10 Great Gaming Franchises With One Bad Entry | Screen Rant

Just last month, Vampire: The Masquerade made a much-awaited comeback with Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, but despite the long wait, the first big RPG in the series since 2004's Bloodlines received 4s and 5s out of 10s from some of the biggest gaming outlets. It took a risk in making a more detective-heavy game that didn't sit well with audiences, ultimately suffering because of it.

Conversely, the likes of Legend of Zelda and Resident Evil wouldn’t be where they are today without reinventing the wheel as they did with Breath of the Wild and Village respectively, and more recently the Yakuza series, which saw 15 years of intense beat 'em up showdowns shift the former brawler into a turn-based RPG that worked exceptionally with Like a Dragon. No matter how "perfect" a series may seem, though, nothing is immune to creative differences that put a property's legacy at risk when aiming for new directions that could change everything, and not every franchise has a comeback story.

Paper Mario and its following two sequels received critical acclaim that made the series an immediate fan favorite of Nintendo's catalog. After its third entry, however, Paper Mario began to lose its RPG roots, with Sticker Star being the first that saw the series take a turn for the worst.

RELATED: Every Paper Mario 64 Chapter Ranked Worst to Best

Utilizing stickers to concoct formations and attacks, Sticker Star provided a large amount of slowdown that ultimately made it a bore and unwanted by fans and critics. Since then, Paper Mario has become a fair disappointment that continues to favor gimmick over substance.

Mass Effect grew a legacy of being a one-of-a-kind space opera that took players through systems of beautifully crafted planets that captivated and held immersion, unlike anything before it. Though other games in the medium have since traveled through the cosmos in their way, Mass Effect's story and universe remain unparalleled.

After brief dormancy, Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced, but the game ultimately suffered through a sloppy development cycle helmed by a smaller studio that only had mobile experience beforehand. Andromeda released to such poor reception that it became the nail in the coffin for the IP before Electronic Arts revealed Mass Effect Legendary Edition in 2021, bringing it back on its feet once again.

The Legend of Zelda struck the hearts of millions due to its captivating adventures and gameplay, and though it’s primarily been a single-player experience since 1986, it's dabbled in multiplayer with Four Swords before returning to that format once again with Tri Force Heroes.

Tri Force Heroes didn't offer much of anything, with a vague story and forced multiplayer that simply didn't work. Dungeons were also a frustrating chore to go through, and it would amount to making it one of the lowest-rated Zelda games on Metacritic. Thankfully, Zelda would reclaim its former glory courtesy of Twilight Princess HD and the influential Breath of the Wild.

For nearly three decades, Need for Speed has evolved tremendously and has since raced into an open-world formula, but though it’s expanded in size, it hasn't with depth. Former longtime studios eventually ceased development with the franchise, with EA assigning Ghost Games (now EA Gothenburg) to take the helm of production moving forward.

RELATED: The 8 Best Need for Speed Games (& 6 Best Midnight Club Games) Ranked According To Metacritic

A soft reboot of the series, titled Need for Speed, would begin to see a shift where both identity and passion were lost. With cutscenes presented in a poorly written FMV (Full Motion Video) format, a stripped-down customization system, and an uninspired world, Need for Speed (2015) did not perform well, sitting on below-average reception from most gaming outlets.

Metroid's release in 1987 was such a profound moment in gaming that Metroid, alongside Castlevania, created a genre unto itself called Metroidvania. Constantly innovating, Metroid Prime would again reinvent itself as a first-person shooter while still having the core components of a Metroidvania, becoming a hit.

Time would pass before Prime returned with Metroid Prime: Federation Force, but it didn't have its lead protagonist, Samus, in a starring role, instead focusing on a team of mercenaries that emphasized a banal multiplayer format. The Metroid Prime branding was used as a selling point only for it to backfire, gaining angry reviews, but thankfully the aptly titled Samus Returns would save its legacy a year later, receiving positive responses.

Silent Hill proved that horror didn't have to be about jump scares, taking a more psychological route that would touch on sensitive subjects and philosophies. At a time when Silent Hill was seminal to the medium and at an all-time high, Konami abandoned it following restructuring.

Last seen in 2012, Silent Hill returned as a dungeon-crawler on Sony's ill-fated PlayStation Vita, releasing to much condemnation, as Book of Memories had no semblance of Silent Hill outside of the name. With horrendous controls and a nonsensical system focusing on combat, it released to negative reviews and is seen as the worst Silent Hill, averaging a 4.5 out of 10. Today, other games continue to fill the void of Silent Hill.

The Blue Blur has not had the best legacy, so much so that receiving an underwhelming game whenever a new one is announced has become expected. When Sonic the Hedgehog released in 2006 as a soft reboot, but it was a buggy disaster that ruined the Sonic brand moving forward.

With a clash of art styles and a human princess Sonic may have had feelings for, the whole game was an uncomfortable experience. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is seen as one of the worst games released in the last two decades thanks to its disastrous controls and performance, and it took a lot for Sonic to get back on its feet in the gaming space before Sonic Mania would be a return to form.

During the uncertain times of the Wii U era, Nintendo was doing all it could to publish content, and with amiibo, Nintendo wanted to capitalize on "toys-to-life" by having software specifically built around it, but rather than releasing a universal product akin to Nintendo Land, they opted for an Animal Crossing party game with Amiibo Festival.

RELATED: Which Animal Crossing Character Are You, Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Not only was Amiibo Festival a boring mess, but the boards held no value and amiibo usage felt limited and cheap. Reception became so bad that it was easy to find copies of Amiibo Festival at a discount, which says a lot when Nintendo games hold their value. With a 46 out of 100 on Metacritic, fans walked away disappointed with no intention of looking back.

Resident Evil has had an unprecedented staying power for video games and media. It's a deep, flexible property, and with that flexibility comes an array of ideas that has lent Resident Evil to many different genres outside of its survival horror roots, though flexibility comes at a cost as seen with Umbrella Corps. in 2016.

While not Resident Evil's first introduction into multiplayer, it was unequivocally its worst, with a generic approach to squads that rendered it uninspired and soulless. Steam reviews sit at "Mostly Negative" - the worst for any Resident Evil title - and its peak player count was in the mid-400s according to SteamCharts, which is extremely poor when considering the global recognition of the property.

After the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in late 2015, Metal Gear's future had come to a halt as Konami's output of games had reached an all-time low, and though it seemed like Konami had lost interest in producing video games, they had a surprise release with Metal Gear Survive.

None of the stealth, deep stories, compelling characters, or world-building eloquently tailored by Hideo Kojima was present, and instead had waves of poorly designed zombie-like enemies and a nonsensical multiplayer that required too much grind with little reward. Survive is vilified even today, taking the throne for worst entry in an otherwise phenomenal franchise, sitting at an egregious 1.4 User Score on Metacritic, and no mention of a new Metal Gear.

NEXT: 10 Best Video Game Franchises That Were Completely Rebooted

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