Last year we sort of rinsed out the Easter Egg idea as far as it would go, so this time we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of gaming’s greatest resurrections from years gone by. The awesomely successful sequels to bad games which rescued franchises from an eternity of obscurity. They’re a much rarer breed than a bad sequel to a great game, chiefly because, well, no publisher wants to back a sequel to a bad game. Still, there are few gems that have risen like phoenixes from the ashes, finally delivering on the promise their premises deserved.
Red Dead Redemption - Resurrected from Red Dead Revolver
Probably the granddaddy of them all. More than a few eyebrows were raised when Rockstar nabbed the rights to Red Dead Revolver from Capcom, delivering a spaghetti western that proved hugely disappointing compared to Rockstar’s typical output. That disappointment only lasted six years though, because in 2010 Rockstar delivered one of the most improved sequels of all time. Red Dead Redemption is a game which deserves all the superlatives you can throw it. Expansion, deeply atmospheric and a masterclass in storytelling, this was Rockstar let loose and delivering on our wildest The Good, The Bad and The Ugly fantasies.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - Resurrected from Final Fantasy XIV Online
The clue's in the name here; a rare example of a game resurrecting itself. When Final Fantasy XIV Online launched it was terrible, and it wasn’t long after the mess that was Final Fantasy XIII either. It ended up getting critically panned, forcing Square Enix back to the drawing board. It proved total transformative. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn arrived to low expectations and managed to blow MMORPG fans away. It’s now probably the most successful subscription-based MMO behind World of Warcraft and it’s still getting stronger with the Stormblood expansion right around the corner.
A proper DOOM sequel was always seen as mission impossible. DOOM 3 strayed a long way from the DOOM template we’d come to know and laugh, and id Software’s repeated aborted attempts suggested it was having a great deal of trouble marrying old school gameplay with modern demands. And then the DOOM reboot came along and it truly was exquisite. Fast, furious and brutal, DOOM was both resolutely retro and satisfyingly modern. Slick controls, fantastic vertical movement and brutal gunplay combined to deliver one of the greatest FPS campaigns of all time.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Resurrected from X-COM: Enforcer
Now this one is a bit of callback, but it’s fair to say the X-COM series was in the doldrums after its latter few games. X-COM: Enforcer strayed away into third-person shooter territory and disappointing. After the pseudo-closure of developer MicroProse the X-COM franchise just seemed to disappear. Then, 11 years later, Firaxis Games, including a number of ex-MicroProse devs, absolutely blew up with the success of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. A tactical strategy game for the modern age, it scoffed down game of the year awards like candy. By equal turns frustrating and richly rewarding, RNG rage was never the same again.
Resident Evil 7 - Resurrected from Resident Evil 6
At this time last year, the Resident Evil series was in the doldrums. A series of disappointing spin-offs culminated in the bloat-fest that was Resident EVil 6. It wasn’t bad, just disappointingly average, and not what we expected from the biggest name in survival horror. Fast forward 12 months and Resident Evil 7 has been announced and released to rapturous acclaim, presenting a genre-bleeding take on the current first-person survival trend with the characterful level design of the original Resident Evil. Evil had found a new home.