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


Oct 27, 2017

DS1 = Zelda-ish structure more linear level design.

DS2 = Large Scope Open World Action RPG (dungeon looter)

DS3 = Souls-like

2nd and 3rd are Not really better/weirder than 1...

But they all do something different. (Despite popular opinion here, i liked the 2nd one better than the first.)


Oct 27, 2017
Resistance was my first thought here.

Xenoblade - mechanically definitely, but there are story elements of each that are special on their own, and a few unfortunate character design choices in each that can't be classified as "better"

Maybe Darksiders qualifies for this?

But there are more trilogies or series that don't do this:

Mass Effect
Dead Space
Tomb Raider (reboot)
Assassin's Creed
Doom (original)

So it's not a hard and fast rule, but it definitely happens from time to time.


Aug 20, 2018
Onimusha 1 - Samanoske
Onimusha 2 - Jubei
Onimusha 3 - Samanoske (& french man)


Half Life 1
Half Life 2
Half Life 3 *ops*


Oct 27, 2017
Xenoblade Chronicles.

First game set the foundation but is, in my honest (and unpopular) opinion, flawed in a lot of ways. XCX is something completely different; incredible in what it succeeds in but is also a deeply flawed game. And XC2 is damn near JRPG perfection.
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Nov 30, 2017
Final Fantasy 2, Dragon Quest 2 and Ace Attorney 2 also happen to be the black sheep of their respective series.

Hmm you're onto something here....


Dec 14, 2018
Kingdom Hearts manages to follow both progressions.

KH1 to the weird game CoM, to KH2

And if we only count numbered entries then it follows the Mass Effect progression.

Canas Renvall

Mar 4, 2018
Banjo-Kazooie fits perfectly here.

Banjo-Kazooie laid the groundwork.
Banjo-Tooie wasn't so much weird as it was really over-ambitious and suffered as a result.
And finally, Banjo-Threeie is just a better Banjo-Kaz...




Nov 8, 2017
Haven't actually played it but isn't this Dark Souls? Surprised at the lack of answers of that here.
Oct 27, 2017
The Ogre Battle series

Ogre Battle

RTS game where you move your groups around on a battlefield, liberating towns and fighting.

Fights were party based like an JRPG with limited controls, you could only tell the group simple orders like to attack the strongest, the leader, etc.

Tactics Ogre

Strategy RPG

Tactical rpg made by the same people as Final Fantasy Tactics.

Had better story presentation that the original

Ogre Battle 64

Pretty much the same as the original except the maps were in 3d and the story was presented more like Tactics Ogre instead of brief dialogues like in the original.



Oct 27, 2017
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...
As someone who also despised R2's campaign, you absolutely should give R3 a shot if you get the chance. It's one of the best overlooked games of last gen.


Oct 25, 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
But X1 is far better designed than the more ambitious and looser X2.


Oct 25, 2017
To an extent TrackMania follows this structure too. The first game is incredible, an absolute classic. Then they go a bit "commercial" with the second game losing a lot of the janky charm of the original and focusing on a cinematic experience as opposed to the technical driving of the first. Then the third one is where the game cracks for most: the free Nations game with tons of quality and a style that was immediately gonna be used for eSports, successfully too. They did well to unite the three games into one with United in the end.


Oct 31, 2017
I've been thinking about this for years. My examples have pretty much been hit though.


Nov 3, 2017
Portland, OR
Spyro 3 is more similar to Spyro 2 and it doesn’t do what 1 did better.

This works for US Mario if you ignore the fact that doki doki panic wasn’t originally a Mario game.

FF2 qualifies for the “weird” part with the unconventional leveling system.

Jak 2 has the weird thing going for it but the third is still way worse than the first.


Oct 27, 2017
Not trilogy but : (Shin Megami Tensei 1+Shin Megami Tensei 2)->Nocturne->Shin Megami Tensei 4.

The third game fails to do better than the first but : Dragon Age Origins->2->Inquisition.

Also I'm in the camp of DS3 better than DS1.


Oct 24, 2017
This is what I came to post. Xenosaga was literally this.

The first game was a solid foundation. The second game introduced horrid new art style and weird-ass battle system, and generally wasn’t very good outside of some great cutscenes and generally advancing the story. Then the third game came along and against all odds, it was just fantastic across the board, serving as the pinnacle of the series in every way and even ending up as one of the PS2’s best JRPGs!


May 25, 2018
Chrono Trigger is great and was an amazing concept back in the days

Chrono Cross is weird and experimental.

Chrono Break is... Sorry guys, still in denial.


May 17, 2018
Final Fantasy 2, Dragon Quest 2 and Ace Attorney 2 also happen to be the black sheep of their respective series.

Hmm you're onto something here....
Haven't played FF, but I wouldn't really say there's anything about DQ2 or AA2 that makes them the "weird" ones. DQ2's biggest issue is that the balance sucked and you had to grind a lot, and AA2 had a couple poor cases, but overall both games are still very similar to the other two games in their trilogies.


Jun 19, 2018
Not sure how does this fit with MGS2? MGS3 was a bigger departure from MGS1 than 2 was, and it didn't discard anything MGS2 introduced, but rather built on it!


Oct 26, 2017
F-Zero can somewhat fit this if you replace "weird" with "damn crazy".

F-Zero (SNES) - the original. laid the groundwork for the series.
F-Zero X (N64) - they went balls to the wall with everything. went 3D, new boosting and speed settings systems, 30 pilots on screen, way faster, track and car editor with the japan only 64DD Expansion
F-Zero Maximum Velocity (GBA) - they went back to the SNES design style and it's basically the first F-Zero but better (except for music since it's not as iconic).

it helps that all 3 were canon sequentially back when MV released.

in this pattern the 2nd one was the one that rose above the others by a lot. i wonder how many other series work like this.


Oct 29, 2017
The Final Fantasy games generally followed this up till 9 if you break them into trilogies based on the system they came out for. 1 was the OG groundwork, 2 tried some weird stuff with it's systems, 3 was the true step forward with the first iteration of the jobs system. 4 started the emphasis on story, 5 then tossed that aside for a more gameplay focused game with it's job system and silly story, then 6 was the perfection with heavy drama story with a nice side of silliness with it's gameplay having great gameplay-story integration with the characters each having a unique ability tied to their background. 7 went for a more futuristic setting with lots of cinematic flare, with 8 following that but going with FF's only romance focused story and a rather out there game mechanic with the draw system, 9 probably would have progressed along the same lines but they specifically wanted a throwback game.

Kingdom Hearts manages to follow both progressions.

KH1 to the weird game CoM, to KH2

And if we only count numbered entries then it follows the Mass Effect progression.
KH by the numbered games definitely follows the Mass Effect progression:

first game : is the most ambitious and best with the most focused and well executed storyline

second game : instead of trying to improve what was good conceptually but flawed in execution of the first game just does away with aspects of the first game(platforming/level design for KH, planet exploration/RPG aspects for ME) while perfecting one aspect(combat for KH2, squad interactions for ME2) and making such a mess of the storyline that the next game couldn't recover from it

third game : tries to pick up the mess left from the second game and flounders doing so while bringing back to an extent some of the lost aspects of the first game, with some new surprisingly good aspects(ME3 multiplayer, I guess larger party size for KH).