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


Oct 25, 2017
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.
disgaea 4 felt like it struck that nice balance disgaea 1 had. a lot of that rides on valvatorez's charisma though.

at the time, i was disappointed by disgaea 2. i haven't played it in about 13 years. guess i should give it another go since i know what to expect now.


Oct 27, 2017
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.
That's because Mystery was just a remake/sequel to the original. FE4 went off in some crazy gameplay directions of its own. And a lot of Gaiden mechanics ended up coming back in one way or another over the years until they finally remade it as Shadows of Valentia with the thought of just going all-in on everything that made Gaiden what it is.

Some people call Gaiden a black sheep, but it really never was.


Oct 27, 2017
DOOM, Resident Evil, Sonic The Hedgehog all come to mind
as examples of series that didn't do this.


Oct 25, 2017
Resident Evil.

The first game had branching story paths, choices which affected progression, as well as different endings.

RE2 ditched this for the same scenario playing identical each time. LeonA will always be the exact same LeonA etc.

RE3 brought back RE1 branching paths, altered progression and choices and endings and did it to a whole new level.


May 22, 2018
Mega Man Starforce.

1 is solid. 2 is mostly dumb filler (still fun though). 3 is pretty great.

'3y Kingdom

Oct 27, 2017
Both 2D and 3D Mario might qualify here (latter is a bit harder to justify, though):

SMB1 -> SMB2/USA -> SMB3
SM64 -> SMS -> SMG


Oct 26, 2017
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
Halo this was definitely intentional. The slower pace than Halo 2, the more straight forward story, focus squarely back on Chief.


Oct 27, 2017
Mario 3D 1: Traditional platform --> Mario 3D 2: Island Waterforming --> Mario 3D 3: Traditional platform


Oct 25, 2017
Half Life
Half Life 2
Half Life 3

Edit: I'm weirded out by how long it took ya'll to bring up SMB


Oct 25, 2017
Silent Hill kinda did this? Although, in a weirder way, as Silent Hill 1 still does things better than the others in some ways(Camera angles, industrial music, Otherworld Streets). Then 2 came out and threw the entire aesthetic of the first game out for a more fitting(though less interesting IMO) dreary decay.

Then 3 came and took 1's industrial oppression and elevated the design quirks to a beautiful degree, though didn't carry over 1's industrial focused soundtrack for the most part(Even if theres still a lot in there) and reuses 2's map of the town instead.

Then the rest happened(Though 4 is a good game, dont @ me)

DOOM, Resident Evil, Sonic The Hedgehog all come to mind
as examples of series that didn't do this.
Technically, Resident Evil did this on a bigger scale. The first three games followed the same formula, then 4-6 took off in a weird action era, and now we're back to horror/survival oriented focus with 7, RE2make, and presumably 8.


Oct 25, 2017
Just going by the previews and hands on coverage of the third game, hopefully Luigi's Mansion.


Jan 22, 2019
Resistance for sure.
Resistance FoT is one of my favorite shooters ever, love the gameplay and lore! The PSP 3rd person game was also very good. At the same time, I never disliked so much a sequel as Resistance 2. The singleplayer was a generic Halo/CoD inspired piece of trash that 100% butchered the story (the multiplayer was okay though). Hated that game so much that I completely ignored Resistance 3. I wonder if I should have given that game a chance...


Oct 25, 2017
I've always liked the weird ones. The NES ones especially. I personally loved Zelda, Mario and Castlevania 2. They felt fresh and different.

Prof Bathtub

Apr 26, 2018
Both 2D and 3D Mario might qualify here (latter is a bit harder to justify, though):

SMB1 -> SMB2/USA -> SMB3
SM64 -> SMS -> SMG
If Nintendo doesn't see SMG as a continuation of SM64, I don't think it applies.

Mario 3D 1: Traditional platform --> Mario 3D 2: Island Waterforming --> Mario 3D 3: Traditional platform
Despite not being "128", it's hard to argue that Sunshine isn't the 3D Mario game that is the most like 64: explorable hub, levels with 6+ star/shines each, red coins, etc.


Jul 30, 2018
United States
I find the third game to be the weird one, and that the second game is what they wanted to make originally, but couldn’t because they had to find the core of it first.


Oct 25, 2017
ctrl+f "Valkyria"

0 Results

Alright, throwing my hat in for Valkyria Chronicles.

First one was an innovative and original SRPG with a decent worldbuilding foundation that earned Cult Classic status easily in the Early PS3 Drought Period.

...The second one was a crappy Monster Hunter clone full of trend-chasing High School Anime bullshit. All the content was balanced around Coop and was either Completely Braindead Easy or "oh god oh fuck this is impossible without 3 other players" G-Rank wannabe bullshit with no inbetween.

Third one, of course, a solid SRPG that improved on all the foundations of the first game, with a much darker plot than the original game's lowest points for sure. Perfectly Balanced, as all things should be. Albeit the game was more heavy on RPG elements than prior games with Skill Trees, Special Abilities, and unique gear for characters to equip instead of just cookie-cutting identical gear for the whole party.

So yeah, Valkyria Chronicles.

And well, the Fourth game is just a straight clone of the first game with a few mechanics from 2 (APCs) and 3 (Multiple-unit moves, Accessory slots) added in with a few other small gimmicks.


Oct 28, 2017
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.


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.
Resident Evil 1/2/3 are this as well, I think.

RE2 takes the two characters and expands upon them with the A/B scenario system, making both routes "canon." It spans a much larger environment. Its story is more intricate. And it all builds perfectly off of what the first game laid out, both in gameplay and in story/atmosphere.

RE3, meanwhile, while still a great game, has weird gimmicks like the proto-QTEs, Nemesis chasing you, taking place during the same timeframe as RE2, etc.
Oct 30, 2017
Most people seen to forget that MGS2 is the fifth game in the franchise. The "weird" one is obviously Snake's Revenge.

Indeed. Many people do forget about the original games, and Snake's Revenge is a weird game, but it's not the real metal gear 2 and it deserves to be forgotten.

The real mg2 is Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and it's a masterpiece that still holds up to this day, in my opinion.


Oct 31, 2017
Zone of the Enders.

ZoE 1 - mech based action game.
ZoE: Fist of Mars - a SRT ripoff strategy game.
ZoE 2 - is like the first, but an improvement in every way.

But the third one is the weird one in Xenosaga. Episode I tries to build on Xenogears's gameplay. Episode II tries to dumb down Episode I's gameplay, but makes it worse. Episode III is a completely generic turn based battle system. The last game is the weird one.


Oct 29, 2017
Devil May Cry is the posterchild for this.

... 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.
Pokemon, Uncharted, God of War, etc.

The first game is good, but flawed.
By the second game, they know what works and what doesn't and it gets polished to perfection.


Oct 25, 2017
I believe the only pattern is a developer may try to cater to fans more after a more controversial installment, with a more traditional protagonist/art style or 'back to basics'.

Wind Waker > Twilight Princess
GTA IV > V (GTA became more a farce again)
Double Dash > Mario Kart DS
Smash Brawl > Smash 4 (controversial 'tripping', felt bigger budget with Subspace Emissary Mode, included level editor at launch and was arguably over ambitious)

To name a few that aren't third entries believed to be amendments.
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Oct 28, 2017
The hall across the room
Streets of Rage basic beat em up
Streets of Rage 2 made more of a leap with controls and cast
Streets of Rage 3 copied 2 but added more content

Call of Duty Black ops
Black ops 1 went off in it's own story direction and multiplayer features
Black ops 2 added choice and consequence no COD has done this since
Black ops 3 lost the plot but added mutiplayer online campaign