#5 Rise of Legends
Rise of Legends was the spiritual successor to the equally under-rated Rise of Nations. It had three entirely unique races, lots of cool mercenary factions and a pretty good story with quite a few interesting characters behind it. You play Gaicomo, brother to one of the lords of the Vinci, a series of city states whose steampunk technology is reminiscent of the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci. On a mission to recover a mysterious object Gaicomo is ambushed by the Doge and your brother, the lord of Miana is killed. From then on Gaicomo is revenge driven to fight the Doge. The campaign takes the player through the embattled city states of the Vinci; the windswept sand kingdom of the Alin, the Children of the Desert; and the jungles of the mysterious and enigmatic Cuotl.
I want this game to have a sequel, not necessarily because the story line demands one but mostly because I want to see more games in this mythology. I mean, it’s just a cool world and I want to explore it more.
#4 Company of Heroes
Okay, so Company of Heroes, as a World War 2 drama isn’t going to be called original in any respect but even so I was gobsmacked the first time I played COH. The graphics are fantastic and capture the scenery of wartorn 1940′s Europe perfectly. The sound design, like in any other THQ game, was incredible. I’ve never played an RTS where I felt closer to the action. The thunderous impact of artillery shells is enough to make people duck in the next room when the volume is up. But what made the game truly great is the realistic gameplay. This was one of the first games to allow soldiers to take cover in buildings and making those buildings fully destructible made it that much more fun. So why does this game need a sequel? Well in truth it already has two expansion packs. Opposing fronts allowed the player to play with the British army and the German Panzer Elite (SS) and Tales of Valor played through three campaigns with a more refined story.
I think the series needs its very own sequel, but I don’t think Company of Heroes 2 should be set in World War 2. It’s much too much of an over used setting. Instead I think the game should be set in another of the less explored theaters, like Vietnam for example, or perhaps Korea. If the developers were willing to break away from the American flag waving for a while they could set the game in the opening years of World War 1 where the player commands a company of Austrian Army soldiers. I could even see a game set in Afghanistan working, as there are fantastic stories of valor and courage to be told from the perspective of Canadian, American, or even Russian soldiers there. These alternate settings have the potential for a few really great games that I think THQ could put to good use, and in doing so branch out the games industry into new and unbroken ground.
#3 Fire Warrior
I’ve been saying for a long time that I would really appreciate it if the Warhammer 40,000 universe showed us more of its everyday life. I’ve never played Warhammer, the table top game but ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the mythology. I used to borrow my brother’s White Dwarf magazines and read the harrowing tales of the heroes of the Empire and the fascinatingly diverse range of aliens and creatures that make up the rest of the universe. But you rarely ever have the chance to walk around the planets and to experience the world in the first person. Fire Warrior was the first, and to my knowledge the only, game to allow you to do just that. You play a (you guessed it) Fire Warrior of the Tau Empire named La’Kais and your first mission (called your Trial by Fire) is to rescue a high ranking Tau named Ko’Vash from the clutches of the Empire of Man. Naturally complications arise and the game follows La’Kais over 24 hours of his life.
So why does it need a sequel? It needs one because it was the first and only game to take place in the Warhammer universe that doesn’t feature the Space Marines as the main protagonists. Don’t get me wrong, Warhammer Space Marines are pretty awesome but Warhammer features a variety of well designed and really in-depth races and the Tau are among the most under explored and interesting for me. It would also give fans the only current gen outlet to actually walk around the Warhammer universe in first person for once instead of looking down at it from above.
#2 Star Wars: Republic Commando
Republic Commando was a vastly under-rated game and was one of the first games to feature actual squad command mechanics. The sound design and gameplay were good, but nothing special. What drew me into the game was the gripping story and the interactions between your team members. Each of the four members has a unique personality (in spite of being clones) and it’s funny to hear them tease each other over kill counts and wounds. This is the first game so far mentioned that needs a sequel because the plot demands one. Without spoiling it, the game ends on the onset of a major battle with one of the characters unaccounted for. But with Lucas arts currently more interested in motion controls I doubt we’ll ever see what happens next. Cue the frustration.
#1 Advent Rising
If you haven’t heard of Advent Rising, it’s okay, almost nobody else has either. If anything the game suffered from a serious lack of marketing as in spite of being a fantastic game it received almost no recognition. It had great gameplay, being one of the first to blend force powers with more traditional shooting and fighting mechanics. The plot centers around Gideon Wyneth, a pilot initially tasked with escorting human ambassadors to meet with an alien race called the Aurelians who has just made first contact. It turns out that the Aurelians are on their way to warn the human race that another alien race called the Seekers is on it’s way to exterminate earth. In Advent Rising humans have some undiscovered telekinetic power that the Seekers are in fear of, hence the extermination. The Aurelians worship humans as gods, are in awe of the power and offer to show Gideon how to use it. The game does a great job in making the player feel like they are immensely powerful. The satisfaction you get from flinging Seekers off the hull of a space ship with your mind, to spiral into oblivion, is just great.
If you played Advent Rising, and not nearly enough of you did, you know why this game demands a sequel. I won’t spoil it for you but the game didn’t just leave you with a cliff hanger ending. It actually went as far as to give the player bonus after-the-credits gameplay that leaves the character on a new planet, surrounded by as yet unencountered hostiles. I mean come on, make the bloody sequel already, I’ve been waiting for years.