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What is the biggest jump in quality between two games in a franchise?

Nymphae

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I was talking about Street Fighter 1 today and started thinking, Street Fighter 2 has got to be the single biggest jump in quality from one game in a franchise to the next. SF1 is unplayable garbage. Forgettable music, stages, frustratingly precise requirements for inputs, no character select.

2 on the other hand birthed the competitive fighting genre and so many of the conventions still in use today. It had great music, vibrant stages, iconic character designs, greatly improved mechanics, graphics, and animations, and home versions. It's essentially just considered the first Street Fighter since the actual first one was arcade only for so long, and absolute trash.
 

Gashtronomy

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Good question, OP. If the question was "which franchise saw the biggest decrease in quality between games" I could list a bunch of examples. It took me a while to think of one that raised the bar, but I would say:

Diablo 1 to Diablo 2. Diablo 1 was a lot of fun, if not a bit repetitive and it only had three classes. Diablo 2 was a huge game, with multiple classes, loads of different enemies across different Acts and environments. Even ACT 2 in the desert never felt 'empty'.
 

JG07

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Street Fighter might be the beat answer, but I'll throw in the jump between Snake's Revenge and Metal Gear Solid.

I know Kojima made his own sequel, but I think it only launched in Japan. For most of the world, Metal Gear Solid was the next game up, and it was a massive leap in quality.
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Streets of Rage 2 vs 1.

Sega must have paid off game mags in 1990 because aside from the music, SoR 1 sucked. Shit graphics, horrible scratchy voices, repetitive gameplay, enemies and hardly any move sets. Yet eveyr mag gave SoR 1 9s and 10s reviews.

SoR 2 at 16 megs (SoR 1 was I think 4 megs?) was amazing. My bro was big into PC games and it's obvious Genesis was better at arcadey fast paced games at the time, but he never made anything out of it, since he preferred slower paced PC games. But when he saw SoR 2 his eyes popped out and even said something like "why can't my computer do that?"
 
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May 16, 2019
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Grand Theft Auto 2 to 3
Assassin's Creed to Assassin's Creed 2
The Evil Within to The Evil Within 2
Call of Duty 3 to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

That I’ve played:

Uncharted 1 to Uncharted 2
Assassin’s Creed 1 to Assassin’s Creed 2
I thought Uncharted was great and still do. The second is probably better, but it's not a huge leap.
 
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Nov 7, 2007
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Street Fighter II is the right answer. The first game was pretty terrible. The second game is a timeless classic that revolutionized the industry.

There have been sequels that have been huge steps up from their predecessors. Super Mario Bros. 3 was a big step forward for the series, for example, but the original SMB is universally regarded as one of the most influential games all time. Nobody gave a shit about the Street Fighter series until the sequel was released.
 

FStubbs

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Street Fighter 1 to 2 takes the prize.

I'd like to mention Legend of Heroes 5 to Legend of Heroes 6 was a big leap.
 
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VysePSU

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Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island -> Super Mario 64
This would be the next biggest jump, in my opinion.

I actually don't know many people that like Yoshi's Island compared to Super Mario 64.
 
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enlyzer

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Witcher 1 to Witcher 2 - from a clunky, quirky game using BioWare's Aurora engine to an ARPG classic that laid the foundations for Witcher 3, a once-in-a-generation masterpiece.

Link's Awakening -> Ocarina of Time might also deserve a mention.
 

Nymphae

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Super Smash Bros. - Super Smash Bros. Melee by a good green countrymile.
Yeah that is a great one actually. I still go with SF 2 since it turned a turd into pure gold and birthed a genre, whereas the first Smash was great, but that was a pretty huge jump in quality.
 
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Dec 3, 2018
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Diablo 1 to Diablo 2. Diablo 1 was a lot of fun, if not a bit repetitive and it only had three classes. Diablo 2 was a huge game, with multiple classes, loads of different enemies across different Acts and environments. Even ACT 2 in the desert never felt 'empty'.
I think I'm the only person in the world who prefers Diablo to Diablo 2. It felt more like a deliberate game where each encounter mattered, each item was worth considering, and enemies like the Butcher were legitimately intimidating. Meanwhile, Diablo 2 was a sprawling action game that felt like I was going to break my mouse from mindlessly clicking a billion times per second, with most of the loot being trash, and most of the environment basically meaningless. But at least Diablo 2 had some sort of vision. Diablo 3 was a mediocre Diablo 2 clone with RMT trading.
 

Rran

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A few Nintendo ones that come to mind...

Metroid 2: Return of Samus to Super Metroid
Kid Icarus II to Kid Icarus Uprising
Kirby's Dream Land to Kirby's Adventure

And some third-parties...

Dragon Quest 2 to Dragon Quest 3
Persona 2 to Persona 3 (from what I hear, haven't played P2)

Street Fighter 1 to 2 and Mario Bros to Super Mario Bros are both very good answers though.
 

Belmonte

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Metal Gear to Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

The first Metal Gear already is an awesome game (the MSX2 one) but the second made very clear to me how serious business Kojima is. Most features the series is loved for appeared first in this game and in a surprisingly polished way.
 

VysePSU

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Metroid 2: Return of Samus to Super Metroid
That's a good answer. The jump from Game Boy to SNES helped improve not only the graphics but the gameplay as well, as well as the fact that not many people like Metroid 2 to begin with.
 
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TheExorzist

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Witcher 1 to Witcher 2 - from a clunky, quirky game using BioWare's Aurora engine to an ARPG classic that laid the foundations for Witcher 3, a once-in-a-generation masterpiece.
I might be the only one who liked Witcher 1 best of all 3.

@topic: Within a single generation I'd say Uncharted 1 to 2 and Assassins Creed 1 to 2. If generation jumps are put into the equasions I'd say GTA 2 to 3.
 
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Shad0w59

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Infinity Ward went from Call of Duty 2 to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Quake 1 to Quake 2 was pretty big leap too.
 

Yoshi

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Metroid 2 -> Super Metroid - from bad to brilliant
Sonic 06 -> Sonic Unleashed - from abysmal to great.
Zelda 2 -> Zelda ALttP - from servicable to perfect.
F-Zero -> F-Zero X - from nice to perfect.
 
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