation, however, saw it ramp up the horror set pieces in tandem with making the gameplay smoother and adding multiplayer, such that some fans hailed it as an Even Better Sequel. Then Dead Space 3, in response to the disappointing sales of the last game (four million units, a lot but not enough to cover its enormous budget), scrubbed away the horror almost entirely in order to play Follow the Leader with the shooter trends of the time (Co-Op Multiplayer, cover-based shooter gameplay, a weapon customization system that gave players overpowered weaponry very early on), a move that met disastrous results.
  • Duke Nukem Forever:
    • One of the biggest criticisms of the game was the character of Duke himself, who many reviewers described as a repulsively unlikable person. Back in the days of Duke Nukem 3D, though, Duke had still been a pretty unlikeable person, but he was lauded for the fact that he had a personality at all, compared to non-characters like the Doomguy or BJ Blazkowicz. Furthermore, Duke was intended as a parody of the Hollywood Action Hero archetype; his one-liners were taken from popular action films of The '80s, and his character flaws were blown up to comical proportions. In the following fifteen years, however, many shooter games had been released featuring extremely fleshed-out and likable protagonists, and Duke hadn't evolved at all. If anything, he'd become more unlikable, with the elements that had been played for parody in Duke Nukem 3D played straight in Forever.
    • Other criticized elements of DNF's humor, the Take Thats to other franchises and the pop culture references, also hail from 3D. The Take Thats worked back then because 3D was a genuinely innovative game that improved on Doom's formula, so a bit of gloating didn't feel undeserved. DNF, however, tried to deliver Take Thats to games that it was outright copying, while bringing very little to the table gameplay-wise. In terms of pop culture, 3D's jokes were either very topical or referencing sources obscure enough that people thought they were original jokes. On the other hand, DNF's infamously long development cycle meant that many of its jokes or references had already become Discredited Memes (most infamously a lengthy Leeroy Jenkins joke, made in 2011).
  • Far Cry:
    • Far Cry 3 started the process of streamlining many of the more unique gameplay mechanics of the first two games, downplaying the survival aspects in favor of emphasizing the Wide Open Sandbox. The thing was, some of the gameplay mechanics from Far Cry 2 that its successor abandoned, such as malaria and weapon degradation, were seen by many players as Scrappy Mechanics, and so their departure was welcomed by a significant cohort of the fanbase. It's not for nothing that Far Cry 3 is sometimes held up as the series' creative high point. When this trend continued with the fourth and fifth games, however, fans started to bemoan the continuing simplification of the gameplay, especially as elements of its formula started to creep into other Ubisoft titles like Assassin's Creed and Watch_Dogs.
    • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a Mission-Pack Sequel built around recycled content from the third game, foreshadowing how Far Cry Primal and Far Cry: New Dawn did the same with the fourth and fifth games, respectively. The difference was, it only cost $15, it was marketed as a standalone Expansion Pack rather than a full game, and moreover, it converted the game into an '80s sci-fi action Genre Throwback that felt radically different from the base game. Primal and New Dawn, on the other hand, were the usual Far Cry formula set in prehistoric times and the post-apocalypse, respectively, and treated as full games with price points to match.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • One of the biggest criticisms is the majority of designs for its female characters, who often sport impossible proportions and/or little to no clothing, with most of them being Gender Flipped versions of their original stories seemingly just to give an excuse for as much Fanservice as possible. The precursor to all of these seems to be Rider from the original Fate/stay night, who can generously be described as wearing a tube-top dress with a Dangerously Short Skirt, but had enough characterization and a Sweater Girl alternate outfit that balanced it out that it didn't dominate her character, and she was notably the only example of such a design in the game. Later installments in the Fate Series started to increase these like the Red Saber from Fate/EXTRA whose transparent-skirt was seen as too silly to be taken seriously and Rider's Absolute Cleavage baring ensemble, which were still criticized but tolerated. Grand Order merely marked the point when these sorts of designs started being in the majority, and the most criticized designs were made by guest artists who weren't nearly as restrained with the fanservice as Takashi Takeuchi, who was the character designer for the original game. The fact that the original Fate/Stay Night was an H-game also probably contributes to this.
    • Another issue that came to a head in Grand Order was the preponderance of Saberclones, the frequency of which had gradually been increasing starting with the appearance of Mordred in the character material for the first Fate/Stay Night game, which was eventually upgraded to a small appearance in the anime version, and the character was well enough received to later gain a role in Fate/Apocrypha and later Grand Order. What makes Mordred different from the other Saberclones is that she is literally a clone of Saber and this forms a good part of her character arc and motivations. Likewise Jeanne d’Arc as depicted in Fate/Zero had Saber’s resemblance to her be a plot point since Jeanne’s contemporary Gilles de Rais suffers a case of Thoroughly Mistaken Identity where he’s convinced they are one and the same, as well as something of a meta gag since Jeanne is often the first guess for Saber's true identity by fans, and the two are different enough characters that fans gave it as pass. Even Nero from Fate/EXTRA, generally seen as the point where it got out of hand, had the meta-reason of her personality being meant to contrast the original, being far more prideful, loud and wild than Saber ever was. Later Saberclones have, at best, Identical Stranger as an in-universe explanation for their resemblance to the original and no real thematic reason for being a Saberface other than "we need to have a Saberface." This also wasn't helped by Grand Order heavily establishing alternate versions of the original as their own separate characters, meaning that on top of six or seven Identical Strangers, there's also "Artoria but she's older/Artoria but she's evil/Artoria but she's older and evil", among others, to add to the counter. A handful even ended up being Joke Characters lampshading this (including one who's determined to kill all the Saberfaces to stop a Bad Future where they've taken over the franchise), suggesting that TYPE-MOON have grown aware of this and started to milk it for self-deprecating laughs.
  • As acclaimed as GoldenEye (1997) is, it is responsible for codifying James Bond video games as action-packed romps lacking the kind of social espionage that the character is perhaps more famous for. With GoldenEye, it was accepted for a variety of reasons. For one, its source material had multiple memorable action scenes that easily translated into fun gameplay. In addition, that gameplay was incredibly novel for the time, in particular its emphasis on completing a variety of objectives instead of the 'find the keycards and the exit' levels that were hallmarks of mid-'90s FPS games. It also helped that the game let the player use an array of gadgets to give it that Bond flavor. Future games based on the franchise, however, would continue to indulge deeper into the action side of the formula, and felt significantly less innovative, as these games were often indebted to whatever style of shooter was popular when they were made. The final straw was 007 Legends, which suffered from trying to fit less action-packed films into the Call of Duty mold.
  • The Guitar Hero series, along with its successor/rival Rock Band, both found themselves plagued with Mission Pack Sequels, a problem that only became acute late in both series' lifespans but was noticeable much earlier on.
    The Original Sin was Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, a poorly-received sequel to the excellent Guitar Hero II, made by Harmonix under contract after Activision bought the series. Neversoft (under Activision) made Guitar Hero III and onward, with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Guitar Hero: On Tour — Decades, Guitar Hero: On Tour — Modern Hits, and two different versions of Band Hero (one for DS and one for consoles).
    Harmonix themselves would continue this trend on their own with Rock Band Track Packs (bare-bones game discs with songs taken from the game's vast DLC library, for players stuck on consoles with no DLC or who want to get the songs for slightly cheaper), a LEGO Adaptation Game, and band-specific sequels. The Track Packs were tolerated due to being explicitly marketed as handy DLC bundles rather than full games, and their game based on The Beatles was critically aclaimed thanks to The Beatles' legendary status (it helps that the game's tracklist could not be exported to the main games, helping it stand as its own game rather than a Mission-Pack Sequel), but their next game, focused on Green Day, was seen as So Okay, It's Average at best.
    Other (poorly-received) imitators such as Rock Revolution and Power Gig: Rise of the SixString only worsened the situation. Eventually, both series, and the entire genre of peripheral-based Rhythm Games drowned in a flood of Mission Pack Sequels.
  • Halo:
    • The Halo series has been criticized for its games being too dependent on backstory from the Expanded Universe, like Halo 5: Guardians not making much sense without having seen Halo: Escalation, Spartan Ops, Halo: Nightfall, Halo: New Blood, etc. This reliance on the expanded universe for backstory goes back to the franchise's first two entries: Halo: Combat Evolved and its tie-in novel Halo: The Fall of Reach. Without The Fall of Reach, the player had no clue about where Master Chief came from, why the Covenant were attacking, where Cortana came from, what the Pillar of Autumn ship was evacuating from, and so on. But the difference was that the plot of Combat Evolved was self-contained to the events on the titular Halo ring, so all the missing backstory didn't matter to the events in-game. This pattern of keeping the games' and books' plots separate was largely the same until 343 Industries took over the series, making the EU more prominent but with mixed results on its games.
    • Additionally, the complaints about Halo devolving into a Call of Duty ripoff after 343i took over. Many complained about the focus on gimmicks such as Armor/Spartan Abilities, the addition of sprinting, the removal of Elites as a playable model, increasing the pace of the game, blatantly mimicking Call of Duty's class system, and finally, the addition of ADS (Aiming Down Sights) which sparked the most controversy. Many of these things, beside the ADS, were present in Halo: Reach, the last Halo game Bungie created. Reach added Armor Abilities, included the ability to sprint, reduced playing as Elites to exclusive modes, and added loadouts for each match for differentiation. Sprint was even considered for Halo 2 at one point. The difference is that Bungie knew when to draw the line, making sure that it was its own original game. Specifically, the loadouts were pre-determined and could not be customized in matchmaking, the gameplay still felt like Halo despite the Armor Abilities as opposed to being blatantly influenced by Call of Duty, and the emphasis on balanced, map-oriented gameplay was still there (just not as much as before). 343, on the other hand, took it to another level and turned Halo into something that's barely recognizable from the older games, all by doing what Bungie did, but going even further with it than they dared to go. That said, 343i did completely remove the loadout system in Halo 5: Guardians's classic-style multiplayer mode, and the ADS system turned out to be mechanically identical to the scopes of previous games (with the only non-cosmetic difference being that every weapon could be zoomed).
  • As a remake, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is highly contested for most of its changes feeling like downgrades to what was in the original game. Many of these complaints existed in Ocarina of Time 3D in a more understandable form: it had some small edits to gameplay and its control scheme, while the changes to the lighting engine significantly changed the visual composition of a few scenes, most notably during the final boss fight with Ganon. The difference is that Ocarina of Time 3D was still a very faithful remake where most of the edits were small quality-of-life deals. Majora's Mask 3D on the other hand was far more liberal with its edits to mechanics that felt fine in the original game, such as the Zora swimming controls and remaking most of its boss fights, while at the same time not doing much to implement more subtle quality-of-life changes that the game would have legitimately benefitted from. Majora's Mask's much darker tone also made the new lighting engine feel out of place, especially when implemented alongside a new, brighter colour palette and contrasted with the more faithful texture work in Ocarina of Time 3D.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite:
    • The Marvel side of the roster was heavily criticized for almost exclusively focusing on characters featured in Marvel's live-action films, with Nova, Ghost Rider and Venom being the sole exceptions. What people tend to forget is that mainstream popularity and adaptations have always influenced which Marvel characters were included in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, with the huge number of mutant characters in the earlier games largely owing to the massive popularity of the X-Men cartoon that was airing at the time the series began. While there were more adventurous and obscure choices like Shuma-Gorath and M.O.D.O.K., those were always a relatively small portion of the overall cast. It's just that in the case of Infinite, the favoritism shown to the MCU characters came across as far more blatant since characters whose film rights are not held by Marvel, such as the X-Men and Doctor Doom, were mysteriously left out of the game. In fact, the MCU influence was there earlier but much, much more controlled and less prominent. 3 added Thor, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange and Rocket Raccoon specifically because of the MCU (even with the latter two not getting movies until years later). It also downplayed the presence of X-Men, with 2 having a whopping 18 out of 28 X-Men reps but 3 only having 7 out of 25. Only four returning X-Men characters from that game appeared (Wolverine, Magneto, Storm, Sentinel) while the rest got cut in favor of three newcomers (Phoenix, X-23, Deadpool). However, given that it gave more exposure to the general Marvel roster, still maintained the presence of non-MCU and Unexpected Characters, and the three newcomers being fan-favorites, this was something people liked. Unfortunately, this got turned Up to Eleven when Infinite rolled out, removing almost all non-MCU characters just as a spite towards Fox and a blatant promotion of the movies, combined with massive Executive Meddling and a lack of polish that made it feel like the cheap MCU plug that fans widely condemn it for.
    • One of the biggest complaints about the game was the sheer amount of returning characters from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and other previous games, with the only new characters in the launch roster being Captain Marvel, Mega Man X, Ultron, Gamora, and Jedah. While many fans and critics have accused Capcom of being lazy, the entire Marvel vs. Capcom series was practically built on reusing character models from older games like Marvel Super Heroes and the Street Fighter Alpha series. The amount of brand new characters has always been quite small when compared to the sheer amount of recycled fighters. The main reason this proved so problematic for Infinite was that its immediate predecessor had far more newcomers, as well as the fact that there were fan-favorite Marvel and Capcom characters fans were hoping for that got left out in favor of less-popular characters who seemed like they were only included due to laziness (such as Spencer, whose inclusion was met with widespread derision and bafflement). Not helping matters was the announcement that new characters like Sigma, Black Panther and Monster Hunter would be available as DLC, which created the perception that Capcom purposefully avoided including too many newcomers so that they could charge extra for them down the line.
  • Max Payne 3 was torn into by fans of the older games over the darker tone, abandoning the Heroic Bloodshed elements, and the treatment of Max's character as a Failure Hero who drunkenly charges into situations and ends up making things even worse through Cutscene Incompetence. However in many ways, the seeds for these complaints were already laid in the second game. The lowered difficulty of 2 compared to the first game presents Max as an nigh-unstoppable force who can kill rooms full of gunmen with ease, but in cutscenes he loses these abilities and is treated much more vulnerably, such as nearly being killed by injuries he would have been able to shrug off in gameplay. The tone is also significantly darker and more dramatic than the first game, with the story playing out as a Tragedy with Max often rejecting the help of allies and repeatedly failing to stop the plans of the Big Bad. However, fans didn't see any of these as problems thanks to Sam Lake draping the story in metaphor and the many small bits of meta-humor peppered through the game. The writing of Dan Houser in 3 ditched the metaphor and subtext of Lake's writing, and combined with the caustic edge to Max's character and excessive Cutscene Incompetence caused fans to come down hard upon it.
  • MechWarrior's signature MechLab, a form of Design-It-Yourself Equipment for your Humongous Mecha, was never very well balanced to begin with, but as the series went on and more mechanics were added and the games were tweaked, it became more and more broken resulting in massive Gameplay Derailment. Its first incarnation in MechWarrior 2 was bare-bones, and the game's many coding oddities resulted in it being balanced if only because of the byzantine design. Mech 3 is where it started to go crazy, with heavy Complacent Gaming Syndrome of identical loadouts on identical mechs. Mech 4 attempted to fix it, but introduced a slew of unforeseen gameplay consequences. In Online, the game has multiple painfully Obvious Rule Patch mechanics to limit the MechLab's silliness and still fails spectacularly, resulting in players with One-Hit Kill-capable or infinite screen shake autocannon spam mechs. Living Legends avoided implementing the MechLab until the game was feature complete and balanced ("version 1.0"), specifically because the lab fundamentally broke the competitive multiplayer of every previous game, though it was never implemented due to the game being Screwed by the Lawyers in version 0.7.
  • Medal of Honor, as discussed in this article, contained early versions of many of the things that later military shooters would be criticized for — most notably, its desaturated color palette and how that style became associated with "realism" even in settings where it didn't make sense.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 5 was the first game in the Classic series to not make any substantial change to the series formula (Mega Man 2 had items and eight bosses, Mega Man 3 had Rush and sliding, and Mega Man 4 had the charged buster shot and the Disc-One Final Dungeon). The series became notorious for repetition not long after. It was also the first game to repeat the 'twist reveal' that the Big Bad was Dr. Wily all along and make it completely unsurprising; 4 had the element of Wily supposedly dying in the previous game while introducing a completely new antagonist in Dr. Cossack, making the twist somewhat surprising. For 5 to suggest that Proto Man had suddenly undergone a complete Face–Heel Turn for no real reason, most gamers could easily guess how it was going to turn out.
    • One of the most common gripes about later games, especially 5, 8, and nearly every Mega Man X game after the first, is their lackluster boss weapons. Dud weapons are a thing that goes back to the very first game, with the Super Arm and Hyper Bomb being extremely situational and slow to the point of uselessness, respectively. The difference was that the earlier games had enough standout options to ignore the bad stuff; even 2, generally seen as having some of the worst weapons otherwise, had the Metal Blade and Quick Boomerangs to make up for it. The later games tended to either lack standout options (the closest thing in 5, for instance, is probably the Gyro Attack), or repeat archetypes from the older games (how many times do you need to see a shield, a screen-nuke, and something that crawls on the ground?). On top of that, the increasing buffs to the Mega Buster made the other weapons a lot less viable in comparison, to the point of outdamaging boss weaknesses in some games (likely a factor in Mega Man 9 just removing the charged buster, which led to many boss weapons being significantly better). As a result, boss weapons became an increasingly less relevant feature, only being used to resolve Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors.
    • Wily always being the bad guy was a prominent joke about the original series, but it generally wasn't seen as a major problem — partly because the designers eventually just started treating it as a Running Gag, and partly because the plots in the Classic games are generally pretty shallow to begin with. People tend to be much less forgiving of his Spiritual Successor Sigma always being the bad guy in Mega Man X, because the X series actually did try to have a story with lots of Grey and Gray Morality, and an Obviously Evil villain who constantly hijacks potentially interesting plots as a Conflict Killer doesn't play ball with that. It's meant to be a joke when "Mr. X" shows up; not so much when the Disc-One Final Boss is reporting back to a perpetually-shadowed figure who clearly has Sigma's silhouette.
    • One of the bigger complaints about Mega Man X7 was that X, the protagonist of the series, was downgraded to an unlockable character who has little relevance to the story and Can't Catch Up when he does become available — indeed, by some accounts, he wasn't going to be in the game at all at one point in development. But when you look at the other games in the series, X had always been something of The Unfavorite compared to Zero, being usually depicted as weaker, given less interesting gameplay, and having less to do in the plot, especially as the games went on. X's protagonist status had increasingly become a formality, among both the fandom and the developers — but simply dropping him, and unceremoniously adding an unheard-of Replacement Scrappy, was going too far.
  • Metal Gear
    • The series has always had problems with its female characters, like holding onto The Smurfette Principle with an iron grip, many of them being Ms. Fanservice, with Male Gaze out the wazoo and often killing them off to give a male character angst, but the earlier games always gave them interesting characterisation as well as at least some vital importance to the plot to make them decent characters in their own right, with a heaping helping of Mr. Fanservice and Female Gaze to go on top of that and act as something of a balance. However in Guns of the Patriots, the female villains barely act as characters at all, having their backstories told to us by another character after their fight and barely even speaking. In the next game released Peace Walker a boss battle starts with numerous lingering chest and butt shots of a woman in her underwear, and the same character is killed off in the most gratuitously sexual manner possible in Ground Zeroes to establish the villain as especially bad. This eventually leads to The Phantom Pain, where the only prominent female character almost never speaks, has minimal plot importance, spends her entire screen time in a bikini top and ripped tights, is given a ridiculous justification for that outfit, and has multiple scenes that come completely out of nowhere and serve as nothing but excuses for her to make sensual poses in front of the camera.
    • The series has always had issues with its Kudzu Plot, full of Shocking Swerve after Shocking Swerve, numerous Retcons, and Heel Face Revolving Doors. Creator Hideo Kojima, a massive fan of Hollywood films, loved to emulate the movies he loved as much as possible and add as many Shout Outs and nods as he could. Early on, this was considered intriguing—during the 8-bit era, players were lucky if games had any sort of plot whatsoever, and even in the PSOne era, it was considered a major innovation that games could emulate film at all, so these quirks merely added to the series' charm. However, fans became much, much less tolerant of these issues in later games as the series became bogged down by Continuity Creep. The lowest point is typically agreed to be Act 3 of Guns of the Patriots, where the true identities of the Patriots are revealed to be Naked Snake and his radio support from 3. This one revelation brought all of the series' worst excesses to light in the eyes of its fans; it had become so obsessed with its own continuity that every single minor detail had to be connected, and even minor (but likable) characters had to be thrown under the bus to provide lots of Call Backs to previous games. The Continuity Porn continued with things like Naomi Hunter making ridiculous decisions, being revealed to have cancer, and killing herself just so that Otacon could cry over another woman like in previous games. Rose and Colonel Campbell pretend to be a happy married couple so that Raiden can go through another emotional character arc similar to the one in 2, become yet another cyber ninja, and then wind up the same Belated Happy Ending. The game even ends with Big Boss himself (a character dead since the second game) returning to explain the last few plot threads. In addition to introducing even more twists which may raise more questions than answers, these twists also have the effect of making the entire universe revolve around a small cast of characters that can perfectly manipulate worldwide events across entire decades. Many of these problems can be attributed to the fact that Kojima never really intended to continue the series beyond 2 and, as one of the translators from 2 stated, Kojima's writing style is too heavily influenced by wanting to create big set pieces and emulate cool things he likes from his favorite movies.
  • Metroid:
    • After eight years in rest since Super Metroid, the series was revived with two well-received games, one of them being Metroid Fusion. Despite the positive reception, a point of criticism from fans was its stronger focus on a story; it was even the first time Samus interacted with another character. This was seen as a turning point for the entire series to shift towards more plot-driven games, like Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Other M brought the debate on whether or not this is a good idea to a flame war-stricken head, particularly due to how it characterized Samus Aran.
    • Samus has also become more and more gratuitously sexualized as the series has gone on. The series has always rewarded good gameplay with an image of Samus out of her armor and in skimpy clothing, but in the earlier games it was much more about the Tomato Surprise than Fanservice (which was kind of hard to do with the pixelated graphics of the time), and most players wouldn't even see it because it required a very good performance. Metroid: Zero Mission introduced a skintight undersuit for her, which just barely skated by with the fanbase (because the entire point was that her armor was destroyed, and she was more vulnerable as a result). Ever since then, suitless Samus has become just a thing that happens for fanservice, at times in contexts some fans consider inappropriate and/or degrading. The prominence of Zero Suit Samus in Super Smash Bros. did not help things either.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The series only completely entered its Dork Age when it smashed into the Polygon Ceiling, but the third game shows at least some of the weaknesses of later installments: over-reliance on dial-a-kombo note , the complete shattering of the Eastern-ish theme (which resulted in people realizing how ridiculous some of the characters looked), and the bosses suddenly getting cheaper. Yet there's still a lot of fans and defenders of this one because it was the conclusion of the "Outworld Trilogy" and the stakes and tone of the original game were still there.
    • Mortal Kombat II introduced many fan-favorite characters, such as Kitana, Mileena, and Jax, but it also conspicuously took Sonya and Kano out for no real reason other than to have a Damsel in Distress and establish how badass Shao Khan is, respectively. However, as the developers admitted, Sonya and Kano were the least-popular characters, and the real fan favorites (Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, etc.) remained, so Kano and Sonya's losses were deemed acceptable. The third game, however, is when the absences started getting out of hand. After the departure of Dan Pesina and Katalin Zamiar, who portrayed all of the male and female ninja characters, Midway decided to drop almost all of the characters they portrayed from their lineup. Johnny Cage was killed off, Raiden said Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, and neither Kitana nor Mileena returned in the initial version of 3. Even worse, Scorpion, the most popular character in the series, was left out as well. The team quickly rectified most of these mistakes with the Updated Re-release, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, but within the casual market, the damage was done. This problem continued on throughout the rest of the series, as many fan-favorite characters were arbitrarily included or dropped from each installment. Sometimes they're killed off, sometimes they switch sides, sometimes they turn into completely new characters. This has become so ingrained within the fanbase that a common question when a new game is announced is "Is [insert favorite character here] in it?"
    • Related to absentee fan-favorites (and possibly the cause of it) is the bloated roster, which consists not just of Joke Characters and hidden bosses, but almost every single character that is vaguely referenced, even as a meme. Examples of this include Ermac, Scarlet, Blaze, and Tremor, just to name a few. There are also many bland and forgettable entries with tangential connections to more popular characters, like Mavado, Hsu Hao, Kobra, and so on. Traces of this started all the way from Mortal Kombat II, where the first game's hidden boss character (Reptile) made his playable debut, and characters with tangential connections to older ones like Kung Lao and Jax also made an appearance. The difference is that the series was small enough back then that new characters were a welcome sight, and felt like genuine expansions of the lore. By the time of Mortal Kombat 4, however, several new characters such as Fujin, Jarek and Kai felt like poor replacements for the ones missing. (Indeed, in some cases, the new faces were actually meant to be older characters who were then reskinned, such as swapping out Kano for his underling Jarek.) This continued all the way up to Armageddon, where every single character—even the superfluous ones like Meatwere part of the roster, in a deliberate attempt to Torch the Franchise and Run. The 2009 reboot dialed down on this, with just about every character included being a fan-favorite. X followed suit, but experimented with a few new faces, as well as a few of the old darkhorses like Tremor.
    • The MK series is known for retconning and revising characters and plot points, starting with the second game—which retconned Raiden into a wise Mentor Archetype instead of an arrogant god, and revised Shang Tsung into a servant of Shao Kahn (amongst many other changes). From that point on, almost every single game in the series has revealed, revised or rescinded some plot detail — especially after the feature film proved popular, and plot elements were folded into the games. This became rather confusing for fans of the lore, but it wasn't minded too much because there was genuine interest in seeing where things would go from there. The first decision that truly split the fanbase was the Cosmic Retcon that occurred in Mortal Kombat 9; here, not only are the retcons obviousnote , but the fact that the game was a Soft Reboot meant that the story didn't really move forward in any meaningful way. This, again, was forgiven come Mortal Kombat X because that game introduced a Time Skip that took the story in new and fresh directions never seen before...but fans were not so forgiving when Mortal Kombat 11 pulled off another Cosmic Retcon that completely wiped out all timelines everywhere, meaning that not only where the events of the first seven games in the entire series completely wiped clean, but so was the new timeline, all the various comic books, cartoons, TV and film adaptations, and even offshoot games like Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe — with no indication of how Fire God Liu Kang and Kitana would remake things. Fans, even those who liked 11, were NOT pleased with this direction.
  • Nintendo:
    • The company's censorship policies have existed since the beginning of their involvement in console gaming. It was justified during the 1980s as many infamous games that helped crash the industry (such as Custer's Revenge and Beat Em and Eat Em) were glorified porn. Nintendo's family-friendly approach (to the point of calling their first console a Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan) was viewed positively back then. However, their continued adherence to censorship guidelines during the releases of subsequent consoles has followed them in two ways. In the first case, it was what led to Nintendo having the negative reputation of being "kiddie games". The censorship of the original Mortal Kombat was especially infamous, since the Sega Genesis version was released with the gore intact (albeit hidden behind a cheat code), and was much better received by fans despite being technically inferior to the Super NES version. On the other end, Nintendo's censorship practices also showed the early signs of their strenuous relationship with third-party developers. By the time the fifth generation of gaming came, Nintendo's censorship combined with their refusal to adopt CD technology caused developers like Square to get fed up with their practices and jump ship to Sony. Nintendo's lack of strong third-party support has been a reoccurring flaw in all of their consoles since. Not helping is that censorship (especially when sexual objectification is involved) started becoming more politicized during the 2010s, meaning that reaction to any change that could be seen as censorship went from merely "Nintendo doesn't take its older fanbase seriously" to more intense backlash (leading to boycotts in some cases). With the release of the Switch, this might be changing, especially in regards to Sony's eventual censorship policies, which is by itself nothing short of ironic.
    • Nintendo's consoles past the SNES have often been criticised for being underpowered in comparison to the competition, with many accusing Nintendo of cutting corners on technology in order to save money. This flaw could be traced back to the original Game Boy. It was designed with Gunpei Yokoi's philosophy of "lateral thinking with withered technology", which refers to using technology that is older, cheaper, and well-understood while using it in a new and innovative way (in this case, a handheld gaming console based on an LCD calculator), instead of using the most advanced technology available at the time. This gave the Game Boy, despite its primitive hardware and black-and-white screen, a low price point and long battery life that gave it the edge over the Atari Lynx and the Sega Game Gear, both of which were full-color, backlit, and more powerful than the Game Boy but shared the Fatal Flaw of draining six batteries in a few hours. It was when that same philosophy was applied to their home consoles that people started to notice a problem. It first showed up on the Nintendo 64, where Nintendo was criticized for going back to using cartridges in an era where CD-ROMs were taking over the market, as well as the GameCube, which used proprietary, lower-capacity optical discs instead of DVDs in order to save money (namely, to prevent piracy and so that Nintendo wouldn't have to pay licensing fees to the DVD Forum), and it continued on the Wii, which was initially seen as the big winner of the seventh generation but whose main innovation, motion controls, showed its limitations early in the console's life cycle. The problem culminated in the Wii U, which ended up a commercial failure and Nintendo's worst-selling home console. A number of people blamed the "lateral thinking" design philosophy for the Wii U's downfall, considering that it got trounced by two consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, that were both considerably more powerful yet barely more expensive on release. When Nintendo scrapped the Wii U and released the Switch (to considerably more acclaim), they made sure that it had enough power to be competitive with its rivals, if not as a home console then most certainly in comparison to handhelds and tablets.
    • Nintendo reworking initially different games to serve as part of one of its own properties goes back to Super Mario Bros. 2, and served them well enough in titles like Diddy Kong Racing or Super Smash Bros.. In those cases, the original game was either already very similar to the franchise it was trying to blend in with, or so radically different that it could be declared a spinoff. However, this completely backfired in the case of Star Fox Adventures, where they tried to rework a fantastical Zelda clone into part of a space shooter series; not only was Adventures too significant and too far distant from the last game in the series to be dismissed as a spinoff, but it was incredibly apparent that it'd once been its own game and any attempts to the contrary (a handful of token Arwing sections, a nonsensical Hand Wave for why Fox can't use a gun) were hilariously obviously tacked-on.
  • Outlast II: The first game did not had any sort of battles or any chance to defend yourself against enemies. This trend continues in the second game, but many fans think that the lack of a way for the player to defend themselves in the sequel game makes no sense, as there are plenty of weapons lying around: hammers, scythes, crowbars, etc. and the enemies aren't genetically altered super strong patients, but disease-ridden and weakened rednecks. Similarly, there's the player character's refusal to use flashlights when there are many available. This defenselessness of the player character crosses into Idiot Plot considering how many times the main characters could have been saved by simply using one of the readily available weapons and flashlights.
  • Many of the problems that caused the PlayStation 3 to struggle in its first few years of its existence were actually also present on the PlayStation 2. Like the PS3, the PS2 had a complex and exotic Central Processing Unit that many developers struggled to understand and make the most out of, especially if they were used to developing on other platforms. Both consoles also had a Graphics Processing Unit that was relatively underpowered and required the use of the CPU's more exotic features to make up for it. Last but not least, both consoles served as a showpiece for the latest and greatest optical disc format at the time. In hindsight, it looks like Sony was merely trying to replicate the success of the PS2 with the PS3. So why didn't this work as planned? The first reason probably has to with game development during The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games becoming more complex and difficult in general, which gave developers all the more reason to balk at a complex non-standard system that added even more complexity on top. The second was that compared to the PS2, the PS3 took Sony's love of exotic and/or brand new tech Up to Eleven. DVD was already a few years old by the time the PS2 came out, which meant that the technology and manufacturing was much more mature, allowing Sony to include it in the console and still sell it at a reasonable price. The PS3, however, came out mere months after the Blu-ray format itself, which meant sky high prices for it since the economies of scale had yet to kick in, producing the console's infamous 599 US DOLLARS price point. All of this made the PS3 an expensive console with no games in its early years, and even though it would eventually Win Back the Crowd, it still would go on to be the lowest selling PlayStation console to date. Sony seems to have learned their lesson with the PlayStation 4 which features a highly industry standard x86 CPU with a powerful AMD Radeon GPU.
  • What initially helped Ratchet & Clank step out of the pack was the way it satirized the nature of consumerism — Mega Corps supplied most the series staples such as high-powered weapons and arena challenges, the Big Bads were often Corrupt Corporate Executives, people out to make a quick buck were a frequent obstacle, enemies were hired goons and mass-produced Mecha-Mooks — these elements made the series' famous use of destructive ordinance and snarky sense of humor fit well, and so it stands to reason why many fans attribute the franchise's faltering in later years to later installments dropping that angle in favor of a more cinematic, Family Friendly style. However, this refocus started as far back as Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, which had the duo joining the Galactic Rangers to thwart the machinations of a cartoonish super-villain, and even had Captain Quark, previously a cowardly fraud out to make a comeback through Engineered Heroics, pull a Heel–Face Turn at the end. Of course, the humor remained on-point, the characters were well-written, and the game-play was polished, allowing the game to be a classic despite focusing away from the satirical tone of its predecessors.
    Then came the Ratchet & Clank Future sub-series, which fully shifted the series in a more cinematic direction, revolving around the duo discovering their origins and coming into their role as heroes. While the Future series was well-received overall, it ultimately left the franchise without much of a direction to continue on from there, and it struggled to stay relevant even since. The cinematic re-imagining of the first game was where it became clear that the series was missing much of what gave it its charm in the first place — characters like Ratchet and Captain Qwark ironically ended up constrained by the more heroic characterizations they would grow into in the original continuity, the sense of humor was watered down, and series staples were a part of the game simply because they were staples, which ended up clashing with the more whimsical, light-hearted, and some would say generic tone the re-imagining had established. Because of this, many fans are accusing the series of trying to be the kind of Big Budget Cash Cow Franchise that earlier games would have mocked.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 set the series on a far more action-packed course as opposed to the Survival Horror genre that it had pioneered. It had downed enemies dropping ammo and other loot for the first time, allowed players to use that loot to upgrade and purchase weapons, downplayed the puzzles and exploration, replaced the zombies with the comparatively human-like Ganados, introduced the aforementioned quick-time events, and featured scenes of Leon suplexing and spin-kicking enemies and leaping through a laser grid in a manner that would make Keanu Reeves proud. Furthermore, as this retrospective by Foxcade points out, the final third of the game basically turns into an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride as Leon reaches the Big Bad's island fortress and starts fighting Ganado soldiers, with the Gothic Horror atmosphere of the village and castle segments mostly fading into the background in favor of modern laboratories and industrial facilities. While these changes were divisive even then, RE4 was still scary enough, and retained enough of past games' horror/exploration DNA, that longtime fans could ignore them and appreciate the much-needed improvements to gameplay that it made. It's not too controversial within the fandom to list RE4 as one's favorite RE game.

      However, the next "main" installment, Resident Evil 5, took these changes even further and started bringing the series into Third-Person Shooter territory. It featured nearly non-stop action at the expense of scares, abundant ammunition supplies that made ammo conservation a much more minor concern (and thus reducing tension by making enemy encounters far easier to plow through), a removal of the exploration of past games in favor of a more linear progression, and over-the-top Action Hero protagonists — a shift that was met with a mixed reception from fans and critics. The following game, Resident Evil 6, as well as the spin-off Operation Raccoon City, were full-blown action shooters and low points for the series. Furthermore (as argued here), RE's transition from horror to action wound up impacting the entire Survival Horror genre, especially at the big-budget levels, as games like Silent Hill: Homecoming and the Dead Space sequels imitated it. Some have even called RE4, in the long run, a Genre Original Sin for survival horror, if not an outright Genre-Killer. Fortunately, Capcom eventually realized that the series was going the wrong way, creating the Revelations spin-offs and later Resident Evil 7: biohazard that brought gameplay back to a focus on exploration, ammo conservation, and scares (while still retaining the gameplay innovations and weapons upgrades of the main series games).
    • Another, and earlier, likely Original Sin may have been the film adaptation, which was, at the time, one of the most action-packed zombie movies ever made, and certainly more action-heavy than the games that preceded it. Its sequels only further amped up these elements, to the point where the RE movies came to be described strictly as action films with zombies in them. The success of the film series likely colored people's expectations of the games, leading to later installments of the latter, starting with RE4, incorporating more of the former's stylistic elements.
    • An example from early in the series was the Solve the Soup Cans puzzles where you have to get specific items to open doors. It made sense to have trick walls and doors that need special keys in the first game's mansion, which was deliberately designed by an eccentric to be a death trap. It makes less sense when such puzzles are occurring in the middle of a populated city, such as the infamous example in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis where you have to find a statue to place on a plinth in the middle of a park, which makes it turn to reveal... a car battery. In the middle of what should be a normal city once again. Even that was tame compared to Resident Evil – Code: Veronica in which there were tons of soup can puzzles left right and sideways almost at the very start of the game.Starting with 4, it became less gratuitous (to the point where some fans felt that there were too few puzzles), though you still might wonder why you need to collect a bunch of emblems to open specially locked doors in a Spanish village.
  • This article by Grey Carter for The Escapist argues that RPG Elements are this for action games as a whole, having been the Trojan horse that allowed microtransactions to proliferate in games while also allowing developers to get away with sloppier balancing of enemies and combat. The thing was, in the RPGs that popularized leveling systems and loot, those mechanics were the combat gameplay. Many RPGs revolved around constantly pushing players to make their characters stronger by improving their stats and figuring out the best loadouts, the growing power being the goal in and of itself rather than the means to an end, with the actual task of fighting enemies often boiled down to simply clicking on them or going through a menu. When RPG mechanics were combined with other forms of combat gameplay, however, they threw even the most careful balancing out of whack by allowing players to grind their way to a point where they could just curb-stomp every enemy in their path without actually learning the gameplay mechanics and getting better at the game. Worse, the clear-cut stats provided with level and loot systems allowed developers to introduce microtransactions to full-price, single-player games by selling powerful weapons and stat boosters for real money.
  • Silent Hill 2, while still remembered as quite possibly the best game in the Silent Hill series, held the origin of two trends that plagued the series in the long term.
    • The first was with its monsters. SH2 was acclaimed for its creative enemy design, the two monsters most heavily identified with the game being the chilling figure known as Pyramid Head, an Implacable Man wearing a pyramid-shaped helmet, and the sexy, faceless nurses in the hospital. They weren't the main villains, but they were both incredibly popular, and became unofficial mascots of the series. However, they served a very specific purpose in that game, acting as metaphorical representations of the protagonist James Sunderland's guilt and sexual anxiety. This didn't stop the nurses from reappearing in later games (and in the film adaptations), growing increasingly sexualized in the process, nor did it stop several attempts to try and copy Pyramid Head, be it with similar "icon" monsters (like the Butcher in Origins and the Bogeyman in Downpour) who felt shoehorned in more often than not, or by simply bringing him back straight-up (as in Homecoming, the films, and some of the comics). However, the symbolism of what they represented no longer applied in these new stories. While SH2 remembered to give its creepy, cool monsters a purpose beyond just the Rule of Scary, later games took only those monsters' most superficial elements in the name of fanservice.
    • Secondly, SH2 laid the groundwork for the series' Broken Base. Whereas the first game was about a battle with a cult known as the Order that's trying to bring about the birth of their god, the second game's story, about a man who had lost his wife only to receive a mysterious letter from her, was much smaller and more personal in scope. Outside the setting, the style, and a few Continuity Nods, it had little in common with the original game, and fans were divided between the original and the sequel almost from the get-go. The divide grew wider when the third game went back to having the Order as the villains and acted as a direct sequel to the first, with later games alternating between continuing the story of the Order and telling stories separate from it. Today, there are essentially two Silent Hill fandoms, one which prefers the Myth Arc about the Order and the other preferring the standalone stories.
    • SH2 also has a bit of an original sin for the Survival Horror genre as a whole. It's common now for horror games to copy the idea of the horror coming from a Tomato Surprise about the protagonist and the reason they're experiencing such horror so much, such that it can be hard to relate and comes off being less scary and more like the game is Blaming the Railroaded Player Character, and that's if they even bothered to make the story make sense outside of trying to shock you. Even SH2 wasn't immune to being a bit cheap with that horror, if the wide variety of theories about the actual symbolism of the enemies and whether any two characters were experiencing the same thing in the town are any indication. SH2 managed to pull it off easier, however, because it was new and surprising at the time.
  • Soul Series:
    • The use of Guest Fighters that can annoy fans nowadays began with Soulcalibur II, considered by many to be the best entry in the series. While back then it was considered a neat idea made into reality, the fact that, today, virtually every game has at least one has made it a little harder to see the inclusion of guests as an "innovative" concept. Meanwhile, Soulcalibur has been front and center as the game where the Guest Fighter is a staple of the series, much to the annoyance of some. Often, fans hold the sentiment that staple veterans, fan-favorites, and other highly requested characters get shafted in favor of a fighter that will only be there in one game, may not have universal appeal, or looks jarringly dissimilar to the rest of the game in either aesthetics and/or gameplay, something that came to a head when Soulcalibur IV included Star Wars characters. It's understandable why you see fans who are adamant about the idea that there should be no guest characters, which would defy expectations, but that often falls on deaf ears. Although Soulcalibur V and VI did alleviate things somewhat by having their respective guests (Ezio and Geralt) be more fitting with the series' aesthetic... the latter game then went back on it and threw in 2B, a Robot Girl from a distant future/post-apocalyptic sci-fi game, as part of its season pass.
    • The series had been fairly consistent with the roster until Soulcalibur V, which was the first game directed by Daishi Odashima. Many complained about V jumping forward 17 years while removing fan-favorites such as Sophitia, Taki, and Xianghua, while replacing them with considerably less-liked successors. However, a smaller-scale variation of this happened in the earlier games. Specifically Hwang and Li Long, who appeared in the original Soul Edge (Soul Blade in America), were removed from subsequent games and replaced by Yun-seong and Maxi respectively. This caused considerable outcry back then, but had since subsided over time. Additionally, Cassandra was meant to replace Sophitia in II, as she was the only one in the original arcade release. However, due to popular fan demand, Sophitia was brought back. Odashima would later leave Project Soul, being replaced by Masaki Hoshino and later Motohiro Okubo, who appear to have different views over the series. Hoshino's contributions (Lost Swords and Unbreakable Soul), though non-canon and largely deemed to be of middling quality, began to bring back several of the missing veterans (such as Sophitia, Cassandra, Taki, Seong Mi-na, and Amy), while Okubo doubled down by taking things back to basics and rebooting the series with VI—which rewinds to the era of the original Soulcalibur and features a substantial portion of the first two games' rosters (though with a few faces from later installments also along for the ride). Only time will tell if these efforts can undo the damage caused by V's Soft Reboot.
    • Soulcalibur VI created one of its own. Namco had done Day 1 DLC as a means to unlock characters before, with Soulcalibur V having Dampierre and Tekken 7 having Eliza (who debuted in the F2P installment between Tag 2 and 7, Tekken Revolution). Those times, there was practically no backlash (or at least, it was very minimal), mainly because they were niche characters who had their own fans but not a super prominent fanbase, and were not highly popular, highly requested series staples. When VI did their go-around at this, they used Tira, considered the iconic Dark Action Girl of the Soul series and a Breakout Character from III who is likely the most recognizable character created post-II. For many, it felt like using a character as well-liked, requested and iconic to the series as Tira for an incentive to increase revenue was a low blow, and a backlash was quick to follow.
    • Also, as the series went on, it began attracting more and more criticism for its increasingly Stripperiffic female character designs and focus on Jiggle Physics (particularly for Ivy and Taki) reducing what had been a serious historical fantasy to borderline sleaze like Dead or Alive, without the benefit of that series' tongue-in-cheek self-acknowlegement. However even as far back as the original Soul Blade there was an Easter Egg you could employ to cause Sophitia's skirt to disappear, or even have her fight in an actual swimsuit.
  • Square Enix's updated re-releases and ports of some of their older games once got a great deal of excitement from many RPG fans, especially those in the US and Europe. It gave many people the chance to play some of Square's classic catalog but with far less of the No Export for You, "Blind Idiot" Translation, and financial difficulties of hunting down certain SNES cartridges that RPG fans dealt with before the very end of The '90s. In some cases, Square even remade entire games for the purposes of re-releasing them. However, during the later half of the 2000s, many of these same consumers started complaining about this practice. It became viewed as oversaturation, partially due to the huge numbers of systems that these games were playable on. Between 2005 and 2011, Square Enix re-released Final Fantasy IV alone 4 times, for example. The Troubled Production of both Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XIII and the lack of a game to really fill that gap did not help either.
  • The Star Ocean franchise had long been considered to have fairly standard JRPG storytelling that was nothing to write home about, but was made up for by having good gameplay. When Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was criticized for its gameplay, it brought the fact of it having a fairly weak story as well to the forefront.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Fans became rather burned out on the series after Ultra Street Fighter IV came out, adding yet more characters to an already overcrowded roster and making the combo system even more complicated with Red Focus. Casual fans complained because now they were being asked to spend even more money on what is essentially a single game that cost roughly $100 in total (even more if you purchased all the DLC) and had now become so incredibly difficult to play that getting started now would take months of training just to learn the basics. Fans of Street Fighter since 1991 can tell you that this sounds very familiar. Street Fighter II went through the same problems—although the competitive scene reveres the Super Turbo edition as the series' best, by the time it came out, the casual fans were just about done. Further sub-series in the franchise (such as Alpha and III) increased the complexity of the fighting system, making it nigh-inaccessible for casual players, and by the time the console version of Alpha 3 hit shelves, the roster had expanded to thirty-six. These problems are why the series took such a long hiatus between EX3 and SFIV. Capcom decided to take a "back to basics" approach with Street Fighter V in terms of gameplay, focusing on fundamentals and accessibility, and starting off "small" much like many of the other sub-series' initial iterations (16 characters in the base roster + 6 DLC characters for Year 1) in response to these complaints. Unfortunately, this led to fandom infighting whenever "new" fighters, be they former NPCs Promoted to Playable or actual new faces, were unveiled beginning in Season 2 after the return of Akuma, as many complained about the "missing" characters who were mainstays in previous entries or wanted to see more characters who had been on a Long Bus Trip since their last sightings (in the vein of Karin, R. Mika, Alex, and Urien). Capcom was able to strike a finer, less "controversial" balance with Season 3; only two of the six characters were newcomers, and the first S3 fighter to be revealed was none other than perennial fan-favorite Sakura.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The biggest criticism leveled against Paper Mario: Sticker Star is the Excuse Plot which has no depth beyond "Bowser kidnapped Princess Peach with the power of a magic item". The very first Paper Mario also had this plot but also had a lot of characterisation and detailed environments rather than Sticker Star 's more generic locations and little character development.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door began the trend of the Paper Mario games using the paper aesthetic as something other than an art style with the curses that turn Mario into various forms using origami. It's just back then they were only minor elements of the game rather than the main focus, and were surrounded by complex characters and worlds which didn't entirely revolve around paper jokes. Sticker Star and Color Splash just flanderized the concept from 'an interesting but minor part of the series' to 'the only focus of it'. By Sticker Star, the characters never shut up about the fact they were made of paper which became a major annoyance. Color Splash at least tones down the paper jokes.
    • Antasma from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team had little characterisation and was seen as inferior to past Mario RPG villains. However past villains often came across as Generic Doomsday Villains as well. The difference is they were often Eldritch Abominations or a Knight of Cerebus whose lack of motives or personality helped them act as this (the Shadow Queen, the Dark Star or the Shroobs) or were surrounded by secondary villains that did have good characterisation (Grodus, Smithy and Cackletta); Antasma is neither. He also had the misfortune of been compared to Fawful, who started out as a secondary villain and became a Big Bad, and Dimentio from Super Paper Mario, which had a larger focus on plot.
    • The first game in the New Super Mario Bros. series didn't add much new to the table, as Mario platformers went. There were few original characters or concepts, the few new powerups were either rare or useless gimmicks, and even most of the Video Game Settings were recycled from Super Mario Bros. 3 note . This was generally not seen as a big flaw, as... well, it was in the title; it was the first new major 2D Mario game in over a decade. When the series got its second entry, the core gameplay and aesthetics changed little, with nearly all the powerups and biomes being recycled, but it featured co-op play, the return of the Koopalings, and being the first console 2D Mario since Super Mario World, all of which were strong enough for the game to sell itself as a new experience. But with New Super Mario Bros. 2, the closest thing to a defining gimmick the game had was "there are lots of coins around for basically no reason, collect them for a Bragging Rights Reward." And when New Super Mario Bros. U came out (and went on to be rereleased twice), not only did it hit on the same year as 2, but it had almost nothing to sell itself on, with only one new briefly-appearing biome and a few new powerups, still looking and playing basically the same as its DS originator despite being a Wii U launch title and therefore the first HD Mario game. The things that had once been novel selling points had now been recycled multiple times over, and as a result, the lack of originality became one of the biggest criticisms for the entire sub-series.
    • The Mario & Luigi series never really had many interesting Toad NPCs, there may have been Toadbert, Toadiko and Dr. Toadley, but that was it. Most were just the standard multicolored Toads, and by Dream Team the standard multicolored Toads were the only Toads to speak of, outside a token appearance by Toadsworth. This was mitigated by the fact that there were other interesting and unique NPCs that were unique to the series. Paper Jam does away with the unique NPCs and has most of the NPCs be generic Toads or Paper Toads.
    • On a related note, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is often mocked for an overabundance of Toad NPCs. While Superstar Saga and Dream Team have a good range of different species as NPCs, Partners in Time and Bowser's Inside Story do not. In Partners in Time, the NPCs are limited to the Toads at Peach's Castle and the Yoshis on Yoshi Island while the only non-Toad NPCs in Bowser's Inside Story are the brainwashed minions in Bowser's Castle. It is slightly easier to forgive it in these games because that is still more NPCs who are not Toads than the three in Paper Jam (two Yoshis and Wiggler/Flutter); Paper Jam also has the misfortune of coming after Paper Mario: Sticker Star where making all the NPCs Toads turned the species into The Scrappy for many fans.
    • Similarly, the issues the series had with tutorials and padding go back to the original games too, with the first having things like the Border Jump and Hammerhead/Starshade Bros tutorials to slow the pace down. This was in part mitigated by how Superstar Saga didn't have that many mechanics to teach in general, and was willing to end without dragging things on too much. Bowser's Inside Story and Dream Team merely increased the number of these segments, which ended up turning the game from one with a tutorial or mini game every area or two to one with a tutorial or mini game every twenty minutes and made the issue more noticeable. This is also a rare case of the sin being addressed. Paper Jam and the Superstar Saga remake streamline the tutorials and make them largely optional.
    • The Paper Mario series has never had a lot of characterisation. The first two Paper Mario games had partners with character arcs but they generally ended once they joined Mario or the chapter they joined was finished. After that almost everything they said, if they did say something, was generally the same generic statement filtered through their respective Character Tics. The NPCs also generally said the same few lines over and over unless they were in the Hub World. The reason Paper Mario: Sticker Star is so lambasted for its characterisation is it removes even this and replaces it with constant paper puns. Paper Mario: Color Splash actually brings the characterisation back to, or at least close to, past levels to the point Huey, the resident Exposition Fairy, might have more characterisation than any of the partners in past games, but the damage was still done by then.
    • Donkey Kong 64 is considered a decent game, but still a disappointing game that has many, many problems. Most of the issues are similar to problems from Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel that came one year after, but was being developed at the time. The most frequent complaint is that DK64 has too many items to collect; Banjo had a high number of items, but DK64 cranked them up to eleven. Worse, DK64 is too segmented; the game offers you five characters but almost everything has to be done with a specific one, even collecting the items which are color coded by character, and you can only switch them at specific spots. Banjo had Mumbo Jumbo's transformations, and switching to and from them often felt like a chore, but DK64 makes it even worse, feeling like you're playing the same game five different times instead of once. The level design of DK64 is also criticized, being similar to Banjo, but with less inspiration.
      • The original Donkey Kong Country trilogy for SNES also had a fair share of collectibles, but you didn't need to pick every single one to get full completion, and didn't even need to pick that many to beat the final boss.
  • Saints Row, as a series that underwent a major evolution in style through each instalment, is bound to have a few examples of this:
    • The Saints Row games started out as The Rival to the Grand Theft Auto series, focusing on a more ridiculous and over-the-top experience that leaned into the Power Fantasy side of its Wide Open Sandbox setting, a design formula that many fans felt peaked with the second game. However (as noted by Tyler J. of Cleanprincegaming), given that the first two games had both been overshadowed by competing entries in the GTA series (San Andreas and GTA IV, respectively), Volition decided to go the Denser and Wackier route with the third game in order to more effectively distinguish it from the competition. This move was met with a mixed reception from fans and critics, who felt that the game world was less cohesive and more scattershot than before, though the resulting game still retained enough of the Saints Row series' DNA to meet a positive reception. This problem grew much harder to ignore when the fourth game added outright superpowers and turned into more of a clone of Crackdown or inFAMOUS than anything, such that many gameplay elements now felt entirely pointless. After all, when your character can run faster than a speeding bullet and leap tall buildings with a single bound, what's the point of saddling yourself with a car outside of missions where you have to? (The game's Troubled Production didn't help matters at all.)
    • Johnny Gat is a prime example of how a Breakout Character can become a Base-Breaking Character if not handled carefully. Traces of his status as The Ace go back to the very first game, where he was by far the most competent member of the Third Street Saints, but what is often forgotten is that he was very much a Deconstruction of stoic action heroes. When not in combat, he was a Hurting Hero due to his devotion to Aisha, and her death in the second game sends Johnny into emotional turmoil. Saints Row 2 was also the game where his reputation began to be played up. Johnny's death at the start of The Third solidified his popularity in the fanbase, but his return in IV would be controversial for a variety of reasons. The Heartbroken Badass traits from before would be played down, including having him move on from Aisha. The story and every character also treats Gat as a legendary figure second only to The Boss, including the villain who saw Gat as a special threat despite other gang members having similar levels of competence and screentime. After IV, Johnny Gat also became the go-to character to represent the franchise, being the main focus of Gat out of Hell and a Guest Fighter in both Divekick and Agents of Mayhem. Overall, by this point many fans who had liked him earlier had gotten sick of the disproportionate amount of focus he would receive, especially as his character became shallower with time.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U brought some problems with the Super Smash Bros. series to a head:
    • One of the biggest complaints was its overuse of Moveset Clone characters. This is something not unique to that installment — the first game already had a clone in the form of Luigi, and the much-loved Melee had over a quarter of its roster devoted to clones. The problem was that Brawl had done quite a bit to avert this, by cutting out some of the most obvious clones and Decomposite Characters (Roy, Young Link, Pichu, Dr. Mario), diversifying the rest, and making sure that its own "clone" additions (Lucas, Wolf) were pretty unique. for 3DS/Wii U, meanwhile, went back to the well of Decomposite Characters (including adding Dr. Mario back in), and made its clone additions essentially identical (Lucina is just Marth without tipping, Dark Pit is just Pit with different knockback on two moves and Zelda's Final Smash). Compounding the problem further was that for 3DS/Wii U introduced alternate costumes to add more characters to the roster, which just made its clones feel even more arbitrary. Many wondered: why lump the Koopalings into a single character, then declare Lucina or Dark Pit to be too distinct to not get their own slots? (The answer is that these bonus characters were added after the majority of development was complete, so while they aren't taking away from the rest of the game, it did give many players a false impression of "wasting" spots on the roster, much like with the clone characters in Melee.) The following game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, managed to solve this by marketing clones differently by calling them "Echo Fighters" and making clear that they're offshoots of existing characters. By not promoting clones on the same level as original characters and placing them in an inferior position, fans went from hating clones to loving the idea and wanting more of them.
    • Counter has been a staple of nearly every Fire Emblem character's moveset since Melee as a nod to their series' battle flow, with Peach also having a variation in the form of Toad. However, whereas only five fighters total—and no more than four per game—in a cast of 25+ had access to moves of that nature between Melee and Brawl (Marth, Roy, Peach, Ike, Lucario), the amount suddenly doubled in for 3DS/Wii U (Lucina, Little Mac, Palutena, Greninja, Shulk, Mii Swordfighter, Corrin, and Bayonetta), greatly reducing its novelty, frustrating players who had to endure fights that devolved into Counterfests, and simultaneously bypassing potentially more inventive attacks that could've been used in their place. Some characters have justifiable reasons for having a counter note , but there's been lengthy debates about who actually deserves to keep the move and sarcastic remarks that everyone might as well have a Counter in the next game.
    • Assist Trophies can be viewed as this. Back in the Brawl days, Assist Trophies garnered praise for including characters that weren't playable in the base game, as they were generally thought of as a nice consolation prize. Additionally, most of them were characters that wouldn't have stood a chance of being playable anyway, such as Lakitu and his Spinies, Mr. Resetti, a group of Excitebikers, and some Infantry and Tanks. However, after For 3DS/Wii U and later games began to incorporate DLC characters, fans started treating Assist Trophies as Second Place Is for Losers, rather than Winners. It's generally considered a death sentence due to the (unconfirmed, but widely believed and not proven wrong yet) notion that they can't be both playable and an Assist Trophy summon at the same time. Thus, the players have to wait for the next game, where there's still no guarantee that any given Assist Trophy character will be Promoted to Playable. This wasn't helped by many highly requested characters with lots of name power, such as Krystal, Shadow, Isaac, Bomberman, Lyn, the Black Knight, Zero, Shovel Knight, and especially Waluigi only making it into Smash Bros. as assists, leaving many players to lament the moveset potential of multiple great characters who get stuck as Assist Characters.
    • The advertisement aspect of the series has also gotten controversial since 4. This started back in Melee with the addition of Roy. While Marth was a very requested character back in Japan and doesn't really count here, Roy debuted before his game came out, and was added as a last minute Moveset Clone of Marth. Back in Melee, people let him slide, since every other newcomer was an expected or well-known Nintendo character. Brawl also didn't cause any fuss, as most of the characters were other remaining All-Star characters, with the only one really counting as a promotional character being Lucario. 4's newcomer cast has gotten criticism for most of the characters being nothing more than advertisements for Nintendo's latest games, even causing some characters to get cut from the base roster because they didn't have a game that released after Brawl. Not helping matters is that the majority of new stages were from the newest games that came out on the 3DS and Wii U. This all came to a head with Corrin, one of the most controversial newcomers and the sixth Fire Emblem character, who was added just to promote Fates, as the game hadn't released in the West yet. Ultimate, however, severely toned this down as the game focused on being a celebration of the Smash franchise, most of the newcomers were decided based on the DLC ballot from last game.
    • For that matter, playable Fire Emblem representation became a hotly debated topic during the For 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate timeframe. Melee and Brawl only had two reps each for the series; the former game had Marth and his Moveset Clone Roy, while the latter dropped Roy for a unique Mighty Glacier in Ike. For 3DS/Wii U introduced two new characters in the base roster, and while some thought it was rather dubious that Lucina was another Moveset Clone of Marth, there was also a unique character in the form of Magic Knight Robin to balance it out. The Downloadable Content for the duology is when the problems began, as while Roy's return was celebrated, there were now two clones of Marth on the roster. Corrin's announcement is when the fires started, as Fire Emblem had not only taken two DLC spots for the game, something no other series got, but had tripled the franchise's playable reps from two to six in a single game. Ultimate brought even more rage when Chrom was announced... as an Echo Fighter of Roy, thus making him the third Marth clone in the game. This forms the second tenet of Fire Emblem character detractors; other franchises that are seen as overrepresented, like Super Mario Bros. and Pokémon, have very few clones, while Fire Emblem has four characters with almost identical base movesets, with Lucina and Chrom being added in back-to-back releases.
  • The problem with the Tales series and DLC all started with the Updated Re-release of Tales of Vesperia, which had costumes that could only be obtained by preorders, and then more that can only be obtained by paying with real money. While this upset some fans, the game overall was still very meaty and had easily the most in-game costumes in the series before... or since. The very next game, Tales of Graces, had no more than two in-game costumes per character (to compare, everyone on the Updated Re-release of Vesperia had at least five, with Yuri and Karol having well over that), with the rest only available through DLC. The game after that, Tales of Xillia, had... four, not even one for each character, and two of them were for the female lead. Games after Xillia have gotten worse with this, to the point where Tales of Zestiria only offered recolors of the characters main outfits, unless you bought the DLC for it.
  • Telltale Games always had a problem with providing players merely the illusion of choice, as seemingly plot-critical decisions only left an impact for a few moments or affected how a subplot would be resolved before the main story simply progressed with little deviation. This problem goes all the way back to their Breakthrough Hit, The Walking Dead: Season One, where, no matter what you did over the course of the story, the Broad Strokes of the ending were basically the same. The difference was that not only was Telltale's style of games still very new and fresh, but your choices did affect the tone of the ending as it confronted you with all the decisions you made up to that point, judging whether or not the protagonist Lee was a good person. As Telltale recycled the formula with subsequent games, however, the seams in the storytelling and branching paths grew easier to spot as players caught on.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the Tekken roster is that the roster has become increasingly unbelievable as the years went on, focusing less on actual martial arts and artists and more on made-up styles that look cool with blatant anime influences. It reached a sort of critical mass in Tekken 7, when Lucky Chloe, an extremely kawaii pop-idol with Gratuitous English who fights by dancing, was made into an official character, leading to unbridled rage in the West. While Harada said that he would replace her with a muscular skinhead in the US, it was confirmed he was only trolling, and so Western gamers shared a Collective Groan over having to deal with her. That's not with mentioning other unrealistic characters, such as Kazumi, Claudio, Gigas, and Akuma. However, this type of unbelievability was there from the beginning. The original Tekken featured Yoshimitsu, a cyborg ninja that seemed completely out of place amongst a roster of mostly martial arts-based fighters. There was also Kuma, a bear as a playable character, which was also out of place. The sequel even added a Boxing Kangaroo and a freaking utahraptor. The primary difference here is the fact that these characters were few and far between, instead of being shoved in as the stars of the game and taking up a sizable portion of the roster.
  • Tomb Raider took a lot of beating from fandom for overemphasis on shooting with human combatans, with greatly simplified platforming bits and removal of puzzles by the time Square Enix took over. Lara almost literally ploughs through small army in the last three games. However, the much bigger scope on combat was present already back in the second game all the way back in 1997, with introduction of wide plethora of weapons and numerous humans enemies that were just Mooks instead of plot-sensitive characters. But back in times when Core Design was still making the games, it was still first and foremost a Dungeon Crawling series, putting puzzles and exploration first, second and third, throwing in more combat simply to make the difficulty spike even more steep. When Crystal Dynamics took over, they've expanded on combat, while simplified puzzles and automated a lot of platforming already, but they've still tried to strike at least a balance between those and keeping it "true" to the roots. It was only that another reboot reduced exploration and tomb-raiding to side activities (despite having much better engine and technical capabilities), instead putting full focus on cover-shooting, elaborate combat against seemingly endless army of Mooks and clumsily trying to put focus on characterisation, basically reinventing Laranote  as a character and turning the title into The Artifact.
  • American Wasteland may have marked the exact moment when the Tony Hawk series' franchise zombification became irreversible, but as this episode of {Errant Signal} makes clear, the things that sent it and later games off the rails can be seen as far back as the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, when the series was still on top of the world.
    • Even in the very first game, the way combos are scored (powerful multipliers awarded for each little trick, losing everything for bailing) helped elevate rail-slides, which created tons of opportunities to perform little stunts, above everything else. The addition of manuals in Pro Skater 2 only added to the combo focus by allowing players to string together different lines, though the game design didn't suffer for it. The kicker, though, was the introduction of reverts in Pro Skater 3. Now you can do air on a quarter-pipe and link it into a manual, making the expected combos longer (and riskier, since bailing cancels out the whole thing) even for relatively casual players who didn't make as much use of the long grind and manual chains in the earlier games.

      Increasingly, gameplay grew more dependent on over-the-top stunt chains than anything resembling real skateboarding, while the intricate level design of the first game, designed to get the player to hunt for the best line, was replaced with a greater focus on level exploration and creating monster combos anywhere. When Underground added the ability to walk around on foot and drive around in vehicles, it was acknowledging this growing shift in focus — and in doing so, it started the series' trend towards over-reliance on gimmicks like Project 8's "Nail the Trick" feature and Ride's use of an expensive skateboard peripheral. Every new feature made the games less focused on actual skateboarding — something that was made readily apparent when Skate came out without any of these gimmicks and proved that they were unnecessary.
    • Likewise, the juvenile humor and pop culture references that were criticized in later games have always been with the series. The games are rooted in skateboarding culture, which has always had a streak of countercultural irreverence, so it stood to reason that the series would reflect that. It was only around Pro Skater 4 and the Underground games that they really started to take over and, more importantly, degenerate into fratbro idiocy, with the final straw probably being the inclusion of the cast of Jackass in Underground 2.
  • The X-Universe series of games had fundamentally flawed gameplay design — in the developer's own opinion — due to the Singularity Engine Time Accelerator, a device which makes the game run faster to make the long travel times bearable. It wasn't too bad with the simplistic gameplay of X: Beyond the Frontier, but as the games went on, it became more and more obvious to Egosoft that they had built up the entire game around the abuse of SETA. If they were to speed up the slow item production rate at factoriesnote , the economy would implode when the player traveled across a sector with SETA. If they were to make ships faster to reduce travel time, the AI would break (well, break harder than normal), battles would turn into jousting matches, and the economy would implode from traders instantly grabbing every deal. They attempted to rectify the flaw in X Rebirth by introducing a completely different travel system and were somewhat successful, though the nigh-unplayable state of affairs at release brought up a whole slew of new issues.
    • Ironically, SETA was re-added to Rebirth in one of the many Win BACK The Crowd patches, albeit not as something necessary to play the game without losing one's mind like it was in the previous games. SETA returns out-of-the-box in X4: Foundations, but the rest of the game has been reworked so extensively that it is mostly a quality-of-life feature for fleet and production management; ships now have an innate fast-travel mode on their thrusters, and the player can unlock the ability to teleport between ships.
  • A major problem fans had with the second entry of the Zero Escape series was the inclusion of Alice. Major spoiler for the first game, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, follows: In that game, the characters discussed an urban legend about a mummy named All-Ice who was hinted at being the unaccounted person who may or may not be behind the murders. No mummy was discovered but in the epilogue, where the cast is shocked that they see a woman wearing stereotypical Egyptian clothes in the middle of the desert. The first game was originally intended to be a standalone but since it became a surprise hit with western fans, a sequel was greenlit which forced the main writer to figure out how to make sense of the Gainax Ending.


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