Solo Gamer Reviews

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Top 10 Franchises in Need of a Revival

Garrett from the cover of Game Informer
The cover of the latest issue of Game Informer shows the triumphant return of Garrett, an antihero only known to a particular niche of gamers as the protagonist of the long-dead Thief franchise. Announced right as the wildly successful Tomb Raider reboot was shipping to stores, Thief promises to bring a sorely neglected franchise back to the limelight for a new generation, and that gives me hope for several other game series that have unfairly vanished. Granted, for every great revival like Tomb Raider, there are half a dozen terrible ones like Duke Nukem Forever and Bionic Commando, so I should be careful what I wish for.

The following ten franchises are the ones I'd most like to see revived for next-gen consoles. Naturally, this is my personal list, one which you are sure to disagree with. Please feel free to share your thoughts, insults, and suggestions in the comments below. First, though, a few ground rules: (1) there can be no confirmed sequel/reboot/remake already in the works, nor will I consider franchises that will obviously have sequels in the near future (such as Metroid or Halo); (2) I have to have played at least one game in the franchise; and (3) the last full entry in the series has to be at least two years old.


Elebits is an early Wii title that feels a lot like an expanded tech demo. Still, it's a really interesting tech demo that also happens to be incredibly addicting. (My wife still plays it from time to time.) The basic idea is that you are a kid with a gravity gun and that everything in the world draws its power from unseen little creatures called Elebits. Something has gone wrong, the power has gone out, and you have to use your gravity gun to find and collect as many little Elebits as you can. You start by moving small things like chairs and desk lamps, but as you collect Elebits, your gun gets more and more powerful until you are able to look under whole buildings. There is a sequel on the DS, though the gameplay is wildly different from the original, and both games have done relatively well for themselves. It seems odd to me that there hasn't been another game announced for the Wii U, since games that actually find innovative and successful uses for Nintendo's hardware are increasingly rare these days.


Descent is a classic PC shooter in which you fly a spacecraft through zero-gravity environments on every planet in the solar system, taking out rogue robots, rescuing hostages, and collecting colored keys. What makes Descent stand out is the "six degrees of freedom" that gives you complete three-dimensional control of your ship through complex, three-dimensional mazes. It spawned a couple of sequels and branched out into Descent: Freespace, but seemed to fade into the background well over a decade ago. However, the company that owns the franchise, Interplay, is currently developing a port of the original game for WiiWare, and hopefully that will demonstrate the series' potential to modern gamers. With console hardware that is finally up to the task, it's entirely possible (though not bloody likely) that the glory days of Descent are still ahead.


Older gamers like myself put Battletoads on a high pedestal as one of the greatest and most difficult games to come out at the tail end of the NES' lifespan. It was developed by Rare back in its heyday, so that alone tells you it deserves attention. There were a few minor sequels and crossovers, but by the time Rare and Nintendo had their big split during the N64 days, the toads had ceased their run. The last few years haven't been kind to Rare--they've even reluctantly gone on bended knee and made up with Nintendo--so they are in desperate need of revitalization. Hey, I have an idea...


I've already devoted an entire blog to the future of the Prince of Persia game franchise, but it still deserves a spot on this list. Though it has been quickly overshadowed by its spiritual successor, Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia is still one of the most beloved and recognizable series in video game history. With its focus on magical elements and time shifting gameplay, it isn't hard to separate the prince from the more science-fiction/paranoia themes of the assassins, and yet the last few entries were serious underperformers. As much as I will defend the most recent reboot, the only logical way to bring the prince back is to reimagine him yet again for the next console generation. All the series needs is someone with the vision and the balls to do it.


There aren't a lot of Nintendo franchises on this list, because Nintendo rarely ever abandons a good franchise. However, the last F-Zero was released in 2004, exclusively in Japan, and on the Game Boy Advance. It's been a while. When asked about the franchise, Shigeru Miyamoto said that he was surprised that there is still interest in it, because he believes it never moved forward after the SNES era. Far be it for me to disagree with the great Miyamoto, but I happen to like the N64's F-Zero X and truly believe that the series could chart a bold new course for the Wii U. The incredibly fast and futuristic racing style of the series has never truly been replicated, even though racing games in general have continued to grow and improve in multiple directions. Come on, Nintendo, don't let Mario Kart be the only thing you have to say about racing.

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-e. magill 4/16/2013


Copyright 2013 e. magill. All rights reserved.