The Black Sheep of your favorite game franchise!

Robin

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#1
Lately, I've been thinking over my favorite franchises and wow, it's so clear that even though I love the games in them, there always one that stands out as being just not up to the others. Problem is, saying a game is bad or just not good compared to others is easy enough when we talk about a random franchise, but what about the one in the franchise you love the most and of which you became a fan?

My favorite franchises are Wario (both land and ware), Metroid, Pokemon and Crash Bandicoot.
In Wario, the obivious one I feel is not up to par with the rest is Wario MoD.
For Metroid, believe it or not, it's the original Metroid on the NES. God bless the remake on GBA, that first game was so bland and repetitive! Challenge is okay but 30 energy at the start? No thanks!

In Pokemon, not counting spinoffs (the 1000 of them), I could say Pokemon RBY, as they're just broken as hell and simple, but I got to reference X and Y. These games were a missed opportunity and ended up feeling much less interesting than all the rest. They also hold your hand a lot...

And finally Crash Bandicoot, where the games aren't all that solid at times and can feel a bit clunky, the one that sicks out like a sore thumb to me is Crash Warth of Cortex. It's just a rippoff of Crash 3 and it looks terrible! And it's on the same console Crash Twinsanity was on! Just off, idk.


How about you, guys?
 

KingDragonWario

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#2
Let's see... I'm a big Fire Emblem fan but I despise Awakening and anything after, so I'll give my opinion on what I feel is the black sheep out of installments 1-12;

Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword, the seventh installment overall but the first one to hit western shores as simply "Fire Emblem". Many western fans fall back on it as far as nostalgia is concerned, but I just don't consider it that great a game. It didn't feel "grand" or of epic proportions at all like my favorite Fire Emblems tend to be. It also had a rather lengthy mandatory tutorial segment at the beginning that just feels degrading.

As far as Wario is concerned, I have to say Wario Blast because I suck at Bomberman games.

Final Fantasy, like Fire Emblem, I have a cutoff point with. I don't go past 9. Of 1-9, my pick is the original Final Fantasy on NES. Sure, it may have started it all. But it was hardly good, it was clunky and bland as hell to the point none of the main characters had any character to speak of, or official names.

For Pokemon, it's RSE. Those games threw me off when I was a kid for feeling so different and having no connection to the previous regions. The anime adaptation was even worse on this; with Ash leaving Misty behind as well as all his previous Pokemon.
 
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Glowsquid

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#3


Armored Core Ninebreaker was a rather weird experimental entry. While Armored Core games all previously story-driven campaigns with many missions to do, Ninebreaker instead is an almost plotless (beside two short emails bookending the game) series of 300 tests meant to test various aspects of AC's gameplay (shoot targets from an distance, run around from missiles in a room that's constantly heating, that kinda thing). Armored Core was a series notorious for changing very little since its inception so having the tenth installment being a glorified tutorial was a very weird move. It's not even a good intro to beginners because if you don't import a save from the previous game, you'll onyl have basic parts that won't be enough to satisfactorily do the challenge, and if you do import a save from Nexus but didn'T collect that many parts in that game (a mistake I did), you'll have even less option than if you started on a virgin save.

The way they handled the Arena was strange too. Instead of just moving up a ladder, you have a gazillion of procedurally-generated opponents you search with a variety of filters (only want to fight machine gun-equipped light quads? You can do that). After you get enough points, you'll get an invitation fight ot the move to the next league and the way this system is implemented means you can become the king of the arena without fighting anyone in the top 25 beside the current champion.

It's not a complete waste. Some of the tests can be pretty tensen and it attempts to correct some of the unbalanced changes made in Nexus. But it's easily the most skipabble entry in the series and feels like a filler game they knocked out to hold out until the (fucking amazing) Last Raven.



Ace Combat Assault Horizon insensed fans by moving the series into the real world, a change I totally did not care about. What I do care about is that they fucked up the gameplay beyond repairs. Due to apparently finding the series gameplay not "cinematic" enough, Assault Horizon reduce the tracking abilities of your missiles and made the machine gun useless to incentivize you to use the game's new mechanic, Dogfight Mode. Basically, if you get really close to an enemy, you can engage a semi-automated mode that essentially turns the game into a rail shooter and it,s really boring. It's not even optional because many enemies can only be killed by DFM (they're otherwise invicible or spam unlimited flares), and what's worse is that many of those fights are scripted so you can pelt 10 missiles into an enemy before it crashes where it's supposed to. The game also tries to spince things up with helicopter and rail shooter missions, but they're too long and really boring.

Every Ace Combat games after AH would try to distance themselves from the game as much possible. Infinity (the very next game) advertised the lack of DFM as a selling point.
 

Crescent-Moon Villager

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#4
People say Zelda 2 is the "black sheep" of the series, but I love that game. For me it's Skyward Sword that's miles below the rest. It's so very linear and uninspired, and ugly as sin...
 

Metal

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#5
Just one word " cryptic " strange considering this Castlevania game gave us such an iconic theme Bloody Tears.




As far as Wario is concerned, I have to say Wario Blast because I suck at Bomberman games.
Honestly does it really count as a " black sheep " of the family if you suck booty at the game? Sounds funny, you should honestly try the SNES Bomberman games or at the very Pocket Bomberman for the GB to familiarize yourself since lol.

People say Zelda 2 is the "black sheep" of the series, but I love that game. For me it's Skyward Sword that's miles below the rest. It's so very linear and uninspired, and ugly as sin...
I actually enjoyed Zelda ll a lot personally, although Skyward Sword wasn't my favorite game in the franchise it had it's moments I suppose. I feel the black sheep of the games would have been Phantom Hourglass and to an extent Spirit Tracks which is incredibly linear as well even for a Zelda game.

Lastly MMX7 can eat a bag of butts, TORNADO TONION is gar though.
 

Robin

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#6
I don't think Zelda 2 was the black sheep because of anything besides how different it was from the original. It wasn't a bad game entirely, it was even mostly good, but it had a few things that the fans of the first game didn't enjoy, like how the dungeons are sidescrollers, among other things. But that was then, because now the black sheep I hear a lot is either TP or SS. Twilight Princess is not bad at all, people just complain about the wolf sections and the dark look, which is just a preference. Skyward Sword on the other hand, while having a great plot and a very interesting feel and look, is often criticized by it's linearity and it's controls mostly, as @Crescent-Moon Villager said.
But yeah, Zelda 2 used to be the black sheep, but not as much anymore, from what I've seen.
 

MrLlort

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#7
The whole third generation of Worms series (2006-2011) is awfull. But most of them had at least some reasons for it. Open Warfare dualogy was first attempt to return franchise to 2D (After some good 3D games), plus they are portable. Space Oddity tried motion controls (And I love design of weapons and backgrounds). Battle Islands is mix bag of both (being PSP and Wii game).

So why did they made Worms 2: Armageddon (Which was later ported to PC as Worms Reloaded, its the exact same crap) so mediocre? The physics are awfull in comparison to original Armageddon, why do we still have 4 teams with 4 worms each, when original Armageddon had 6 teams with 8 fighters at the same time back in 1999.

And what on earth happend to weapons? They used to have so much variety with 70-80 usuall and weird ways to kill your opponents. Now it's around 30. Almost 3 times lower. Where is my homing pigeon? Where is vase, you can drop on someone, and it will explode 5 seconds later, and its remainings will also explode? Where is Minigun? Where is Old Lady, which also explodes? Where is French Sheep Strike, where Burning Sheeps destroy half of the map. At least they managed to keep Concrete Donkey, Banana bombs and Holy Hand Greenades.

And singleplayer campaign is just awfull. One of my favorite missions in original Armageddon called "Countdown to armageddon", where you must protect worm with hat from enemies, and then after some ammount of turns huge pile of meteorits destroys everything. Reloaded/2:Armageddon has nothing close to that. All missions are based on destroing all enemies/reaching teleport with Rope or Jetpack. God bless Revolution and WMD for being so much better in everything.
 

Just a Wario Fan

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#8
Donkey Kong Land 1, for the Game Boy. It's got a pretty bad continuing method, that is not seen in any of the other DKL or Country games, and has a pretty ¨mediocre¨ feel to me.
 

CM30

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#10
I don't think Zelda 2 was the black sheep because of anything besides how different it was from the original. It wasn't a bad game entirely, it was even mostly good, but it had a few things that the fans of the first game didn't enjoy, like how the dungeons are sidescrollers, among other things. But that was then, because now the black sheep I hear a lot is either TP or SS. Twilight Princess is not bad at all, people just complain about the wolf sections and the dark look, which is just a preference. Skyward Sword on the other hand, while having a great plot and a very interesting feel and look, is often criticized by it's linearity and it's controls mostly, as @Crescent-Moon Villager said.
But yeah, Zelda 2 used to be the black sheep, but not as much anymore, from what I've seen.
Honestly, I think the Zelda black sheep is probably one of the handheld titles. Those have some of the less well received games anyway, CD-i not counting. TriForce Heroes and Four Swords are pretty weak, and Phantom Hourglass is rather mediocre as well.

Does the Game & Watch game count? Or the game watch one? Those are eh as well.

But back to the topic, well for me, Wario Master of Disguise is the obvious choice for the Wario series. It sounds good, but the actual game side is a bit less well thought out, meaning it nicely joins Mario Pinball Land's side as a 'soundtrack CD with a game attached to it'.

Paper Mario has Sticker Star, but I only played Color Splash, so I'll use that for this topic. Even without the obvious issue of 'no original characters at all because Miyamoto/Intelligent Systems were morons', the games are basically as uninteresting as you can get, and genuinely give you no real incentive to ever touch them again once you've seen the credits (or 100%ed it for the first time, if you're a masochist). It's like a Paper Mario theme park ride, where all the enjoyment comes from being 'surprised' the first time through and where subsequent playthroughs feel completely artificial as a result.

Mario & Luigi? Well I guess it's either Partners in Time or Paper Jam, depending on what you care more about. The former is creatively interesting, but so ridiculously linear that it makes Skyward Sword look like Breath of the Wild by comparison; there are pretty much no connections between areas, no real overworld, no sidequests and no friendly NPCs to speak of (outside of maybe one per area if you're lucky). Paper Jam on the other hand is mechanically solid, feels very much like a sequel should do, but has basically no personality at all. So it's a choice between the interesting but mechanically flawed option and the solid but creatively soulless one.

And that's about it from me. Can't say I have too many examples of black sheep in favourite franchises.
 

SurrealBrain

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#11
I second the Wrath of Cortex example. Of course, my big issue with the game is that there's too many vehicle levels, and many of them are clunjy in their own right. The actual platforming is largely fine, but the balance beteen vehicles and platforming isn't good. Doesn't help that in some ways, the graphics actually look worse than the PS1 versions of the originals. And making it even worse; not counting the N. Sane Trilogy, this remains the last Crash Bandicoot game in the original gameplay style, for later console entries would change things up in some ways (at least we got Twinsanity out of it, though).

If you gotta play the game, the Xbox version (the one I own) is considered the best version due to slightly better graphics and the best load times...but it's mediocre no matter what system you play it on.

For the Wario platformers, I'm with you on Master of Disguise. It was made worse by the fact that I was actually looking forward to the game back in the day. I went through much more detail elsewhere, I'm sure, but it reached the point where I couldn't take it anymore.

WarioWare, of course, the absolute nadir of the series remains WarioWare: Snapped! You wanna take WarioWare, and make it nearly unplayable except in just the right room? Look no further than this game. The DSi/3DS camera does not work well at all in most places, and you're probably gonna spend more time trying to get the game to even work than you are playing microgames. Also, while WarioWare was never known for deep plots, the intro cutscene is literally all you get for any sort of story. It's a nice intro, for sure, but you don't even get an ending cutscene for your troubles.

With Sonic, it's a toss-up between Sonic Riders and Sonic Labyrinth. Riders had such horrificly bad controls it ruined my enjoyment. I tried so hard to get used to the controls, and failed every single time. Like Master of Disguise, this was another one I was looking forward to, only to be severely disappointed. It had a lot going for it, had cool new characters, heck, even the graphics were good for the day. But the controls completely ruined it. The game does have many fans, however, so if you try it, maybe you'll see something I don't, though if you want my honest opinion, $10 should be the maximum you spend on it.

Sonic Labyrinth is an isometric game where you gotta play as Sonic moving very slow because of Eggman replacing Sonic shoes with boots while the blue blur was sleeping. The puzzles range from uninteresting to outright frustrating, and the frustrating ones made me quit. If you have to play this one, get the Sonic Mega Collection Plus on PS2 or Xbox; maybe you'll see something I don't, and if not, you got plenty of other games to choose from.

Having played Puyo Puyo~n, I can see why some don't find it good; the gameplay is still there, but matches go on for an oddly long time, at least in single player mode. It's still playable and there's fun to be had, and I adore its artstyle, but there's a reasonnthe gameplay isn't on top. Have yet to play the GBC version, but I hear it's better in this regard.

That's about it for what I can come up with right off the bat, though I'm sure I'll have more as I either remember them, or I play more.
 
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Broder

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#12
One of My Favourite Franchises is CB too! For me Crash Of The Titans is the Black Sheep of the Series, Crash Mind Over Mutant for me is descent, oh yes, i forgoted about Crash Boom Bang, a horrible Mario Party Clone
 

Robin

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#13
One of My Favourite Franchises is CB too! For me Crash Of The Titans is the Black Sheep of the Series, Crash Mind Over Mutant for me is descent, oh yes, i forgoted about Crash Boom Bang, a horrible Mario Party Clone
Oh wow, those games, I actually forgot about them!
 

Glowsquid

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#14
Wing Commander has a bunch of black sheep entries. I'm going to talk about all of them



Wing Commander Academy main selling pont was its mission editor, but being a 1993 DOS game, it's too clunky, limited, and hard to share your creations to be of much interest. More interesting today is that it has a very lengthy and customizable "gauntlet" mode; I LOVE horde modes and it's the last game with the classic WC gameplay and aesthetics so I got a lot of milleage out of it!



Wing Commander Armada was an odd-cross between space combat and turn-based strategy, and not much good at either. The strategy part is very clunky and shallow and the space combat feels absolutely awful compared to all the other games in the series. It's also blatantly unbalanced: the manual makes a point of saying Confed ships haveb etter shields while Kilralthi have better hulls, but one regenerates and the other doesn't! Its only saving graces is that it's the first (and only, if you don't count fan mods) game in the series to include online multiplayer and inexplicably being the only game in the series to allow you to remap the controls.



Privateer 2 the Darkening is the most infamous of the lot, both because it has very little to the franchises and barelly ressemble the game it's ostensibly a sequel to (mostly because it was an original IP before the Privateer name was slapped on at the last minute, natch), and for being extremely buggy, with braindead enemies and a broken economy model (bad in a trading sim!).

I don't hate it too: the shift from slooooow projectiles-based combat to fast firing lasers was a nice change of pace and the whole style of the game is amazing. Its developers would go on to found Warthog, which made many cool games like Star Trek Invasion, Starlancer, the 2003 Battlestar Galactica game and Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter

 

MrLlort

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#15
I'm going to expand my list:

Everyone hates Rayman Raving Rabbids. And I understand why- It's preety good party game, but everyone expected 4th platformer in successfull franchise without annoing Bunnies. It's not a bad game, but it's still a black sheep with a reason of sudden Rabbids popularity, and lack of actuall Rayman games up to 2011. I hope ports count too, because nothing can compete with Rayman Advance. They made some platforming sections easier, but it's still too diffucult for me. And you still forced to 100% the game. Add to this small screen and this music:
Prepare, Sonic Genesis OST, you got new opponent.

Speaking of Sonic, black sheep of it's 2D games goes to be Sonic 2, because of unpredictable level design, and lack of continues. And don't remind me of Special stages- who thought these uncompletable, way too hard pipe levels are better than Special stages in both 1 and 3 (even CD), that they included these in heroes, episode 2 of Sonic 4, and many portable games?
 

Magma

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#16
Been thinking of what I could say here since I don't know if there's anything too surprising or interesting I could say. I guess I'll give it a shot

Sonic the Hedgehog series - Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Ho boy, this game is pretty much known to everyone as everything that had ever been wrong with the Sonic series. I've never actually tried it not because of what people have said but I didn't have a 360 or PS3 when this game came out. I am well aware of probably all the well-deserved criticism of this game and yet I'd still like to try it. I feel like I'll still get some enjoyment out of it I mean I also liked the Game Gear games and those games are usually considered adequate at best. I can even recall when this game was about to come out and being blown away by the teaser images.

Ace Attorney Series - Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (2007)
Now here's a game I have played though my opinions are probably inline with most other people's. I really liked the game overall but I felt like it could've been its own thing separate from the original series since it just changed the direction of the series so much.
 

The 3rd Wario Brother

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#17

I would have went with DQ2 but thats to easy so ill complain about 6

My main problem is the vocations. Vocations are like classes in this game and as you fight and get xp you also get vocation points to upgrade your party members. You need a lot of vocation points to be good for shit so you gotta fight a lot. There isnt a lot of grinding when your just going from point a to point b which is what your doing because the encounter (i havent researched the DQ encounter rates but i swear its higher) rates are so much higher. In DQ5 you fought alot but your ability to just walk two damn steps gave you breathing room and good pacing. But in DQ6 the enemies are hounding you so much but you cant run cuz you need those vocations points.
The cycle of vocations and fighting kinda kills what is otherwise a pretty nice mechanic.

The story seems interesting at first but some of it isnt fully explained and a couple party members are just un memorable. I get Chrono Trigger vibes and considering the time of its release i wonder if they just changed some things last minute to rake in da bic buccs,

The dungeons are pretty boring honestly. The NES DQ games get a pass since 8-bit RPGs arent known for compelling dungeon design and they try to make the location themeselves interesting for the time but when DQ came to the SNES they upped their dungeon game and DQ5 has well designed dungeons that are fun to explore and require some light puzzle solving to get to. Then DQ6 brings it back to a simple cave with enemies.

Thats the bad parts and all in all DQ6 is still a decent JRPG but this would be my example of a bad DQ game. (well actually its still DQ2 but ill complain about that game all fucking day)
 
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