What Past-Its-Prime Franchise Do You Still Love?


#1

As franchises fall from prominence in the gaming zeitgeist, there sometimes is a core fanbase that remains to embrace the later, less popular entries of a languishing series. Somebody keeps buying Telltale games, for instance, even though most people got off the hype train after Walking Dead Season 1. Why can’t that somebody be on this very forum?

For me, it has to be Halo. The series is but a shadow of what it was at Halo 3’s peak, but I still regularly play rounds of Halo MCC and Halo 5. There’s something about the way those games control that still speaks to me after all these years, so I’ll be first in line to Game Pass Halo 6 when it comes out.

So I ask you, what franchises that have fallen on harder times do you still keep up with?


#2

I still have my fingers crossed that Mass Effect will return with something great even after the Andromeda meltdown. Also, I suspect some folks would call Dragon Age past its prime, but I’m feverishly awaiting the next entry.

I also will admit that I’ve continued to buy Telltale games despite the fact that their engine looks more and more outdated and clunky every time. I’ll probably get the last season of The Walking Dead when it comes out.


#3

Deus Ex.

I liked parts of Mankind Divided, but it was a pale shadow compared to Human Revolution. I’m just hoping the franchise isn’t dead, as I don’t think MD did very well.

But I’ll be there for whatever they do next. Heck, I’d be happy with a remake of the original for modern tech (yes, the mods and graphic enhancements to the first game have been nice and all, but there’s only so much fans can do with it.)


#4

Same. Any new Dragon Age or Mass Effect is a surefire purchase from me.

(For the record, I am one of the people who genuinely likes Andromeda, even if it is not as good as the original trilogy. And I like Inquisition despite its flaws because I love the characters and story.)


#5

God of War :3

For a more serious answer, Max Payne. The third game was a pretty generic third-person cover shooter, but I still liked it. I’m a sucker for shooters anyway, and even though it didn’t reach the heights of cheese of the first two games and pretty much gave up on the noir aesthetic, I still have fun listening to James McCaffrey gravel it up. Plus, for a Rockstar game, its politics weren’t that bad. It at least did an OK job portraying how corrupt and decadent the Brazilian ruling class is, and criticizing Payne’s white savior complex.


#6

I feel similarly about Mass Effect, but I suspect I’m much less optimistic. I’m all but convinced that ME is never gonna adopt the mood and tone that made the first game so compelling to me.

I’m also cautiously optimistic about the next Dragon Age game. I hated the core mechanics of Inquisition but I still love that world and those characters.


#7

Xenoblade.

Thanks to chronicles being one of the greatest rpgs of all time, I can’t not buy every xenoblade game.

BECAUSE WHAT IF ONE OF THEM IS AS GOOD AS CHRONICLES.

They won’t be, BUT WHAT IF.


#8

Contra and Castlevania hold a special place in my heart. I don’t even know what I’d want from a new entry in either of those series, and god knows what remains of Konami won’t be able to deliver, but I am absolutely still going to download that weird PVP multiplayer Castlevania iOS game day one.


#9

Tomb Raider. I usually don’t think of it as one of my favorite series, but I’ve actually finished every mainline entry since Crystal Dynamics rebooted it back in the mid '00s. I think I like them because there aren’t a ton of games out there with female protagonists, they’re always gorgeous, and they usually have this nice breezy vibe that makes them perfect for zoning out and soaking in the environments. I do wish the new ones had better stories, but they’re inoffensive enough and the open world component is strong enough to make up for it.


#10

100% Halo for me also. I love the aesthetic and style of those games so much. I really loved how the games were experimenting with new things in ODST and Reach. Personally the last two entries didn’t do much for me, but I hope the series finds its stride once again.


#11

I still remember this one time I was listening to the Giant Bombcast before Halo 4 was properly revealed:

Jeff brought up the idea of using the Chief and Cortana’s situation as of the end of Halo 3 - floating out in the void, completely cut off from the UNSC, the Covenant, and all of known space - to do something entirely new with the setting. The only elements retained would be those two characters–they’d be thrust into an entirely new story, lost in an area of space that no human had ever seen before.

I still love that basic concept, and I’m super bummed they squandered the opportunity to try it–particularly as 343’s campaigns haven’t really managed to capture that ‘classic’ Halo charm, either. Halo: CE was probably the first shooter I ever played, and I’ll always have some amount of affection for the franchise, but absolutely nothing they’ve done since the developer changeover has grabbed me, and I so desperately wish for that to change.


#12

Final Fantasy. I think it could return to glory and I think it might be heading there… slowly, but even if it remains as good as FF15 I’ll still love it.


#13

I guess Gears of War counts, right? I’m not super into the multiplayer, but the mechanical core of the series, that of a cumbersome third person shooter where you stick to cover or die, is still enjoyable to me. And while the story is occasionally vapid, I really want to see where they take old man Marcus “MY FUCKIN TOMATOES” Fenix


#14

Absolutely with you on Max Payne. I want a new one really bad.

I played that game on a PC with a mouse/keyboard, basically never taking cover and doing some Max Payne-ass shit and had a great time with it. It might be my favourite shooter of the 360 era from a mechanical standpoint. The game definitely wants you to use its cover system more than its bullet time system, though, and It feels a bit conflicted in that regard.

I was also surprised with the game’s politics and would like to see more of that out of Rockstar (though I have little confidence after GTA 5).


#15

Does Tony Hawk count even though that series is dead? Everything past Pro Skater is not as great, but those Neversoft games still play well.


#16

Street Fighter.

But only because of Menat.


#17

I haven’t played the games in years, and I think the developer that owns the IP has split up or gone under, but I’d love something to pick up Rune Factory’s mantle of Harvest-Moon-farming-sim (or any type of life sim) with heavy narrative and dungeon crawling elements. Stardew Valley did have a tiny bit of that with its mine and community center, but it only barely scratched the surface of what Rune Factory 2 was able to do for me ages ago.

(That said, I’ve heard that Persona 5 kinda sorta does something like what I’m describing, but it’s currently waiting in my backlog so I can’t really say if it would fulfill what I’m looking for.)