As the millions of Star Wars fans who suffered through the Sequel Trilogy will tell you, it's always frustrating when a follow-up fails to learn anything from its predecessors (as seen when the flawed but thought-provoking The Last Jedi was followed by the intelligence-insulting pandering of The Rise of Skywalker).
Sadly, the tendency to slip back into mediocrity is an affliction that torments all forms of media. The Simpsons has spent over 20 years regularly failing to understand what made its first ten seasons so beloved, and the world of music is filled with bands who spent their careers falling from the heights their debut album launched them to.
Of course, video games are just as guilty as their multimedia brethren in allowing once-great franchises to fall into disrepute. Whether due to sub-par writing, shoddy business practices, or keeping the bath water instead of the baby, one thing these sequels all have in common is a complete lack of understanding about what made their previous entries tick.
10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The first Xenoblade Chronicles begins with thunderous intensity, launching the player into a pivotal role in a battle against an encroaching mechanoid army.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 starts by having the player fight a crab on a boat.
We'll give this to the developers - at least they let us know to lower our expectations right off the bat.
Those introductory fights end up being perfectly symbolic of the differences between the two games. The first game trusted that its players would be intelligent enough to pick up on the story and combat system in quick order, while the second assumed its players were total idiots who needed everything spoon-fed as slowly as possible.
Abilities you start with in the original game aren't earned until about 15 hours into the sequel, which makes the opening hours a chore to wade through as you pop off the same abilities over and over again on low-level enemies, like a low-budget MMO.
It was patronising, boring, and immensely off-putting for fans. The developers got their act together in a big way for Xenoblade Chronicles 3, but the middle game in the franchise is exactly that - mid.