Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

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hitheremynameisbob:

Warachia:

System shock wasn't open ended enough for a sequel, but system shock 2 definitely was. He was only asking about the sequels, not the previous games.

I think you need to read his article a bit more carefully, then re-read the challenge, because you're not reading it as it was intended. You're seeing "Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels" as saying that the game in question (the sequel) is not itself open for a sequel, when what he clearly meant by it was that the game in question's predecessor wasn't left open for a sequel, and the sequel was made anyway. So pointing out that SS2 was left open for a sequel doesn't matter. His wording is somewhat ambiguous when set apart on its own like that, but in the context of the article it's clear that he's specifying that the first game not have been left open for a sequel, because (as he argues is the case of portal) when this is the case any sequels that do get made tend to mess things up. The first System Shock wasn't left open to sequels, so SS2 still meets his criteria.

Really, if that was too complicated, then just think about this for a second: why on earth would he specify that the SEQUEL not be left open for another sequel, when that's the game we're evaluating?

My mistake. It made partially due to lack of sleep, and partially due to ambiguous wording.
I thought he was referring to the sequel becasue there are plenty of games that they want made into a franchise, and the challenge becomes harder if you look a game series that stops at #2 and doesn't leave itself open for a #3.

The first Phoenix Wright/Gyakuten Saiban game was a tight story with a clear end that had every plot thread tied up (not counting the DS-only fifth case, since that was made after the sequels). The next game, Justice for All, managed to take that tight story and expand on it by focusing on the characters, making them more three-dimensional.

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

I think Diablo II had a better story than the first game. Ok, so the main character from the first game is technically Diablo in the second game after he shoves the Soulstone into his head, but I thought that was more interesting in a way. The hero you played in the first game is the final boss in the second. Are there any other games that do that?

Also, you get to beat Griswold to death with his mate's leg. What more could you ask for?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first.

Too easy. Majora's Mask to Ocarina of Time. ;)

Atmos Duality:
Baldur's Gate 2.

Same characters, continuation of the story, but it was a continuation that occurred naturally; you could beat BG1 and be left satisfied that the story ends right there.

In general though, that rule applies to just about everything made recently.
It's rather strange that fan-made games (until they get slapped with Cease-&-Desist) tend to be on par with the source material, while fan-demanded games turn into that fore-mentioned slop.

agreed, but the ending of baldurs gate 1 did leave room open for a sequel

Nimcha:
I disagree with your point on sequels since for me personally 'more of the same' can be good as well.

I do agree strongly with the other point though: fans are stupid and wrong. Always.

More of the same though, doesnt happen for sequels made not following these points. I take Guildwars vs its sequel as the most significant example of this. Guildwars is a game that succeeded because it threw out the D20 origin of most other RPGs on the market. they stripped down an MMO to the point where the only thing left were the combat skills, and then allowed for hybrid classing and free redistribution of points. Armor was simplified down to simple, yet deep 2 option pieces for 5 slots each, as well as weapons with 3 levels of functional customization.

This is compared to the sequel, where armor and weapons now have inherent modifiers which do not cap, the skills are linked into weapons, and they reintroduced stats to the game in a way identical to that of Dungeons and Dragons. They removed the interesting, if incredibly challenging to balance hybrid classing. This is a direct sequel, which has no relation to the other game, and has yet to show actual use of any attributes of the original. It didnt use the original as a jumping off point, it threw out what made it withstand WoW, in exchange for it's greatest competition's strengths and some rather obvious flaws.

My Phrase "You cant beat Warcraft at Warcraft" comes to mind, reciting the fact that of the hundreds of MMOs made in the short aftermath of the release of WoW, only 2 others have succeeded. those others are the games Guildwars, and Final Fantasy 11, of which succeeded for Being original, and for not being American respectively. (Micro Transaction games such as DDO and Perfect World do not count, as their success is not based on actual number of players.).

I think that unless you planned a series or are Nintendo, sequels are built backwards.

Normal games spring from a gameplay concept that becomes a full idea.

Sequels have an idea that they try to fit a new gameplay concept into.

Think how much better the Sonic series would be regarded if Sonic Colors was the first 3d Sonic game.

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

Thief 2
Baldur's Gate II
Majora's Mask

Hitman Dread:
You make a lot of assumptions, such that the writers themselves didn't want Glados back, and that had been the intended story from the get go. You also seem bothered by the fact that Valve didn't think the core of Portal was the same one you did.

It's been established long ago that Portal 2 at first was not going to contain A) portals B) Chell and C) Glados.

GonzoGamer:

bue519:

2xDouble:
Case in point: Final Fantasy. Look at what happened when they stopped creating and started polling: Final Fantasy 12, 13, and 14... None of which deserve numerals. (XI doesn't either, but for different reasons. It's pretty good I guess, so I'll let it slide).

EDIT One thing though: MegaMan 2 and 3.

And Fallout 2, and Donkey Kong 2. Man, it's pretty easy to contradict that statement.

If you look through the history of gaming there are a lot of examples.
I would actually include Portal 2.
I thought it was a better game than the first. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first but it wasn't really a complete game; it was the introduction of an ingenious game concept that I got as a bonus to a game.
But then again, I don't really consider story an important part of a game; and if I did, I don't think I would be much of a gamer.
At the same time, I greatly appreciated the new archetypes they slipped into Portal 2 from the fool to the god that created it all. It wasn't contrived or pretentious and while the hilarity wasn't as surprising, it was just as clever.
To me what was more important was adding new elements to the existing structure of the "test chamber" and to that end I was most satisfied.

If I want a good story experience, I'm not going to reach for a game and many of the games that people say have good story experiences only have good stories when compared to other games and tend to have some tedious and/or sparse gameplay.

I enjoyed Portal 2 also, and thought it had a fun story. However, I thought that the first was better if only because it was more unique. The sequel adopted the Half-Life 2 formula, where you get puzzle, puzzle, story element, then back to puzzle. Portal was better in this regard, because the story didn't need to take you out of the game to make it better. Portal 2 just lacks the soul that made the original so unique. Now it feels like Portal Life 2.

bue519:

GonzoGamer:

bue519:

And Fallout 2, and Donkey Kong 2. Man, it's pretty easy to contradict that statement.

If you look through the history of gaming there are a lot of examples.
I would actually include Portal 2.
I thought it was a better game than the first. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first but it wasn't really a complete game; it was the introduction of an ingenious game concept that I got as a bonus to a game.
But then again, I don't really consider story an important part of a game; and if I did, I don't think I would be much of a gamer.
At the same time, I greatly appreciated the new archetypes they slipped into Portal 2 from the fool to the god that created it all. It wasn't contrived or pretentious and while the hilarity wasn't as surprising, it was just as clever.
To me what was more important was adding new elements to the existing structure of the "test chamber" and to that end I was most satisfied.

If I want a good story experience, I'm not going to reach for a game and many of the games that people say have good story experiences only have good stories when compared to other games and tend to have some tedious and/or sparse gameplay.

I enjoyed Portal 2 also, and thought it had a fun story. However, I thought that the first was better if only because it was more unique. The sequel adopted the Half-Life 2 formula, where you get puzzle, puzzle, story element, then back to puzzle. Portal was better in this regard, because the story didn't need to take you out of the game to make it better. Portal 2 just lacks the soul that made the original so unique. Now it feels like Portal Life 2.

Maybe that's a good thing.
I didn't get that feeling that the story stopped the gameplay... for very long. There weren't any cutscenes, just little bits of dialogue while you went from place to place and I liked that the puzzles weren't all portal-centric. If you look at it portal1 & portal2 had the same puzzle to story ratio, it's just that portal 2 is a longer game so you got more puzzles (and bigger ones at that), more elements (goo, bridges, funnels help keep the game unique) and more dialogue/monologue (with more characters to keep it interesting).
Overall, if you split P2 into P1 size chunks, it all seems balanced out in the same way.
Sure it can't be as fresh as the first but I didn't want it to be. I did want more portal puzzles and they delivered on that quite spectacularly.

So how do you feel about games who's stories are ongoing? For example, Resident Evil (I speak of mainly the first few where they were continuing the game) or (haven't played it so I'm goign to get off this particular series of games quickly) Metal Gear Solid?

Although, I will agree with you specifically because of the Occurrence of Halo. It had a story, good gameplay and graphics at the time adn was fun to play. Then you get into Halo two and they add a few new things, take away the health bar, and add a crappy cliffhanger and ended up disappointing me thoroughly (inb4 Halo fanboys raging at me for this opinion. I'm sure we can all agree that Halo the first is much better than anything bungie or it's affiliates have churned out in the last years related to halo).

And hey hey, how about that Bioshock three? From the gameplay trailer it looks as if it's going in the silent hill direction of changing everything! Gives me high hopes for this game.

GonzoGamer:

bue519:

GonzoGamer:

If you look through the history of gaming there are a lot of examples.
I would actually include Portal 2.
I thought it was a better game than the first. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first but it wasn't really a complete game; it was the introduction of an ingenious game concept that I got as a bonus to a game.
But then again, I don't really consider story an important part of a game; and if I did, I don't think I would be much of a gamer.
At the same time, I greatly appreciated the new archetypes they slipped into Portal 2 from the fool to the god that created it all. It wasn't contrived or pretentious and while the hilarity wasn't as surprising, it was just as clever.
To me what was more important was adding new elements to the existing structure of the "test chamber" and to that end I was most satisfied.

If I want a good story experience, I'm not going to reach for a game and many of the games that people say have good story experiences only have good stories when compared to other games and tend to have some tedious and/or sparse gameplay.

I enjoyed Portal 2 also, and thought it had a fun story. However, I thought that the first was better if only because it was more unique. The sequel adopted the Half-Life 2 formula, where you get puzzle, puzzle, story element, then back to puzzle. Portal was better in this regard, because the story didn't need to take you out of the game to make it better. Portal 2 just lacks the soul that made the original so unique. Now it feels like Portal Life 2.

Maybe that's a good thing.
I didn't get that feeling that the story stopped the gameplay... for very long. There weren't any cutscenes, just little bits of dialogue while you went from place to place and I liked that the puzzles weren't all portal-centric. If you look at it portal1 & portal2 had the same puzzle to story ratio, it's just that portal 2 is a longer game so you got more puzzles (and bigger ones at that), more elements (goo, bridges, funnels help keep the game unique) and more dialogue/monologue (with more characters to keep it interesting).
Overall, if you split P2 into P1 size chunks, it all seems balanced out in the same way.
Sure it can't be as fresh as the first but I didn't want it to be. I did want more portal puzzles and they delivered on that quite spectacularly.

True, and perhaps duo of great story of the Half Life games (atleast 2 onwards, although I love the first it just told the story differently) and awesome puzzles of the Portal games. (perhaps it could even rival the mixing of Metroid and Castlevania)However, I just found some of the story elements a bit jarring. An example is during the escape attempts where there weren't many puzzle to solve, besides the find the other white wall you need to go to. These were nice, but I felt more engrossed in Portal because I only got the hint of what was going on and found out more and more over the course of the puzzles. With Portal 2, it felt like I just got blind-sided by baseball bat, I just prefer the subtlety of the first.

Sly 2 was WAY better than Sly 1, and it certainly didn't seem like the first game had any intention of leading to a sequel.

I agree that fans aren't sure of what they want most of the time- but only MOST of the time. I liked Portal 2. GlaDOS returning was great, and come on- her attempt to kill you in #2 was just as bad as in #1. She was defeated by the idiot she spent the rest of the game insulting.

Ouch.

Plus... Potato? Yeah. And the backstory of Aperture was exactly what I wanted. Cave Johnson was the shit.

"Alright, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade - make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons, what am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's manager. Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons. Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the lemons. I'm going to to get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!"

I feel like fans of a good thing often end up being creators of the sequels. This can end either very well or very bad, depending on the creators attitude, creativity, and respect of the original. Of course, this latter part can be said for all things, sequel or not.

Spiderman 2 was better than Spiderman (1), but Spiderman 3 was really bad (that is, the movies, not the games - I've never played all the games).

Also: I see people bringing up Majora's Mask as an example to Yahtzee's rhetorical end-of-article challenge. Majora's Mask doesn't really count since it is a Zelda game in a long ine of samey Zelda games. Don't be fooled by it just because the action takes place in an alternate universe. And yeah, I can see Nintendo remaking Zelda over and over again without shame. Which works, I suppose. Why reinvent the wheel when the wheel works just fine the way it is? Why change formula for something that's already really good?

Though I will say that Majora's mask had an interesting time travel element. Too bad I never could wrap my head around it. I got stuck and was never able to finish...

But here's my opinion on a good sequel to a game that didn't really intend a sequel: Starfox64.

But I thin we're all agreed that Starfox Adventures was baaaaaaaaad. It was only bad in the fact that it was a Starfox game that wasn't really a Starfox game, but only had Fox's name tacked onto it with spit and paper clips. Makes one feel like the Starfox game that was released after it was more of an apology than anything else.

Would the original Splinter Cell games count? There's no hint that Double Agent will be made after Chaos Theory.

2xDouble:
Case in point: Final Fantasy. Look at what happened when they stopped creating and started polling: Final Fantasy 12, 13, and 14... None of which deserve numerals. (XI doesn't either, but for different reasons. It's pretty good I guess, so I'll let it slide).

EDIT One thing though:

Name me one sequel to a game that wasn't left open for sequels, with the same main characters as before, whose story was regarded as better than the first. Let me help you out: there aren't any.

MegaMan 2 and 3.

Final Fantasy 12 was the best of the series by far more than a factor of 10. It's smoothly paced, very well-written, and wonderfully balanced in its difficulty curve. The world actully makes coherent sense and the plot makes sense in the world. I was extremely pleased that you did not end up fighting some kind of God who you'd never even met in the story until the final battle, for example. And the characters occasionally say things that are genuinely funny or thought provoking.

That comment that Yahtzee made at the end of his article. It is about you.

I'm surprised no on has tried to mention Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. The original game - Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - was most definitely not open for a sequel. While Soul Reaver didn't have the same character set (due to it being set about two millennia after Blood Omen), three characters (Kain, Ariel, Moebius) were very much present and at least one (Nupraptor) was mentioned through the game world. I don't know what the general consensus is but I do think that Soul Reaver's story was better because it was more focused.

Whatever the case may be, Soul Reaver is a one-of-a-kind sequel. I don't think I've ever seen a sequel so dramatically different from the previous game.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: Building Sequels Badly

Yahtzee takes another look at the ongoing problem of videogame sequels.

Read Full Article

GODLIKE

Best article you've ever written mate.

G'day!

SirBryghtside:
Um... I preferred Portal 2?

Yep, me too. I found 'Portal 2' to be way better than the original. It improved everything the original had to offer (which I thought to be OK but not as great as always claimed).

Could be because I don't think gameplay is the one and only factor that matters in a game. A good story/atmosphere can save bad gameplay as can likable characters. Wheatley's voice actor provided so much charisma within the first seconds that I was hooked. And 'Portal 2' extended the lore, though you can fight about whether it was necessary. I for one think it's made the puzzeling more interesting.

LogicNProportion:

JaymesFogarty:
Well, sequels can work if they work planned from the beginning, ie. Metal Gear Solid, or Assassin's Creed. But even they can be terrible; so Yahtzee, I agree with you once more!

MGS wasn't planned as a series from the beginning. I should know, I'm a local MGS rabid fanboy. The only reason Hideo kept making them was because either fans or Konami kept bugging him to make them or reminding him how awesome Snake was. After each game, he said it was hopefully the last.

His first real reaction to this was actually MGS2, where he practically trolled the fanbase.

Recently, he's announced to compromise with us rabid fans, and while he won't be expanding anymore on Solid Snake, he says there are many possibilities for Big Boss, who, in all fairness, is much more badass anyway. :)

On topic, awesome read as usual, Yahtzee!

Agree with the whole Big Boss being more badass, 100%. Though I must be honest, the real reason I quoted you was because your profile picture is sheer brilliance.

OT, however, I really agree with Yahtzee on the "fans don't know what they want" thing. I played Pokemon Blue as a kid and loved it. I wished for more Pokemon, different overworlds, everything. I hate Gen IV, and I'm cold at very best to Gen V.
I'm playing it, and I've tried to keep as far away from stats and that as possible, to attempt and regain that naivety from the first 3 games (before I discoverd bulbapedia), and it's just... Eh.

I rather enjoyed the story in Portal 2. That first playthrough was laugh-out-loud hilarious for me, and the only thing I cringed at a little was the way they handled some of the Caroline bits there toward the end. I detected very little of what I might have considered pandering to any fan demands, though to be honest I kept my pre-release exposure to a minimum, and have no idea what fans were really clamoring for to begin with.

Where everything kind of seemed a little tiring was in the puzzle/hallway/puzzle/hallway/puzzle/hallway/long story bit/puzzle/hallway
progression, though going from Portal 1 straight into Portal 2 may have exacerbated that. I accepted it as both a necessary thing to keep to the spirit of the game, and make sense in regards to the environment at hand, but it still got grating by about 2/3 of the way through.

As far as sequels go, I thought they handled this one well. They added just enough to keep it interesting, without bloating it too severely. I'm just going to hold on to the thought I keep having that the game we bought will ultimately serve as some sort of grand tutorial for some meatier ideas to come down the pipeline in the near future.

There's a lot of devious promise hidden in the tools and puzzle elements they added this time around, and I can only hope the potential there gets recognized in time.

In my opinion using the same central protagonist is fine as is having the story extend through different games, as long as A) they can keep it original and B) don't try and cash in on every thing that's popular all at once. that's not to say don't use what work, just don't become popularity whores, and use everything (like Yahtzee mentioned in his Darksiders review)

If you can't do this game developers please read Yahtzee's article again

sievr:
That comment that Yahtzee made at the end of his article. It is about you.

Of course it is. I'm a fan, and so are you. So is everyone on The Escapist.

As much as I like Yahtzee, this is the first time I've seriously disagreed with him since the time he called the Ultima series unintuitive (you press A to attack, what's unintuitive about that?)/

The thing about sequels is that, they offer the developers a chance to improve upon a good thing. Case in point: the original Metal Gear game (whether on the MSX or the awful NES port) simply wasn't very good. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake made it worthwhile and Metal Gear Solid made it great.

By the same token, Castlevania was pretty unremarkable until the fourth installment, and again until Symphony of the Night. The original Final Fantasy was pretty good but its with parts four and six that the series shines, the best game in the Gargoyle's Quest quest trilogy is also the final one, Earthbound was a big improvement over Mother, Mega Man 3 finally added the slide and Rush while Mega Man X and Legends began whole new franchises, Ultima IV was when the series developed many of its traditions (though to be fair I thought the first game was pretty fun) and Ultima V meets Yahtzee's challenge, King's Quest VI is the most respectable game in that franchise, and then there's Space Quest IV. The first AD&D Gold Box game, Pool of Radiance was passable but Curse of the Azure Bonds brought in a lot of much-needed improvements, System Shock 2 is considered a cult classic (though personally I think the first was better) and Thunder Force didn't start getting good until the second game.

I agree with some of Yahtzee's tenets though, particularly that fans should never be allowed to work on or contribute in any way (except the most restrained) to an official sequel. A brief visit to Fanfiction.net should sum up why. But putting arbitrary restrictions on sequels themselves won't cause bad games to go away--the people who would've made bad sequels will instead just make bad, original IPs.

So that's my piece and I'm sticking to it.

I'm pretty sure that this was mentioned in the previous umpteen pages but:

Monkey Island 2 is superior to MI1 storywise. And gameplaywise. And MI1 didn't have a sequel hook.

bue519:

GonzoGamer:

bue519:

I enjoyed Portal 2 also, and thought it had a fun story. However, I thought that the first was better if only because it was more unique. The sequel adopted the Half-Life 2 formula, where you get puzzle, puzzle, story element, then back to puzzle. Portal was better in this regard, because the story didn't need to take you out of the game to make it better. Portal 2 just lacks the soul that made the original so unique. Now it feels like Portal Life 2.

Maybe that's a good thing.
I didn't get that feeling that the story stopped the gameplay... for very long. There weren't any cutscenes, just little bits of dialogue while you went from place to place and I liked that the puzzles weren't all portal-centric. If you look at it portal1 & portal2 had the same puzzle to story ratio, it's just that portal 2 is a longer game so you got more puzzles (and bigger ones at that), more elements (goo, bridges, funnels help keep the game unique) and more dialogue/monologue (with more characters to keep it interesting).
Overall, if you split P2 into P1 size chunks, it all seems balanced out in the same way.
Sure it can't be as fresh as the first but I didn't want it to be. I did want more portal puzzles and they delivered on that quite spectacularly.

True, and perhaps duo of great story of the Half Life games (atleast 2 onwards, although I love the first it just told the story differently) and awesome puzzles of the Portal games. (perhaps it could even rival the mixing of Metroid and Castlevania)However, I just found some of the story elements a bit jarring. An example is during the escape attempts where there weren't many puzzle to solve, besides the find the other white wall you need to go to. These were nice, but I felt more engrossed in Portal because I only got the hint of what was going on and found out more and more over the course of the puzzles. With Portal 2, it felt like I just got blind-sided by baseball bat, I just prefer the subtlety of the first.

The first definitely seemed more subtle but I sometimes wonder if that's just because it was still very mysterious. It's like how 1 got me to laugh more but I think that's because I wasn't really expecting to. P2 seems just as humorous, but I was expecting it to be so I probably didn't laugh as much... But I can't be sure.
Once again, you're right about this one having more of those "you have to shoot the portal at that white spot in the distance," but I also wonder if that's just because there was more game and more "behind the scenes" parts than we're used to from the first, which also had those moments but all at the end.
I kind of appreciated that the test chambers in 2 weren't all necessarily the clean polished modern lab experiments but also the retro (almost steampunk) style bowls of the facility with their cavernous spaces. I'll admit that it did make some of the solutions contrived (making the tough part of the puzzle, finding where you can place the portal) but the effect also made the execution of the solutions visually spectacular.
I can understand why one might prefer the original for the same reason that my replays of Fallout 3 aren't as awesome as my first playthrough.
Do you think you would've liked Portal 2 more if it came out first and still had that mystery?

I have to agree, but I do think that Resident Evil did sequels right. Each game progressively got better (except for 5, that game was crap. But I still had fun playing it...), and when the old control scheme wasn't doing it anymore, they threw it out and created something completely different, and it worked.

But then again, I could totally be wrong, as I am a fan of the series after all...

The only Sequel I can think that is better than the orginal is Max Payne 2.

i think the biggest problem is not the fans, but the "that would be awesome!" mentality, i think there are many fans who can come up with better ideas than original creators, the problem is that there are many more who are stupid

LAN MAC:
Yahtzee, in the interest of talking about sequels...what do you think of Alex Mercer from Prototype being made an antagonist in Prototype 2?

This is one of the main reasons I'm interested in the sequel.

Not sure I agree with Yahtzee's take on sequels. For instance, some games create whole worlds such as Mass Effect or Assassin's Creed, so in that case, I don't really mind if the gameplay is quite similar to the first game, I just want to see more stories from within the game world. That having been said, I do agree that you need to change up the characters for the sequel unless it was planned from the beginning. Mass Effect is a good example of this, they killed off Shepard in the first one and had to magically resurrect him in the second one and we will be seeing him/her again in the third one. I would much rather have different set of main characters for each game, to have a slightly different angle on each of the games.

I agree with your points but you raised the challenge: Sly Cooper, Metroid, Metal Gear, Mass Effect, Sonic, and Shadow Hearts.

GonzoGamer:

bue519:

GonzoGamer:

Maybe that's a good thing.
I didn't get that feeling that the story stopped the gameplay... for very long. There weren't any cutscenes, just little bits of dialogue while you went from place to place and I liked that the puzzles weren't all portal-centric. If you look at it portal1 & portal2 had the same puzzle to story ratio, it's just that portal 2 is a longer game so you got more puzzles (and bigger ones at that), more elements (goo, bridges, funnels help keep the game unique) and more dialogue/monologue (with more characters to keep it interesting).
Overall, if you split P2 into P1 size chunks, it all seems balanced out in the same way.
Sure it can't be as fresh as the first but I didn't want it to be. I did want more portal puzzles and they delivered on that quite spectacularly.

True, and perhaps duo of great story of the Half Life games (atleast 2 onwards, although I love the first it just told the story differently) and awesome puzzles of the Portal games. (perhaps it could even rival the mixing of Metroid and Castlevania)However, I just found some of the story elements a bit jarring. An example is during the escape attempts where there weren't many puzzle to solve, besides the find the other white wall you need to go to. These were nice, but I felt more engrossed in Portal because I only got the hint of what was going on and found out more and more over the course of the puzzles. With Portal 2, it felt like I just got blind-sided by baseball bat, I just prefer the subtlety of the first.

The first definitely seemed more subtle but I sometimes wonder if that's just because it was still very mysterious. It's like how 1 got me to laugh more but I think that's because I wasn't really expecting to. P2 seems just as humorous, but I was expecting it to be so I probably didn't laugh as much... But I can't be sure.
Once again, you're right about this one having more of those "you have to shoot the portal at that white spot in the distance," but I also wonder if that's just because there was more game and more "behind the scenes" parts than we're used to from the first, which also had those moments but all at the end.
I kind of appreciated that the test chambers in 2 weren't all necessarily the clean polished modern lab experiments but also the retro (almost steampunk) style bowls of the facility with their cavernous spaces. I'll admit that it did make some of the solutions contrived (making the tough part of the puzzle, finding where you can place the portal) but the effect also made the execution of the solutions visually spectacular.
I can understand why one might prefer the original for the same reason that my replays of Fallout 3 aren't as awesome as my first playthrough.
Do you think you would've liked Portal 2 more if it came out first and still had that mystery?

You raise some really great points. To answer your question I probably would've liked Portal 2 tons more if it had come out first. Mainly because I havn't always been the biggest fan of puzzle games but somehow Portal drew me in and actually made me enjoy doing puzzles (egads!). So now I get to have some of those really great puzzles, with the production values of Half Life 2 to back them up! It would've blown my mind. Luckily, it had a scrappier brother come out first to get me ready for the sweetness.
Not to get off topic, I also admit that I really enjoyed the aesthetics of the second game and some of the puzzles were the best in the series(especially some of those Co-op levels, the ending puzzles for each section are especially memorable). But, playing the newest entry, just reminded me of why I thought the first one was great. So in the end, I suppose I'm just being a poor sport and should just enjoy the greatness that is Valve.

Was that an Animal Farm reference?

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