We as video gamers are creatures of habit. So when a beloved series goes and completely changes the formula of the game we played and fell in love with, we tend to get a little bit upset.
It is a risky move on the part of the developer, but sometimes, the current formula isn’t quite working anymore in the modern video game environment, and a bit of a shakeup is what is needed to get the public excited and the creative juices flowing again. The changes also don’t always work out, but fortunately for most of those games that manage to pull it off, the experience ended up being quite magical.
Here are six games that changed the formula completely for the better!
God of War (2018)
One of the more recent entries on the list, the God of War series saw a bit of a soft reboot with the rather stellar God of War that released last year. The series began in the mid 2000s as an over-the-top action brawler of some sorts with a near isometric 3D perspective and was incredibly well received at the time. But by the time God of War Ascension rolled around in 2013, the formula was becoming a bit stale.
The game’s mechanics were changed completely for the 2018 release, with the point of view taking on an over-the-shoulder perspective of the protagonist, Kratos. At the same time, the tone of the game went with a more toned down, and mature story, and an interesting dynamic between him and his son Atreus, aka Boy! The game was incredibly well received with almost universal praise, so it is quite hard to believe that there were some that had their doubts about it when it was revealed.
The original Prey that released back in 2006 was a survival horror FPS game that received pretty decent reviews. A sequel was even announced for it, but unfortunately, due to rights to the intellectual property changing hands, and some delays, it ended up never being made.
So when a “new” Prey was announced for 2017 with a completely new premise, people were a little bit sceptical, but it all turned out in the end when Bethesda (the new IP owners) and Arkane Studios decided to go a different direction, almost making it a spiritual successor to the System Shock series. It in a way saved the franchise, and it will be interesting to see what they might come up with going forward.
Duke Nukem 3D (1996)
It might come as a surprise to some, but Duke Nukem wasn’t always a 3D first-person shooter. The first two entries in the series were both 2D platformers, and it was only the release of the the third instalment, Duke Nukem 3D in 1996 that saw the titular Duke go 3D.
While the series has seen some ups and mostly downs since then, we cannot deny the impact the game had on many of us at the time. It wasn’t the first FPS game, but certainly made waves in terms of gameplay and in a weird way, narrative. Duke Nukem as a character might be a relic that has no business in today’s society, but there is no doubt going from 2D to 3D gave the series some serious staying power, for better or for worse.
Fallout 3 (2008)
Another game that went to a first-person perspective, Fallout 3 was for many thier first foray into a post-apocalyptic world. Up to that point the Fallout series played from a top-down isometric perspective, but went first-person after the IP was acquired by Bethesda.
Some might argue that the previous games were better, but there are no denying the impact the massive world that was the Capital Wasteland that Fallout 3 gave us. The game was huge, and give a level of freedom many of us haven’t experienced yet.
Metroid Prime (2002)
The Metroid series needs no introduction, as the original 2D action platformer from 1986 is the reason for a whole different sub-genre called Metroidvania to exist. So nobody really expected Nintendo to take the series in a completely different direction when it released for the Gamecube in 2002. And it completely worked out.
Touted as a first-person adventure game rather than a shooter, Metroid Prime received universal acclaim and saw two more sequels released with a fourth game in the works.
Resident Evil 4 (2005)
Considered as one of the best examples of a game that completely changed the formula of the series and worked out, Resident Evil 4 really needs no introduction. Moving from fixed camera angles to an over the shoulder third person view, the game was originally seen as a bit of a risk.
Many believed giving players control over the camera made the game less scary, and while it might be true to some extent, we cannot argue that we ended up with an incredible gaming experience, with many agreeing that it’s probably the best in the entire series. It also inspired so many other fantastic games, and even saw the series go the game direction with incredible Resident Evil 2 Remake that released earlier this year. RE4 was a a great game, and while we saw the series didn’t always find its stride, we can always remember the action horror game of all action horror games.