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Mission-Pack Sequel

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"This is something we used to call an 'Expansion Pack,' and which Nintendo apparently calls Ka-Ching!"

Sometimes, a sequel to a video game is completely different from the original; perhaps the designers got a little overexcited about creating new things.

Other times, however, you get just the opposite: Essentially, extra levels for the original game. Either it's the same engine, or the feel is identical, or what have you; but nevertheless, the player feels slightly ripped off. Any way you cut it, you're paying full price for an Expansion Pack.

Some gamers enjoy mission pack sequels when they are obviously such, because then they know exactly what they're getting into, and sometimes extra content for a fun game is a good thing. Other gamers don't trust their favorite companies to innovate, and would rather they stick to what they're demonstrably good at.

Thanks to the general contrariness of many gamers, not producing this kind of sequel when expected to can result in They Changed It, Now It Sucks!. Critics, on the other hand, tend to be more averse to sequels. This trope provides exclamations of It's the Same, Now It Sucks!.

To compensate for the lack of new play mechanics, a Mission Pack Sequel may feature harder levels than the original game, with more and/or tougher enemies.

It's important to realize that, until the early '90s, this was usually the standard for video game sequels. They were generally expected to offer the same experience as the first, except with new levels, a new enemy or two, maybe a couple new power-ups but little to seriously differentiate them from their predecessors.note  It wasn't until games like Super Mario Bros. 3 demonstrated how to significantly depart from your source material while still maintaining everything that made the original great that it became more permissible for video game sequels to seriously distinguish themselves from their predecessors.

Some old games did this in a manner similar to Divided for Publication, when ported to a system which couldn't fit all the stages onto one cartridge. Also, older consoles usually did not allow for actual expansion packs due to hardware limitations, leaving Mission Pack Sequels as the only way for developers to add new content to an existing console game.

And recall that Tropes Are Tools. If the core gameplay is already solid and fun, and the designers still have more ideas of what to do with it, why fix what ain't broke? That said, a mission-pack sequel can easily lead to the games becoming bloated and/or samey (especially if it extends beyond a single sequel).

Remember that just being part of a series doesn't make a game an example of this. Having a similar game system is part of the definition of being a series; a game only qualifies as a Mission Pack Sequel if the sequel adds almost nothing in the way of innovation or new features - if you could imagine the old game with the new one's levels, enemies, and the like, and nothing would seem out of place (or the opposite, such as the developers or fans porting the old game's levels to the new game without having to change much of anything to get them to work).

An installment that embraces this, like the Half-Life 2 Episodes, Company of Heroes expansions, or the various Guild Wars campaigns, may be marketed as a "stand-alone expansion" instead of a full sequel, which usually means a lower retail price. In the modern day, content that would have, in earlier times, perhaps constituted a Mission Pack Sequel is often instead released piecemeal as episodic Downloadable Content for the base game. The collective DLC packs of many games in the (for example) Fallout, Dark Souls, Mass Effect, Borderlands, or The Elder Scrolls series add campaigns totaling between twenty and sixty percent of the base game's with dozens of new weapons, enemies, abilities, and so on.

If it looks like a Mission Pack Sequel, but isn't a sequel, then it's probably a Gaiden Game. Capcom Sequel Stagnation is an extreme version of this, where even the base content only received minor changes.

Compare Serial Numbers Filed Off. Contrast In Name Only and Dolled-Up Installment.


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    Action Game 
  • Bayonetta 2 plays damn near identically to the original game, with some token changes and an entirely new cast of enemies except for the levels taking place in the Witch Hunt, which brings back almost the entire slew of enemies from the original game. Most of the techniques and items Bayonetta can purchase are the same as the first game, and clearing the game even allows purchasing a costume that unlocks her original moveset. This even extends to the plot itself, which reuses many plot points and elements from the first game's story.
  • Blaster Master: Enemy Below for the Game Boy Color looks and sounds almost exactly like the NES original, to the point that it could be confused for an Updated Re-release. However, it tells an entirely new story (sort of) with different maps, weapons, and bosses.
  • Two of the three Bomberman Jetters Recursive Adaptations reuse engines from normal Bomberman games: the GameCube game is a slower-paced Bomberman Generation without Charabom battles, while the Game Boy Advance Densetsu no Bomberman is a thinly-veiled rehash of Bomberman Tournament. Averted with Bomberman Jetters: Game Collection, which is a collection of mini-games combined with a Jetters-centric take on the traditional Bomberman battle mode.
  • Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness is the exact same game as Castlevania 64 except where you play as a different character with a different storyline (and an impossibly hard intro level featuring a cruel Wake-Up Call Boss). For beating the game you unlock a side mission where a knight rescues some children, and the option to play Schneider's and Carrie's quests from the first game set in the new levels from Legacy of Darkness. Cornell's story was originally going to be on the same cartridge as the main Castlevania 64 story, but Executive Meddling and time restrictions forced it to be separated.
  • Cheetahmen II reuses a lot of elements from the original Cheetahmen on the Action 52 NES cartridge, including the catchy music, the numerous physics glitches, and the erroneous level numbering. In fact, the last two levels of Cheetahmen II (normally unreachable due to a Game-Breaking Bug) are copied wholesale from Cheetahmen. And the prototypes of the never-released game use recycled Action 52 cartridges, including the labels.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Satellaview games BS The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets re-use just enough from their source material that they can be considered enhanced Reformulated Games which act as respectively a Third Quest for the original The Legend of Zelda and a Second Quest for A Link to the Past.
    • Many people thought The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask would be this to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, since it recycles the engine, controls, gameplay, and art assets. However, they used the tools in a completely different manner, focusing on a time limit, and shifting Link into completely different creatures with different controls, averting this trope.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games are this to each other, and also to The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening to a lesser extent, using roughly the same engine with a few additions, including support for dungeon rooms bigger than the screen.note 
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks recycles some graphics and the controls of its predecessor The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and the overall structure, progression style and interface are all kept almost the same.note 
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: The team had so many DLC ideas for Breath of the Wild that the decision was ultimately made to create a full-blown sequel instead. The overworld map is directly based on its predecessor, but with considerable additions and changes, now including an expansive underground cave system as well as several islands in the sky. Link's primary toolkit has also been revamped to focus more on creating buildings, contraptions, and vehicles instead of directly providing movement options.
    • The first two The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, share the same graphics, controls, gameplay and (poor) animation with the most notable difference being whether you play as Link or Zelda. At least the third Philips CD-i game, Zelda's Adventure, is different.
  • Besides the license involved, all the LEGO Adaptation Games are mission pack sequels to each other. While they're all considered good, fun games, they remain similar enough (aside from some interface changes) that you could buy one based on which of the licenses you like best and not be missing out on anything.
  • Playing with Fire: Each subsequent installment runs on the same engine and has nearly identical graphics and gameplay. The main changes include some game modes and features.
  • The Ninja Gaiden trilogy for the NES were all developed on the same engine, although the sequels make some subtle changes to the original game system and each installment has at least one exclusive power-up (namely the somersault attack in the original, the red shadow clones in II, and the sword extension in III). Oddly enough, III is the only game in the trilogy that doesn't have the pseudo isometric perspective used in the first two games.
  • The Tomb Raider series on the PlayStation uses the same game engine for five games, but each game has better graphics than the previous game and new mechanics, such as sprinting and monkey swinging. By The Last Revelation, the graphics hadn't improved a lot and the game mechanics remain generally unchanged, save for one or two new abilities. Chronicles recycles a lot of the textures and sound effects, along with the game mechanics from the last game.

    Adventure Game 
  • Season 2 of the episodic Sam & Max games, which was given the Retronym of Beyond Time & Space, is a mission pack sequel for the first season, Save the World. There's a handful of technical and gameplay improvements (such as widescreen support and the ability to sprint), a new driving minigame, less reliance on the Strictly Formula episode structure of the first season, and a slightly Darker and Edgier tone - but outside of that, the two seasons are near identical to each other. However, the third season, The Devil's Playhouse, was a drastic shift in gameplay, story and tone.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • The arcade version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge is a heavily modified version of the first game. The biggest change is in the game's controls, which use directional-based attack buttons instead of the punch and kick buttons from the first game.note  The level layouts are also changed with different enemy placement and new traps, most of the returning enemy characters are given a few new attacks in addition to their new looks, some of the weapons have different properties and all of the stages have a new end-boss. Averted with the NES version, which uses a completely different game engine from the first one and has all-new level designs.
  • Final Fight 2 is essentially the SNES port of the first game with nation-themed stages (Hong Kong, France, Holland, England, Italy and Japan) and carbon-copy characters for Guy and Cody. It justifies itself by adding a 2-player co-op mode, a feature from the arcade version that was missing from the SNES port, as well as having a full 3-character roster in one cartridge (as opposed to having a second version with a character replaced, as was the case with Final Fight Guy). It also brings back Rolento, the only boss character from the first game missing in the SNES port.
  • Golden Axe II uses the same engine as the Mega Drive port of the first one. Aside from slightly faster combat and a Spin Attack that replaces the back attack, it's the same.
  • The second Streets of Rage game uses a completely different engine from the first one, but the third game uses the same engine as the second, only with a few new moves such as a dash.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project for the NES reuses the same engine as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, but with the additional health-draining special attacks performed by pressing the A and B simultaneously.

    Driving Game 
  • BS F-Zero Grand Prix and BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 for the Satellaview both use the same engine as the original F-Zero (1990). The tracks are numbered successors to the originals and play like bonus levels from a level editor.
  • Championship Sprint has different tracks from Super Sprint, but otherwise plays the same way. It was produced to make more money, though not from Super Sprint owners; rather, it was sold as a conversion for existing two-player arcade cabinets (which explains why the option for a third player was removed).
  • Crazy Taxi's various sequels are strictly alterations of the setting and characters, although they also introduce a jump button.
  • The Cruis'n series (Cruis'n World, Cruis'n Exotica, and the Spiritual Sequel California Speed) is made of Mission Pack Sequels to the first game.
  • DiRT Rally 2.0 contains almost all of the cars of the first DiRT Rally, but with an entirely new set of rallies and stages alongside the rallycross tracks from the first game. The Year One Downloadable Content goes even further by including all of the rallies from the first game alongside brand new rallycross tracks and more vehicles, some of whom did not appear in the original game.
  • Driver 2 is more or less an MPS to the first game, with the only significant addition being the on-foot gameplay.
  • The The Fast and the Furious arcade game from Raw Thrills received one of these in the form of Fast and the Furious: DRIFT, which adds some new Japan-themed tracks, improves the graphics, and adds in some new cars on top of some returning cars. The tracks from the original game all return, and gameplay is mostly the same.
  • Forza Motorsport 4 was a retool of Forza 3, with a few new cars and tracks(most of the returning tracks were ported over unchanged, including Silverstone despite having been overhauled in real life since the preceding game), a revised Career Mode, more balanced AI, and Kinect support. The player even has the option to import their cars and progress data from its predecessor.
  • Gran Turismo 2 looks and plays the same as the first game, with the addition of a vastly expanded Simulation Mode, loads more cars, and real-world racing circuits. Likewise GT 6 was often criticized for being this to GT 5.
  • Need for Speed:
    • Need for Speed: Carbon contains most of the same cars, assets, race modes and the ability to get into police pursuits as Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but with improved car customization, some new race modes, managing your own crew that can help you win races and conquering city territories to race against bosses. Similarly, Need for Speed: Underground 2 was one to the original Need for Speed: Underground, just with an added open world to explore and probably the most diverse car customization options of any Need for Speed game.
    • There's Need for Speed: High Stakes / Road Challenge, and it's very evident in both platforms. Similar visuals, same assets and most of the same game modes and cars, plus tracks from the previous game on the PC version.
  • Ridge Racer 2 for the PSP is a very blatant example: It's exactly the same game as the first one, with a few additional tracks and a couple of (mostly irrelevant) playing modes. Nothing else is different. Yet it was sold at full price (and with no indication of this in the covers). Same for Ridge Racer Revolution on the original PlayStation, ableit to a somewhat lessser extent due to the first game's tracks being locked behind the Link Cable mode, which requires two consoles, two copies of the game and two televisions in addition to said cable to access.
  • The various San Francisco Rush arcade games are Mission Pack Sequels of the original; while the tracks and graphics have changed, the fundamental gameplay and emphasis on real-world physics does not. The home console versions add additional modes that don't involve racing around a track.
  • Street Rod 2 plays identically to the first game, using a lot of the same graphics. Even the ending text for beating the game is the same! The sequel does mix it up slightly by introducing Aqueduct races, as well as Grudge Night drag race competitions.
  • Twisted Metal 4 uses the same graphics, gameplay, and physics engine as Twisted Metal 3, just with new characters, environments, and weapons.

    Fighting Game 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny for the Game Boy Advance is the Japanese-exclusive sequel to the western-released Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Battle Assault. Both games uses the same core engine with Destiny having a more expanded roster, altered UI elements, and added stages. To make it even more abundant, one of the unlockables in Destiny is the original SEED: Battle Assault in its full form, with some of the updated graphics from Destiny.
  • The various Street Fighter sequels, after the first version of Street Fighter II, tend to be Mission Pack Sequels of the highest degree. At least the ones that are Mission Pack Sequels are labeled as such.
  • According to those who worked on both games, Tekken 2 is what the first Tekken would have been like if they had more time to work on it. The character roster keeps all the same characters from the original and adds several more (renaming Jack to Jack-2 to fit in with his story). It also uses the same music from the first game for several levels. However, it is a new game in that all the returning characters are redrawn with better graphics, far more moves are added to distinguish boss characters from main characters, and the Playstation version has many new modes added whereas the first game just has Arcade, Vs and Options.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • 007 Legends is essentially GoldenEye Reloaded with new missions, a few new weapons, and some new mechanics involving weapon attachments in singleplayer, gadgets, and quick-time events. The names, models and animations for returning weapons are the same, the returning mechanics are the same (changed only to make "Classic" mode, where you have Body Armor as Hit Points instead of Regenerating Health, a toggle-able setting rather than exclusive to the Harder Than Hard difficulty), even the basic premise of "classic Bond films reimagined with Daniel Craig's Bond" is the same.

  • BioShock 2:
    • The engine and basic setting are the same, and it's more of a side-story than a full sequel to the original game. It was not made by the team who made the first game (they were busy making BioShock Infinite), and includes a multiplayer mode. At the same time, it's more of a Halo 2 style of iterative sequel: the enemy types are the same, but the models, animations, stats, and A.I. coding are all entirely new. The weapons and plasmids are also similar to those in the original game, but are entirely new versions that behave somewhat differently instead of re-using the old assets.
    • An interesting wrinkle comes from the nature of the player characters in single/multiplayer. Jack, protagonist of the first game, is a normal human, while Subject Delta of the sequel is a heavily enhanced Big Daddy who is many times stronger and tougher. As a result, all eight of Subject Delta's weapons are larger, heavier, and unique from the ones Jack used (even though there is some crossover with how they work, like Jack's crossbow and Delta's speargun). The catch is that Jack's weapons mostly carry over into the multiplayer, where players are normal humans fighting in the Rapture Civil War.
  • A common accusation thrown at Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, which borrows more heavily from 2 (most egregiously the entirety of the HUD and menus with only very minor tweaks) than 2 does from the original, but brings new movement mechanics, new playable characters with novel abilities, and a number of new enemies with new mechanics and behavior.
  • The second Brothers in Arms game, Earned In Blood. The first half consists of different takes on the same missions as the first game, or missions that occur in-between. The rest of the game is completely new.

  • Call of Duty is notorious for this. One of the biggest criticisms is that the multiplayer aspect doesn't change a whole lot between each installment, other than some new maps, new guns that fill all the same roles as the guns from the previous game, and reskinned characters. To add insult to injury, the DLC for Modern Warfare 2 allows you to play maps from Call of Duty 4 that look identical, but are running on the new engine. They have been trying to introduce new ideas to the multiplayer in later games (at least, the ones by Treyarch and newcomer Sledgehammer have), but the graphics were still on about the same level they've been since Call of Duty 2 until at least Black Ops II (7 years later, for context) - to the point that Modern Warfare 3 even uses the exact same HUD layout as MW2, with only updates to the text displayed over it for new game modes and weaponsnote . This really started to bite the series with Call of Duty: Ghosts, which on average scored and sold lower than Black Ops 2 (breaking the trend of every CoD breaking the previous one's sales records), in part because it refused to adapt any of the changes BO2 added and is seen by many as, in effect, Modern Warfare 4.
  • Counter-Strike: Condition Zero is effectively a standalone expansion to the first game. It features the exact same weapons and gameplay mechanics in multiplayer, but significantly upgrades the graphics and animations, while adding new maps, new models, AI bots, and a simple 6-7 hour single player mission set (13-14 hours with the free Deleted Scenes add-on). The single player campaign adds a few gadgets (e.g. blowtorch, radio, fiber optic camera, RC bombs), weapons (e.g. M72 LAW, M60 GPMG), and enemy types aside from the standard rifle-toting bots (e.g. tanks, helicopters, terrorist snipers, elite terrorists, suicide bomber terrorists, machete terrorists) in an an attempt to mix up the gameplay, but these can't be used in multiplayer without modding.
  • 2023's Counter-Strike 2 is marketed as both a sequel and an Updated Re-release of 2012's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, featuring almost identical gameplay sans updates to graphics, the game engine, and some other quality-of-life changes. It's released as its own entity and continually supported as its own platform, but owners of Global Offensive were able to upgrade to 2 for free and transfer all of their progress.
  • Crysis 3, unlike the jump from the first game to the second, has the HUD almost entirely unchanged. The nanosuit powers are the same too. In fact, a look at the game files shows that many of them are unchanged from Crysis 2, including the files for most weapons and enemies.

  • Dead Island: Riptide has the same engine and gameplay and is essentially the same game as the original Dead Island, with a new (shorter than the original) single player campaign. Riptide has a few minor additions, such as a 5th player character, a few new enemy types, and more weapons.
  • Doom:
    • Doom II: Hell on Earth is a good example of this trope being done right. The game engine is identical, it plays the same and there's only one new weapon (Super Shotgun), one new boss (Icon of Sin), four new enemies (Mancubus, Arch-vile, Revenant, Arachnotron), and three new sub-variants of existing enemies (a tougher zombieman with a faster-firing gun, a Palette Swap of the Baron of Hell with half the health, and a modified and recolored Cacodemon which shoots Lost Souls at you), adding to the original game's eight normal monsters and two bosses; even most of its under-the-hood changes were backported to the original game with a patch released a month before Doom II came out. The main attraction is the 32 new levels featuring sublime design. A big part of the sequel's existence was to get a Doom game out on a retail release, when the original was purely Shareware. The game even received its own actual mission-pack expansion (Master Levels, a collection of 21 levels developed by external people under contract with the assets of the game, released one year later), and much later in 2009 a mission-pack spiritual follow-up in the form of No Rest for the Living.
    • In turn, Final Doom is one of these to Doom II, but contains no new weapons or enemies in return for two sets of new levels - which makes sense, considering one of the sets, TNT: Evilution, was intended to just be a Game Mod before an eleventh-hour publishing deal was struck. More or less the same deal was with the obscure "The Lost Episodes of Doom", a new unofficial three-episode set of levels for the original Doom that were for all intents and purposes a game mod that was bundled with a combined lore book/strategy guide to justify putting a price tag on it (you were "really" paying for the book itself, and the actual game was a "free bonus").
    • Doom 64 is another instance, as while everything looks different (all the enemies and weapons are given entirely new sprites) and it has its own unique set of levels, it's still running on something close to the original engine, pitting you against mostly the same enemies, and giving you the same array of weapons - the only other additions to the engine are support for scripts (allowing for some rather neat things that the original engine wouldn't be able to handle until the version used in Hexen), two new enemies (a translucent, faster version of the original Imp and the Mother Demon), and a new weapon based on one that was scrapped from early versions of the original Doom.
    • Doom³'s expansion pack, Resurrection of Evil, is an odd version. It adds a 5-6 hour campaign, three new enemies, two sub-variants of existing enemies, one new boss, and three new weapons. Pretty standard for an expansion, but the Xbox version was sold standalone, not requiring the base 3 to play.

  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a stand-alone expansion, and thus uses the same engine and gameplay mechanics as the main Far Cry 3, but has a completely different story, set in an 80s retro-future cyberpunk dystopia.
  • Far Cry 4, in turn, is also essentially Far Cry 3 in a new setting with additional content (i.e. some new guns and vehicles) and some balancing tweaks. The base engine and gameplay is the same down to the small details (only the upgrade system is noticeably different, with Ajay starting with several early abilities Jason had to unlock and not having nearly as many skills locked behind earlier ones), it has the exact same guns (albeit with many new ones, including borrowing one from Blood Dragon), and the enemies are actually direct palette-swapped versions of the ones from Far Cry 3, down to having the same A.I. coding, weapons, stats, and animations (although some enemies have been given new moves, e.g. machete fighters now having throwing knives and chargers throwing smoke grenades).
  • Far Cry 5 on its own makes much more extensive changes between Far Cry 4 and itself than 4 did from 3, but in turn it has Far Cry: New Dawn, which takes place in the exact same map 17 years after a nuclear holocaust that happens in a Sudden Downer Ending. Aside from some new weapons and mechanics (including RPG-style scaling to make the enemies damage sponges) most of the game is essentially the same, with new characters largely replacing older companion characters.
  • The original Ghost Recon and its expansions are essentially the original Rainbow Six in expansive outdoor environments and with more of a then-next-gen US military theme to the usable equipment; they're also honorable mentions because the expansions are explicitly labeled as "mission packs" on the boxes, and were released as standalone games for the consoles they came out on - somewhat uniquely even for this trope, the original game and its expansions are often referred to as a "trilogy" (which expanded into a quadrology if you count the PS2-exclusive third expansion, "Jungle Storm") despite the fact that they're all technically one game. It eventually split off and became its own unique series with the cover-based Third-Person Shooter Advanced Warfighter... until Rainbow Six took cues from the console versions of Advanced Warfighter for the Vegas spinoffs, before they split off again into unique gameplay styles (Ghost Recon focusing on third-person, cover-based shooters with emphasis on campaign co-op, stealth elements, and crossovers with the other "Tom Clancy's" games for Future Soldier and Wildlands, while Rainbow Six focused on competitive teamplay and emphasizing unique characters' roles while shifting back to its roots as a more realistic first-person shooter for Siege).
  • The video game adaptation of The Sum of All Fears takes the Ghost Recon version of the engine to adapt another Tom Clancy book-turned-movie. Amusingly, the game starting you off in the shoes of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team makes it pretty close to the original plan for the Rainbow Six game before the endorsement deal with Clancy.
  • Half-Life had these in the form of standalone expansion packs for both games. Opposing Force and Blue Shift acted as P.O.V. Sequels for the first Half-Life, while Episode One and Episode Two were straight sequels to Half-Life 2. Both expansion packs together roughly equal the single-player length of their respective parent games (every copy of Blue Shift was sold bundled with Opposing Force to emphasize this), though Opposing Force is the only one of the four that adds much in the way of new weapons, enemies, and mechanics. Blue Shift and Episode Two also came up with graphical updates in the form of the High-Definition Pack and Source 2007, respectively.
  • Halo 3: ODST was originally announced as a downloadable add-on for Halo 3, but it ended up becoming a whole new game. However, all it really does is add a short single-player campaign, a new game mode (Firefight), and a few new multiplayer maps. It doesn't even include new enemies, weapons, or vehicles, just a few variants of weapons and enemies from the base game (e.g. the scoped and silenced SMG and an officer variant of the Drones). The actual multiplayer gameplay is identical to Halo 3's; multiplayer isn't even on the actual ODST disc, but rather the game came with a second disc that had a slightly-updated version of Halo 3's multiplayer component and all of the DLC maps that came out for it. The biggest complaint about ODST is its surprising brevity (you can finish the game in about 7 hours) contrasted to its full $60 price tag. The Master Chief Collection even treats it as DLC, selling just a remastered version of its campaign (since the multiplayer is already in the collection by virtue of it including the base Halo 3) for a tenth as much as the original retailed for.

  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is the only game in the Dark Forces Saga that is not based on an entirely different engine than its predecessor (excluding Mysteries of the Sith, which is an actual expansion for Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II). The main draw is the added customization options, particularly for the lightsaber (not only finally allowing you to customize your lightsaber's color in the campaign, but also allowing twin sabers or a Darth Maul-esque double-bladed saber staff), a few new Force powers, and allowing for customization of the protagonist as well as selecting your own powers like in Dark Forces II (as compared to Kyle's static power growth in Outcast) - other than the maps involved, it otherwise looks and plays almost identically. Even the story is more directly related to that of a previous game; whereas Dark Forces II and Jedi Outcast had independent villains who happened to share a common goal of abusing a source of great power, Jedi Academy's Big Bad is one of the surviving villains from Outcast going for round two, with leftover forces from the previous game acting as their Elite Mooks.

  • Left 4 Dead, meet Left 4 Dead 2. New characters, new levels, new items, a few new enemy types, and about three times as many weapons, but the same gameplay. Valve eventually stated that L4D2 was going to be DLC, but that the amount of work that went into it, including graphical upgrades, voice acting, new weapons, and more, merited a full release - although the console version retailed at 2/3rds the cost of a typical game because of it.

  • Marathon Infinity's single player mode, Blood Tides of Lh'owon, is just Marathon 2: Durandal with more levels. As the title indicates, however, Infinity's main features are really Anvil and Forge. Marathon 2 is in turn this to the original game, starting life as the 20/10 Level Pack, which would have introduced 20 new single player levels, 10 new multiplayer maps, and the shotgun, but was released as a separate game due to how much it added.
  • Medal of Honor: Underground is a mission pack prequel, using the same engine as the original with a few slight gameplay alterations.
  • Overwatch 2 is a rather unique and confusingly marketed specimen that also manages to be a straight Expansion Pack. 2 is an individual entity that features nearly identical gameplay as the first Overwatch and is marketed as such, with the major changes being the game going free-to-play, and an addition of new playable characters and maps (something that Overwatch supplies already due to its constantly updating nature). It was initially announced to also release with a fully-fledged story mode, but the game released with the story mode delayed, before being scrapped in favour of smaller mission-pack events, and then these were also cancelled after just one event. How this ended up in practice is that 2 was effectively a major content patch doubling as a platform relaunch to allow for engine upgrades and other future content, with all player data held from the previous game being automatically transferred over to 2, and the first game was then shut down, with 2 completely replacing it.
  • Primal Carnage Extinction has the exact same assets, game engine, and gameplay as the original game, making it functionally identical, but has more maps, more weapons, more playable dinosaur classes, and far more added skins and other cosmetic items, effectively replacing it as the "main" game.

  • While Quake and Quake II are very different games in terms of technology and story, they deserve an honorable mention because the expansion packs (two for each game) are actually labeled Mission Packs and offer additional single player campaigns in each one with some new weapons and enemies.

  • Rainbow Six did this often, with several of the games in the series looking and playing exactly like its immediate predecessor, just with new weapons, new missions, new operatives etc. Rogue Spear was the first as one of these to the original game, later followed by Black Arrow as an incremental update to the console version of Rainbow Six 3, and so far finishing off with Vegas 2, what is in essence a P.O.V. Sequel to the first Vegas differing only in protagonist (a customizable Featureless Protagonist) and new maps and weapons. As proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, several of these mission-pack games are considered among the best games in the series, right next to similarly-praised unique entries like the PC version of Rainbow Six 3 and Siege.

  • Serious Sam:
    • The Second Encounter is an interesting case. The game itself follows this trope — same engine and gameplay with four new weapons, several new enemies, three new bosses, and new maps in a campaign running about the same length as the original's — as well as a greater abundance of lame jokes from the companion AI. Yet despite being called The Second Encounter, the next game in the series, which does contain major changes to the style, gameplay and atmosphere, is called Serious Sam II, causing some confusion with the other game whose subtitle suggests the same thing. It can be confusing when looking for information regarding both installments, and without looking at the series catalogue on Steam or something it's easy to completely overlook one or the other for this very reason. It became even more confusing when II was declared Canon Discontinuity, meaning The Second Encounter apparently is just the "official" second game now, followed by Serious Sam 3: BFE (which also makes significant changes to the engine, graphics, weapon selection, and so on).
    • The HD editions of the original games take this to its logical conclusion by way of the "Fusion" DLC/update, which adds all the content from the first game into the second to let people immediately jump from First Encounter's Egypt levels to Second Encounter's South America ones. There's also now Serious Sam Classics: Revolution, which does the same for the original versions, and the Fusion 2017 beta that takes the combination of the HD Encounters and adds on Serious Sam 3 and the VR versions of the games all in one executable, with vague hints in the FAQ that they might remake Serious Sam II on the same engine.
  • Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army follows the example of Left 4 Dead is this regard; the second game is essentially the same game as the first, albeit with 5 new levels and a couple new enemies. Sniper Elite III from V2 is a lesser example, using the same engine (it's the only full game in the series to have the same system requirements on PC and the first to release on the same generation of consoles as its predecessor) and a lot of the same weapons and mechanics, but with an entirely new set of levels set in Africa of 1942 and other new or updated mechanics, such as ones to help make stealth actually viable for more than simply getting to a good position to loudly murder everyone from.

  • Unreal
    • Unreal Tournament was originally going to be a second, multiplayer-focused expansion for Unreal; however, with just how big it ended up becoming, the developers split it off into an entirely new game. However, it only runs on an updated version of the same engine rather than an entirely new one,note  and on top of this UT still has almost all of the original's assets included (only missing the maps and music - models, animations, textures, sounds and code for the original game's enemies, items, and weapons are all still there and fully usable if you put them in a map or spawn them with the console), which has led to mods recombining the two.
    • Unreal Tournament 2004 is another one, to UT2003 and to a lesser extent its console counterpart Unreal Championship - essentially the exact same game with more playable models, the addition of vehicles, new weapons, new models for existing weapons, new maps, and new game modes, including the return of Assault mode. This was intentional as part of a short-lived effort to make the series a yearly release a la the Madden NFL games, echoing its in-universe standing as the futuristic, bloody equivalent to the NFL, but nevertheless Epic quickly gave up on the idea, as they went on to consider UT2004 to be what UT2003 should have been and made what would have been UT2005 much different - when UT2004 came out, they even gave rebates for players who traded in 2003 for it, and for digital distribution over places like Steam and at the end of the decade, 2003 was skipped over entirely because 2004 already has all of its content, including options and mutators to allow you to make the game look and play almost exactly like 2003 did.

  • Wolfenstein:
    • Wolfenstein 3-D, along with its "Nocturnal Missions" expansion, was followed by the 21-level stand-alone prequel Spear of Destiny running on the same engine, the only changes being new music, textures, and bosses.
    • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a standalone expansion pack for Wolfenstein: The New Order, using the same engine with a new story and levels set immediately before TNO's prologue.

    Hack and Slash 
  • The Onechanbara series is known for being low budget and hardly changes from game to game, but from Z Kagura to Z II Chaos, there are many, many recycled assets, levels, enemies and bosses. It feels more like an expansion than a full blown sequel. In fact, there is more stuff copy-pasted from Kagura than brand new things introduced in Chaos, somewhere around 65% old to 35% new. Critics were already merciless on this series, and had Z Kagura been localized they surely would have been even more unkind to Z II Chaos.
  • Warriors Orochi 2. While the rest of the Dynasty Warriors series uses new character models and maps for each iteration, even if they all have the same story, Warriors Orochi 2 is a Mission Pack Sequel of the first Warriors Orochi with some new characters thrown in for good measure. This is because Warriors Orochi 2 is, in fact, an expansion, whereas Warriors Orochi 3 - titled Musou Orochi 2 in Japan, is the true sequel.

    Mecha Game 
  • The Armored Core games are notorious for doing this. Every game with a number at the end of it is a brand new game, but every game with some kind of Word Salad Title is just a mission-pack sequel built on the most recent numbered game's engine with a few minor additions or subtractions. This is how From Software managed to put out one Armored Core a year for a decade. When they moved on to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, they began putting more effort into individual games, hence why there is only one mission-pack sequel to Armored Core 4 and it took three years to go from it to Armored Core V, and then 11 to go from ACV to Armored Core VI.
  • This is the case for several MechWarrior games within a specific era — each new series of sequels is drastically different in gameplay from the others.
    • Mechwarrior 2 is the original, while Ghost Bear's Legacy trades off the two-faction system for a single linear narrative with new missions, 'Mechs, and equipment, but effectively the same gameplay. Mercenaries is still the same gameplay-wise, but had more 'Mechs (again), a slightly more open world to play in, and an optional persistent inventory/asset management section.
    • Mechwarrior 3 is its own stand-alone game, and Pirate's Moon is just a playable standalone sequel featuring new 'Mechs and gear and a new mercenary campaign. It is also notable for averting No Campaign for the Wicked and having a playable Pirate campaign, where you learn that yes, the pirates really are all violent thugs and psychopathic assholes.
    • In Mechwarrior 4 the original storyline focuses around the trials of Ian Dresari, while Black Knight plays off that campaign while, again, introducing more 'Mechs and gear. Mercenaries takes the same route of its predecessor in the 2 era, once again providing more 'Mechs and a more open world—the difference being that the persistent inventory and asset management portion of the game had since become standard for the 4 era.
  • While each Super Robot Wars game has its own story and set of featured anime/manga/video game series, and there are a few oddballs (such as Super Robot Wars NEO), the series' primary gameplay is highly-iterative. This is especially notable when these sequels share featured series, since that typically means that their sprites are reused with only minor touch-ups.

    Party Game 
  • Every Mario Party game before the ninth (and excluding Mario Party Advance) plays all but identically to the last, other than game specific boards gimmicks and different items/capsules/candies/hexes, to the point of all the N64 and GameCube titles and 8 sharing an engine with each other. After the ninth game Mario Party: Island Tour, Mario Party: Star Rush and Super Mario Party also are all different from each other.
  • Mario Party 2: The game doesn't stray very far from the first in terms of gameplay and presentation, so much so that it's often called less of a sequel and more of a second attempt. It reuses many of the mini-games, has the exact same roster of playable characters, and has largely the same board gameplay. This works out very well in its favor, being a perfect example of Tropes Are Tools, with everything returning from the prior game being improved and much more polished, with the newer boards being just as, if not even more, memorable, the game is still widely considered by many to be the best game in the series and is the highest rated favorite game in Mario Party Superstars.
  • Mario Party 10: The Mario Party mode uses most of the same mechanics introduced in Mario Party 9, such as the vehicles, Mini-Stars, and Special Dice Blocks. However, it's also more streamlined, removing the long-winded Captain events and various pieces of long dialogue during gameplay that frequently strayed into Captain Obvious territory. The other modes, Bowser Party and amiibo Party, also do add some variety with the latter mode being reminiscent of past entries.

    Platform Game 
  • Abe's Exoddus is this to Abe's Oddysee, featuring the same engine, graphical assets, and physics, but improves upon its predecessor by being signficantly longer, possessing more involved storytelling in the cutscenes and exposition, bringing in desperately needed Anti-Frustration Featuresnote , and bringing in more new puzzle mechanics. The reason for its similarity was that Exoddus wasn't originally supposed to be a true sequel. The developer's original vision of the Oddworld series was for five games with five different storylines, with each main game having a "bonus" game or two alongside it that would be this trope and not part of the proposed quintology; Exoddus just happened to be the only one of these bonus games that actually got made.
  • Hudson's Adventure Island III is virtually copy-pasted from Adventure Island II in terms of graphics, music and play mechanics, with the only major changes being a new dinosaur buddy and a new weapon.
  • Bonk's Revenge and Bonk 3 for the TurboGrafx-16 are this to Bonk's Adventure. Revenge even reuses a lot of the music from Adventure.
  • Championship Lode Runner is like Lode Runner, but with more difficult levels. Irem adapted Lode Runner into four Arcade Games which differ from each other in little else but levels, including a number of original levels which were brought to the Famicom Disk System as Super Lode Runner and Super Lode Runner II.
  • Contra:
    • The arcade version of Super Contra is a sufficiently different creature from the original game. However the NES version, titled Super C, is essentially the first NES game with all new stages. The 3D stages are replaced with overhead ones, and the Fire Gun has been revamped: instead of shooting tiny fireballs that travel in a corkscrew pattern, it now fires large ones which split into four fragments when they hit an enemy.
    • Operation C for the Game Boy also qualifies. The play mechanics are ported over from Super C and the graphic style is also similar to the NES games, but the stages and bosses are all new.
    • Neo Contra is an overhead version of Contra: Shattered Soldier, using the same three-weapons setup, only this time you can choose your weapon configuration and the third weapon now acts as an anti-air attack which takes out airborne enemies.
  • Cybernoid II: The Revenge gives the player a different-looking ship with a few new weapons, but otherwise plays exactly like the original Cybernoid.
  • DuckTales 2 is effectively a mission pack to the first game, with the same core gameplay and graphics engine, but a new, more expansive set of locales to explore, new abilities for Scrooge, and upgradeable attacks.
  • Jak 3: Wastelander is very similar to Jak II: Renegade, and feels more like Jak II 2 than a new sequel, primarily because the Haven City setting from II returns with a very large amount of time spent there in the familiar streets. This feeling is likely drawn from how vastly different Jak II is from its predecessor, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. However, it's still a huge game, with two giant open-world environments and the Light Jak powers and new gun mods added, not to mention the new storyline that continues from II like a "proper" sequel.
  • Jet Set Willy II: The Final Frontier isn't just "more of the same"—a lot of it is almost exactly the same! Essentially it's an expanded remake that includes all the original screens plus some new ones. Originally designed as an Amstrad CPC port of the ZX Spectrum original, but making use of the extra memory, it was then ported back to the Spectrum.
  • Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters has updated graphics, but the overall feel is the same as the original game. The main difference is the absence of Ratchet Scrolling, making the game a bit easier.
  • Kirby's Dream Collection features a collection of New Challenge Stages that use the same engine and general design as the challenge stages found in the previous year's Kirby's Return to Dream Land. The new stages do introduce some new ideas, including Multi-Mook Melee stages and boss races against Magolor.
  • Mega Man:
  • Miner 2049er Volume II for the Atari 2600 contains three stages from the original game that hadn't appeared in the 2600 version of Miner 2049er, which also has only three stages out of the original ten.
  • Professional reviews often accused the Ratchet & Clank games of being these, even in the jump from the original to its sequel. Though opinions vary on how accurate that assessment is, and considering fan reaction when they broke the mold more than usual, it's safe to say that the fanbase prefers it that way.
  • Rayman Legends has new levels, an updated art engine, and a new type of character (who plays exactly the same as Rayman), but other than that Rayman's abilities haven't been altered at all. It even includes the vast majority of the levels from Rayman Origins!
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles is actually a literal case of this: Sonic 3 was originally intended to be one long game, but the developers, pressed for time, released only the first half of the game as Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and then released the rest as Sonic & Knuckles six months later. But since the new Sonic & Knuckles cartridge can be locked on with a Sonic 3 cartridge, the two can be played together back-to-back as they were originally intended (and as a plus, joining Sonic & Knuckles with Sonic 2 lets you play the latter game with Knuckles as a player character, while joining it with Sonic 1 or other games lets you play a minigame based on the Sonic 3 & Knuckles special stages).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was conceived when Miyamoto and his team were working on the arcade version of Super Mario Bros. and redesigning the stages to make the difficulty more suitable for arcade play. They decided to create a new version of the game that only expert players could clear, which is why the original Famicom Disk version was released with the tag line "For Super Players". This is half of the reason (the unusually high level of difficulty being the other) why Nintendo of America chose to skip this one and localize an unrelated game, Doki Doki Panic, as the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2, which turned out to be a better investment in retrospect.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and New Super Mario Bros. U when compared to the first New Super Mario Bros. for DS, as they all feature the same general world types and gameplay style. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a downplayed case, as it has various new platforming obstacles not possible on the DS or previous consoles, with simultaneous multiplayer for up to four people in all its levels for the first time, in addition to a fairly large VS mode. New Super Mario Bros. 2, meanwhile, reuses most of Wii's soundtrack and assets. New Super Mario Bros. U would also reuse various graphical and musical assets from Wii, although to a lesser extent.
    • Justified in the case of New Super Luigi U. Being conceived as DLC for Mario U, it reuses the same textures and elements, and places all of its levels in the same spots as its predecessor, but the levels are rebuilt from the ground up to be much more difficult. Luigi U would be released as its own stand-alone game, and later included from the start in its brother game's reprints during the Wii U's final period, as well as in the Switch port.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 was originally intended to be an expansion of the original Super Mario Galaxy titled Super Mario Galaxy 1.5, but over time, new ideas were implemented and the release date was pushed back so more content could be made. It is still often seen as being this to the original since, although most of the level design is not recycled and there are some new power-ups and new ways to progress, the core physics engine and Mario's basic move controls were left untouched, thus becoming the first direct sequel to another 3D Mario game.
    • Downplayed with Super Mario 3D World. In terms of gameplay, presentation, level design, and part of the soundtrack, the game is one to Super Mario 3D Land. However, it makes a major effort to showcase many new features to stand out (more characters to play as, new powerups, different mainland setting, more bosses, the addition of Captain Toad stages and Mystery House gauntlets, etc.).
    • Yoshi's Island DS at times feels like a commercially published ROM hack of the first game, due to a few levels that feel like they took the basic structure of the original levels and bosses and merely tweaked them a bit. However, similar to Super Mario 3D World compared to 3D Land, the addition of new babies to use (each with new different abilities), level features, and additional minigames and Time Trial modes make it feel like a different game from its predecessor.
    • Yoshi's New Island feels much more like a ROM hack of the original game than DS does, albeit with 3D graphics and none of the things DS introduced that made it different.
    • In the Mario vs. Donkey Kong subseries the games after March of the Minis (other than Minis on the Move, which tried to be innovative) are were mostly the same with only minor changes to the gameplay or slapping a new mini character, even reusing the Video Game Settings and plenty of musical tracks/leitmotifs outright.
  • Tomb Raider 2 through 5 play the same as the original, with some graphics updates and a few new moves for Lara in each one. Tomb Raider Underworld is a mission-pack sequel to Legend.

    Puzzle Game 
  • The Katamari Damacy sequels. Fortunately, the original has enough enjoyably weird potential that it almost doesn't matter.
  • Lemmings' first sequels, Xmas Lemmings and Oh No! More Lemmings, are this. Oh No! More Lemmings has 100 levels in four new tilesets, and with a much steeper learning curve if you haven't played Lemmings already, but adds nothing to the basic gameplay. A proper sequel, Lemmings 2: The Tribes, followed later; this adds a slew of new skills.
  • Puyo Puyo:
    • Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, aside from featuring the Skill Battle Arrange Mode from Puyo Puyo Chronicle and adapting it to the gameplay of Tetris, is essentially the first game with a new story and a few more characters.
    • Nazo Puyo and Nazo Puyo 2 for the Game Gear are essentially the Game Gear port of Puyo Puyo (1992) minus Scenario and Endless Modes. The only major distinctions between the two Nazo Puyo games are their title screens, music, and Continue options. (The first uses passwords while the second has battery-backed storage.) The third GG Nazo Puyo game, Arle no Roux, averts this by adding light RPG mechanics.
  • Repton 3 was followed by three new scenarios using the same game engine: Around the World in 40 Screens, The Life of Repton, and Repton Thru Time.

    Rail Shooter 
  • Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette uses the exact same engine as the first game, just with all-new missions and the addition of two-player co-op gameplay. Likewise, the console-exclusive Silent Scope 3 is built on the engine of Silent Scope EX.
  • Time Crisis: Project Titan is a PlayStation-exclusive mission pack sequel to the first game. Similarly, Time Crisis 3 reuses the code base and engine of Time Crisis 2, with the only new addition to gameplay being the selectable weapons.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Cannon Fodder 2 is almost the same as the first game, but with different graphics and levels.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert to the original Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, though their actual relation to this trope is a little difficult to define in simple terms. There are some different units, such as replacing all the lasers from the original game with a hard-on for Tesla's designs, the original game's desert palette is swapped with a snowy one, it adds support for a rules.ini file to redefine units' attributes, a skirmish mode against AI was included, and the graphics were overhauled to a higher resolution for playing on Windows 95; other than these changes, the two are still extremely similar graphically and the basic gameplay is identical. What makes things odd is that Tiberian Dawn was then rereleased for Windows 95 itself, with several of Red Alert's updates and changes backported to it, which makes Red Alert look even more like a mission-pack sequel than it originally did.

  • The two stand-alone expansion packs to Earth 2150: The Moon Project and Lost Souls. All they add are new missions and a few new units. That's it.
  • Haegemonia: Legions of Iron has a stand-alone expansion pack called The Solon Heritage. You'd think that, just based on the name, it would feature a storyline devoted to the eponymous Benevolent Precursors. Nope, the expansion doesn't even have a campaign. Instead, it adds more maps, a few new ship types, a few buildings, a few techs, and the ability to make locked-down space stations move again. Needless to say, it receives a lot of hate from fans of the original.
  • Homeworld: Cataclysm was apparently supposed to be an expansion pack to the original game, but ended up becoming a standalone release when the developers started making gameplay and graphics engine changes. The results are still controversial. Controversy in the plotline aside, the more sequel-like sequel Homeworld 2 uses a control scheme much more similar to Cataclysm's than that of the first game.
  • StarCraft is an exception, at least mechanically. Originally, it was built on the same engine as Warcraft 2, which caused people to call it Warcraft IN SPACE. It was massively overhauled with a new engine and art style, though it apparently still garnered a lot of "Warcraft in space" accusations, enough so that Blizzard poked fun at it in its expansion, Brood War, with some of Artanis' Stop Poking Me! lines.
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was followed by two standalone games officially referred to as expansion packs, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. You don't need any of the three to play any of the others, each pack adds a 20+ hour campaign and many new units and maps, but they still use the graphics and engine of base StarCraft 2.
  • While Warlords Battlecry is a very different game from its predecessor, Warlords, the three games in the Battlecry series are essentially exactly the same but with new storylines and a few new playable races.
  • Played with by Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War and its three expansions. The base game contained 4 factions (Space Marines, Orks, Eldar, and Chaos Space Marines), and a single campaign with the Blood Ravens Space Marine chapter squaring off against the other three factions.
    • Winter Assault was a standard expansion, adding the Imperial Guard faction, two campaigns for the four factions that hadn't gotten one yet ("Order" shared by Eldar and the Imperial Guard, "Disorder" shared by Ork and Chaos Marines), a new winter tileset for maps, and several new maps for multiplayer play. It also explicitly required the original game to be installed in order to be playable.
    • Dark Crusade made some interesting changes that toy with this trope. Unlike Winter Assault, Dark Crusade was fully playable as a standalone—with the hitch that only the new Tau and Necron factions could be played in multiplayer unless the user also had the base Dawn of War (for the Orks, Eldar, and both set of Marines) and Winter Assault (for the Imperial Guard) installed. That said, Dark Crusade made many major changes. The scripted campaign was replaced with a "Risk"-Style Map playable by any of the seven factions, with the other six factions' "Strongholds" and strategic resources as scripted missions. All five pre-existing factions got a new unit, and balance was heavily retooled, adding an Arbitrary Headcount Limit to many vehicles and elite squads and gating most top tier units beyond a new, expensive upgrade that became a de facto tier 4 tech level. Lastly, the planet Kronus that served as the basis of the Risk-style map had all its non-scripted maps added for multiplayer.
    • The final expansion, Soulstorm, plays this trope straightest. Oddly, it feels more like a mission-pack sequel to Dark Crusade than the base game. It brings in two new factions (the Dark Eldar and Sisters of Battle), gives each faction a permanently flying unit, and builds a new Risk-style map of the Kaurava system. The same restrictions on multiplayer faction selection as Dark Crusade apply.
  • Dawn of War II avoided this in the shift from the first to second game, but its expansions follow a similar template to the first game's.
    • Chaos Rising aped Winter Assault, adding a single new faction, a single new campaign (not even for the titular Chaos Marines, but rather about the same group of Blood Ravens struggling against Chaos), and requiring the base game to be installed.
    • Retribution cribs from Dark Crusade, swapping a scripted campaign for a new "Risk"-Style Map. Retribution is a standalone and unlocks all seven factions for multiplayer, discarding the first game's insistence on having earlier expansions installed in order to play them in multiplayer.
    • Dawn of War III averts this trope by playing as something of a hybrid of the first and second games. The aversion is helped by this leading III to be widely perceived as a Master of None, with its unpopularity meaning it never got any expansion packs.

    Rhythm Game 
  • This is the case for damn near every Rhythm Game ever, especially the BEMANI franchise.
    • DanceDance Revolution tried to subvert this with the Dance Dance Revolution Solo sub-series, which uses single-player cabinets with up-left and up-right arrows in addition to the four familiar ones. It didn't last beyond DDR 4th Mix PLUS, though it made a comeback for DDR Konamix, which uses the 4th Mix engine despite being released in 2002, just before the release of the Japanese DDR MAX 2.
    • Additionally, DDR 3rd Mix adds the innovation of a tempo change, but it only occurs while there are no arrows on screen (in the song "Luv This Feeling"). DDR 4th Home/DDR 5th Arcade adds a tempo-freeze with the song "Healing Vision Angelic". DDRMAX adds a ton of new modifiers (most notably the speed modifiers), an Oni mode, and freeze arrows. The home versions also occasionally add new game play modes (such as the challenges in DDR 4th, the mission modes in DDR Universe, etc.).
  • The Guitar Hero franchise has seen at least minimal improvements between major releases, such as an improved hammer-on and pull-off system, practice mode and co-operative gameplay between the first two Guitar Hero titles. Rocks the 80s, rushed out the door to meet the publishers' demands, features only a modest facelift and new tracklist, and then the series was handed over to Neversoft and Activision... who started to apply this trope in full, starting with the release of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. World Tour adds full band gameplay (mostly to compete with Rock Band), and then even more band games were commissioned such as Guitar Hero: Metallicanote  and Guitar Hero: Van Halen, and the DS versions with the awkward "Guitar Grip" peripheral that plugs into the GBA slot. The entire franchise more or less reached its culmination of stagnation with Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, featuring nothing but remade versions of tracks from past Guitar Hero gamesnote , and Band Hero, with a new facelift and tracklist geared specifically towards the teenybopper crowd with guitar classics such as "YMCA" and "Wannabe". Thankfully, they eventually learned their lesson due to progressively weaker sales and reception, culminating in Van Halen flying completely under everyone's radar because the series had saturated the market so much. Most of the people who played the game got it for free with a code from Guitar Hero 5.
  • Almost all of Patapon has been recycled into Patapon 2, meaning about a third of Patapon 2 would have the same content, but with additional mechanics and Zigotons swapped out in story mode.
  • Rock Band:
    • Rock Band 2 adds some interface tweaks and 84 new songs, but that's about it. It's hard to expect a whole lot more than that, though; it'd be kind of like attempting to innovate dodgeball or birthday parties. There is some room for improvement, though, especially as far as the instrument peripherals go, and the new peripherals packaged with Rock Band 2 are much better than the originals. And even then, if you're buying just the game and using your old instruments, 84 songs for $60 is a bargain by Rock Band's usual $1.99/song pricing.
    • Lego Rock Band and The Beatles: Rock Band fall into this too, though the Beatles version is very thematically different (if gameplay identical, although it does add three-part vocal harmonies). Rock Band Unplugged and the Nintendo DS version of Lego Rock Band are not considered one, being Spiritual Successors to Amplitude instead.
    • Rock Band 3 circumvented this at long last, by introducing vocal harmonies from The Beatles: Rock Band, as well as a new keyboard peripheral and a more realistic 'Pro Mode'. Later on, Rock Band 3's price was officially dropped to around $30.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The Infinity Engine games released by Bioware and Black Isle between 1997-2002 (Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 and 2,' and Planescape: Torment), all use the same engine and play style, with only cosmetic differences, graphic updates, and a few rules tweaks here and there. The games are compatible enough that there exist mods that package the entire Baldur's Gate saga in a single game, or to run Baldur's Gate II in the Icewind Dale II interface. Digging through the game files for BGII reveals that the entire framework for the Candlekeep prologue mission in BG1 (including level scripts and dialogue from Gorion) is present (the level layout is reused for a flashback the player character has of Imoen), and many of the items and weapons from the first game are transplanted over with little to no change in their stats or descriptions. That said, BG2 is a much bigger game than its predecessor, and it's likely that it was designed by using the first game as a template.
  • Chaos Strikes Back was originally intended to be an expansion disk for Dungeon Master, but ended up being released as a standalone game, despite being billed as "Expansion Set #1" and misleading packaging saying it requires Dungeon Master (though starting from an old saved game is recommended).
  • Digimon World Dawn/Dusk for the Nintendo DS, when compared to the first Digimon World DS. Aside from changing up the numbers, adding new Mons, and creating new digivolution paths, it's the same game with almost the exact same graphics and everything. The same goes in turn for the unexported sequel, Digimon Story: Lost Evolution, to the point where practically no one has bothered to put out adequately translated information on what's going on because of the sameness.
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen was never marketed as a sequel, or really anything other than what it is: an expansion pack that is sold at full price. The justification is that it includes the original Dragon's Dogma as well. That said, fans who already owned the original game were more than a little ticked to discover that they would have to go out and buy it again for no other reason than because Capcom doesn't understand how Downloadable Content works.
  • Dragon Quest never strays too far from its roots no matter what engine it uses:
    • All the NES sequels use the same engine, more or less. They make up for it by varying the way your party is set up. Specifically — DQI has no party at all, just a main character; DQII has a party of three set characters; DQIII has a set hero and up to three created generic characters; and DQIV has four "chapters" before the hero's storyline begins, each focusing on one of the hero's eventual party members, each with their own parties (and party members).
    • The DS remakes of the "Zenithian Trilogy" also share an engine, which has a graphical style similar to the PlayStation version of Dragon Quest VII (and thus the remake of IV on the same system), only with fewer 3D elements. DQIV has "chapters" focusing on the characters that make up your eventual party, DQV includes the ability to recruit monsters, and the main selling point of DQVI is the job system.
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: In many ways, the game feels like an encore of the first game, as it doesn't change or add too many elements from it aside from a few new classes, new stratum themes and other quality-of-life features. In comparison, the subsequent installments would present changes and/or additions that were more impactful and significant (like a subclassing and Multiple Endings in the third game, an overworld in the third and fourth, or Prestige Class and stratum events in the fifth).
  • Fallout and Fallout 2 are built on almost exactly the same engine, and share all but a tiny number of assets. Then again, if you're playing Fallout for the interface, you're doing it wrong. Fallout 2 makes up for it by being much longer and more involved than Fallout 1; it's five times the length.
  • Fallout: New Vegas is a borderline example. It uses the engine, user interface, and nearly all assets from Fallout 3, but the world and quests are completely new (and leans more towards Western than post-apocalyptic cityscapes), as are most of the weapons and enemies, while adding in content from the defunct Fallout: Van Buren project and continuity from Fallout 2. Overall, it constitutes well over 100 hours of content. Additionally, new mechanics are included such as iron sights aiming, the companion wheel, skill checks, crafting, cooking, melee special moves, and weapon modifications. There have also been mods combining the two games, most notably A Tale of Two Wastelands.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X, which reuses the majority of the areas and assets that appeared in the previous game. Even returning characters Wakka and Lulu appear unchanged, even though the former has gained some weight and the latter is pregnant. Other changes to the sequel include new areas and characters, a much more open structure to the overworld with a much bigger emphasis on sidequests, a new battle system and returning enemies that use the same assets being renamed, such as "Flan Blanco" instead of "Ice Flan".
  • SSI's Gold Box games all share the same engine and change little in basic gameplay over the course of their history, but produced huge scenarios for players to explore.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a sequel expansion pack to the first game due to not being able to fit both games onto one Game Boy Advance cartridge. The sequel reuses a lot of core mechanics such as the sound effects, NPC sprites, the battle mechanics, and list of skills. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, while using a new storyline, characters, and areas, the core aspect of the game is relatively untouched from the GBA games with many of the skills, equipment, and djinn being recycled.
  • Both .hack// series mirror this trope, but as each set of games is intended to be one massive game in four (or three, in GU's case) parts — with each installment picking up exactly where the previous one left off, right down to details like your character's level and the items in your possession — they are closer to One Game For The Price Of Four.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords reuses the first game's engine and a lot of graphical assets. However, it compensates by going in a drastically different direction story-wise.
  • Might and Magic VI's engine was reused in Might & Magic VII and VIII; if you know how to play one of those games, you know how to play all three. Might and Magic VI to VII is borderlinenote , but VII to VIII is... not, having less fundamental gameplay changes and the same graphical style as VII.
  • Persona 4 reuses the basic engine framework, battle system (with some minor changes), and a lot of graphical and audio assets from its predecessor. Digging through game files shows it's built right on top of Persona 3, in a way akin to a Game Mod.
  • The Pokémon games. Every generation has had, at minimum, two alternate versions of one game that look and play exactly the same and, up until Gen V, a third Updated Re-release that also looks and plays exactly the same but with a slightly altered storyline. Gens III, IV, VI, VII, and VIII have also included remakes of past games, though these aren't quite this trope, as they take place in vastly different locations and commonly feature Pokémon that are extremely hard to get in the other games of their generation.
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is a direct sequel to the original games story-wise, though the gameplay is more or less unchanged with a few new features thrown in.
    • For a long time, all the Pokémon games recycled the 8-bit sound effect cries for the creatures in the first and second generations, even once the games had advanced far enough in technology where such a thing wouldn't be needed, and the older cries tended to clash with the higher-quality newer cries. Pokémon X and Y finally updated them, except for Pikachu's, which is instead replaced entirely with its voice from the anime. Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! replaced Eevee's cry with its anime voice as well.
    • Pokémon Stadium is a somewhat unique case — the original game, only released in Japan, has less than a third of the first-generation Pokémon available. There were plans to add the others through a 64DD-based expansion disk, but after the 64DD bombed, Game Freak opted to just normally release a complete version of the game instead — Stadium 2 in Japan, localized elsewhere as simply Pokémon Stadium. When it came time for another sequel adding the hundred or so extra mons from Gen II, the Japanese released was named Pokémon Stadium Gold and Silver (the localization is instead called Pokémon Stadium 2, which makes perfect sense from a non-Japanese viewpoint but becomes confusing when you know about the original releases).
  • Spiderweb Software's games, like the Exile/Avernum series, Nethergate, and the Geneforge series, present something of an odd case. The same engine and graphics are recycled for several games with few additions, but when Spiderweb does make a newer engine or better graphics, they are back-ported to all of Spiderweb's older games.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Metal Slug 4 and Metal Slug Advance are this to the Metal Slug series due to mostly using the same sprites and backgrounds. The former game is more of an extreme example, going as far as reusing level pieces from past entries and cobbling bosses out of parts from multiple prior bosses.
  • The R-Type games for the Japanese PC Engine are a literal example of this trope. Hudson (the developers of the PCE port) was unable to port all of the arcade version's stages into one HuCard due to memory constraints, so they split the game into two halves. R-Type I contains the first half of the game, while R-Type II (not to be confused with the actual arcade sequel of the same name) has the later stages. However, when Hudson later made the American TurboGrafx16 version, they released it on a larger HuCard capable of containing the entire game. The full game was also ported to the PC Engine Super CD as R-Type Complete, with the addition of cutscenes and a Redbook audio soundtrack.
  • Touhou Project:

    Simulation Game 
  • While all the Ace Combat games do play rather similarly, the only true case of this is Zero to 5, which is apparent to the point of sharing few maps for different missions. Zero does add more enemy aces and an Assault Record to keep track of them, as well as a few new planes and the return of multiple special weapons per plane (although at the cost of the sheer variety of planes from 5) alongside split-screen multiplayer from Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. Ace Combat Infinity is a similar case, reusing most assets from Assault Horizon to create a new game which calls back to every previous game in the series.
  • Animal Crossing: City Folk receives some criticism for this when compared to Animal Crossing: Wild World; there aren't as many changes as there were going from the original to the DS, or from the Wii to the 3DS, or from the 3DS to the Switch. The graphical style is largely the same, the soundtrack is identical, and you can even import your character from Wild World when creating a save file. The main differences are the addition of the city (which is where most of the previous games' travelling characters were moved), the return of real-world holidays from the first game, and additional villager interactions and dialogue.
  • Descent II:
    • The game is essentially Descent with new weapons and robots. It uses the same game engine, and plays much like the original. Granted, doubling the number of weapons and items in the game and adding a higher resolution and CD audio is pretty big jump for one year (1995 to 1996). It also turns the brutal Nintendo Hard difficulty of the original down to a more reasonable level.
    • In turn, Descent II received its own Expansion Pack, The Vertigo Series.
    • Further, Descent Maximum for the PlayStation is Descent II with all-new, albeit half-heartedly designed, levels.
  • Harvest Moon:
    • Harvest Moon: Animal Parade is this to Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility. AP features the same characters with the same personalities, a different plot (which doesn't mean that much in a game about farming), and a few added details such as Luna no longer being so short.
    • Downplayed with Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, which is one to Harvest Moon 64, though it's not truly a sequel (more of a counterpart for Sony fans). It was so well-received, though, that it displaced the original and is now the most common source the characters of it are based on. Back to Nature is better than most other examples, considering it's essentially a completely different game with the same characters and design. Originally it was a straight up port but the developers tweaked so much that it became its own title. The characters have different backstories, their family relationships are different, there personalities have been edited, and there are many added features in BTN.
    • The Harvest Moon (Natsume) in-house titles feel more like expansion packs than sequels. They feature slight tweaks but rarely add new characters or do anything too majorly different from the previous title.
  • The Guild 2 standalone packs Venice and Renaissance. One is panned by the community, while the other is somewhat better received since the pack was worked on by former members of the now defunct company 4Head Games.
  • New Little King's Story, if taken as a sequel, is extremely similar to the original game, with many of the same events happening in the same order as they did the last time, and near-identical gameplay. It's marketed as and in many ways qualifies as a remake, but its plot portrays it as a sequel.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, which has been nicknamed "1.5" by its critics. There's new ride types and new scenarios, as well as significant overhauls to the engine, but overall it still uses much of the same underlying code and assets as the first game. It goes to the extent that OpenRCT2 (an open-source reconstruction) and RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic (an Updated Re-release) both run the first game's scenarios on the second game's engine. That said, the second game is much more beloved by fans of the series compared to the first. The third game went the complete opposite direction, starting with jumping to full 3D, to generally mixed results.
  • While the first Wing Commander Expansion Pack is exactly that on the PC, it was released as an expansion pack sequel on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System due to Wing Commander not being worth a highly expensive pass-through cartridge (like Sonic & Knuckles).
  • The X-Universe has this with X3: Albion Prelude being essentially built from the same engine as the previous game, X3: Terran Conflict. Albion Prelude requires an install of Terran Conflict, and it adds very little new content aside from a new plot, a few new ships, and some interface and AI changes. X3 Reunion is somewhat of a mission-pack sequel to X2 The Threat; while it has a new graphics engine, it changes relatively little in regards to gameplay.

    Sports Game 
  • Most officially licensed sports games, such as the Madden NFL, NCAA Football, and other related franchises that release a new installment each year, with the only differences being extremely minor tweaks and roster updates. You can skip every nine out of ten or so Madden games if you don't want to sort through all of the mission-pack sequels. If you want to count professional wrestling games as sports games, then the long-running WWE-licensed SmackDown!/SmackDown! vs. RAW series would most certainly count. Each year brings a new iteration of the series, and while they do add a couple of new features and wrestlers into each game, they inevitably remove a couple more for reasons good or bad. Then there's the fact that the gameplay's been the same since the very first game (which came out on the original PlayStation in 2000), even with tweaks and changes over the years, and the series has been recycling animations since the very first game (with several animations in the most recent iterations still coming from the very first game).
  • The surprisingly great Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure is this for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. While a lot of mechanics are toned down for younger players, the basic gameplay and level design remain more-or-less the same.
  • Greatest Heavyweights is Evander Holyfield's "Real Deal" Boxing with a mostly new set of boxers and somewhat improved graphics and sound (the most obvious improvement being the side-on ring overview also implemented in Riddick Bowe Boxing).
  • The Power Pro-kun Pocket series was Konami's attempt to justify yearly releases of a sports game — in this case Baseball — by bundling it with both a dating sim and a RPG players can repeatedly play to earn custom characters. The dating sim scenarios had the same general objectives from game to game with different management mechanics; and the RPG scenarios, which often had nothing to do with Baseball, tried to shake things up from installment to installment by implementing roguelike mechanics and gimmick battles such as the space shooter in 9 or the sea ship battles in 13. The final game then replaced the RPG with a trading card game completely different to the one from the spinoff Pawapoke Dash.
  • A sequel to the arcade version of Punch-Out!! was produced, titled Super Punch-Out!! like the later SNES game. The only differences between the two arcade games, besides the opponents you face and haircut of your character, is the addition of an extra button used for dodging attacks (which is required to avoid certain moves) and a more detailed display of top scores.
  • Scooby-Doo! Big Air: The only things each game changes are the playable characters, settings, and minor graphical elements. The second game adds power-ups and different modes, but the core gameplay is always identical.
  • SSX Tricky was accused of this on launch, primarily because it only featured two genuinely new tracks (the rest were significantly redesigned while still keeping iconic setpieces) and featuring a large amount of its characters and soundtrack. This has become irrelevant today because the original game has become completely forgotten in the wake of Tricky's stronger personality, more engaing gameplay, and the iconic Übertricks (many players skip the first game specifically because it doesn't have Ubertricks).
  • Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix for PSP is this to the original PS2 game. It simply adds 4 more levels to the game - Kyoto, Santa Cruz, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. Kyoto and Santa Cruz would go on to be playable in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland for PS2, and the other two are also available in the later US-only Collector's Edition.
  • The MSX versions of Track & Field (also known as Hyper Olympic) and Hyper Sports split the original arcade games into two and three installments, respectively, though with some extra events added. Hyper Sports can be considered an Event Pack Sequel in the first place, since not much is changed from the original Track & Field except for the types of events offered.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Hitman 2 and Hitman 3 were originally intended to be expansion packs to Hitman (2016), which at that point had been structurally released as an Episodic Game. The circumstances that resulted in this were actually very complicated; the intent was to simply patch in new episodes using 2016 as the base framework, but following the release of the first "season", developer IO Interactive was abruptly dropped by their publisher, Square Enix, due to the game significantly underperforming. While IOI was miraculously able to retain ownership of the Hitman IPnote , and they managed to partner up with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the production of 2 as an indie studio, IOI was put in tremendous financial difficulty and was almost completely broke by 2017 (according to staff, they had 4 months of savings to go off of before bankruptcy even after mass layoffs), so to recoup their budgets, 2 and 3 became one of the rare mission-pack sequel releases of The New '10s done out of legitimate financial necessity. The good news is that because IOI retained all previous Hitman content, each sequel was able to include all previous missions in the trilogy as free DLC; with the trilogy's completion in 2021, any newcomers can simply hop in with 3 as the only purposes the previous games serve are to get locations and items via the Old Save Bonus system, and are otherwise obsolete.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is a P.O.V. Sequel to Vegas 1, with the only real differences being a new customizable protagonist, one or two new weapons of each type, and new voices for every returning character.
  • The Splinter Cell sequel Pandora Tomorrow fits the description as far as the single-player campaign is concerned, which is even shorter than the original. Pandora Tomorrow is the first Splinter Cell game to feature multiplayer, but that's essentially a separate game in the same box. In fact, the game was actually meant to be an expansion for the first game, with Chaos Theory being the true "Splinter Cell 2", but then it was released as a separate game, and so Numbered Sequels went out the door to try and keep them from getting too confusing.
  • Thief II: The Metal Age sort of fits this trope, since it runs on the same engine as Thief: The Dark Project and uses the same menu interface and the same mini-movies when you die or beat a mission. However, there is a lot of gameplay refinement that makes it a worthy sequel; it just technically isn't anything that couldn't have been done in the original game.

    Survival Horror 
  • Resident Evil:
    • While Resident Evil 2 is a very different game from the first Resident Evil, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis reuses the same engine as 2, but with a couple of new features such as the dodge maneuver and the ability to make your own ammo. A portion of Resident Evil 3 is even set in the same police precinct where Resident Evil 2 takes place. This is pretty evident by its working title of "Resident Evil 1.9/2.1" (owing to the two halves of the game respectively taking place before and then after 2; the actual "Resident Evil 3" ended up becoming Resident Evil – Code: Veronica).
    • There's also the scrapped first version of Resident Evil 2, retroactively known as Resident Evil 1.5.
    • Resident Evil: Outbreak File #2 makes incremental updates to the first Outbreak's general gameplay, but otherwise is exactly the same and likely would have been Downloadable Content if said game was released a console generation later than it was; the games were originally intended as a single release with 20 scenarios, but they were only able to include half of that between two separate releases.
    • A very common criticism of Resident Evil 3 (Remake) is that it could have easily been DLC for the Resident Evil 2 remake rather than being sold as a full-price game. It uses the exact same engine as its predecessor and, while offering more screen time and development for Carlos, is a very short game with considerably less content and length than even the PS1 original. It has less bosses, less enemies, no live selection, no multiple endings, is missing several areas like the Clock Tower, doesn't have the Mercenaries Mode, reduced the titular Nemesis from a Roaming Enemy to Preexisting Encounterss, and swapped out the more unique Dead Factory of the original for the NEST-2 which is very similar to the NEST of the previous remake.
  • Silent Hill 3, though a narrative sequel to Silent Hill, plays like a mission pack to Silent Hill 2, reusing the engine (albeit with some graphical improvements) along with two entire locales, namely West Southvale and Brookhaven Hospital, and many scenery assets.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Crusader: No Remorse, a game of 15 missions and a surprisingly detailed storyline for a mid-90s shoot-em-up, was followed up with No Regret, a game of 10 missions (though they were longer and more difficult), a few new weapons (and some weapons removed), a couple of new graphical touches, a couple of new enemies, a very straightforward plot (thought admittedly featuring live-action cinematics with improved CGI effects), a few of Origin's trademark awesome Feelies, some background information on the setting, and not much else. A mixup in the factory led to many copies of No Remorse being mislabelled on the CD as No Regret.
  • Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2, particularly the console version, is more or less the first GRAW with a new campaign and some gameplay tweaks.
  • Syphon Filter:
    • The second game is one to the original. Logan and Xing control exactly the same; the only new things to the engine are a few additional weapons.
    • The third game, despite having you play as a variety of characters, is nothing new. Every character is just a skin, and handles exactly the same as Gabe, to the point of being the same height — even the big black guy and the small Asian girl.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem is about 50% remake and 50% sequel to the first game—as in, it contains a slightly shortened version of the original campaign as an appetizer for its own story. Consequently, while it does a fair bit to alter the experience (the graphics are better, the interface is significantly improved, many class and weapon properties are tweaked, promotion works differently, dismounting and a primitive version of supports have been added, dragons have been completely revamped, Magic and Resistance have been altered), the core gameplay remains largely identical, and you still use most of the same strategies you did in the original.
    • The three games for the GBA (The Binding Blade, The Blazing Blade, and The Sacred Stones) have largely the same sprites, battle animations, items, and game mechanics. Many characters go so far as to have closely matching stat builds, such as Shanna and Vanessa or Lyn and Eirika. Blazing Blade is particularly pronounced, as it even recycles some map designs; Chapter 15 is essentially identical to Chapter 4 of Binding Blade, just with the objective changed and a weather effect added. The Sacred Stones is easily the biggest shakeup of the three (mostly borrowing things from Fire Emblem Gaiden), but its additions are nothing particularly crucial.
  • Napoleon: Total War. Some maintain that the game is a stand-alone expansion to Empire: Total War, and so should be praised for the relatively high level of improvement and innovation which it shows, while some see it as a mission-pack sequel that slowed down post-release development for the notoriously buggy original. The Creative Assembly themselves have avoided describing it as either a sequel or an expansion, adding to the confusion. Similar cases apply for Total War: Attila to Total War: Rome II, as well as Total War: Warhammer III and Total War: Warhammer II to the first game.
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising is the same game as the first game, only adding one new unit, some new CO's, and a 2-tier power system. Advance Wars: Dual Strike does the same thing, adding even more new units and CO's while including dual-screen maps and the ability to use two CO's as tag partners.
    • Game Boy Wars Turbo and Game Boy Wars 2 are also this to Game Boy Wars, although Game Boy Wars 2 removes one of the two cheaper indirect units. Surprisingly, Game Boy Wars 3 is based on Nectaris instead and has quite a few units, even without the promoted units added into the mix.
  • Project X Zone 2 is like the first game, but with some new characters and chapters.
  • In Japan, Shining Force III was released in three scenarios, each of which presents a different character's side of the story. America only got the first scenario.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Age of Wonders 2 is close to being this compared to the first game, retaining the same play style as Age of Wonders but with improved graphics. The next sequel, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is an even better example, being almost the same game, just with a new campaign and two new playable races. Age of Wonders 3, however, is a total aversion, having very little in common with the other games in the series.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 reuses character assets and core mechanics from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but most see it as a good thing for taking what worked in Advance and tweaking it for a better game.
  • Downplayed with the sequels to Silent Storm, both of which run on the original game's engine with a few enhancements. Silent Storm: Sentinels is a stand-alone expansion pack but feels like a cut-down version of the original. The addition of the post-mission gather button feels like it could've been done in a patch. The addition of a weight-based backpack system (to the already-existing size-based one), a monetary system for equipment, and weapon degradation only serve to annoy players. Unlike the original, S3 has only one campaign (shorter too), and less options for the main character's voice (no Russian accent for a game made in Russia). However, many of the characters from the original game (both sides) are now available to be recruited. Hammer & Sickle takes place during the height of the Cold War in the same setting. The game is more RPG in style than a tactical shooter, but the essentials are the same. However, H&S does not have Game Breakers like Panzerkleins or energy weapons. The Night Watch (Series) and Day Watch games are also based on the same engine, but the use of magic and another dimension add a whole new gameplay element. While the game includes pistols, they are almost useless and cannot be targeted at body parts.
  • X-COM

    Visual Novel 
  • The Ace Attorney games are the definition of this trope, as, in addition to not deviating from format overly much, they also get harder, requiring more and more lateral thinking and harder logical conclusions. Try playing the first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and the first case of Trials and Tribulations and see what you think. This trope is likely the reason why fans often refer to the cases as 1-1 through 1-5 for the first game, 2-1 through 2-4 for the second, and so on, as if each game is just a part of one big game. The general fan explanation for this is that the games are a lot like novels, so as long as the writing and plots get better, and the games become more difficult, the gameplay doesn't have to change much.
  • Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly adds three new characters, two new ingredients, 25 new recipes, and new story threads, while the gameplay remains the same. This is because it was originally going to be DLC, but it became so big, the devs decided to make it a full-fledged sequel instead.
  • Largely due to the nature of Visual Novels this is unavoidable, but it still draws ire when new games contain very little to offer over the old ones. Perhaps the most notable example is Da Capo which has somewhere around 10 sequels. This is not always the case, of course, as often games are sold for the express purpose of being rehashes of old material, called "fandisks". Some games, like SHUFFLE! Essence+, add a few new characters and some routes fans had been begging for for years tacked on to the original.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto has several games that are expansion packs towards each other. Grand Theft Auto 2 reuses a lot of game mechanics and sounds from the first game while tweaking the gameplay, such as being able to take a few gunshots before dying. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is effectively an expansion pack to Grand Theft Auto III by having new weapons and a new setting while still retaining the old stuff, like specific cars (most which were changed to reflect how they could have looked in the 1980s) and general movement. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas takes the expansion further by adding more vehicles, tweaking the core gameplay concept, and adding lots of new things, like character stats and customization. All of this, combined with Vice City and San Andreas being the first in the series to have concrete links to previous games, caused people to refer to these games as "the GTA III era". It wasn't until Grand Theft Auto IV that nothing but the concept of the game remained the same.
  • Saints Row IV provides a complicated case. It uses the exact same engine and world map as Saints Row: The Third, but adds in enough new gameplay content (most notably superpowers that completely change how you cruise around the map, and more powerful enemies and weapons) so as to flirt at the edges of being one of these, but avoid falling fully into the classification. A more traditional example comes from the jump from the original Saints Row to Saints Row 2 - it's based on the same engine and world map, but other than some changed areas to reflect the Time Skip, slightly more in-depth character customization (such as the ability to play as a woman), and the Boss no longer being a Heroic Mime, they're effectively the same game with minor gameplay/graphical tweaks and a different set of missions.
  • The Shenmue series was originally planned to be released with serialized installments (as evident by the Japanese title of the first), but this idea fell through after the release of the first game, which is why the sequel is titled Shenmue II, instead of Shenmue Chapter 2, and spans more than just one chapter. It still reuses the same engine as the original game, albeit with all new locations, characters and music, along with a few tweaks to improve the pacing and refine the gameplay.
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales shares the core gameplay, graphics, and world map of its predecessor, but with a new main character, storyline, several new bosses and enemies, and some added gadgets and abilities unique to Miles. It clocks in at half the length of Spider-Man (PS4). There were rumors that it was supposed to be DLC for Spider-Man, only to be turned into a standalone game later. It was only priced at $50 new instead of the usual $60, seemingly acknowledging its nature as one of these.

  • Angry Birds Seasons, Rio, Space, and Star Wars I and II. The concept is simple: Start each level with some birds, and use those and only those to break through a structure and kill all the pigs inside. Rinse and repeat for dozens of installments.
  • Flash game Crush The Castle 2: Players Pack changes the levels that were in the previous game to ones generated by users.
  • For The Awesome is this to AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. Not only does it feature a new set of brutal levels on the same engine (albeit updated with better graphical effects), it also includes the entire original game with similar graphics updates.
  • Into Space: The third game plays largely the same as the second game, with few changes to the overall gameplay. It's set apart mainly by a Christmas theme and a different game goal.
  • The sequel to Silverball is Silverball Plus 2, which re-releases the original game and includes two more Digital Pinball Tables from Epic Pinball.
  • Total Eclipse II: The Sphinx Jinx has a very similar premise to its predecessor and recycles not only its revision of the Freescape engine but also most of its graphics and sounds. This is another sequel that might have been an Expansion Pack if not for technological limitations: Total Eclipse II was developed only for then-obsolete 8-bit computers and was only sold as part of a Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition of Total Eclipse.
  • After the success of The Walking Dead (Telltale), almost every game Telltale Games put out until their collapse in 2018 was designed to play exactly the same way, the only changes being the license involved. This was company policy, the head of the company believing that they could use the money they got from The Walking Dead to make a dozen games just like it and make back a dozen times their money. Suffice to say it didn't work, as that style of game quickly showed its limits when there were two or three games in the exact same vein releasing episodically every year, and the strict time tables involved meant there was no room for innovation, experimentation, or even basic improvement of the existing formula.
  • Wii Fit Plus is near-identical to the original except for new exercises and "balance games". It even allows you to import your save data from the original. Really, you might as well just trade in the original game when you get it, because it's useless if you have Plus.

Non-video game examples:

Films — Live-Action This phenomenon is not limited to just video games, or games in general. There are times when a sequel to a hit movie feels less like a brand new movie and more like what should've been on the second disc of the Special Edition DVD of the first movie.

  • 22 Jump Street has a very similar premise to the first movie (undercover cops infiltrate a highschool/university to take out a drug ring). The second movie is very self aware of this and is constantly making fun of itself for it.
  • Intentionally invoked by the makers of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; there was so much extra footage, as well as a completely different sideplot involving Symbionese-esque bank robbers, that they put together a whole new movie.
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder with the terrorists taking over an airport instead of a building and John again being an Ignored Expert. This is lampshaded by John wondering to himself, "How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"
  • The Hangover Part II feels like part 2 of The Hangover part 1, except replace "Vegas" with "Bangkok", and is lampshaded by the cast with repeated utterances of "It happened again" and its variants.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York to the first movie. This time, Kevin is left alone in New York and sets up a bunch of traps to take out Harry and Marv.
  • The Matrix Resurrections follows several plot points from the first The Matrix, to the point that it frequently cuts between its own footage and clips from the original film.
  • Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian. Sure, everything is beefed up given it goes from the single building AMNH to a whole complex in the Smithsonian. But a lot is recycled from the original.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a revamp of the original movie (with elements of the two follow-ups), following a youngster on a desert world who finds a droid filled with classified information, leaves said planet on the Millennium Falcon, and learns about the Force while also joining a paramilitary group against a totalitarian army which has a planet-destroying weapon.
  • Terminator:
  • Sam Flynn goes through many of the same experiences in TRON: Legacy that his father did in TRON, in the same order: getting digitized by the laser and imprisoned in the Game Grid, being forced to fight in gladiatorial combat, escaping from the light cycle arena through a hole in the wall, having an ally seriously injured (Ram dies, Quorra gets better), and boarding a solar sailer which is captured by the enemy carrier. Thirty-two years, a larger scale and a rather different aesthetic help disguise this and makes them feel more like a homage to the original rather than a direct rip-off, but the comparison remains a valid one.

Films — Animation

Tabletop Games

  • Star of Africa: Except for a couple of new mechanics, its sequel game Inkan aarre plays almost like the original on a new map.

Western Animation

  • The episode "Rixty Minutes" of Rick and Morty is about Summer, Beth, and Jerry getting into an argument after they use a device to look at the life of their alternate-universe selves and find out that their lives would have been better if Summer had been aborted. Meanwhile, Rick and Morty use another device that allows them to view TV shows from other dimensions, which are presented in the form of improvised Surreal Humor skits. This episode was widely acclaimed, so a Sequel Episode, "Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate" was made, which keeps the improvised skits but moves the setting to an alien hospital, where Jerry has to choose whether to sacrifice his penis to save the life of a powerful alien politician. Lampshaded by Rick:
    Nurse: Hey! What are you doing?!
    Rick: A sequel.
    Nurse: I don't understand.
    Rick: Yeah, me neither. We pretty much nailed it the first time.