The first game is the original. The second game is the weird one. The third does the first again, but better this time.

SolVanderlyn

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Oct 28, 2017
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Anyone else notice a LOT of game trilogies follow this exact same formula?

Zelda. The original is the foundation. The second game ditches all of that and goes for a sidescrolling, RPG-lite adventure. Link to the Past is the first game with all of the adventure elements from Zelda II, a ton of new mechanics, much better graphics, an actual story and a much more structured adventure.

Castlevania. The original is the foundation. The second game ditches all of that and goes for an RPG-lite adventure, although it's much more similar to the first than in Zelda's case. The third goes back to the basics, adds more playable characters, and has tighter gameplay and level design.

Metal Gear Solid. The original is the foundation. The second game purposefully deconstructs the idea of a generic sequel with a meta-narrative about memes and what people expect vs. the truth, replaces its main character, and has a much different vibe. The third replays the basic beats of the first with new camo mechanics, a more robust codec team, and an interesting switch-up by being a period piece set in the 1960's.

Any other examples? Why do you think this is? Why is the second one usually "the weird one?"
 

Strings

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,601
There's Fire Emblem, where Gaiden abandons most of what makes the series good, before Mystery returns to it.

A lot of folks dislike FFII for it's weirder systems too, which III walks back.
 

Adam_Roman

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Oct 25, 2017
1,565
MGS doesn't really follow that because the whole point of MGS2 is that it does what 1 did. And personally I still feel MGS3 is the weird one and between the 3, it's my least favorite
 

Benzychenz

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Nov 1, 2017
3,383
Australia
Final Fantasy II with it’s weird experience system and preset characters/classes.

Super Mario Bros 2 (USA ver), straight up different IP with Mario skins.
 

Strings

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,601
It happens a lot in films too. And imo, it's because the creatives at the heart of the project are vindicated by its success, and typically bring ideas they were forced to cut by others into the sequel, for better or worse. Indiana Jones is a lot like that.

It can go the other way too. A lot of Terminator 2 is stuff Cameron cut from the original because he didn't have the know-how or money to realise (the T1000, etc). The Raid 2 was written before the first, but cost too much, so it was benched and a smaller concept constructed.

... I'm struggling to think of a game where the sequel is what they really wanted to make, but I know I've read examples.
 

Red Arremer

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Oct 26, 2017
8,126
Going by the Western releases, Mario also follows this.

Metroid kind of as well - Metroid 2's progression is based on killing certain amounts of Metroids rather than just getting powerups, while Super Metroid returns to the roots but significantly better.

Feels like a lot of Nintendo series do it lol.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,661
New York City
I don't feel like Metal Gear 2 is a weird game. If anything, it's exactly the same as Metal Gear Solid, but in 2D. In other words, it was extremely ahead of its time.

But yeah, Star Fox would have been part of that if the SNES game Star Fox 2 came out. It was so different from the other games in the series, except for Command on DS.
 
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SolVanderlyn

SolVanderlyn

Member
Oct 28, 2017
6,976
MGS doesn't really follow that because the whole point of MGS2 is that it does what 1 did. And personally I still feel MGS3 is the weird one and between the 3, it's my least favorite
Haha, you can never get a general consensus on anything with this series...

I think 2 purposefully deconstructing 1 by doing 1 again and then blowing it all apart and TELLING you look, we tricked you, it's not what you thought, retroactively changes all those beat-for-beat moments and makes it an entirely different beast. And you can't deny MGS2 was a very ambitious and weird game compared to the first. There's an unsettling vibe that everything isn't what it seems for the entire Plant chapter, I think.

They are all "weird," but I think MGS2 feels the most weird. That's just my opinion, though. I think because the series is so weird people will have a lot of different viewpoints on each individual game.
 

roguesquirrel

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
2,247
Ehh.

I'd argue Year of the Dragon is the weird one, adding a bunch of characters for no real reason. Spyro 2 felt more like the proper sequel.
Completely agree with you

Most sony platformers seemed to go "The original, a formula refinement sequel, a third entry that follows the sequel to a t except they add way more minigames/vehicles/characters". Spyro, Crash, Ratchet, Jak and Sly all follow this to some degree
 

Kindekuma

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,613
Metroid! Metroid II is out there with the progression hindered by Metroids left alive, exploration is heavily dependent on Spider Ball, etc. Super goes back to Metroid 1's roots and builds on top of it all to become the best in the series.
 

DaciaJC

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Oct 29, 2017
2,123
As others have said, Dark Souls follows this formula, though its debatable whether DS3 actually manages to do the original "better."
 

Gundam

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,037
Just in terms of style, not quality, Halo is this for me. Halo 3 has a lot more imagery evocative of the original, but it’s more refined.

Halo 1 is still way better
 

Murugo

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
176
Silent Hill, story-wise. 2 tried it's own thing, then 3 came to conclude the first. In terms of gameplay, though, 2 and 3 didn't introduce or deviate that much.
 

steviestar3

Member
Jul 3, 2018
1,039
There's another noticeable trend as well: first game is the original, second game does the first again but better, third game is kind of bloated and aimless (but not necessarily bad) because the developers already blew their load on making the second game perfect.

Examples:

Mega Man X1/X2/X3
Spyro 1/2/3
Crash 1/2/3
Ninja Gaiden 1/2/3 (NES)

...guess it's just a thing that happens with platformers because those are the main examples I can think of.
 

Lichtsang

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Jan 2, 2018
3,386
Final Fantasy II is the weird and really bad one, but I don't think FF really fits here because I is better than III.
 

Prof Bathtub

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Apr 26, 2018
1,450
It's tempting to say console Punch Out!! games follow this, but Super Punch Out!! was more like the preceding arcade titles.
 

AniHawk

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Oct 25, 2017
2,749
disgaea tried this and failed real hard when they tried recapturing the feeling/tone of the first game, and disgaea 2 went on to have a pretty good fanbase of its own despite being a sort of tonal one-off for the franchise.
 

ericsp17

Member
Oct 27, 2017
261
Mario fits well in this scenario, though 2 in the US was really doki doki panic.

Halo is a good example, though some would argue 3's campaign isn't the best one. I feel it's easily the best designed campaign with one dud level that is best played as a speedrun.

You could apply this to 3d zelda as well. Oot - MM - WW.
 

Feffe

Member
Oct 27, 2017
401
Metroid, Metroid II and Super Metroid
Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 USA and 3
Going by the Western releases, Mario also follows this.

Metroid kind of as well - Metroid 2's progression is based on killing certain amounts of Metroids rather than just getting powerups, while Super Metroid returns to the roots but significantly better.

Feels like a lot of Nintendo series do it lol.
I disagree with the Metroid example (although of course I see where it's coming from). Metroid 1 "metroidvania" design was almost an afterthought and it's not a meticulously designed game. It has some moments it really shines - like the beginning with the morphball - but overall with lots of same-looking rooms, secrets behind random walls and some dead ends, I don't think it created a paradigm to be followed like Mario 1 and Zelda 1 did.

Metroid 2 and Super both tried to make sense of Metroid 1 labyrinth design, with a more linear progressione (Metroid 2) or an almost open world (Super). You can see future Metroid game following Metroid 2 design (Fusion, Other M) or Super (Prime - the first one at least, haven't played Echoes and Corruption yet).

So, whereas Zelda ALTTP, Castlevania 3 and Mario 3 are clearly the successors of Zelda 1, CV 1 and Mario 1 - with the overall series pretending the second game almost didn't exist - I think both Return of Samus and Super Metroid are legitimately successor of Metroid 1, and the overall series having two different paradigms.
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,596
There's another noticeable trend as well: first game is the original, second game does the first again but better, third game is kind of bloated and aimless (but not necessarily bad) because the developers already blew their load on making the second game perfect.

Examples:

Mega Man X1/X2/X3
Spyro 1/2/3
Crash 1/2/3
Ninja Gaiden 1/2/3 (NES)

...guess it's just a thing that happens with platformers because those are the main examples I can think of.
Uncharted
 
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SolVanderlyn

SolVanderlyn

Member
Oct 28, 2017
6,976
disgaea tried this and failed real hard when they tried recapturing the feeling/tone of the first game, and disgaea 2 went on to have a pretty good fanbase of its own despite being a sort of tonal one-off for the franchise.
Only the first two games have a story worth anyone's time, IMO. And the second one gets neglected far too often. In many ways I preferred it to the original.

D3 did certainly try to capture D1's magic, though.