Video games have changed a lot since the age of arcade machines. Game developing is currently a multi-billion dollar industry that spends and makes more money than Hollywood does making movies. With so much money coming in and out after you have made a successful video game, it just makes sense that a sequel is developed immediately. There are hundreds of sequels out there, however, only a few amongst them could be considered equal or better than the original game.

This list is intended to be about direct sequels to the original game – there will be no Super Mario Bros. 3s or Warcraft IIIs in here. All games placed on this list are the direct sequel to a successful original release – some are even considered amongst some of the best games the industry has ever produced. What makes these games good has a lot to do with the original – but in the end, these sequels surpassed them.

10 – Diablo 2

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The five main characters from the original Diablo 2 facing against the titular Diablo

Diablo 2 is an action RPG hack and slash video game developed by Blizzard North and published by Blizzard Entertainment in 2000.

Capitalizing on the success of the original Diablo in 1996, Diablo 2 was one of the most popular PC games of the 2000s and is widely recognized as one of the greatest video games ever. The major factors behind the game’s success are the refinement of the original Diablo formula, along with the free access to Blizzard’s online play service,

Diablo 2’s expansion, Lord of Destruction was released in 2001, which added another act to the campaign along with two new classes.

9 - Batman: Arkham City

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Batman faces his rogue gallery once more in Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action RPG game developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. It is based on DC Comics’ Batman, written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, with support from Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill. With such a great writer lineup, any comic book fan would be satisfied with the story conveyed in the game.

All other details were carefully designed as well, from the voice acting, the riddler challenges, the level designs… and finally, the unbelievable feeling of being the Dark Knight.

8 – Assassin’s Creed 2

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Ezio eliminates one of his targets with the iconic hidden blade

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft in 2009, Assassin’s Creed 2 is widely recognized as a better game than the original Assassin’s Creed.

The story is set in a fictional history timeline, one with a centuries-old struggle between the Assassins and the Knight Templars. Protagonist Desmond Miles relived the genetic memories from his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze, during the early sixteenth century.

Assassin’s Creed 2 was widely praised for its Renaissance settings, narrative, characters, and map designs. Players can explore various locations in Italy, following Ezio’s quest for vengeance against the enemies of his family. The primary focuses of Assassin’s Creed 2’s gameplay are combat and stealth.

7 – Halo 2

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Halo 2's multiplayer was one of the best in history

Halo 2 is an FPS developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft for the Xbox. It is the sequel to 2001’s critically acclaimed title, Halo: Combat Evolved. In this game, players assume the roles of Master Chief and the Covenant Arbiter, in a three-way conflict between Humanity, the Covenant and the Flood.

After Halo: Combat Evolved’s success, a sequel was highly anticipated. Bungie had not disappointed their fans – with the masterful reusing of the previous unused plot points and gameplay elements. The multiplayer portion of the game through Xbox Live was also a hit, with Halo 2 became the most popular game on the platform immediately after release.

The game received critical acclaim for a lot of aspects, especially the strong multiplayer component.

6 – Silent Hill 2

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The protagonist's true nature is revealed... in Silent Hill

Silent Hill 2 is a survival horror video game, developed by Team Silent and published by Konami for the PS2. The game is set in the eponymous town of Silent Hill in America, however, it is not a direct continuation of the original game’s story. The game centers around protagonist James Sunderland, who enters the town chasing a letter written by his dead wife, who’s apparently waiting for him in Silent Hill.

Silent Hill 2 uses a third-person view, with more emphasis on exploration and puzzles than direct combat. The protagonist is joined by Maria, a person who resembles his wife, to search and discover the truth about Maria’s demise. The horror elements were focused on the psychological side, with the monsters being more humanoid than their counterparts in the previous entry. A part of the monster lineup was designed to reflect James’ subconscious.

5 – Mass Effect 2

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The full cast in Mass Effect 2, with aliens from different races all over the galaxy

Mass Effect 2 is an action FPS with role-playing elements developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. In this game, the player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, the savior of the galaxy, and embark on a quest to investigate the mysterious disappearance of humans all over the fringe territories. You have to gain the loyalty of a diverse team through your choices and action and stop the enemy from achieving their missions.

In this game, BioWare had changed several crucial gameplay elements and bring in further focus on third-person shooter aspects of the franchise, with the introduction of limited ammunition and regenerable health. The game had received multiple awards and is widely acknowledged for its revolutionary branched story and combat. There were a lot of amazing additional contents released for the game, especially the expansion "Lair of the Shadow Broker" with the return of Liara.

4 – Resident Evil 2

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Resident Evil 2's two protagonists, Leon and Claire

Resident Evil 2 is a survival horror game developed and published by Capcom, first released on the original PlayStation in 1998. In this game, players would control Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they escape from Racoon City after the whole area was transformed into zombies after the detonation of a biological weapon.

The gameplay focuses on all aspects equally, including exploration, puzzles, and combat. The main improvement that this game has over the original is the branching storylines of the characters, as each of them has their own objectives and obstacles.

The game was directed by Hideki Kamiya and produced by Shinji Mikami. It has received critical acclaim for pretty much everything, from the atmosphere to graphics, audio, and scenarios.

3 – Portal 2

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Years after the events of the first Portal game, Aperture Science is in ruins.

Portal 2 is a platforming puzzle game developed by Valve Corporation. Its gameplay is similar to the original Portal, in which you solve puzzles by placing portals and using them creatively. Portal 2 adds a lot of new interesting features like tractor beams, lasers, light bridges and special gels that can either affect players’ movement or allow portals to be placed on a painted surface. Players would fight GLaDOS once more as Chell in the single-player mode, while in the new coop mode, they would play as the robots Atlas and P-Body.

Portal 2 has received critical acclaim for its refined gameplay, well-designed learning curve, good pacing, and writing. According to many gamers and critics, Portal 2 is pretty much one of the greatest video games ever made.

2 – Red Dead Redemption 2

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The infamous Van der Linde gang, with the protagonist standing at the middle

Red Dead Redemption 2 is an action-adventure game developed and published by Rockstar Games. The game is actually the third entry in the Red Dead series, a prequel to the 2010 Red Dead Redemption. The story is set in a fictionalized 1899, with players stepping into the shoes of the outlaw Arthur Morgan, a member of the infamous Van der Linde gang.

The game is available to be played in both first and third-person perspectives, with the player roaming in an interactive open world. Other gameplay elements like shootouts, heists, hunting, horseback riding, interacting with NPCs. Furthermore, using your moral choices and deeds, you have to maintain the character’s honor rating. There is also a bounty system akin to the “wanted” system from Grand Theft Auto as well.

1 – Half-Life 2

Gordon Freeman and his companion, Alyx Vance, on the way to the Combine's citadel tower

Half-Life 2 is an Action-FPS game developed and published by Valve Corporation. It is the sequel to 1998’s famous Half-Life, released in 2004 following a development phase of five years.

The game taking place years after the events of the original game. Gordon Freeman, placed in stasis since the previous game, was awakened by the mysterious G-Man only to find the world taken over by the mysterious Combine alien. Joined by resistance allies, Gordon has to search for a way to free humanity.

Half-Life 2 received critical acclaim on pretty much every aspect, from physics, animation, sound, AI, graphics, story. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest games of all time, if not the greatest.

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