5 Game Franchises That Aren’t What They Used To Be

by Jake Galouzis Featured 33 Comments 46 Votes 9181 Views 02/08/2012 Back to Articles

Time is the gaming industry’s biggest enemy as it is its biggest asset. Developers can flourish under the constant evolution of new technology and ideas, or they can fail to do so (look no further than Duke Nukem Forever). We’ve seen franchises such as Mario, Zelda and Metal Gear Solid continually produce innovative, yet brilliant titles generation after generation – here’s a look at some of the franchises that haven’t aged so well.

Call of Duty

It’s been nearly nine years since the very first title in the Call of Duty series, and surely no one could have foreseen the mainstream mammoth it would become. It has single-handedly reached out to the masses and slowly removed the once-“nerdy” stigma that was associated with video games, breaking sales record after record effortlessly with each annual release. However, since its popularity skyrocketed shortly after the release of Call of Duty 4 in 2007, its overall quality went the other way. Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4 are still extremely relevant on PC, especially in terms of competitive play, and there’s no doubting that this is due to their simple, yet deep and engaging gameplay.

Since the release of Modern Warfare 2 in 2009 gamers have been subjected to an overly-complicated and frustrating system. Map design has been extremely poor, especially in Modern Warfare 3 (or Modern Warfare 2.5 as I like to call it) where you’ll constantly find yourself being shot in the back by an enemy who has just spawned. I couldn’t even name half of the killstreaks on offer in recent titles, let alone the constantly increasing amount of aiming reticules and perks. Let’s hope Treyarch take it back to basics with Black Ops 2 (which they won’t) – less is more.


Final Fantasy

Whilst still armed with a legion of loyal fans around the world, you can’t argue that the current generation of games has been a forgettable one for Square Enix and its Final Fantasy franchise. I say forgettable because that’s exactly what the franchise has become – a far cry from the mesmerising tales of Terra, Cloud and Tidus. That’s what should be the most important part about a series like Final Fantasy; forming an attachment to the characters and immersing yourself in the story.

The formula has become tired and each game more of a cash-in. We know that Square will be remastering Final Fantasy VII and FFX, but until Square conjure up a fresh, innovative and memorable new entry to the series, we won’t be holding our breath.

Crash Bandicoot

The one that got away..from Naughty Dog. The original Crash Bandicoot trilogy on the PS1 defined the console for many, with Naughty Dog unable to do no wrong with our beloved, box-breaking protagonist. Whilst truly an icon that will never be forgotten, 1999’s Crash Team Racing would be the final Crash title that would be remembered for the right reasons. Since development of the series went to Traveller’s Tales and Radical Entertainment, the Crash legacy has only been butchered.


This generation’s installments such as Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind over Mutant have been extremely mediocre and unappealing entries to the series. Once arguably the most popular and most beloved character worldwide, you’ll find most of the recent Crash games in your game retailer’s bargain bin. The series isn’t officially “dead”, but it’s hard to see Crash ever returning to his former glory.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Another platforming classic who’s journey into the 3D world didn’t pan out too well. Nothing will beat those childhood memories of speeding through levels and beating Doctor Eggman, yet Sonic, like Crash has lost relevance in more recent generations due to mediocre games. Sonic the Hedgehog was Sonic’s first venture onto the Xbox 360 and PS3, and was a complete mess.

Since then, we’ve seen Sega return to its roots with the Sonic the Hedgehod: 4 episodes, yet our blue friend is certainly no stranger to whoring himself out – appearing in titles such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and even Super Smash Bros. Brawl (is it mandatory for Sonic to appear in games with annoyingly long names as well?) The question has to be posed – are the spin-offs and guest appearances a direct result of Sega being unable to capture their old winning formula?

Fable


It’s no surprise that the original Fable was the Xbox’s fastest-selling game a short time after its release. It had a great amount of depth, a solid story and morality – consequences for your actions is something many developers don’t place enough, if any, emphasis on. Fast forward to the current generation’s titles Fable II and Fable III, and the series becomes extremely stagnant. Where Fable II was far too short and simple, Fable III did almost nothing to improve on it.

The gameplay again was far too easy, causing quick playthroughs of the game, the plot was all over the place and human interaction was mind-numbing. I don’t think many have high hopes for upcoming kinect exclusive Fable: The Journey.

Do you agree with the series' listed? Which franchises should be further included or removed?

By Jake Galouzis

Link to us http://wii.mmgn.com/Articles/5-franchises-that-aren-t-what-they-used
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5 Game Franchises That Aren’t What They Used To Be Comments

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FF is better than ever to the REAL fans
Having played and loved Final Fantasy for the last 10 years, I think I can call myself a real fan and I definitely agree that it has gone downhill. Though seeing Magitek Armor in the new FFXIV trailer is rather exciting all the same.
An interesting article though, I would love to see a Crash bandicoot redemption sometime, though I have to say Crash Twinsanity was pretty amusing.
One really big one is the Spyro series. Used to love it and play it for hours on end as a kid, but over the years, it's just not the same.

GunSlinger said: One really big one is the Spyro series. Used to love it and play it for hours on end as a kid, but over the years, it's just not the same.


what do you mean the new spyro games are great

they just need to make a new one
This is not journalism.
I actually have hope that COD will bounce back (campaign) with Blops 2.

Sonic 4 was okay without being great. I'd kind of be excited for Sonic Adventure 3.
Fighting games such as Street Fighter, Tekken, King of Fighters :'(

doiru said: This is not journalism.


That isn't a real comment. :P

Spyro and Crash are big ones for me, and I just picked up Fable the other day so I'm moving on from there.

And don't forget the Mario sports series (haven't seen a good one for a while, they've all become... forgettable). Mario Party falls into that list. Mario Kart and Mario RPG are probably the only ones I still look forward to.

abujaffer said:

doiru said: This is not journalism.


That isn't a real comment.



Nothing is real but perception.
I miss old school Crash and Spyro.
sometimes it's good just to leave game franchises alone or you'll get them copying trends that don't actually improve the game and like any trend they don't last for very long - dont get me wrong some innovations slip through and that continues successfully into further iterations. When revisiting these earlier versions of some well loved games it may not be as enjoyable as it once was.

Crash has just gone MIA, not much more can be said about that. FF changes enough to garner such high praise but I was disappointed in one of the recent FF games where i felt like they were punishing me for hours at the beginning before it actually got any good. never had that happen to me in a FF game before - there was always something interesting to explore or do that that split up the main quest.

Call of Duty is a prime example of a game that's just going through the motions and I hardly think it's changed that much from say COD4. Perhaps the stories have been lacklustre but if you want a better game, give it more people to work on it or time to rethink level design (needs time to breath and develop)

Sonic is just following the trends and as of late and I don't think the spin-offs are at all bad. They're filling a void that Mario has successfully transitioned too from its original formula (tho not all will agree). I enjoyed sonic all stars and the mario and sonic olympic games on the DS. I think sonic would have crashed harder a long time ago had it not deviated as it did and from those mistakes you see people coming back full circle enjoying some of that old school sonic 4 gameplay which has been absent for a while whilst the rejuvenated sonic generations has balanced quite well with the new and the old. After all, there's must have been a reason to change up the game play (falling sales?)


What I'm trying to say is following the trends will only get you so far and if it doesn't make sense to the core gamers that continue to come back to your games, its not going to sell well and sometimes less is definitely more but without innovation your game is going to become stale and won't bring in a new generation of gamers.


...then you have articles like these :P

renagadez said: I miss old school Crash and Spyro.



I think I do, but looking back, the Crash games have probably aged terribly with how linear they were.

I'm never playing an old one again so that I don't ruin the memory.
too many effing nostalgia articles [Facepalm] x100
Final fantasy and diablo :(
what are you guys talking about? The legend of Spyro series were so boss!! I mean Frodo voicing Spyro and David Spade for Sparx was sick. The origin story was amazing and the last game of the trilogy (Dawn of the Dragon) was sweet! it was basically open world, could fly anywhere and had co-op. I don't get how people didnt like this particular series of Spyro
Tomb Raider is a big one that went to the shitter
You need to elaborate on why Final Fantasy makes the list. To say it's a far-cry from the "good ol' days" is too broad to pin down. Each game is different. I was different to III, X was different to XII, hell, X was even completely different to X-2.
I would argue that Call of duty is the same as it's always been.

I don't think that Spyro has gone downhill, it's just different. I loved the PS1 games and their style, but I really enjoyed dawn of the dragon. I would love them to work on both sorts of games, like how the Metroid Prime series and Metroid: Other M were released as a part of the same franchise but different styles of gameplay (and relatively close together).

Marge said: I would argue that Call of duty is the same as it's always been.



The originality factor meant that MW3 was never going to be quite the same as the original MW. No sequel in that instance is.
mmhmmm... I really enjoyed Pacman World 1 for the PS1!

:D
So um, where's spyro?
Jpro
+
To be honest i don't mind the Final Fantasy 13 series. I'm actually a fan of the battle system. Paradigms are awesome. What amazes is how quickly people judge it.
Final Fantasy 13. People say this was too linear and there was really no sidequests in it. THey whinged because it was different and there was no freedom.
Final Fantasy 13-2. Nowhere near linear, lots of freedom, lots of side quests. Lots of stuff to do. People still whinging.

Though I do feel there is too much Final Fantasy being thrown around. We got FF14 getting a reboot. There's a HD version of FFX. THere's possibly a HD version of FF7 too down the line. There's Final Fantasy Versus, another Final Fantasy Chronicles coming. Final Fantasy Thearhythm. hmmmm.

As for Sonic the Hedgehog. He's had a rough ride i see hits and misses most of the way if anything.
The biggest problem is the misses have created a loss of popularity and appeal every time. In fact the appeal is lost so much fans and critics ignore it when a good Sonic game actually comes by. And by good sonic games i'm talking about: Sonic Adventure Series, Sonic and the Secret Rings(despite obvious flaws this tried to do something different), Sonic Rush, Sonic Colours, Sonic Generations Ps3/Xbox, Sonic Generations 3DS. Sonic is actually back on track as of late i reckon. It actually came during an experiment with Unleashed. Yes Unleashed is a horrible game but something that is amazing about that game is Sega actually found a formula that worked. The Daytime Stages in Unleashed are great fun and the 2D/3D effect is what actually got Sonic back on track. It's an awesome way to do it it made Colours work out great and it made Generations work out great. I don't mind his olympic outings with Mario the Winter one is my favourite. And he's a good brawler when you know how to use him. Even Sonic All Stars Transformed is looking much better. I'm really hoping Sonic can get the old crowd back. And the Sonic all stars Racing i think could be better if people didn't see it as just a Mario Kart Clone. Yes it is just that. But it's still worth a shot. It's an alternative to Mario characters and environments this should be embraced rather than ignored.

Maybe i'm being bias on Sonic i am a diehard Sonic fan. But i've had a lot of fun with his games as of late. And the people who are behind Sonic games now believe it or not actually grew up with Sonic like we did. So they're trying to do everything to bring him back to his roots and the good old days, people need to realise this and start giving his games a chance again.
oh god did i fall into the mirror universe where crash bandicoot was a worldwide hit

i hate it when that happens

tails said: too many effing nostalgia articles x100

Dude, you used to always talk about how good the MyWii days were! :P

sjt333 said: oh god did i fall into the mirror universe where crash bandicoot was a worldwide hit
i hate it when that happens



Call me dumb but I have no idea what you meant by this
Spyro, i gave up on it after The legend of spyro 2. I just found it quite boring. The Skylanders looks really bad and made me dislike the series
neat! I wonder what the next generation of games will be like! :D
Enjoyed reading this, but it really could have gone on forever when you think about it :( Almost thought you forgot Sonic, that basically should be the opener what with being the quintessential "gone to shit" franchise of gaming :P

JJake said:

sjt333 said: oh god did i fall into the mirror universe where crash bandicoot was a worldwide hit
i hate it when that happens


Call me dumb but I have no idea what you meant by this


He is - in his usual sarcastic way - pointing out that Crash Bandicoot was never a worldwide hit. Have to admit, I never thought it was either to be honest?

Skarteh said:
He is - in his usual sarcastic way - pointing out that Crash Bandicoot was never a worldwide hit. Have to admit, I never thought it was either to be honest?



Why do you think this? What I said about Crash arguably being the most popular character worldwide during the late 90s might have been a tad on the outlandish side I'll admit, but what is your reasoning behind your opinion on the game's success?

Skarteh said: Enjoyed reading this, but it really could have gone on forever when you think about it Almost thought you forgot Sonic, that basically should be the opener what with being the quintessential "gone to shit" franchise of gaming



Sonic may of gone to shit with 2006 and for a while after that..... but the last 3 games Sonic Colours, Sonic Generations PS3/X360 and Sonic Generations 3DS. Have actually been quite good. You should play them some time.
I love this:



[MOG]
CoD. Really?
Why the **** isn't resident evil on this list been going since 1996 and the series has been shit since after code veronica x turned if from surviival horor to action shooter fps shit it should be #1 on this list nothing the same about it except characters in 6 they done even use herbs any more but use pills.

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