For a medium that has lasted for over 40 years, even video games cannot escape the ire of bad sequels. It's when a sequel doesn't live up to the original, whether it is in terms of the plot, scope or in this case, characters, players start to look back at the old characters they love and wonder how they got it wrong the second time. Now we're not saying any of these games are bad or inferior to the originals or vice versa. We're only counting down the Top 10 Worst Characters that replaced the main character from a previous installment in a sequel of said game. Got it? Let's go:
10. Kingdom Hearts II: Roxas
Roxas isn't that bad, but try to remember booting up Kingdom Hearts II, with the opening cinematic showing all of Sora's greatest moments throughout Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories, only to be playing as a dopey, sleepy, blonde kid named Roxas (Which is Sora's name but jumbled up and with an X). The game doesn't really explain to first time players on who exactly he is and just dumps the player in the middle of his summer vacation. It also doesn't help that you are as stuck with Roxas for 3 hours as a tutorial sequence. Thankfully, once you get to Sora, he is yours to use for the entire game, with him and Roxas fusing after the tutorial. For a sequel character that only lasts for 3 hours, Roxas ain't too bad, that's why he is number 10 on the list.
9. Devil May Cry 4: Nero
Here's a great idea Capcom had, make a sequel to the great Devil May Cry 3, change the main character to not the already established and ever-cool Dante, instead introduce a brand new guy, who looks like Dante (but isn't), is a mopey cult member who wants to save his girlfriend and is voiced by the second Black Ranger from the original Power Rangers. This was what went through my mind when I played this game a few years ago. You only get to play as Dante for 7 missions with Nero taking up the rest. The fact that Capcom made him look exactly like Dante was pretty aggravating, it's like them saying:"Hey we know you like Dante, here's a watered down version for ya!" At least Roxas's hair was a little different from Sora...
8. Dead Rising 2: Chuck Greene
Granted, compared to the first game's Frank West, Chuck Greene had a more noble goal in mind and was fighting zombies not just for himself, but to save his daughter Katey and making sure she doesn't succumb to the zombie virus. But Frank West, well he's just awesome.
He's a rugged, savvy photojournalist looking to uncover the truth about the zombie outbreak. Chuck's motivations aren't so bad, he's just surviving and looking out for his daughter by joining a zombie killing game show. Not the worst, he just doesn't give as much compared to Frank. Plus, with Frank's photojournalistic background, he has a specific game mechanic whereby he gets to take pictures of the things around him. Dead Rising 2 took out this feature for it to be more combat heavy, in line with Chuck's motivations to survive the undead apocalypse.
7. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: Unnamed Abstergo Agent
For three games, players followed the adventures of Desmond Miles as he goes through his ancestor's memories throughout different periods of time, from the era of the Third Crusade, the Renaissance, and the American Revolution, Desmond learned the tricks of the Assassin's way firsthand through his ancestor's memories and ultimately *SPOILER ALERT* gives his life to save humanity.
As such, the next installment in the franchise would carry on with a new protagonist, the one and only, Abstergo employee... An unnamed agent, a.k.a "yourself", who can hack computers and has no stake whatsoever to the overall Templar vs Assassin conflict. Basically, you play as a guy on his desk playing Assassin's Creed IV, while you're at your desk playing a guy on his desk playing Assassin Creed IV... It's a simulation, in a simulation!
6. Prototype 2: James Heller
Alex Mercer from the first game was a genius scientist and sociopath who was infected by the Blacklight virus. Aided by his sister, he takes revenge on the people responsible for his infection, the Blackwatch and goes on a rampage across Manhattan. Basically, he's a mutant Dexter Morgan. James Heller on the hand is just a boring soldier archetype. who is just following orders from whoever that would give it to him, including orders from Alex Mercer himself.
His backstory is simple as he just wants revenge for the death of his wife and daughter(who turns out to be alive), he doesn't have the depth and personal stake that Alex had that turned him from great anti-hero into a full blown villain. Also, even though he has the same powers as Alex Mercer, James just controls more rigidly, with his attacks and forms being used for specific situations, instead of being able to unleash all hell like Alex.
5. Halo 5: Spartan Locke
Halo already had a good sequel character back in Halo 2, which was Arbiter, the Elite "Chosen One" that provided a flip in the story as you get to play the Master Chief equivalent in the enemy ranks. It was also cool how Arbiter would join you at the end of the game and throughout Halo 3, basically, the inclusion of Arbiter fleshed out the world Halo. Locke on the other hand, who was just Luke Cage in Spartan armor, was a bland, Spartan IV who was introduced as a foil to Master Chief but failed as most players would not have any investment in his character outside of Halo: Nightfall, a web-series prologue to Halo 5.
Also, as Halo 5 is a mainline Halo game, players expected Master Chief to be the main character in the campaign but instead they get a new character who is under orders to hunt down the Chief while not being a fleshed out character himself. In short, Locke is a bore.
4.Bioshock 2: Subject Delta
Bioshock 2 seemed like a dream come true by letting players into the shoes of a Big Daddy, the giant, drill-armed monstrosities that were a tough enemy if encountered in the first game. They seemed near invulnerable and could easily rip a hole into the player if they even think about coming close to the Little Sisters the Big Daddies are guarding. As Subject Delta, you are a Big Daddy who has lost his little sister and must do whatever you can to get her back.
You get to control a Big Daddy, drill arm and all in Bioshock 2 and yet, you just don't feel as powerful. There is hardly any difference in playing between playing as Jack, the protagonist of the first game, or as Subject Delta, except possibly for the aforementioned drill arm and being able to sink underwater. You don't get to feel the immense power of the Big Daddy, just more of the same of Jack's plasmid powers and different guns.
3.Final Fantasy VII Dirge of Cerberus: Vincent Valentine
If you were to tell someone in the late 90s that there would be a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, everyone would collectively have their minds blown, especially if you were to tell them that it would star secret character, Vincent Valentine. Fast forward to today and nobody talks about Dirge of Cerberus. This third-person shooter game was a sequel to Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children and was a total shift in tone and game style.
With the brooding, emo, gunslinger finding out the truth about his past and conquering his inner demons (and turning himself into one), Dirge of Cerberus was a lackluster follow-up to the FFVII saga, it hardly has the rest of the party in the game too. Though Vincent is a cool character himself, he wasn't compelling enough to star in a game of his own and he certainly doesn't hold a candle to Cloud.
2.Metal Gear Solid 2: Raiden
Though Raiden is his own character now, with his own action game and cool cyborg ninja aesthetic, he wasn't always that way. Strictly speaking from Metal Gear Solid 2's original release, the promotional material didn't even give the slightest hint that players will be using him most of the time instead of Solid Snake. Hideo Kojima made sure this was a secret until the game's launch.
The opening hours in the game was a nice return to form with Solid Snake infiltrating a tanker, with Otacon on the line and talks of a new Metal Gear, just like the old days. Then after that mission, you think you're still playing as Snake as the Colonel is briefing you on the next mission, even referring to you as "Snake". But the voice that replies isn't your usual gravelly Solid Snake voice, but a whinier, anime dub voice. As "Snake" swims through the oil rig, the Colonel reassigns you as "Raiden" and Hideo Kojima laughs in the distance. I guess what makes Raiden a sour taste in most gamers mouths is the deception that comes with his introduction, instead of outright telling you that you are playing a different character. He also had the distinction of going through an entire sequence without a single piece of clothing, Solid Snake would never have done that.
1.Megaman X7: Axl
What kind of Megaman game would not allow you to play as Megaman until at least half of the game is done? Sure you need 64 Reploids rescued to unlock X, but with 14 of them hidden in every stage and with players having no clue on the significance of rescuing those Reploids, there are players out there who played Megaman X without even knowing that the guy the game is named after was playable at all. Instead, they were stuck with this second-hand robot, Axl.
From the get-go, players get to use Axl to destroy Mavericks and do other usual Megaman stuff. But don't be fooled, Axl is no X. He has a weak pistol to attack enemies with, he can't charge it up as much as X and is just an overall pain to play as. Not to mention his awful child-like voice acting. While X can copy the powers of the Mavericks that he destroys after a boss fight, the developers at Capcom made Axl go a step further and be able to copy the powers of regular bad guys. The catch is that regular enemies are a bore to play with and their attacks don't change up the way you approach enemies, instead, it was just a throwaway gimmick that didn't lead up to anything. Overall, Axl is a bad sequel character as he was presented as a replacement for X who has gone through 6 of his own games and has been a fan-favorite for quite some time now, introducing Axl while introducing a half-baked 3D mechanics was just a poor decision on Capcom's part. As such, he deserves the title of Number 1 Worst Sequel Character.
Tune in tomorrow for the Top 10 Best Sequel Characters!