No Right Answer: Most Improved Video Game Franchise

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Strain42:
I have to give this one to the Persona series.

Persona 1 was just awful. The first person dungeons were just annoying "mazes" with no purpose other than the waste your time, the battles were fought on this weird grid essentially making certain characters useless if the enemy was standing in the wrong spot, negotiation was a matter of "find something that doesn't piss them off...then do that repeatedly" which lead to subpar fusion which was mostly unnecessary because it actually isn't that hard to get through the game using just your initial and ultimate Persona.

I've actually described Persona 1 as Stockholm syndrome. It's not fun, but you do get into a weird groove when you play it.

Persona 2 fixed a LOT of the problems of the first game. Slightly better dungeons, improved battle mechanics, widely considered one of the best casts and stories of the genre

BUT THEN

Boom, 6 years later we get Persona 3, which was a revelation (not to be confused with Revelations: Persona which was an abomination...) not just for the Persona series, but for all of MegaTen, for Atlus as a company. Persona 3 was this big huge game that really helped bring the entire franchise out of niche status.

And of course Persona 4 ended up even bigger. Hell, for a lot of people Persona 4 Golden was a Vita seller. Persona went from this fairly awful PS1 JRPG to essentially a system seller.

There is no denying how much the Persona series has improved from its initial concept of "high schoolers summoning monsters from their heads"

I actually could never finish the first game. The leap between the first and the second game is huge. Persona 4 is probably Atlus's most successful game ever. No idea why they pick those two seeing as fan reaction to the sequels is mixed at best.

Man, there is so much wrong with this video and thread that I almost can't find where to begin. I'll get to the troll above me (Strazdas) in a minute but, first up, have any of you even played the original Prince of Persia games? Yes, Dan, PoP1 and PoP2 came on floppy disks. You think, you THINK it came on floppy disks? You would know if you had played it so I'm pretty sure you haven't. I still have mine. In fact, it should be pretty memorable as a gamer of that era that PoP2 should have been one of the last games you bought that came out on floppy disks as CD-ROM games were starting to be introduced the same year (1993).

Dan, I don't know how you even presume to talk about how improved a series is when you haven't even experienced what you're talking about. Prince of Persia 2 was probably the finest puzzle/platformer/action/exploration game of its generation. As such, it has probably only been EQUALED by how well The Sands of Time brought the franchise to its generation. The Shadow and the Flame had everything you could ask for in a game of that era, including a robust swordplay combat system that required genuine skill to succeed at. And God forbid you actually die from failing to properly execute an action (jumping) that you are given all the information needed to succeed at ahead of time. No perspective issues, no lag, no weird clipping issues. There's the gap, you either can clear it or you can't; hit jump when you are supposed to. That isn't to say the game wasn't hard or frustrating. It was both, and you felt accomplished for succeeding at it. Here's a story about a Dan who couldn't survive in the age before everyone gets a medal for participating...

I can't even go into it without finding gameplay videos to cite from since you all have no idea what I'm talking about. Prince of Persia 3D was garbage, the cell shaded one was beautiful even though I also dismissed it as a bad decision at first, the 2010 one lacks... inspiration.

Strazdas, The Sands of Time is one of the most well crafted games ever made. If it doesn't appeal to you, so be it, but take the time to explain why it isn't and I'll take the time to say you wasted your time trying. The time travel mechanic was brilliant in that it was not only seamlessly integrated into the gameplay but it actually was seamlessly woven into and enhanced/reinforced the well written narrative. The one way it could have "messed up the franchise" is making a mechanic like that the norm.

Homeworld is on your list of improved games, Strazdas? The original Homeworld is among the finest RTS games ever made, quite the accomplishment for also being the first using true 3D space. Cataclysm only changed ship types, no changes to gameplay and a less engrossing story. Homeworld 2 added nothing to the formula and even removed some of the formations from the previous games, dumbing it down to fleet formations more friendly to the casual player. The story was as good as the original, but the gameplay was no better.

I concur with those saying Assassin's Creed doesn't belong either.

Oh, and no one who actually played games from the early generations ever says "the graphics were horrible back then" because there was NOTHING TO COMPARE THEM TO back then. These are games, that's what they look like, and there was nothing else to consider. The only thought that I have looking back at old games and remembering playing them before graphics mattered is, "Wow, it's amazing how much imagery they managed to convey with so little to work with back then."

tl;dr = don't talk about what you don't know about, or clearly never thought about to begin with.

RJ 17:

Phoenixmgs:
AC1 was easily the best AC game but it wasn't revolutionary. It was basically Hitman-lite but with an auto-platforming system.

Eh, I wouldn't go THAT far. It was a good game, to be sure, but I'd say that ACII was the closest Assassin's Creed ever got to perfection.

I liked the structure of AC1; gathering Intel then performing the assassination. The main assassination were like Hitman assassinations, just not nearly as complex. The gathering Intel part was weak because it was doing the same shit over and over again. That's where the game needed to improve in my opinion. Instead we got a GTA-like structure in AC2 and the main assassinations themselves were done very poorly. Plus, the combat was somewhat challenging (meaning not as easy as AC2). In AC1, the hidden blades were your one-hit counter kill but had the downside of not blocking whereas AC2 gave you dual hidden blades that could now block. When the most enjoyable part of AC2 were the puzzles (those Glyph things), then there's something majorly wrong with the game. To me, the series lost any semblance of core gameplay in the 2nd game.

Sgt. Sykes:

Phoenixmgs:
AC1 was easily the best AC game but it wasn't revolutionary. It was basically Hitman-lite but with an auto-platforming system.

Nope. First, in AC you can't change your clothes like in Hitman. Second, name one AAA game which:

1) Is set around the Middle East and not as an US soldier
2) Is set in 11th century and is not crap or an RTS
3) In general, is set in history anywhere except WWII or the 80s
4) Tackles with themes like religion and free will
5) Can combine a sci-fi story with a history theme
6) Has a main character who is not a) a soldier, b) American
7) Handles all that while having great platforming, graphics etc.

Of the first 6 points, one has a hard time finding a game which would have one of those points, let alone so many unusual elements.

Nope, in the world where all we have is stuff like COD and RE6, AC was completely revolutionary.

(And yea, there are a few games which combine history and sci-fi... Darkest of Days and Serious Sam come to mind. Not the same league.)

I know it wasn't as deep as Hitman, that's why I said Hitman-lite. The blending feature is AC's disguise mechanic.

I was mainly talking about AC wasn't revolutionary in the gameplay department.

You could make a list of 7 main things any game does and be hard pressed to find other games that share all 7 things as well. Prince of Persia is set in the Middle East and has way better platforming. So many stories from games to movies to books tackle free will, it's very commonplace. Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect tackle that. Metal Gear Solid does historical fiction better than Assassin's Creed in my opinion. Not many things really tackle religion as to not alienate large chunks of their potential audience and use philosophical ideas instead (which I think is actually more interesting). To me, AC was more about using religion just because it had too in order to fit in the pieces of Eden into our own history. Of course, if you write a story of items controlling people throughout history, you're kinda going to have to put those pieces into the hands of religious figures as religious beliefs have had such an impact of shaping the world for centuries and even now. I really got into the story at one point but I could tell they were just dragging shit out or making it up as they went along. I'm guessing they were making it up as they went along since the series has been through 3 creative directors already and it shows in both gameplay and story. Whereas a series like Metal Gear has had one creative director for over 25 years.

I really don't think the AC games have great platforming as I've really grown to hate auto-platforming so much. I just played Shadow of the Colossus again recently and one of the most refreshing things about it was the game actually trusted you to make a fucking jump (something basic that we all did with Super Mario). This gen, it's hard to find a game that actually lets you do your own jumps like say Mirror's Edge; every game is like hit X (PS3 obviously) and your character goes from platform to platform without any chance to fall.

Phoenixmgs:

RJ 17:

Phoenixmgs:
AC1 was easily the best AC game but it wasn't revolutionary. It was basically Hitman-lite but with an auto-platforming system.

Eh, I wouldn't go THAT far. It was a good game, to be sure, but I'd say that ACII was the closest Assassin's Creed ever got to perfection.

I liked the structure of AC1; gathering Intel then performing the assassination. The main assassination were like Hitman assassinations, just not nearly as complex. The gathering Intel part was weak because it was doing the same shit over and over again. That's where the game needed to improve in my opinion. Instead we got a GTA-like structure in AC2 and the main assassinations themselves were done very poorly. Plus, the combat was somewhat challenging (meaning not as easy as AC2). In AC1, the hidden blades were your one-hit counter kill but had the downside of not blocking whereas AC2 gave you dual hidden blades that could now block. When the most enjoyable part of AC2 were the puzzles (those Glyph things), then there's something majorly wrong with the game. To me, the series lost any semblance of core gameplay in the 2nd game.

Probably best to leave combat out of the argument, no matter which game in the series the combat was ridiculously poor. The fact that countering was so easy and led to insta-kills just made fighting the guards an absolute joke. The first game to make it actually challenging was ACIII, but only because suddenly you had riflemen shooting at you from half a block away. But even then all you had to do was human-shield grab some poor mook near you and then just charge the riflemen.

My main problem with the first game was how sensitive the guards were. If you so much as cough, you're getting chased. As for the Assassinations themselves, I thought that ACII had a lot of fun ones, pretty much all the ones in Venice were really neat (I really liked the one during the festival where you have to time your shot with the fireworks so no one notices you). But then again another big part of why I like Ezio's story is because I like Renaissance Italy as a time-period.

And I'm gonna go ahead and say it: my personal favorite was Brotherhood. For starters, the multiplayer was surprisingly fun, but the story was great too. I will admit that it doesn't have the best assassinations (killing the Banker was fun, at least). Annnnnnnd I thought it was nice to get to actually use the deus ex machina Piece of Eden, I really enjoyed that segment when you're escaping from the Vatican after having just gotten, where the bonus challenge is to not take any damage...but using the Piece of Eden actually hurts you.

In the end, like most internet discussions though, it all boils down to personal tastes and preferences. I just found ALtair to be a weak character, the repetitiveness of the pre-assassination submissions got really old really fast, and the fact that I got so angry at the drunks and retar--*ahem* "crazies" that I had a kill-on-sight approach to them certainly didn't help either. But I won't try to convince you that your favorite game in the series isn't any good, just wanting to explain why I didn't like it, and why I preferred 2 and Brotherhood.

i can understand the premise of this video. But however, PoP 1 is like 25 years old and came on a floppy disk. A bit weird to compare 2 franchises like that.

Saints Row may be much much different to what it was in the beginning, but it's not been for the better.

Prince of Persia deserved that win, because Assassin's Creed has barely evolved since AC1, they've just added a tool each game without changing much.

I think these two were chosen because they're both Ubisoft platformers. I'd argue there are much better examples. Look how far Silent Hill has come since that atrocity Homecoming. Is it better than 1-4? Arguable, but Shattered Memories and Downpour both changed their gameplay drastically to the previous games and both had interesting plot points.

Or for that matter GTA itself, GTA III revolutionised it's series as well as the sandbox genre. What crime-based sandbox hasn't tried to be like GTA III since it came out?

I think ACII was the best in the series. ACI was good, but I will argue that ACII vastly improved several features that needed improving from ACI.

1. An interesting main character that had personality, style, and far more interesting reasons to go kill people (Ezio vs Altiar). Basically, better story telling.

2. Better pacing. ACI lagged on and on with needing to systematically gather evidence the same way every time, grab all towers, help all citizens being harassed, and when the zone was clear, go kill the target and get a long monologue, rinse and repeat. ACII by contrast sped things up and had more options with mission achievements that made you feel like you had accomplished something meaningful and did not drag the game down.

3. Better climbing mechanics. Altiar was a stiff old man with lead arms compared to Ezio.

4. Swimming

5. Even better graphics

6. A more interesting setting

7. Better and more exciting Assassination options... as opposed to the "chase the bad guy while avoiding his buddies to hidden blade him when you get close enough." (although there was plenty of that in ACII as well)

8. Better logic puzzles and level design

9. Better Desmond

10. Better (but obviously still not perfect) AI.

Sgt. Sykes:
The other PoP games are either kinda sucky (SoT)

And, with that one parenthetical, all your credibility is gone.

SoT is one of the best games ever made.

How do you throw being able to play Desmond at your final attempt at a point? That's the loss right there. Not to mention, as much as an improvement as the series had in the progression from AC1 to AC2, Brotherhood, and Revelations - the bottom falls out severely in AC3 in terms of the main character and the "making sense" factor. Sure Naval battles almost save it... but no. Most improved argument you could have won before AC3, out the window.

Kinda funny that Assassin's Creed started as Co-op Prince of Persia spin-off, it would have been interesting but I guess Assassin's Creed is good enough, though Assassin's Creed evolved from PoP's mechanics so...

inidu:
And, with that one parenthetical, all your credibility is gone.

SoT is one of the best games ever made.

Credibility as in... What? Opinions on video games?

SoT isn't a bad game. At the time of its release it might have been quite great. But I just can't see why it gets so much praise especially since there are so many better games.

Is it just me, or did they both just make the same argument 4 times in a row?

Assassin's Creed got steadily worse and worse over the series, not better.

I would have thought the Elder Scrolls would have been a shoe-in for this

Hmm SoT had somewhat odd combat. It wasn't bad but it wasn't brilliant either. Other then that the game is just amazing (though I might be the only one on earth who probably enjoyed warrior withing a little bit more... though it felt like very different game I wasn't crying when I parted my ways with the childish prince that is untill I got him back in the 3rd game with dagger in sword hand :P).
I adored the 2008 prince. The costume he wore was ridiculous but once got over it you had the most wonderful world of that year in front of you. I don't get the hate about the ending. I mean you spent the whole time with the girl it would be rather weird to just end it one boss fight earlier wouldn't it?

AC1 had the best story because there was some mystery to the future part of games. Ezio was more likeable but you didn't want to play as Desmond and that got only worse with time. AC3 was good I liked Connor O_o and the story had a lot of well done parts if you don't mind son-father relationships.

So that's two content creators on The Escapist I've watched that mentioned the 2008 Prince of Persia. One disliked and the other hated it. I for one loved it.

Strazdas:
1. Prince of persia vs Assasins Creed?
Isnt thats like competing with itsself? Assasins creed is a Price of Persia Spinoff.
2. I loved Altair and hated Ezio. you are ocmpletely wrong.
3. Naval battles were not pretty fantastic. they were pretty much the worst part.
4. Saying Prince of Persia improved is saying it was ever good.....
5. Time travel was quite terrible invention and kinda messed up the franchise.

Now if you want a franchise that really improved would be, say, Europa Universalis, Elder Scrolls, Grand Theft Auto (if we forget 4 exists), Homeworld, Hitman (if we ignore the lastest one, see the pattern here?)

1. Assassin's Creed isn't a Prince of Persia spinoff. While the prototype for the first Assassin's Creed was a co-op Prince of Persia game, Ubisoft decided to make it into a brand new franchise.
2. That's an opinion. Not a fact. They're talking opinions.
3. Really? If they were that bad, why does one of the best and most beloved installments have them as a central mechanic?
4. It was good. Really good. The Sands of Time is one of the most beloved games of the 5th console generation, while the 2008 reboot was regarded as one of the most beautiful titles of the 6th generation.
5. The time travel worked perfectly. It added in a unique game mechanic, made the deathtraps and bottomless pits a lot more tolerable, and created a great central element to the plot.

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