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What are the best (and worst) spiritual successors in gaming?

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
I was thinking about this the other day while playing The Outer Worlds - we've been getting quite a few great spiritual successors lately. I wanted to check GAF's pulse and see which spiritual successors were not only good psuedo-sequels, but also great games in their own right. Some might even be better than the original games or push the genre forward. To be clear, I'm talking about games that were developed by a completely different team but using previous hit games as a template for greatness. Obviously, these games are going to be measured up and evaluated against the games they're trying to imitate. I've got a small list but I'd like to hear your thoughts and ideas as well.

The Excellent - Better than the Original:

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night


In my personal opinion, this is what every spiritual successor should strive to be. As a lot of fans were upset when the Castlevania series went to 3D environments and long winding Picard speeches, it's obvious that everyone wanted more games like Symphony of the Night and less games like Lords of Shadow.



The game features great visuals, interesting environments, a huge enemy variety, and a top-notch spell / ability system that (again, in my opinion) far surpasses what was available in the 2D Castlevania games. Even it's kickstarter stretch goal mini-game (Curse of the Moon) was a better NES Castlevania game in a lot of ways than the originals.

The Okay - Serviceable or On Par:

The Outer Worlds


Alright so let's address the elephant in the room - The Outer Worlds is basically "Fallout in Space" and the first few hours I played it I thought maybe it belonged in the "Excellent - better than the original" tier. As the game progressed though, I started to see the chinks in the games armor: a lot of the loot is samey or worthless, lots of items in the environment you can't interact with, and the difficulty is far too easy. In fact, I'd almost go out on a limb and say this game has more in common with Bioshock or Mass Effect than Fallout. I'm putting it in the "The Okay" section because it's really kinda on par with Fallout 4 although that probably speaks more to what I thought of that game than what I think of this one. New Vegas this is not.

Yooka-Laylee


Is this a worthy follow-up to Banjo Kazooie? Nope. Is it a technically competent game that serves as a good modern interpretation of a basically-dead genre? Sure. Is it better than Nuts and Bolts? A lot of people seem to think so. The premise of the game is great, but the execution is just so incredibly average that it's painful. The game keeps a lot of the "charm" of the N64 platforming era but unfortunately relies so heavily on that shtick that it sacrifices a lot of modern quality of life improvements that could have really made this game special. It got a 2.5D sequel though that seems to be well-liked, so maybe there is hope for the franchise yet.

The Bad - Worse than the Original

Sol Seraph


Boy, I really wanted to like this game when I found out that Sega was making a spiritual successor to the SNES classic ActRaiser. While the game delivers on the basis premise of side scrolling action game combined with town building / directing residents of the original, it falls completely flat as the action sequences are sloppy and the town building is now a big never-ending tower defense game. Somehow a game released in 2019 by a major studio is worse than a game released in 1990. I'm not sure what exactly happened here, it's almost like the developers were told to remake ActRaiser but they had never actually played the game and were just given a general outline.

The Poop - These games stink!

Mighty No. 9


You know I couldn't make this thread without mentioning Might No. 9. What was supposed to be the spiritual successor to Mega Man became... this. Mighty No. 9 is the ultimate example of a kickstarter gone wrong so badly that it turns into a joke. The finished product was nowhere near the level of quality that was promised, the characters were low-poly, and the game's distribution was a mess. I'm more embarrassed for them than an anime fan on prom night.
 

Cravis

Member
Totally agree on Bloodstained.

I’d never heard of Sol Seraph. Damn shame because I loved Actraiser
 

sublimit

Banned
Best: from King's Field to Demon's Souls, from Shenmue to Yakuza ,from Rick Dangerous to Tomb Raider.

Worst: Hmm nothing comes to mind atm.
 
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Nymphae

Banned
I never got into them, but Halo from Marathon seems like one of the excellent ones.

According to wikipedia, Ikaruga was a SS to Radiant Silvergun. Love that game.
 
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anthraticus

Member
Dragon Age Origins should go into the Worse than the Original category in regards to being a proper successor to the Baldurs Gate series, which they were claiming. Although I wouldn't say it was outright terrible game though....especially because it came during the great decline of RPGs, where all we were getting for years and years were action RPGs only, outside the rare indie.

So to get any type of a traditional/classic style RPG at that point was a breath of fresh air. It's like being in the desert dying of thrust, at that point you'll take any drink handed to you and gulp it down.
 

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
Apparently, Assassin's Creed was originally a spiritual successor to Prince of Persia. I'd say considering Assassin's Creed is still around and Prince of Persia isn't... it worked.
 

DiscoJer

Member
Horizon Chase is a really excellent spiritual successor to Top Gear on the SNES

I personally think Interstellar Space: Genesis is a great spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2
 

stranno

Member
THE BAD: Following the previous one: TimeSplitters was a lame continuation of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.



I can give the game some merits, like the solid framerate, but ultimate it failed with a totally outdated control scheme and non-existent story.

THE OK: Satellite Reign. The 2015 Bullfrog's Syndicate.

THE GOOD: Road Redemption. The 2017 EA's Road Rash.

THE NOTABLE: Black & White. The 2001 Bullfrog's Populous + creatures.

THE GREAT: Wreckfest. The 2018 Bugbear's Flatout.

THE EXCELLENT: GRIP. The 2018 Attention to Detail's Rollcage.

THE AMAZING: Heart of Darkness. The spiritual sequel to Another World and Flashback, made by the Another World's main designer. The last great cinematic platformer i'd say.

 
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Shifty

Member
Bloodstained, better than SotN? Them's big words, mister.
For real? I should probably get round to playing it.

As for my contribution, I present Midair for the Worse Than The Original category:

It was meant to be the modern F2P answer to Tribes's high-speed jetpack-skiing action, and had some pretty solid gameplay. Bit rough around the edges, but very playable with the potential for improvement

But, the developers fucked it from day one by including a 15 quid pay-to-win pass that let you skip the entire (extremely lengthy) progression tree and go straight to using any loadout and spawning in your own vehicles. In a team-based competitive multiplayer FPS.

It died within a fortnight and the devs didn't lift a finger to save it.



Apparently, Assassin's Creed was originally a spiritual successor to Prince of Persia. I'd say considering Assassin's Creed is still around and Prince of Persia isn't... it worked.
:messenger_frowning_
 
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The pinnacle (of what I've experienced and can remember) is King's Field to Souls. They're both phenomenal, but Souls is the elite of the elite for me.
 
Bloodstained is a good game, but it's riddled with constant delays and performance issues on the Switch Port. They have consistently missed their own timelines in providing updates. Heck, the JP version wasn't released until recently. A lot of backers also haven't received their copy of the game yet.

Overall, their time management has been atrocious.
 
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diffusionx

Member
The best: Fallout was, of course, a spiritual successor to Wasteland, and one of the best examples. And of course, Wasteland 2 was a spiritual successor of sorts to the old 2D Fallouts, and was pretty good.

Great: Two Points Hospital is a great successor to Theme Hospital.

OK: Cities Skylines as a successor to the old SC games was pretty good, but it didn't click for me.
 
I was going to mention the Fallout series, and recommend Satellite Reign, but since they already were I'd say...Arx Fatalis, the game that is somewhat of a spiritual successor to the Ultima Underworld titles.
 
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BadBurger

Gold Member
I think OP nailed it. We're done here. :D

Serious answer: I'd say the only challenge for the top two spots I can think of would be Pillars of Eternity as a spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate / Icewind Dale franchises.

What a let down MightyNo. 9 was. It was almost offensive, insulting, that they gave us backers that as the finished product. Aggressive even.
 
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Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
I never played any of Clock Tower games but I heard this game was spiritual successors to those series. I usually don't like run away survival game but I remember enjoying this one.

 

-Arcadia-

Banned


Golf Story.

Not only did it spiritually succeed GB/GBA Mario Golf, I think it passed it by several orders of magnitude.

It’s that exact same awesome thing of putting a golf game in an RPG-like world with storylines, areas to explore, and characters to talk to inbetween matches.

This game takes it way further, with murder mysteries, zombies and the minions of darkness, the above pictured freestyle rap-offs between old people and gangsters, and all kinds of absolutely ridiculous adventures that ultimately come down to brilliant golf mechanics to solve. It is one of the funniest games I’ve ever played, while not getting so absurd that you can’t just just play and enjoy a golf rags-to-riches story.

An essential Switch game. No need for indie qualifiers.
 
Bayonetta 1 and 2, liked a lot of things about Bayo more compared to DMC, and a few things less.

Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair, unlike the first that was about being a SS to Banjo, this was all about being a SS to Donkey Kong Country and it's really good, doesn't top the best in the DKC series though.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon was a great SS to Castlevania 3 that I liked a lot more.

Odin Sphere was a decent SS to Princess Crown that became great after the remade version.
Dragon's Crown was a decent SS to the Capcom Dungeon and Dragons games.

Resident Evil was a fantastic SS to Sweet Home.

Of course this year we had Sekiro, which started development as a new Tenchu before becoming more of a SS. Definitely improved on the combat 10 folds, stealth side not as improved as I had hoped.


For the iffy side, the first Azure Striker Gunvolt I thought was pretty poor compared to Mega Man X, the sequel thankfully was way better than the first though, still not sure I would put it on the level of the first 4 MMX games though....maybe 3.
 
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BadBurger

Gold Member


Golf Story.

Not only did it spiritually succeed GB/GBA Mario Golf, I think it passed it by several orders of magnitude.

It’s that exact same awesome thing of putting a golf game in an RPG-like world with storylines, areas to explore, and characters to talk to inbetween matches.

This game takes it way further, with murder mysteries, zombies and the minions of darkness, the above pictured freestyle rap-offs between old people and gangsters, and all kinds of absolutely ridiculous adventures that ultimately come down to brilliant golf mechanics to solve. It is one of the funniest games I’ve ever played, while not getting so absurd that you can’t just just play and enjoy a golf rags-to-riches story.

An essential Switch game. No need for indie qualifiers.

Man I loved that game.
 

nkarafo

Member
Best:



I never even cared about the Wonderboy series, this one got my attention though.


Worst:

Every Dungeon Keeper successor in existence. Nothing touches the original so far for me.
 

Fahdis

Member
THE BAD: Following the previous one: TimeSplitters was a lame continuation of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.



I can give the game some merits, like the solid framerate, but ultimate it failed with a totally outdated control scheme and non-existent story.

I thought TimesSplitters was amazing and Goldeneye was shit. To each their own.
 
The GOOD:

Shadow of Colossus as a successor to ICO.

The BAD:

Torment: Tides of Numenera to Planscape. The only thing they got right compared to PST was the amount of text. But the writing was boring, the game was boring, visually bland. It should of never been made.
 
I thought TimesSplitters was amazing and Goldeneye was shit. To each their own.

Timesplitters 1 was pretty bad in single player, but damn fun in multi. Me and my brother played the shit out of TS1's multiplayer mode at launch.

Timesplitters 2, on the other hand, might be one of the most underrated games of that gen. TS2 is such a damn good game (future perfect was legit too) it makes me sad that we'll never see another game in the series.

To add to the list of good spiritual successors I have to add this bad boy to the list.

I haven't played it in years, but wow this game was so much better than that shitty 989 developed Twisted Metal 3
 

Danjin44

The nicest person on this forum
Can Bloodborne be considered as spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls?
 
THE BAD: Following the previous one: TimeSplitters was a lame continuation of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.



I can give the game some merits, like the solid framerate, but ultimate it failed with a totally outdated control scheme and non-existent story.

THE OK: Satellite Reign. The 2015 Bullfrog's Syndicate.

THE GOOD: Road Redemption. The 2017 EA's Road Rash.

THE NOTABLE: Black & White. The 2001 Bullfrog's Populous + creatures.

THE GREAT: Wreckfest. The 2018 Bugbear's Flatout.

THE EXCELLENT: GRIP. The 2018 Attention to Detail's Rollcage.

THE AMAZING: Heart of Darkness. The spiritual sequel to Another World and Flashback, made by the Another World's main designer. The last great cinematic platformer i'd say.

Never knew about the games before, but Heart of Darkness was a big part of my childhood. I still regard itbas something special. We don't really see that type of creativity anymore.
 

Nightrunner

Member
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun definitely fits in the good successor category. Improving on old hits like Commandos 2, Desperados and Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood while adding subtle improvements to the formula making for another great entry in a genre that's been dormant for a long time now.
 
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Ion Fury is a great spiritual successor to Duke Nukem 3D. Seriously, if you love Build engine jank I can't recommend it enough.
THE BAD: Following the previous one: TimeSplitters was a lame continuation of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark.
Hey...HEY...YOU TAKE THAT BACK!
 

ROMhack

Member


Golf Story.

Not only did it spiritually succeed GB/GBA Mario Golf, I think it passed it by several orders of magnitude.

It’s that exact same awesome thing of putting a golf game in an RPG-like world with storylines, areas to explore, and characters to talk to inbetween matches.

This game takes it way further, with murder mysteries, zombies and the minions of darkness, the above pictured freestyle rap-offs between old people and gangsters, and all kinds of absolutely ridiculous adventures that ultimately come down to brilliant golf mechanics to solve. It is one of the funniest games I’ve ever played, while not getting so absurd that you can’t just just play and enjoy a golf rags-to-riches story.

An essential Switch game. No need for indie qualifiers.

Good gam.

Also more Australian than barbecuing a dingo on the beach on Christmas day in jail.
 
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hooplah

Neo Member
I'm glad i have a chance to say these two.

1) Ground Control > World in Conflict
2) Total Annihilation > Supreme Commander

1) ground control is a heavily underrated gem which pioneered fully 3D RTS games in many ways. Great style, graphics, colossal zoom range in both directions, great sounds, special effects, huge maps... It was just wonderful. Ground Control 2 seemed to be made by a different group which tried to bring it closer to the Command & Conquer games.

Fast forward like 6 or 7 years and i hear news of a new war sim RTS that is getting super high ratings and is being celebrated for fantastic graphics.. looking at video and screenshots i feel it must be connected to Ground Control somehow, i play the game and confirm my suspicions entirely.

2) i can say less about this because i haven't played Supreme Commander much, but i was just really glad to see a titan of late 90s RTS gaming which had been somewhat forgotten coming to life again.
 
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