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What are the most varied game series?

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I frequently don't get very far through game series and sometimes the reason is because the next game looks too much like just more of the same. So I'm wondering what series of games really shake things up as they go on.

 

There must be plenty of examples of games that change with the hardware as they add 3D. Stuff like Metal Gear. Also big franchises sometimes have spin off type games in different formats like Lara Croft Go.

 

But more so I'm curious about games that really experiment with the gameplay in their series over shorter periods of time.

 

So, including all of those things and whatever else you can think of, which series have really pushed the boat out on keeping things fresh?

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Half-Life really reinvented itself over the course of its series... although admittedly that was two games released years apart.

 

I think the easy answer would be Mario or Zelda because they barely stick to a format. You're rescuing the princess or finding the triangles, but the way you get there is rarely the same.

 

E: Kirby, to an extent. He had a tilt-sensor game, a platform-doodling game, Metroidvania formats (Amazing Mirror), then you've got Mass Attack and Air Ride...

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Resident Evil has seen some fairly radical changes. If you were to play REmake, 4, 7 and then REmake 2 when it comes out you’d end up with very different experiences.

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It's an interesting thing, but is it actually desirable to have vast experimentation within a series? If you have something interesting that has a specific character you don't necessarily want it to vary wildly from one instalment to the next. You definitely want evolution, but I'd prefer variety to happen through new IP and so on.

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Fallout has gone from fairly hardcore RPG for the first two.

 

Then a tactics game.

 

Then 3D open world with 'we're still an RPG honest!' VATS dice rolls for combat.

 

Then whatever the hell you would class Fallout Shelter as.

 

Then a more third person shooter / base building with 4.

 

And on to eventual MMO style with the next one.

 

That's a lot of different.

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The MASK series on ZX Spectrum was pretty varied.

 

First one was a top down adventure/shooter:

 

image.png.16607f4d675299b500fff7cf3a54d295.png

 

Second one involved driving the various vehicles from a side on viewpoint:

 

image.png.a31b7fb75f397b30732532c8999a3732.png

 

And the third was a more traditional platformer:

 

image.png.b512d39f961b823b5f6ebce3b6011b74.png

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1 hour ago, Qazimod said:

Half-Life really reinvented itself over the course of its series... although admittedly that was two games released years apart.

 

A narrative-led shooter where you walk through endless corridors with rubbish shooting, followed by a narrative-led shooter where you walk through endless disguised corridors with rubbish shooting?

 

Discounting spin-offs (as those feel like cheating), Resident Evil's transition from fun schlocky horror to dull third-person shooter to unplayably terrifying actual horror has been reasonably interesting, in that it's managed those transitions while always staying somewhere in the horror genre. 

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3 hours ago, Wiper said:

 

A narrative-led shooter where you walk through endless corridors with rubbish shooting, followed by a narrative-led shooter where you walk through endless disguised corridors with rubbish shooting?

 

Nice. Admittedly the premise was similar and it’s not like it changed genre, but the environmental storytelling was on another level and the gravity gun transformed the gameplay. :) 

 

More drastic transformations in old games series: Mario vs DK becoming Lemmings in its second game was a surprise, and March of the Minis is still one of my favourite DS titles. Similarly, an old C64 platformer series named "Creatures" took the Torture Chambers of the first game and made them the focus of the second game - turning it from a side-scrolling platform game into more of a puzzler. I think you know a sequel does something different when you vastly prefer one game over others in the series.

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2 hours ago, SharkyOB said:

The MASK series on ZX Spectrum was pretty varied.

 

First one was a top down adventure/shooter:

 

image.png.16607f4d675299b500fff7cf3a54d295.png

 

Second one involved driving the various vehicles from a side on viewpoint:

 

image.png.a31b7fb75f397b30732532c8999a3732.png

 

And the third was a more traditional platformer:

 

image.png.b512d39f961b823b5f6ebce3b6011b74.png

 

Is that MASK as in Boulder Hill? Most underrated toy franchise IMO.

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2 hours ago, SharkyOB said:

The MASK series on ZX Spectrum was pretty varied.

 

First one was a top down adventure/shooter:

 

image.png.16607f4d675299b500fff7cf3a54d295.png

 

Second one involved driving the various vehicles from a side on viewpoint:

 

image.png.a31b7fb75f397b30732532c8999a3732.png

 

And the third was a more traditional platformer:

 

image.png.b512d39f961b823b5f6ebce3b6011b74.png

At first I thought the 3rd picture was joke as it looks just like Exolon. 

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The Jak and Daxter series of games on PS2 could be a candidate. The switch to a GTA-lite style game for the second game along with the shift in tone was a big departure from the first game. They didn't change things up as much for the third game but to go from the precursor legacy to Jak 3 in three years showed a major shift in tone for the games in a relatively short period of time. 

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The shining series has been quite varied.

 

First person dungeon crawler in darkness.

 

Force 1, 2 and 3 were turn based strategy

 

Holy ark was more first person dungeon crawling RPG and it was brilliant.

 

Soul and loads of others have been adventure RPG type things.

 

Force 2 was the best game on Mega Drive. Easily.

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2 hours ago, bear said:

The Jak and Daxter series of games on PS2 could be a candidate. The switch to a GTA-lite style game for the second game along with the shift in tone was a big departure from the first game. They didn't change things up as much for the third game but to go from the precursor legacy to Jak 3 in three years showed a major shift in tone for the games in a relatively short period of time. 

And the first was by far and away the best too. Shame. 

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1 hour ago, Adrock said:

The shining series has been quite varied.

 

First person dungeon crawler in darkness.

 

Force 1, 2 and 3 were turn based strategy

 

Holy ark was more first person dungeon crawling RPG and it was brilliant.

 

Soul and loads of others have been adventure RPG type things.

 

Force 2 was the best game on Mega Drive. Easily.

 

Are they the same series though? I just regarded anything without “Force” in the title and not developed by what is now Camelot as simply trading on the name.

 

Edit: Have you played the latest one?

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8 minutes ago, gossi the dog said:

 

Are they the same series though? I just regarded anything without “Force” in the title and not developed by what is now Camelot as simply trading on the name.

 

I mean, Shining in the Darkness (dungeon-crawler) is not only developed by Climax and Sonic! Software Planning (i.e. what is now Camelot), it's also the first game in the series, so if anything the Force games are the spinoffs (also, Shining Wisdom, which switches genre again to action-adventure, was also by pre-Camelot).

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Just now, Wiper said:

 

I mean, Shining in the Darkness is not only developed by Climax, it's the first game in the series, so if anything the Force games are the spinoffs.

 

Do any characters overlap between the various games? Is there any continuity?

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