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Spiritual Antithesis in Video Games.


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  • American McGee's Alice is this on several levels:
  • Armored Core (1997) is practically this to Front Mission (1995). While both feature customizable mecha, Front Mission is primarily a Tactical RPG about commanding small armies in turn-based strategic combat, while Armored Core is a Third-Person Shooter about controlling a single mecha in real-time, action-based combat.
  • Asura may seem like a Japanese, Hindu-themed Expy of Kratos at first glance, given that both fight other gods and have issues with anger, but it becomes apparent that Asura actually contrasts heavily with Kratos; Asura's daughter was kidnapped by those he once trusted giving him a chance to save her, but Kratos was tricked into murdering his daughter as well as his wife which makes his bitterness somewhat justified, Asura values the lives of innocents while Kratos has a huge lack of regard for them, finally Asura pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and abandons his anger completely, while Kratos lives on and learns to be in better control of his rage.
  • Banjo-Kazooie is inspired greatly by Super Mario 64 while also managing to differ from it in plot and gameplay. Mario 64 was the first 3d installment of a pre-existing series where the setting is in Peach's Castle, which has been taken over by Bowser and Mario must set it and the princess free; in contrast, Banjo and Kazooie enter Gruntilda's Lair in order to liberate Banjo's sister Tootie. Mario enters portraits to access levels while Banjo and Kazooie must restore pictures in order to enter the levels. In Super Mario 64, the player collects one of the golden stars and is immediately booted out of the level; while in Banjo-Kazooie the player collects the golden Jiggies but can leave the level on their own, meaning they can collect all of the Jiggies if they wanted to before leaving. Mario's transformations come from wearing unique caps that have a short time limit, Banjo and Kazooie transform thanks to the shaman Mumbo Jumbo and remain that way unless Mumbo turns them back or they leave the level and stray too far.
  • BioShock:
    • The first game is a made as a Take That! to Atlas Shrugged, making Rapture an antithesis of that book's Galt's Gulch. It shows what it really takes to build a truly libertarian society, and what it takes to keep it together. Ryan uses mind altering drugs and his private army to keep the city in line, and is easily threatened by a civil war if Ryan doesn't take more restrictive actions to prevent someone else from usurping his rule.
    • The Big Bad of BioShock 2, Sofia Lamb, is this to the original game's Andrew Ryan. Lamb is a radical collectivist/egalitarian, Ryan a radical libertarian/Objectivist. However, they do have one thing in common: they are both equally willing to jettison their ideals when they become inconvenient.
    • Columbia, the setting of BioShock Infinite, is clearly designed to be the polar opposite of Rapture, the setting of the first two games. Whereas Rapture was dark, gloomy, cramped, and Under the Sea, Columbia is bright, sunny, spacious, and floats within a Level in the Clouds. Furthermore, while both cities play host to rapacious robber-baron capitalism run amok, their root stocks come from two very different sources. Rapture's ideology is rooted in rugged individualism and anti-statism and holds little but scorn for nationalism and religion, with the player's introduction to the city being a giant banner that reads "No Gods or Kings. Only Man." Columbia, meanwhile, is rooted in American nationalism and WASP supremacy, with its founding father Zachary Hale Comstock regarded as a literal prophet.
    • The amoral left-wing resistances against the powers that be are also flavored very differently. Sofia Lamb and Simon Wales' "Rapture Family" in the second game take their influence from religious cults and pop psychology and are led by a white upper-class psychiatrist from a similar background to Andrew Ryan, reflective of the "New Left" and counterculture of the '60s and '70s that were largely birthed from disaffected middle-class youth and academics. Daisy Fitzroy's Vox Populi in Infinite, meanwhile, are a hybrid of Old Left/New Left communists and the Occupy Wall Street movement led by an angry black woman driven by revenge against Columbia's elite, drawing on early 20th century labor movements that recruited from the underclass.
  • The Breach & Clear series includes two games: Breach & Clear and Breach & Clear: DEADline. While they both are strategy games with RPG Elements about controlling a four-men special forces squad, they actually are very different beside this premise. The original is a Turn-Based Tactics game about realistic operations by real-life special forces against terrorists or drug cartels, while DEADline is a Real-Time with Pause game set during a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Carpe Diem is an extremely short visual novel on Steam with an Anti-Escapism Aesop: the girl "you" are romancing is an advanced AI and the point of the game is that getting attached to fictional characters is unhealthy. Its own sequel Carpe Diem: Reboot is a standard-length VN (despite the title, it is a sequel and not a reboot) that turns the whole premise on its head and is a glowing example of an escapist fantasy: the player character managed to obtain a physical body for the AI and thus pursue the relationship in the real world, he's also a gamer and slacker despite being a world-level genius programmer and is also involved in some kind of secret society that fights against another kind of evil conspiracy that wants to rule the world.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day is this to Banjo-Kazooie, in both tone and gameplay. Other than the obvious stuff with Conker being filled with levels of gore, sexual content and profanity that the family friendly Banjo games never touched, the developers deliberately avoided going the collect-a-thon route that Rare were so well known for at the time and went for a more linear and story-driven style than the open ended Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. There's also the controls. Whereas Rare's other platformers all had incredibly elaborate control schemes that used nearly every button on the controller as well as plenty of button combinations for even more abilities, Conker instead only uses the analogue stick and the A, B and Z buttons, with their functions being context-sensitive to allow for the expansive movesets of other Rare games but with a less convoluted control scheme.
  • Chrono Trigger: the heroes save the world by changing time... except that, in Chrono Cross, we find that they inadvertently caused horrible, horrible things to happen by doing so.
  • Control to Beyond: Two Souls, as noted in this article by Emma Kidwell for Bullet Points Monthly. Both are games featuring female protagonists with supernatural abilities and ghostly companions who do battle with other supernatural forces and get caught up in Government Conspiracies. The big difference comes in how much agency their respective protagonists have, a difference that is reflected in their genres. Beyond is an Interactive Movie in which the protagonist Jodie Holmes does not have much agency; her powers aren't actually hers, instead coming entirely from her spirit companion Aiden, and she spends most of the game being pushed around by people and forces around her. Her powers have made her miserable, and several endings involve giving them up so she can be normal. Control, meanwhile, is a more traditional Third-Person Shooter, and Jesse Faden is in full control of her powers, earning them by passing trials associated with various "Objects of Power" and using them to establish her authority over the Federal Bureau of Control. She absolutely relishes her powers and her connection to the supernatural, and getting Brought Down to Normal towards the end of the game is the subject of a literal Nightmare Sequence.
  • Crash Bandicoot to Mega Man. Both are platforming series with science fiction plots where a hero fights against mad scientists who strive for world domination. Crash is a bandicoot, who was meant to be a soldier of mad scientist, Dr. Neo Cortex, but he betrayed his master because of system error, causing its own lack of intelligence, while Mega Man is a robot built initially for peaceful purposes (lab assistant) by a benevolent scientist, Dr. Light, but was modified for combat to fight against Dr. Wily, a former colleague of Dr. Light, who wants to prove the World he is better in obotics than Dr. Light. Yhe protagonists have opposite main colors- Crash is orange, while Mega Man is blue. In the Crash Bandicoot series, the player completes stages in linear order and to achieve the True Ending, you have to break all the crates and collect all gems; while in Mega Man, stages have non-linear order and the basic ones can be completed in any order.
  • Croc to Gex. Their protagonists have many similarities, them both being green bidepal reptiles that were featured in only a couple of platformer games released in the late 1990s on the PlayStation that use Tail Slap and Wall Crawl. Their personalities, however, are quite different. While Gex is a wisecracker, Croc doesn't talk. Gex is a womanizer, while Croc appears to be a Chaste Hero. Gex relies on Reference Overdosed jokes, while Croc doesn't.
  • Days Gone is very similar to Horizon Zero Dawn on the surface: two vast, open-world action adventure & survival games published by Sony Interactive Entertainment that are set in a post-apocalyptic western United States and play mechanically very similar to one another... that couldn't be more different in every other aspect.
    • Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a distant future where modern civilization is shrouded in myth in a manner akin to Ancient Rome, with its protagonist Aloy being a traditional hero cut from a classic Chosen One mold, albeit in a sci-fi setting where all seemingly supernatural and fantastical elements are derived from Lost Technology. Gameplay-wise, it pits players against singular huge monsters or small groups of them, and has a focus on exploring the world and discovering the lore at the player's own pace, with Aloy's character development taking a backseat to that. Despite being set in what was once Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming (with the sequel expanding to Nevada and California), there are very few Western motifs, the setting instead being a mix of High Fantasy tropes for the post-apocalyptic society and the ruins of a cyberpunk society for their precursors.
    • Days Gone, meanwhile, is a Zombie Apocalypse story that takes place just two years after society collapsed. Its pace is tied to the plot and to the character development of its protagonist Deacon St. John, whose journey is prioritized over the player's desired way to do things. Unlike the more straightforwardly heroic (and female) Aloy, Deacon is far more of an Anti-Hero, an extremely masculine outlaw biker and military veteran who became a bounty hunter after the apocalypse and is willing to do what he must to protect his loved ones. Gameplay-wise, combat revolves around facing entire hordes of smaller, weaker enemies all at once, their numbers running into the hundreds as they swarm the player. The setting of central Oregon is rooted heavily in New Old West tropes, with bikers as outlaws, guns being the primary method of combat, and the rugged, hostile wilderness reclaiming the world from civilization.
  • DEFCON is this to the Grand Strategy games of Paradox Interactive like Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Victoria: An Empire Under The Sun. Both DEFCON and the "Paradox style" are Real-Time Strategy games set over the entire world, or at least a large part of it (Crusader Kings and Imperator: Rome cover Europe, North Africa, and the Near East). Paradox's games put the "grand" in "grand strategy", covering years, decades, or even centuries of history and being famous for their complex mechanics, giving them a reputation for being extremely in-depth for hardcore players but inaccessible for newcomers. A key component of all of these games is warfare, with a strong focus on building a military machine and conquering your enemies by land, sea, and (in Hearts of Iron) air. Not so with DEFCON. It was designed with casual play in mind, a game lasting only an hour at most, and the time period covered by the game encompasses a few days. Land armies don't factor in at all, and the deployment of other military assets is heavily simplified. The reason for both becomes frighteningly apparent when you sit down to play: this is a game about nuclear war, the combat gameplay revolving entirely around the deployment of nuclear weapons and defense against such, and games typically end with even the winners having been heavily battered. In short, both are meant to make you feel like a nation's supreme military commander, but while a Paradox game wants to put you in the shoes of a general leading an army of millions to glorious victory, DEFCON wants to put you in the shoes of the person who just signed the death warrant for the human race.
  • The first chapter of Deltarune is the polar opposite of Undertale in how it tackles certain themes. While Undertale is all about player choice and the consequences therein, Deltarune regularly denies the player the privilege of making any meaningful choices, even explicitly telling them at certain points that their choices don't matter. Their take on violent conflict resolution is also markedly different: All of your opponents in Undertale are Obliviously Evil at best and Tragic Villains at worst, and can eventually be reasoned with peacefully and even befriended, even Flowey, the most openly evil character in the game. Deltarune, on the other hand, portrays the Spades King as undeniably, unwaveringly evil. Even if you've been going for a pacifist playthrough, your attempts to settle matters peacefully end with you and Ralsei falling into a trap and nearly getting the entire party killed, and the "peaceful resolution" is Lancer overthrowing him and locking him up, with the lesson learned from the encounter that there are times when violence is necessary.
  • TheSMonroeShow argues that Devil May Cry 5 is not only the antithesis to DmC: Devil May Cry, but also to God of War (PS4). God of War is a game directed by the original God of War director, who admits that he's ashamed of his past work. This God of War is an attempt to mature and distance the series from its past, something which results in what feels like a completely unrelated game that's only a God of War game because Kratos is in it. Likewise, DmC is a Continuity Reboot by someone who openly hated the Devil May Cry games, publicly declaring that Dante is a "gay cowboy" and that his version of the series with an edgier protagonist and awkwardly shoehorned sociopolitical elements is the superior version, resulting in the biggest fan backlash since Devil May Cry 2. Meanwhile, while those two games were open rejections of their series' pasts, Devil May Cry 5 is an open embrace of its entire past, both good and bad, not only continuing and expanding on the gameplay formula from previous games, but being the first game to take place after Devil May Cry 2note , taking certain inspirations from DmC, and even including a cowboy hat weapon for Dante that causes him to strike flamboyant poses as a tongue-in-cheek nod to Tameem's infamous "gay cowboy" comment.
  • The Division and its sequel, to Spec Ops: The Line, both are Third-Person Shooter cover-based shooter. To elaborate:
    • The Division plays the power-fantasy painfully straight despite all of the enemies (as well as the heroes, of course) are American, while Spec Ops The Line is a Deconstructor Fleet (to the point that the game questions "How many Americans have you killed today?)".
    • The Division plays for many hours, with the main campaign clocking around 20-25, while Spec Ops The Line plays around three-and-a-half hours.
    • The Division has RPG Elements as the main driving force as well as being open-world. while Spec Ops The Line is completely linear and has no RPG Elements.
    • The Division has the characters being Silent Protagonist blank slate with Mission Control guiding their every step, while Spec Ops The Line has characters with personality but without real Mission Control.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: the Big Bad is a classically evil Eldritch Abomination, and the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few is a recurring theme. Dragon Age II: there's no clear Big Bad, just a lot of misguided people (some people have ended up believing that your Player Character was the big bad) and the game shows what terrible things happen when the rights of a minority are trampled for the common good.
    • Additionally, Origins is focused on how much of a difference one person can make: the Grey Warden determines the future of both Orzammar and Ferelden. II is focused on how much they can't — for all their skill, the Player Character can't stop the inevitable outcomes of acts 2 and 3.
  • {Errant Signal}, while discussing the game DUSK, held it up in comparison to another game with similar inspirations, DOOM (2016). Both games are Genre Throwbacks to the first-person shooters of The '90s, embracing fast-paced, run-and-gun gameplay and over-the-top aesthetics in reaction to the comparatively grounded shooters of the 2000s and '10s that focus on the use of cover and realistic weapons. The 2016 DOOM went about this by way of a contextual translation, less interested in recapturing the exact details of the original Doom than in recapturing how people remembered it and combining that with modern gameplay innovations. In practice, this meant a game fueled by pure adrenaline, in which players are not merely encouraged to charge into combat like berserkers but rewarded for doing so with health and ammunition, all set to a blazing Heavy Metal soundtrack and accompanied by outrageous gore. DUSK, by contrast, set out to recreate the gameplay loops of '90s shooters, particularly the "bullet ballet" of dodging slow-moving enemy projectiles across intricate, wide-open levels and using a large and diverse arsenal of weapons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, to take them down. Also, while the 2016 DOOM is a big-budget release with state-of-the-art graphics for its time, DUSK deliberately hearkens back to the low-res graphics of the '90s.
    • DOOM (2016) can also be thought of as the spiritual antithesis of Gears of War. The two games have a lot in common aesthetically, being shooter games that attracted notoriety for allowing you to dispose of monsters in spectacularly gory ways, but beyond how they look, these two games couldn’t be more different in how they play. Gears features slow movement (while there is an option to sprint, Do Not Run with a Gun is in partial effect as your shooting options are limited while sprinting), no jumping, and Regenerating Health, all of which encourage you to Take Cover! in one place in order to stay alive. DOOM on the other hand, features fast movement, Jump Physics, non-regenerating health, and enemies that drop health when you kill them with melee, which encourage you to constantly move around the battlefield to avoid enemy fire while simultaneously attacking. Both games were also released a decade apart, with Gears establishing trends that the shooter genre would follow for the next ten years, and DOOM getting attention for defiantly bucking those trends.
  • The Sowers of Endless Space are the antithesis of the Reapers of Mass Effect. The Sowers are robots whose mission is to terraform worlds into habitable planets for their dead creators, the Endless, while the Reapers are mechanical lifeforms whose sole purpose is to harvest the entire galaxy of all life until there is nothing left. It's even reflected in their names: to "sow" crops means to plant them, while to "reap" is to harvest.
  • Everhood serves as one to Undertale. In Undertale, killing is seen as a bad thing, sparing everyone nets you the best ending and killing everyone gives the worst. In this game, killing is seen as a necessary evil to release the denizens trapped here for eons. Killing everyone leads to the happiest ending where everyone is freed to the afterlife to be reincarnated, while pacifism leads to the worst ending, where characters continue suffering forever in their immortality because you chose not to free them.
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  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are very similar to each other; both use the gamebryo engine, New Vegas reuses a lot of parts from 3 (mostly due to time restrains), both feature a main plot that involves the Player Character chasing after a man (your missing father in the former and your would-be killer in the latter) and becoming embroiled in a conflict far larger than themselves, the Player Character is largely self-dependent, and both (really) start with the character exiting into the unknown world with a bright light. That's where the similarities end.
    • In Fallout 3, the Lone Wanderer/"The Kid from Vault 101" has a defined home — Vault 101 — which they have to leave behind, the game has a very open ended gameplay focus that lets the player explore across the vast expanse of the Capital Wasteland and ignore the plot for as long as they want, there's a emphasis on your Karma Meter with different foes gunning for you and allies joining you, the story is more or less black and white (Brotherhood good, Enclave bad) and ends with you saving the Capital Wasteland. The DLCs share little in common with each other, with each being intentionally designed to serve as separate stories that are only tenuously tied to other quests such as "The Dark Heart of Blackhall" from the Point Lookout DLC involving the Lone Wanderer traveling back and forth between Point Lookout and the Capital Wasteland.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas the Courier has no home; they live on the road and walk from place to place to deliver mail, and the quests are structured such that you slowly learn about the world on the way to Vegas, more emphasis on your allegiances than Karma Meter, the story isn't so clear cut (the NCR has turned into a corrupt state with bloated bureaucracy and incompetent military but has the resources to run the area in the long term, Caesar's Legion is a ruthless group of slavers and war lords that crushes all beneath it and while it does bring order it's implied that the Legion will not last long without Caesar leading it, Mr. House wants only New Vegas and will ignore everything else while progressing the world forward into a technologically advanced but politically repressive corpo-state, and the Wild Card has no real leadership skills and isn't likely to directly improve the lives of the locals, but will at least keep them free from outside intervention and help let everyone decide their own fates), and ends with the Courier deciding who gets the land. The DLC also share the theme of Not-so-Good vs Bad Guys and the theme of "letting go" and "beginning again".
    • On a deeper level, Fallout 3 revolves around a conflict between two groups defined by their fixation on the past — the Brotherhood of Steel, obsessed with the advanced technology of the Old World, and the Enclave, still envisioning themselves as the rightful government of the United States. The main factions in New Vegas are much more focused on the future, and building a new society instead of perpetuating an old one. Notably, the past-focused Brotherhood and Enclave are largely irrelevant in the Mojave Wasteland, as their inability to "let go" has essentially destroyed both of them; the Enclave are reduced to a handful of retirees, and the Brotherhood are hiding in a bunker and slowly waning, with their ultimate fate left up to the Courier — who in several endings is ordered to wipe them out. The game in general, especially in the DLCs, carries a heavy theme of moving on from the past, and anyone who can't do so tends to meet a bad end.
  • Speaking of the Fallout franchise, Fallout has increasingly become this in regards to The Elder Scrolls franchise following the former's purchase by Bethesda.
  • Far Cry 4 is this to Far Cry 3, which was even confirmed by the former's Creative Director. FC 3 was a standard Mighty Whitey narrative involving an American protagonist who becomes the peaceful natives' Chosen One and saves them from the oppressive group that has taken over their island. FC 4 on the other hand features a Western raised immigrant who returns to his place of birth to fulfill his mother's dying wish and also gets involved in a conflict against oppression but if the player doesn't go for the secret ending ultimately leaves the region worse than it was before due to the two "freedom fighter" leaders being just as bad if not worse than the dictator the player just toppled, thus showing the dangers of just throwing yourself into a conflict you know very little about.
  • Fighting Vipers is one for Virtua Fighter. Both were created by the same development team, used the same arcade system board, and some moves from the Virtua Fighter characters were even incorporated in the movelists of the Fighting Vipers characters. However, while Virtua Fighter features martial artists with varied ages using real-life fighting styles in battles on top of open arenas surrounded by Ring Outs, Fighting Vipers features mostly teenagers with Improv Fu styles fighting on arenas that are surrounded by walls (which can be busted down at the end of a round but will magically reappear on the next round).
  • Before Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy franchise had a cyclic tone shift between games with even numbers- II, IV and VI and odd numbers- I, III and V. The games with odd numbers follow four warriors (in the original title and Famicom version of the third installment they have blank personalities) chosen by the gods to protect the world from chaos, the plot of the games revolves around collecting the four crystals and receiving new abilities, and also the four warriors have classic RPG classes- Knight, Thief, Cleric, Warlock, etc.. The games with even numbers are more focused on characters as individuals with own personalities, have more than four main protagonists, and tend to either ignore the class system entirely or have the core cast be non-traditional classes (Dark Knight, Summoner, Dragoon, etc.).
  • Fire Emblem and Shining Force, two iconic Turn-Based Strategy RPGs published by Nintendo and SEGA, respectively. The former is a politics-driven game where all deaths are final, while the latter is a High Fantasy epic where the dead can be resurrected by the local priest. Another subtle but important distinction is in magic: Fire Emblem focuses strictly on Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, whereas Shining Force — while having elemental resistances to some extent — places a heavier emphasis on Area of Effect. Furthermore, the turn systems can also be seen as antithetical, with Fire Emblem having turns for the player, where as Shining Force has turns for units.
  • Despite both being early 2000s racing games with an emphasis on crashes, the first two FlatOut games are vastly different from the first two Burnout games. Whereas Burnout is a fast, slick game with emphasis on avoiding vehicles and objects with a car selection consisting mostly of modern imports with clean, simple paintwork, FlatOut is a slower, more abrasive crashfest where smashing everything is encouraged, with a roster of mostly older, rusty looking American cars with bright, multicolored paintjobs. Starting with Burnout 3, when takedowns were introduced to the series, a new layer was added to their differences. Burnout's takedowns were quick and streamlined, with lots of emphasis on the crash itself, while crashes in FlatOut were large, heavy slams, with little attention being given to them.
  • Gears of War and Call of Duty are different ways of taking the shooter genre (Gears being about taking cover and COD making both sides weak to bullets), seemingly as a counterpart to the radical influence of Halo.
  • Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V and The Boss from the Saints Row franchise (especially during the Denser and Wackier third and fourth games) are two different takes on the typical chaotic GTA-esque sandbox player. Trevor is a scathing satire; unattractive and unstable, while his antics can get downright disturbing at times and has earned him very few friends, getting to the point that one of the endings allows the player to horribly kill him. Meanwhile, while Saint's Row doesn't shy away from painting The Boss' antics as downright sociopathic (and they themselves admit at one point that they're seeing a psychiatrist), they're still played mostly for comedy or badassery, while The Boss is charismatic enough to surround themselves with a posse of fiercely loyal subordinates, become a major celebrity and even get elected President, and are only as ugly as the player makes them.
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is practically this to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, especially after spinning off from the latter and becoming its own separate game. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a solo Action RPG about the eponymous Witcher fighting monsters for profit while rescuing his girlfriend and surrogate daughter, doing his best not to get involved in war and politics. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, on the other hand, is a Collectible Card Game involving the five main opposing factions of The Witcher universe fighting an epic-scale war with each other, one bigger and more important than Geralt alone killing monsters for profit and rescuing his surrogate daughter, Ciri.
  • The makers of Half-Life stated that Doom was a major inspiration, and it's not hard to see how. Both are among the defining first-person shooters of The '90s, Half-Life was built on a heavily modified version of the Quake engine created by Doom developer id Software, and on the surface, their plots are broadly similar: monsters from Another Dimension invade our world due to an advanced physics experiment Gone Horribly Wrong, and you the Player Character, armed with a gigantic arsenal of weaponry that covers all of the Standard FPS Guns, are the only one who can fight back, save humanity, and eventually push back into whatever world they came from to end the invasion for good. But then you sit down to play both games, and it becomes clear that Half-Life is subverting Doom's structure more than it's playing it straight. In Doom, you play as a soldier, and this is reflected in the game's fast-paced, high-octane gameplay where you are encouraged to take the fight directly to your enemies. Furthermore, the enemies you battle are explicitly described as demons, and the "other dimension" they came from is Hell — and it is all done in a very self-consciously "badass" aesthetic ripped from '80s Heavy Metal albums and comic books. In Half-Life, on the other hand, you play as a scientist (specifically a theoretical physicist), and for most of the game you are heavily outgunned by both the alien monsters and, later, by the soldiers sent to "clean up" the facility. Playing cautiously is the name of the game, and jumping into battle can get you killed. And while the demons in Doom had a measure of camp to them, in Half-Life the aliens are portrayed as truly monstrous, with their homeworld Xen being a highly disturbing Eldritch Location. What's more, while Doom intentionally had a bare-bones Excuse Plot, Half-Life uses environmental storytelling to imply that there are far more sinister things going on under the surface, and that your character is merely a pawn in something much bigger than himself. In short, Half-Life is Doom Played for Horror.
    Gabe Newell: Half-Life in many ways was a reactionary response to the trivialization of the experience of the first-person genre. Many of us had fallen in love with video games because of the phenomenological possibilities of the field and felt like the industry was reducing the experiences to least common denominators rather than exploring those possibilities. Our hope was that building worlds and characters would be more compelling than building shooting galleries.
  • Speaking of Half-Life, to a certain extent the Portal series from the same developers can be seen as this to the Half-Life series. Both series are set in the same Shared Universe, are prominently based around two incredibly advanced Research, Inc. corporations (the Black Mesa Research Facility in Half-Life, and Aperture Science in Portal) and their studies into teleportation, prominently feature physics puzzles as part of their game design, and have their main protagonists consist of a Heroic Mute while prioritizing an Unbroken First-Person Perspective to make sure that the protagonist (Gordon Freeman in Half-Life and Chell in Portal) serves as an extension of the player. However, from there they are starkly different:
    • Half-Life has the entire conceit of a Mad Science Research, Inc. investigating teleportation Played for Drama; its greater setting is ultimately portrayed as a Cosmic Horror Story through showing how Black Mesa's reckless experiments into Xen allowed for the Combine to brutally invade the Earth and enslave humanity along with conveying that Gordon Freeman is ultimately a pawn of the G-Man and his mysterious "Employers" (meaning that he, ironically enough, is definitely not a "free man"). Despite the very fantastical and unrealistic consequences (i.e., hostile Eldritch Abominations enslaving humanity) shown, the science conveyed in Half-Life also more frequently that not is impressively well-researched and semi-plausible, and its story also shifts over multiple different locations all across the multiverse (Half-Life 1 is set in both the Black Mesa Research Facility beneath the American state of New Mexico and the Eldritch Location "borderworld" of Xen, and Half-Life 2 is set almost entirely in the countryside around an undisclosed city in Eastern Europe). The Half-Life series also, despite its generally grim and bleak tone, has been noted to have a deceptively goofy sense of humor, such as the hideous and terrifying fungal humanoid monster Alyx Vance must evade in an abandoned distillery during the events of Half-Life: Alyx being referred to as "Jeff" by all of the characters. Finally, Half-Life is ultimately an intense First-Person Shooter series, with the aforementioned physics puzzles based around the application of the Source engine's physics being a major component but still not being intended to serve as the "primary gameplay loop" as it were.
    • invoked Meanwhile, Portal has the entire conceit of a Mad Science Research, Inc. investigating teleportation Played for Laughs; its greater setting is ultimately portrayed as a darkly comical Cloudcuckooland through the numerous atrocities performed by Aperture Science being so hilariously over-the-top that it basically becomes impossible to take any of them that seriously, and instead of being a poor Cosmic Plaything like Freeman, Chell is a "take-no-shit" Determinator who (eventually) even successfully wins her freedom from being GLaDOS's puppet. While most of the science featured in Portal is also remarkably well-researched (as in Half-Life), it's also more willing to stretch plausibility as per Rule of Funny (i.e., one of Aperture Science's old experiments was injecting humans with praying mantis DNA, turning them into "an army of mantis-men") while injecting Surprisingly Realistic Outcomes elsewhere (like Black Mesa, Aperture Science heavily suffered from No OSHA Compliance, but unlike Black Mesa, Aperture eventually went bankrupt). Also unlike Half-Life, both of the Portal games are localized to one Small, Secluded World — the Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Center — and The Outside World is treated as a mysterious unknown.note  Furthermore, while Portal has a generally silly and upbeat tone, this is tempered by its frequent forays into Black Comedy along with some surprisingly uncomfortable and serious moments (i.e., the Rattman dens). Finally, Portal is ultimately a puzzle game where the physics puzzles therein all rely around both the application of the Source engine's physics and the portal gun, and while multiple puzzles (particularly the Final Boss fights of each game) are rather intense, more often than not the games are deliberately slow-paced to give players more time to solve the complex puzzles.
    • Really, one subtle detail perfectly sums up the difference between the two series: the design aesthetics of the respective science companies. Black Mesa in general has a black/orange color theme, conveying the Darker and Edgier mood of Half-Life alongside the grim, pseudo-industrial and Cassette Futurism/Cyberpunk design aesthetic of the research complex. In contrast, Aperture Science in general has a white/light blue color theme, conveying the Lighter and Softer mood of Portal alongside the (seemingly) friendly Everything Is an iPod in the Future design aesthetic of the Enrichment Center.
  • Halo's take on multi-star system governments made up of diverse peoples/races is, for better or worse, the polar opposite of Star Trek and other more idealistic Space Operas. Whereas the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek is all about bringing different races together for mutual benefit, Halo's major powers have been rather the opposite: The Covenant races are stripped of their original culture, indoctrinated into a bizarre and fanatical state religion, and act as specialized cogs in a machine serving a caste of uncaring overlords. The United Nations Space Command crosses into outright authoritarianism in order to keep its colonies in line; framing journalists, shutting down the entire space internet, kidnapping children to turn them into Super Soldiers, etc. Even the advanced and supposedly wise Forerunners weren't all that great; while they considered themselves the benevolent and rightful caretakers of the galaxy, their subject species were kept subordinate and ultimately weak, any species who fought against them were brutally punished, and the very Forerunners who designed their kind's wonderful technology frequently abused their powers for personal gain. While humanity and the Sangheili are officially allies after Halo 3, and have cooperated closely on a number of projects, there is still a lot of bad blood between the two thanks to the Human-Covenant War, and many individuals from both species have formed their own organizations seeking to wipe the other side out. Even among their main governments, there is some reluctance to get "too" involved with each other.
  • Hell Night to Enemy Zero. Both are hybrid point and click adventure with first person maze-based Survival Horror, but Hell Night has Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror Story involving Cult and Eldritch Abomination, as well as a visible monster, while Enemy Zero has Cliché Storm of a plot lifted from Alien as well as an invisible monster.
  • Her Nightmares to Yume Nikki. Despite sharing striking similarities in their premises — female protagonists are locked within their rooms and spend the entire game exploring their dreams — they have very different executions. Yume Nikki is primarily based on exploration, atmosphere, and symbolism, with Jump Scares being few and far between. In contrast, Her Nightmares severely restricts the player's options and ramps up the pacing, with dreams lasting no longer than a minute and many of them ending with a Jump Scare. Her Nightmares also leaves less to the imagination, making it clear that the unnamed protagonist is being held against her will; this is only one of many possible situations in Yume Nikki, with the more prevalent theory being that Madotsuki is a hikikomori dealing with depression. Side-by-side, Her Nightmares shows inspiration from Western indie horror games like Five Nights at Freddy's and Sad Satan, while Yume Nikki could be better compared to works of Psychological Horror like Silent Hill or Eraserhead.
  • Iji ends up being this to itself with the 1.7 update, which introduces the Spare Iosa ending. Before the update, doing a Pacifist Run gives you the best possible ending, with Iji's hands being clean of any deaths involved (as Iosa is executed by somebody else.) In 1.7, however, not getting in contact with the character that executes Iosa for you forces Iji to break her pacifism and kill Iosa with her own hands, because if she doesn't, then Iosa will come back later to kill Iji and Tor after the Final Boss battle. 1.7 drives the point home that sparing Iosa doesn't lead to anything good, basically declaring that absolute pacifism doesn't work; some people are just too irredeemable to be left to their own devices, and some threats must be eliminated with lethal force.
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising to the Greek parts of God of War. Both are Hack and Slash games centered on Classical Mythology, but God of War has a Sociopathic Hero murdering the Jerkass Gods, whereas Immortals has the player siding with the gods, who ultimately come to terms with their mistakes.
  • inFAMOUS to Sly Cooper, Sucker Punch's earlier breakout hit.note  Sly Cooper is a cartoonish, family-friendly series about a mischievous and carefree thief, while inFAMOUS is a T-rated series for older players, it has photorealistic graphics, and it's about a grim and cynical (and possibly outright evil) superhero. While Sly Cooper puts a Lighter and Softer spin on the crime drama genre (which is traditionally dark and violent), inFAMOUS puts a Darker and Edgier spin on the superhero genre (which is traditionally colorful and lighthearted).
  • I Wanna Be the Guy is a Platform Hell game with loads of Fake Difficulty. It's about a kid who's a Cosmic Plaything trying to find The Guy and kill him, so he can become the next Guy. The world will not let him. Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is similar, but takes out the Fake Difficulty. It's about a Determinator with a Screw Destiny philosophy going up against impossible odds for the good of the world. The world won't let him accomplish his goal either, but it will let him try. Both are equally Nintendo Hard, but in complete opposite ways. One fights dirty and hits you where it hurts, the other fights honorably and gives you a fair chance.
    • 1001 Spikes is the Lawful Evil to IWBTG's Chaotic Evil. Both games are platformers with a One-Hit-Point Wonder protagonist and quick respawn mechanics, and the level design for both features heavy emphasis on traps. However, the former is far more fair with its traps, featuring consistent trap types to the point that keen-eyed players can often spot them before they're triggered, and most traps when triggered offer a split-second window for players to escape. Compare that to the latter, where literally Everything Is Trying to Kill You, consistency and forewarning be damned, to the point that the game relies on Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
      • The game could also be considered the antithesis of La-Mulana, both games are platformers featuring Indiana Jones-styled Adventurer Archaeologist protagonists who both have troubled relationships with their Adventurer Archaeologist fathers whom they're in competition with, both games revolve around infiltrating some ancient trap-filled ruins, and both games feature retro-style 8-bit graphics (at least the original version of La Mulana does.) However, La Mulana is a sprawling Metroidvania revolving around solving puzzles and riddles, while 1001 Spikes is a linear, level-based affair where the player's only concern is grabbing collectibles and getting to the exit. Also as mentioned above, Aban Hawkins is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, while Lemeza has a life meter and can take multiple hits. The two protagonist's fathers are also antitheses of each other; Aban's father Jim is The Ace, whom Aban's legitimately unable to match up with to the point that it's revealed that Jim already cased the Ukampa ruins that Aban spends the first half of the game exploring to prove himself, while Lemeza's father Shorn is implied to be a Miles Gloriosus who failed to completely explore the game's ruins, instead lying in wait for Lemeza to reach the Treasure of Life at the end before swooping in to claim it for himself.
  • Invasion: The Abductors to Gunblade N.Y./L.A. Machineguns. Invasion: The Abudctors made in the USA is violent, edgy, and bloody Light Gun Game with alien invasion setting, while Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns made in Japan is non-violent, colorful, and less bloody mounted shooter with cyber-terrorism setting.
  • Johnny Nero Action Hero to Time Crisis. Johnny Nero Action Hero made in the USA is Light Gun Game with comic book art-style and Guns Akimbo mechanics, while Time Crisis made in Japan is rail-shooter with anime art-style and cover-based mechanics.

    K-P 
  • Whereas Kingdom Hearts is a High Fantasy series that focuses on traveling through different worlds and going on fantastical adventures with an assortment of colorful characters from Disney and Square Enix, The World Ends with You is an Urban Fantasy that has the main characters trapped in the ultra stylistic Shibuya and being forced to team up with others in order to survive a Deadly Game. The protagonists are complete opposites of each other, with the former franchise starring an idealistic and kindhearted young man who embraces The Power of Friendship and becomes a Messianic Archetype despite being The Unchosen One; whereas the latter is starred by a hardened and unsociable teenager who is handpicked to represent the worst of humanity, before gradually changing for the better.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords serves as this to the original KOTOR while also being its sequel. The original was a classic "good vs. evil" story about a larger than life Jedi hero and set to tell a tale in the vein of the original movies. The sequel, on the other hand, was a deconstruction of the Star Wars universe with the main focus being about an exiled and effectively nameless Jedi in the darkest hour of the galaxy (which had become a Crapsack World), all while tearing apart the black-and-white concept of the galaxy as well as the entire concept of The Force itself. It also took away the As You Know style infodumps (meaning the player character knows critical info the player doesn't) and infinitely complicated the plot and themes by making the main source of exposition a Consummate Liar with an agenda.
  • The Legend of Zelda to Super Mario Bros.. While both games were produced by the same company and people and were in development in parallel, Super Mario Bros. is a linear arcade platformer with 32 levels and power-ups that vanish after damage, while The Legend of Zelda is an open world action-adventure with a health meter and permanent upgrades. Super Mario Bros. also gently pokes fun at Western fairy tales and High Fantasy, while The Legend of Zelda takes the same basic story elements (most notably the Save the Princess plot) and plays them completely straight.
  • Mega Man (Classic) to Mega Man X an Mega Man Zero. The first is a quirky series about a boy android who shoots up cartoony, googly-eyed robots and copies their powers with obvious Cartoon Physics. His creator, Dr. Light, and his nemesis, Dr. Wily, are also pretty comical in their own ways. Each game ends with the eponymous character saving the day once again. You're fighting player-sized Robot Master bosses. Unlike that, Mega Man X takes place in a dystopian future where a powerful rogue android leads a rebellion against mankind. Loved ones die, friends betray you, and enemies come back for revenge. Zero is much more anime influenced, is about a teenage-looking android fighting a war alongside a group of freedom fighters, and has very little to speak of in the way of humor. Victories always come at a cost. Most bosses are at least slightly bigger than Zero.
    • Their own spiritual successors, Azure Striker Gunvolt and Mighty No. 9, are an antithesis with each other. The former is about a teenage boy with psychic powers who can control electricity and fights alongside a resistance group against a major Japanese conglomerate that uses psychics in cruel and inhumane experiments featuring an anime-like aesthetic like its spiritual predecessor, while the latter is a much more cartoony-styled game like its spiritual predecessor and centers around a timid and doubtful robot boy who (reluctantly) answers the call to save the United States of America from a viral outbreak causing other robots throughout the country, including his own Mighty Number family, to turn against humans. Azure Striker Gunvolt also features many instances where Gunvolt fights other psychic-users to the death, whereas in Mighty No. 9, Beck tries his best to save the Mighty Numbers by purifying their corrupted xels instead of destroying them outright like Mega Man does with Dr. Light's creation (or many other robots he encounters), and the Mighty Numbers go on help Beck in return in other stages. The Gunvolt series also does away with the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors elements the Mega Man franchise was known for (with Gunvolt, at least), while Mighty No. 9 retains this aspect and a few of the copied abilities also have some utility outside of packing a bigger punch than your standard pea shooter.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance can be seen as an antithesis to PlatinumGames's previous landmark game, Bayonetta in story and gameplay. While Bayo is a bright, happy, optimistic adventure more concerned with style and panache, Rising is a dark, gritty assault with heavy focus on the seriousness and complexity the series is known for. Bayo's story is ridiculous, incorporating angels, demons, witches and wizards and feels like an afterthought until the end; while Rising is grounded in reality and focuses on themes of the lives of soldiers, the cybernetic arms race, the complacency of modern society and what it means to kill someone. Bayo's gameplay is about fighting humongous enemies with huge sweeping attacks and a heavy focus on dodging; Rising is about fighting you-sized foes with tight, short strikes and is built around a parrying system. Bayo's music is mostly big band Cabaret remixes of 50s songs and the visuals are heavily stylized, while Risings music is electronic hard rock with screaming vocals and the visuals are mostly monochromatic. Bayo's levels are huge and can take upwards of an hour to complete, while Rising has very short levels, some of which can be cleared in minutes. If it wasn't for the similar gameplay, it'd be hard to think these games are from the same company.
    • Rising is also this to the rest of the Metal Gear series as a whole. Sneaking past enemies is indirectly penalized (fewer BPs rewarded, which means you get fewer upgrades) and there is a heavy emphasis on melee combat with almost no ranged combat whatsoever (the only guns you get to carry around with you are missile launchers). The narrative also runs against the normal trend of far-reaching conspiracies, as seen when Sundowner directly states that not everything is some orchestrated plan-within-a-plan and that, while the Patriots certainly controlled the War Economy, humans started it all on their own.
    • Rising has another antithesis in another Platinum game, NieR Automata, as while they do sound similar from an outsider's perspective, they're different from each other in multiple ways. Automata is about androids and robots becoming more like humans in a future where humanity has gone extinct, while Rising features humans who've made themselves more robotic by way of Cyborg enhancements during a period of human advancement. Nier: Automata is a very long game that takes multiple playthroughs to fully understand, whereas Rising is a very short game with a narrative that can be understood in one playthrough. Nier: Automata is much more philosophical in regards to its themes that revolve around existentialism, while Metal Gear Rising is very political regards its own themes. Automata has a fairly-sized open world, while Rising features linear levels that for the most part, aren't revisited.
  • Metroid combines elements of its fellow Nintendo titles Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, an open world action-adventure game with a health meter and dungeon exploration with a platformer perspective. However, the aesthetics of the game are opposite to previous two — a dark and spooky Science Fiction space atmosphere with more realistic enemies inspired by the Alien films, whereas Mario and Zelda were set in more lighthearted High Fantasy settings. Also, the main protagonist of the game is famously revealed to be a woman, while in Mario and Zelda, the player's goal is to save women.
  • Mortal Kombat to Street Fighter II. Mortal Kombat is made in the USA and features a fantasy world and realistic graphics, while Street Fighter is made in Japan and features real world fighters with anime graphics. Mortal Kombat has amounts of blood, gore and secrets and a more primitive battle system (for early 2D games), while Street Fighter has a more complex battle system which is easy to understand and difficult to master and little blood, and secret fighters were introduced in 1994. The first Mortal Kombat game was the bestseller for Sega Genesis in 16-bit wars, while Street Fighter II was the bestseller for SNES.
  • My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic to Eternal Fighter Zero. EFZ has an all-human cast from visual novels and grants them powers they didn't have in canon while FiM has an all-equine cast from a cartoon and uses powers from said cartoon.
  • Radiant Silvergun is known for its complex weapon system, giving the player the ability to use any combination of the three basic weapons for seven weapons total on top of a special Limit Break attack, as well as a weapon level-up system that's tied to the player's score; ignoring the scoring system is a good way to end up underpowered in later stages. In contrast, Ikaruga only gives the player one basic twin-blaster weapon to go alongside their special attack that never powers up, and can be reliably completed without learning how to score proficiently; in fact the game will even recognize Pacifist Runs. Additionally, while Silvergun tells a bleak story of humans trying to escape the wrath of a misanthropic god-like entity, failing terribly to put up a Last Stand and all dying, and causing the cycle to repeat ad infinitum, Ikaruga ends with the protagonist(s) taking on the same entity and committing Heroic Sacrifice to put it down once and for all.
  • Moonlighter takes a lot of inspirations from Recettear, both being a part Dungeon Crawler RPG/part shop management simulator game, but while Moonlighter largely fixes the problems Recettear had, it also in many ways failed to replicate what it was already good at. Recettear's shop management is robust, containing lots of small mechanics that are gradually introduced to the player over time and has a lot of charm to its story and characters to keep things interesting, but the graphics are passably average and the dungeon crawling is tedious, repetitive, and at times downright unrewarding to a point where it's possible to beat the game with only the bare minimum steps taken in the dungeon. Moonlighter, on the other hand, has beautifully done sprite work and both the dungeon crawling combat and exploration is far more refined and actually rewarding, but the shop management aspects are simplistic and is solved quickly, the characters are less interesting and the story comes to a grinding halt halfway through, leading to a lack of a feeling of meaningful progression, where at a certain point the only thing left to do is get to the end of the dungeon because there's little point in running the shop.
  • The New Order: Last Days of Europe and Thousand-Week Reich are both game mods for Hearts of Iron IV set in an Alternate History where the Nazis won World War II and are now locked in a Cold War with the United States. Both of them emphasize not only the Crapsack World that such a scenario would be, but also the fact that the Nazis would eventually implode under the weight of their dysfunctional system, as the death of Adolf Hitler near the start of the game plunges Germany into crisis and factionalism due to how dependent the basic functions of government were on one man. They also share a postwar Russia that has splintered into warlord states, with the reunification of Russia being a major plot point.
    • Thousand-Week Reich sticks to the more realistic end of the Sliding Scale of Alternate History Plausibility. The Nazis winning in Europe doesn't save the Japanese in Asia and the Pacific, it doesn't allow the meager Kriegsmarine to beat the Royal Navy and invade the UK, and most importantly, it doesn't help a fundamentally mismanaged economy that was built on plunder and soon collapses without it. There are more outlandish routes for some countries to go down, including major powers, but they require some effort to find. In Russia, there are only two warlord states worth noting, the Soviet remnant and the American-backed Russian Republic, with the rest existing largely to be gobbled up by those two before the big showdown. It's also set in The '50s and heavily alludes to that decade's Cold War iconography, and in keeping with the more optimistic attitudes of the '50s, it's set in A World Half Full in which, despite all the very real horrors committed by the unrestrained, victorious fascist powers, the Nazis are doomed to stagnation at best even if they somehow manage to pull it together rather than implode catastrophically, while the US is all but guaranteed to win the Cold War.
    • The New Order, meanwhile, is pulpier and more narrative-driven, with the Nazis getting the Bomb first and they and the Japanese implementing all of their most deranged and unrealistic plans for postwar Europe, Asia, and Africanote  — and then having to deal with the consequences. The Russian warlord period is an absolute free-for-all, with nineteen warlord states representing every ideology under the sun considered "unifiers" capable of reuniting Russia, not counting the assorted minor states in between who exist solely to get conquered. It is set in The '60s, mines that decade's counterculture and Vietnam-era imagery for its aesthetic, and takes a far more cynical tone: all three superpowers have nuclear weapons, making The End of the World as We Know It in the event of World War III a very real threat, and it is possible both for Germany to successfully reform (but not remove) its fascist system and win the Cold War and for the US to completely screw the pooch and fall to fascist or communist tyranny itself.
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth appears to completely contrast the game Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth in may form or ways while maintaining a similar premise.
    • Instead of throwing the player into a place that resembles the Yasogami High that everyone knew and loved, this game outright throws you into the first Labyrinth then puts you into a seemingly barren Cinema where the first person you meet is a strange, black thing.
    • The game does not sugar coat its dungeons with themes such as fairytales and dating cafes, but instead blatantly opens up with movies where authority rules over all.
    • Rei from the previous Q is a bit shy, but at least she tries to talk to you; Hikari in the other hand just refuses direct communication and makes Thousand-Yard Stares while being idle. Also, while Rei is dead but wants to live, Hikari is alive but in catatonic depression.
    • Nagi also contrasts Zen in many ways, most notably Zen is a genuine protector of Rei while Nagi is a Chekhov's Gunman type Big Bad.
    • The encountering of other Persona teams were also significantly more tense and conflicting than the simple encounter scene in Q.
    • While the bosses of Q resemble ungodly Eldritch Abominations and the labyrinth visuals are rather nightmarish, most of the bosses in Q2 resemble characters from the Persona series without any traces of horror at all, while the labyrinth visuals are usually what you expect in their respective movie types. note 
    • After you clear the 4th stratum in Q, the lobby takes a 180 degree turn and the BGM and visuals become extremely creepy. In Q2, the game instead plays a catchy instrumental theme after you clear the 4th stratum.
    • While Persona Q used Greek elements, Q2 uses French elements.
    • In Persona Q, Philemon's butterfly is seen trapped in a spiderweb until the epilogue. In Q2, it can be seen flying freely.
    • Persona Q songs has the song Tea Break, while Persona Q2 has the song Coffee Break.
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus can be seen as one to Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. Both of them are mainline Pokémon games released in the middle of their respective generations that diverge from the headlining entries of said generations (Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Sword and Shield) by changing around features, game structure, gimmicks and Pokémon stats to essentially reinvent the Pokémon formula. However, while all three games are meant to be enjoyed by all ages, their approaches are completely different. LGPE opts for a more beginner-friendly approach meant to bring over players from Pokémon GO and tries to reboot the Kanto games into a more streamlined experience, provides a linear single-player campaign with generally easy battles, and cuts off Pokémon from later generations except for Meltan and Melmetal. PLA, meanwhile, leans more towards veteran players with its higher difficulty and more open structure, diverges completely from the established Pokémon formula, and serves as a distant prequel to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl that still prominently features some (but not all) Pokémon from other generations, including later ones.

    Q-S 
  • The Iranian students who made Rescue Nuke Scientist (in which the player controls Iranian soldiers rescuing captured nuclear engineers from Israel) said it was meant as a response to Assault On Iran (in which the player controls American soldiers attacking an Iranian nuclear weapons facility). The makers of Assault On Iran responded to that with Payback In Iraq, which even includes characters and events from Rescue. And said they hoped the makers of Rescue Nuke Scientist would respond again.
  • Sifu to God Hand. Both involve a character who loses something to a group of supernatural foes and goes on to gain their own powers to defeat them in turn. But where the Black-and-White Morality of fighting demons in God Handis a cause to applause, Sifu has a Grey-and-Grey Morality where the enemies are completely human and use their gifts for the rest of humanity. Pointedly the death mechanics in both are completely different, God Hand has you docked for points at the end of levels while Sifu has you age as you die and will have a game over if you die past 70.
  • The Secret World is the polar opposite of Deus Ex, in that both use everything in the Conspiracy Kitchen Sink but have different ways of utilizing them. Deus Ex is a Cyberpunk setting about going against or joining one of the Ancient Conspiracy using Sci-Fi weapons and tools. The Secret World is a Dark Urban Fantasy Cosmic Horror Story in which the player joins one of the secret societies and fights against Eldritch Abominations by using magic.
  • Silent Hill to Resident Evil. The two big Survival Horror franchises in gaming, both game series are made by Japanese developers (Capcom for Resident Evil, Konami for Silent Hill) homaging American horror, with tons of visceral gorn and Body Horror monstrosities assailing protagonists equipped with limited resources to get through them all, but the makers of Silent Hill deliberately went for very different inspirations than Resident Evil in order to stand out from the competition.
    • Resident Evil is inspired by Zombie Apocalypse B-movies, most notably George A. Romero's Living Dead Series, with its horror being rooted in biological experiments funded by a shady pharmaceutical company and the military. Any seemingly supernatural elements in the games are always explained as being the product of Mad Science.note  Furthermore, its protagonists are usually police officers, soldiers, government agents, and other professionals who are trained and equipped for these sorts of situations; while both series limit the amount of ammunition the player has access to, Resident Evil has typically been the more action-heavy of the two, often giving players access to high-powered automatic and explosive weapons by the mid-game.
    • Silent Hill, on the other hand, is based more on the works of Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft. The horror is supernatural and religious in nature, rooted in a cult seeking to awaken their god whose actions have turned the town of Silent Hill into an Eldritch Location, and its scares are rooted as much in Psychological Horror as they are in the bloodier kind. The protagonists are usually ordinary people without much in the way of combat abilities, but who often do have plenty of neuroses that the town likes to draw on to torment them. (The one protagonist who had actual military training, Alex Shepard from Silent Hill: Homecoming, turned out to have False Memories.) The arsenals are much more mundane, with shotguns and hunting rifles usually being the most powerful weapons the player gets, and melee weapons taking on a far more prominent role than in Resident Evil.
    • On an individual game level, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is this to Silent Hill 2. In both games, you play as a man who lost his wife three years ago only to receive a mysterious message from her, drawing you to a remote rural location filled with monsters, all while frequently encountering a woman who looks like your wife but isn't who she seems. Both are also among the most widely acclaimed horror games of their respective generations. But beyond just the differences between their respective series, RE7 also goes for a very different set of stylistic influences. SH2 embraced the cold, foggy atmosphere of the series' New England setting, Mary's letter to her husband James is framed as an invitation, and the game climaxes on a Tomato in the Mirror reveal as to what's really going on: James actually murdered his wife, the mysterious "Maria" is a malevolent being who's there to tempt and torment him, and the entire game has been one long dose of Laser-Guided Karma for James' sins. RE7, meanwhile, is set in the Louisiana bayou in full hot, sweaty Southern Gothic mode, the message that Ethan gets from his wife Mia is a distress call, and the person you find is the real Mia, albeit succumbing to infection and regularly switching between her normal personality and something closer to a Deadite. The plot is also a lot more straightforward: beat the monsters, save your wife, and escape.
  • Slender and SCP – Containment Breach are both indie Survival Horror games based on a particular creepypasta (The Slender Man Mythos for Slender, the SCP Foundation for Containment Breach). Both have a few key differences:
    • Both games' primary antagonists work in opposite ways - Slender's titular Slenderman will kill the player if they look at him for too long, whilst Containment Breach's primary antagonist, SCP-173, is unable to move unless the player looks away from it or blinks.
    • Slender features a single antagonist (the titular Slenderman). Containment Breach starts with just SCP-173 before introducing more hostile SC Ps (and eventually a group of MTF soldiers) as the player progresses.
    • Slender features an innocent Featureless Protagonist (who later appears as the deuteragonist of remake/sequel Slender: The Arrival), whilst Containment Breach puts you in the shoes of D-9341, a D-Class Personnel who was a former Foundation researcher who was demoted for unauthorised research into something called the "Spiral Gestalt".
    • The overall goals are entirely different - in Slender, your goal is to find eight pages scattered in a forest, each page being harder to get than the last, whilst in Containment Breach, your goal is to escape from the facility, with useful items scattered throughout to aid you and finding documents as an optional objective.
    • Containment Breach has a fleshed out plot (told chiefly through Story Breadcrumbs, and featuring four separate endings). Slender, by comparison, is practically plotless (though The Arrival does provide a plot).
    • Slender makes heavy use of Nothing Is Scarier - the Slenderman's appearances are rare, and the player generally has no clue where he is most of the time. Containment Breach makes heavy use of Paranoia Fuel, keeping the player on edge as they avoid being hunted down.
    • Slender takes place in pitch-black woods, with a flashlight as your sole source of vision, giving the feeling the Slenderman could be anywhere. Containment Breach takes place in a labyrinthine facility, whose cramped hallways provide a much more claustrophobic atmosphere.
  • As Mario's biggest rival in the 1990s, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog was designed to be "the anti-Mario" in many ways. Mario is famous for his jumping ability, and his levels are generally platforming challenges that take place on flat terrain; by contrast, Sonic is famous for his speed, and his adventures are usually fast-paced sprinting challenges that take place on hilly terrain (though they also include platforming). While Mario resembles a portly middle-aged man, Sonic is known for his youthful personality and "hip" attitude. And Mario's adventures are set in a fairy tale kingdom, and they're tongue-in-cheek throwbacks to classic high fantasy; conversely, Sonic's adventures take place in futuristic cyberpunk-inspired cityscapes, and they're often throwbacks to classic science-fiction.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog resulted in many Mascot with Attitude games. While they all Follow the Leader, one exception was Sparkster of Rocket Knight Adventures. While both of their games are similar (starting on the Sega Genesis and having a bright and colorful template) the main character of the latter was the opposite of Sonic and all of his imitators. While Sonic is meant to be edgy and cool with a look that screams The '90s, Sparkster is designed to be humble and adorable and given a more timeless look. Also, while Sonic's games were about speed more than platforming, Sparkster's were more about platforming than speed.
  • Sonic Mania and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 were both created as Genre Throwbacks to the original Sega Genesis trilogy, both taking place after Sonic 3 & Knuckles. However, there are many differences:
    • The character designs used in Sonic 4 were the ones used from Sonic Adventure onward, while Sonic Mania brought back the original character designs.
    • Sonic 4 was developed as an Episodic Game that was ultimately unfinished, while Sonic Mania is a fully complete game.
    • Sonic Mania features Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, while Sonic 4 only features Sonic as the main playable character — Tails was incorporated into Episode 2, but he was only player-controlled in co-op mode. Sonic 4 never got to feature Knuckles at any point.
    • Sonic 4 uses Zones that are similar to (or, in some cases, look just like) Zones from the older games, while Sonic Mania reuses the actual old zones with updated layouts to keep things fresh.
    • Sonic 4's soundtrack attempts to mimic the sound limitations of the Sega Genesis, while Sonic Mania favors a more modern sound.
    • Sonic 4 is a Sprite/Polygon Mix for the first episode, and 2½D for the second. Sonic Mania generally favors a bitmap graphic presentation instead, with Polygonal Graphics only showing up in the Special Stages.
    • Sonic 4 uses a game engine descended from the Sonic Rush series due to being made by the same developers. Sonic Mania instead uses an engine designed specifically to replicate the mechanics of the Genesis Sonic games.
  • sora is one to SUGURI. The latter features a girl who's confident in her abilities as an altered human and armed with various weapons trying to defend the Earth from an invasion of other altered humans whom have some lighthearted and at times comical exchanges with the heroine, the heroine of the former is reluctant about her natural combat capabilities and who was forced to fight in a war against her will until she eventually deserted from the war while she confronts many others taking part in said war whom remind her that she's just another weapon of war. SUGURI also takes places just after Earth has finally recovered from a war that nearly killed the planet, featuring lively scenery and an energetic techno/trace soundtrack, while sora takes place during said war with many barren and lifeless areas as a result of the Earth's dwindling natural resources and dying population, all while being accompanied with a moodier trance soundtrack.
  • Soulcalibur V has a direct antithesis with its sequel Soulcalibur VI. While both stand as attempts to revitalize the Soul Series, the way they go about it is completely different. V is about deviating from the source by introducing a new generation of fighters, advancing the story forward significantly, and creating new ideas to progress the series in a different direction. VI, on the other hand, is about returning to the core of Soulcalibur by taking a back-to-basics approach of exploring the established lore in more detail, bringing back the old guard, and revamping old ideas to make them new. The direct contrast is highlighted by what each game is best known for: V is best known for what it changed, while VI is best known for what it brought back.
  • Sound Voltex to beatmania:
    • beatmania gives you a background music track with missing bits and you have to fill in those bits by pressing keys in time to falling notes. Sound Voltex, on the other hand, gives you a track that is already complete and you hit notes to add effects to it.
    • beatmania maintains a minimalist note-scrolling interface with very few changes ever to the gameplay mechanics, while Sound Voltex makes use of fancy interface effects that can potentially screw over the player and each new game has added at least one new gameplay gimmick.
    • While beatmania is best known for its collection of in-house and commissioned tracks, Sound Voltex features some of those but also allows fans to submit tracks for use in the game through Sound Voltex Floor contests.
  • Spec Ops: The Line is a direct response to the Call of Duty series post Modern Warfare 1. Spec Ops is a third-person cover-based shooter more concerned with its single-player story, while Call of Duty focused more on its multiplayer. They also could not be any more tonally different: Call of Duty's campaign seems to glorify itself, making the player feel like a hero for doing things like dropping bombs from gunships, torturing prisoners or killing a number of nameless mooks without a care to what the consequences could be. Spec Ops: The Line on the other hand shows in graphic and unsettling detail what would happen if you actually adopted the "action hero" mentality that Call of Duty instills in players, and is consistently condemning throughout.
    • invoked Both games are also at almost the diametric opposites of the political spectrum: The Call of Duty franchise following the original Modern Warfare have been criticized by many critics and players for serving as neo-conservative American propaganda in their lionization of the American military and frequent demonization of America's foreign enemies (often sliding over into outright racism and xenophobia in their portrayal of the Middle East). In sharp contrast, Spec Ops: The Line is a vicious condemnation of modern American neo-imperialism, with one of the main points of its entire story being that the American forces in the Middle East might have positive intentions, but their mere presence is hideously undermining both the native peoples' livelihoods and the stability of their governments for the betterment of the United States' economy; in many ways, the Arc Words of Spec Ops: The Line' — "Do you feel like a hero yet?" — are not just aimed at the player themselves for continuing to indulge in hideous atrocities, but are also aimed at supporters of American military involvement abroad for continuing to support the United States' actions abroad resulting from/related to The War on Terror.
  • Splatoon is the complete opposite of Super Mario Sunshine from a gameplay standpoint. Super Mario Sunshine is a single-player platformer with slight shooter elements set on an island that's based around cleaning up as much ink as possible. Splatoon is a multiplayer-focused shooter with platformer elements set in an urban environment that's based around spreading as much ink as possible. Funnily enough, the developers of Splatoon sheepishly admitted that, despite working at Nintendo, they forgot Super Mario Sunshine existed when asked about this in interviews. They only recalled the title when people made comparisons after Splatoon's reveal trailer, as the ink at the start of the video made a number of viewers believe they were about to see a Sunshine 2 trailer instead.
  • The demo to The Stanley Parable is ultimately this for the game itself. The demo is a highly linear experience that frustrates the Narrator and causes him to desire a game about choices, while the game itself is entirely about the choices you make. It also serves as this for the Narrator in terms of personality. In the demo, he is very polite and helpful, and is baffled by the game constantly doing things he doesn’t expect, while in the game, he can be very cruel and this often results in Stanley suffering some terrible end, and more often than not, he knows exactly what is going on.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and The Force Unleashed are opposites showing the differences between influences in their respective era's. Fallen Order is a Souls-like RPG based around lightsaber combat where timing is essential. The Force Unleashed is all about unleashing Force powers and Action Commands like God of War. Cal is a survivor of the Jedi Purge who ventures to keep the Holocron with the location of Force Sensitive children from falling into the hands of the Empire. Starkiller is Darth Vader's secret apprentice who does his dirty work in eliminating the Empire's enemies and helps start the Rebellion as one of Vader's schemes. Best comparison is with their final encounter with Vader, Cal barely gets away and every attempt at fighting him just ends in failure while Starkiller had an epic boss battle that ends with Vader broken and he has the option of killing him in the dark side ending. Notably one of the things Cal tries is to hit Darth Vader with a piece of machinery which was one of the moves Starkiller did, likely meaning the comparsion was intentional.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The original game is this to Ghosts 'n Goblins. Both are side-scrolling platformers released in 1985 (Mario having debuted a few months later) by video game companies from the Kansai region in Japan, Capcom and Nintendo. Both are fantasy games in which the player's goal is to save a princess, but the radically different manners in which players go about those goals demonstrates the difference between arcade and home console gaming at that time, Ghosts having originally released in arcades and Mario on the NES.
      • Super Mario Bros. is considered pretty difficult by today's standards due to Mario's and Luigi's stiffer jumping physics, but by the standards of retro side-scrollers, it wasn't terribly unforgiving. It rewards players for curiosity — when Mario or Luigi hit a block, they get either coins or power-ups that grant them enhanced abilities such as an extra hit point, the ability to shoot fireballs, or temporary invincibility. There are many ways to get extra lives, such as collecting 100 coins, finding a 1-Up Mushroom, defeating several enemies with a single thrown Koopa shell, jumping on several enemies more than eight times in a row, or scoring 50,000 points. Discovering secrets rewards players with a shortcut to the end of the stage, or a warp zone where they can travel to later stages. Aesthetically, its worlds are vibrant and colorful, inspired heavily by fairy tales, cartoons, and children's books with a gentle sense of humor and little visible death (enemies and the player character simply fall offscreen when they die), and even the most dangerous enemies look harmless and cute thanks to their Super-Deformed appearance.
      • Ghosts 'n Goblins, meanwhile, was considered brutally difficult even by the standards of the time, and still is today. The protagonist Arthur is protected from death at the beginning, but power-ups are not scattered around like stars on the sky, and Arthur picks up different weapons with different trajectories and velocities. Arthur can achieve an extra life only through scoring 20,000 points. Discovering secrets punishes players by transforming them into a frog, leaving them is unable to use a weapon. Aesthetically, it is grim and gothic, and enemies and bosses are monsters from horror movies or artistic depictions of Hell. When the player defeats the final boss for the first time, the game trolls them "to complete the game a second time to get the true ending", and when Arthur dies from a second hit, he turns into a pile of bones.
    • Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were both released the same year and both were titles shook up their respective franchise's formula. Odyssey was a Switch-exclusive title that returned to the sandbox-style platformer of Super Mario 64 after the series had spent the last several games with retraux 2½D platformers, while Breath of the Wild was original designed for the Wii U before being released for both systems and was designed to evoke the sense of freedom from the original NES game. Odyssey is linear with post-game material, while Breath of the Wild is more open with an exact ending. Even the heroes' appearances differ; while the player has the option to give their characters different clothes and looks, Mario starts with his iconic outfit, while Link's signature green tunic must be unlocked (though amiibos can grant Link a variation of it).
    • Super Mario 3D Land to Super Mario 64. The latter introduced 3D gameplay to the Super Mario Bros. series and radically changed some of the gameplay conventions in the process. The former still uses 3D gameplay as its basis, but makes the conventions more true to the 2D games.
  • In Super Smash Bros.:
    • Marth is the antithesis to Link. The latter is an adventurer experienced in Dungeon Crawling, and as such his swordplay consists of heavy, sweeping swings bolstered by a Wall of Weapons. The former is a Frontline General with experience in one-on-one battles, and his swordplay relies on light, swift strikes and advanced techniques.
    • Mega Man is the antithesis to Sonic the Hedgehog. Both are blue-hued Guest Fighters, but while Mega Man is a Robot Kid with stiff animations, Sonic is a Funny Animal who's as flashy as can be. Whereas Mega Man is a Long-Range Fighter with a Wall of Weapons, Sonic is a Close-Range Combatant with speedy hand-to-hand moves and Spin-Dashes. This also extends to their stages. Both of Sonic's stages are the nature themed first levels with friendly background characters, while Mega Man's stage is the industrial themed final level with a boss as a hazard.
    • Palutena is the antithesis to Ganondorf. Both of them are ancient Physical Gods, but they're opposites in numerous ways: Palutena is the Big Good of her series while Ganondorf is the Big Bad of his, she's a Glass Cannon with many magic-powered long-ranged attacks and is unique in that all her custom moves do different things while he's a Mighty Glacier with an incredibly strong magic-enhanced physical moveset and is a Moveset Clone of a different character. Palutena has a white color scheme with green hair while Ganondorf has a black color scheme with red hair and both share a Female Angel, Male Demon dynamic.
    • Terry Bogard is the antithesis of Ryu and Ken, fittingly enough. While they're all fighting game characters, Ryu and Ken's company focuses on more than just fighting games, while Terry's company focuses primarily on fighting games. As for their movesets, Ryu and Ken's movesets remain mostly faithful to their Street Fighter II incarnations, whereas Terry's moveset takes more liberties by pulling a variety of moves from a variety of games, while still playing faithfully overall to his original games. Additionally, all of them can perform moves using the original command inputs from their games, but while Ryu and Ken's are optional, Terry has two moves that he can only perform with the original inputs. As for other gameplay elements, Ryu and Ken's stage is based on a specific location from Street Fighter II and no background cameos or gimmicks, while Terry's stage is a composite of a number of different ones seen in Fatal Fury and King of Fighters, sports a significant amount of background cameos from other SNK characters, and features a stage gimmick that distinguishes itself from other stages. Finally, while Ryu and Ken are dubbed in English by their respective voice actors, Terry isn't dubbed in English, and instead has his Japanese voice actor reading lines in Engrish, true to his original series.

    T-Z 
  • Umineko: When They Cry can easily be seen as this towards Higurashi: When They Cry. While both series share similar themes and structure (Psychological horror mystery with a "Groundhog Day" Loop function) Umineko is much more cynical and deconstructs several of the tropes in Higurashi.
  • Uncharted has always been this to the Indiana Jones series, but it’s mostly seen in the spin-off game Lost Legacy to Temple of Doom . They’re both India set adventures based around an important MacGuffin from Hinduism the tusk of Ganesha and Lingam stone, respectively. However, the game is much more respectful of the religion and Indian culture writ-large than the movie. The game’s protagonist, Chloe, is half-Indian herself whereas the film stars a Mighty Whitey. Chloe also decides at the end that the tusk belongs to the people of India and sells it to the culture ministry to be put in a museum but Indy just gives the stone to the villagers.
  • Valkyria Chronicles I: War elevates brave men and women into heights of glory! Valkyria Chronicles III: War crushes idealism and destroys the dignity of humankind!
  • Vagrant Story was this to Final Fantasy Tactics. Both games take place in and around Ivalice, the same universe as Final Fantasy XII released around six years after the former and nine years after the latter. However, Vagrant Story was an Action RPG about a single warrior soloing dungeons and fighting in a real-time combat system, while Final Fantasy Tactics was a Tactical RPG that featured the main-protagonist gathering an army and fighting in a series of turn-based tactical battles.
  • The Yakuza series is the antithesis of Grand Theft Auto. Both are crime dramas set in sandbox environments with lots of side content and wacky shenanigans to distract yourself from the main plot, but while GTA goes for quantity with its sandbox environments, getting bigger and bigger with each game, Yakuza goes for density, with a much smaller but far livelier and more detailed sandbox that is revisited with each game, evolving over the years. While GTA has a lot of focus on vehicles and gunplay, Yakuza is a Beat 'em Up where you settle every fight with your bare fists and whatever improvised melee weapon you can get your hands on. While GTA encourages all kinds of out-of-character sandbox mayhem, Yakuza refuses to allow the main character to harm civilians, only allowing the player to get in fights with characters who try to start fights first, with all the series' absurdity being relegated to the main plot and various side missions (the series' creator even explicitly rejected GTA's sandbox mayhem while creating the Yakuza series.) While the GTA series is an exaggerated satire/parody of American culture filtered through a British lens, Yakuza is very distinctly Japanese.
  • Ys can be seen as one to The Legend of Zelda:
    • In Ys, the main character is the same in every series; in The Legend of Zelda, the main characters are different incarnations of the same person.
    • In Ys, there is a huge emphasis on combat; in The Legend of Zelda, there is higher emphasis on puzzle-solving.
    • In Ys, the stories in each games barring the first two are independently contained; in The Legend of Zelda, the stories tend to be connected barring the spinoffs.
    • In Ys, the main antagonists are different each game with some being expies of another one; in The Legend of Zelda, like the heroes, the main villains are different incarnations of the same being, again, barring the spinoffs.
    • Ys tends to end the story by having the main character part ways with the different main heroines, almost always without romantic interest though some teasing happens; in The Legend of Zelda, the namesake princess, like the main character already mentioned above, are different incarnations of the same person and always destined to be together.


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