10 Incredible Spiritual Successors to Classic Video Games

10 Incredible Spiritual Successors to Classic Video Games


They say there’s no such thing as a truly
original idea, but you know what? THAT’S OK! Taking inspiration from the past and building
something better is called ‘progress’, and according to our resident science-whisperers
and forward-thinkerers, ‘progress’ is ‘good’. You know what’s really nice, though? When innovation and nostalgia combine to recreate
a cult classic, or in other words, a ‘Spiritual Successor’. These two magical words describe any game
that takes inspiration from a previous title, and keeps many of the same themes, styles
or gameplay mechanics, but aren’t technically part of the same saga or universe. The reasons for making a spiritual sequel,
rather than just ‘A Sequel’, can vary. Sometimes it’s old developers in a new studio,
wanting to recreate an old favourite, or a natural evolution from fan-made mods. But whatever the case, when they’re done
right, these digital love letters to our bygone favourites can be a powerful thing indeed. Let’s look at some! I’m Ben from TripleJump, and here are 10
Incredible Spiritual Successors to Classic Video Games. 10. Two Point Hospital – Theme Hospital Bloody budget cuts. There’s an alarming outbreak of Mime Crisis
spreading like imaginary wildfire, ghosts have taken over one of the wards, and we keep
hearing announcements that “urinating anywhere in the hospital will not be tolerated”,
because we couldn’t afford to install toilets… Such is life in 2018’s Two Point Hospital,
which channels the charm and whimsy of the original silly infirmary sim, the 1997 classic,
Theme Hospital. Bullfrog Production’s medical marvel had
an enduring legacy like nothing else, and when it came time for ex-Bullfrog veterans
to act on a 20-year ambition to revive the genre with Two Point Hospital, we weren’t
disappointed. All the trademark irreverent humour is back,
packaged in a slick, modern simulation title. Serious tasks, like balancing budgets and
building efficient hospital layouts, pay off when you’re able to cure ailments such as
‘Jest Infections’ that turns patients into clowns, Freddy Mercury impersonators
suffering from ‘Mockstar Disease’, and very literal cases of ‘light-headedness’. From the ludicrous animations to the intuitive
UI, the attention to detail make this a beautiful successor to a late 90’s vintage, and better
yet, the console port is out now, so go on – get out there and cure some Mimes! Excessive force is encouraged… 9. Wasteland 2 – Fallout Wasteland 2 was one of the earliest success
stories on kickstarter – InXile Entertainment, led by former Interplay co-founder Brian Fargo,
smashed their initial target of $900,000 in under 43 hours, raised a total of $2.9 million,
and proved there was still plenty of demand for old-school, tactical RPGs, while also
paving the way for similar crowdfunded success with Divinity: Original Sin and Pillars of
Eternity. This 2014 triumph has all the nutritional
value of original-flavour Fallout – unforgiving turn-based combat, multi-faceted characters,
random overworld encounters, and an unerring commitment to traditional RPG mechanics. One early mission sees you liberating an Agricultural
Centre from an “Attack of the Giant Mutant Vegetables!”, who are much more savage than
your average salad bowl. And that sums up most of the game, really,
straddling the line between brutal social commentary about the post-apocalyptic survival
of humanity, and, well, violent cults committed to good manners. Of course, this ‘spiritual’ sequel was
an ‘actual’ sequel to Wasteland 1, released all the way back in 1988, and predating Fallout
by 9 years, so really, Fallout should count as the proper ‘spiritual successor’… But the unlikely revival of a genre once lost
to time makes Wasteland 2’s achievement worth celebrating. 8. Wargroove – Advance Wars This. THIS is how you gain instant ‘cult favourite’
status. Take a long-neglected franchise, enhance it
with some gorgeous pixel-art, and crucially, add in the bestest of military commander boys,
aww just look at him, he’s got armour and everything! Intelligent Systems’ long-running ‘Wars’
series dates back as far as 1988 with Famicom Wars, but the Western market will be most
familiar with the Advance Wars iterations, on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, which
introduced countless youths to the Horrors of Warfare… through the medium of cutely
animated, turn-based tactics, Hooray! After an 11-year absence, however, developers
ChuckleFish decided to take matters into their own paws, sorry, hands, releasing Wargroove
in 2019. While aesthetically the comparisons to Advance
Wars are clear, the setting and story is more akin to Intelligent Systems other hit franchise,
Fire Emblem, replacing tanks with trebuchets and bazookas with broadswords. Classic Advance Wars mechanics remain, like
the importance of control points, and the expendable nature of most units, but subtle
enhancements make a huge difference, like the critical system that encourages smart
unit positioning. The multiplayer is magnificent too, with cross-play,
a ‘hot-seat’ mode, and a substantial map creator. 7. Demon’s Souls – King’s Field Oh, you expected Dark Souls to be here? No, that’d be far too easy, and From Software
doesn’t do ‘easy’… So think of demon’s souls being the spiritual
successor to king’s field as “the dark souls” of one game being a spiritual successor
to another. If that makes sense. While Dark Souls is undoubtedly a fine spiritual
successor, its forefather, Demon’s Souls, was itself inspired by a much older series
by the name of King’s Field. First released in 1994, King’s Field is,
quite literally, where the real Dark Souls begins. The punishing difficulty, the foreboding dungeon
crawling, the bleak setting, the creepy enemy design, the emphasis on exploration, the unique
attack animations for each weapon … all the key ingredients for a juicy SoulsBorne
are found here, if you look beneath the surface. President of From Software and the creator
of the Souls series, Hidetaka Miyazaki, has stated himself that King’s Field, one of
his favourite games from his youth, provided plenty of inspiration for the core mechanics
of Demon’s Souls. Although Miyazaki is hesitant to call it a
‘spiritual successor’, and SHOT DOWN the rumours that it started life as a King’s
Field sequel, we still think Demon’s Souls counts as a spiritual successor to the renowned
franchise. Plus, King’s Field gave us the iconic Moonlight
Greatsword, so, need we say more? “Gives meh tha willies” 6. Octopath Traveler – Final Fantasy VI
also Bravely Default, same devs, from FFIV There are plenty of throwback titles that
borrow elements from the classic 90’s JRPG series, but if Octopath Traveler producer,
Masashi Takahasi, claims his title was designed intentionally as a Final Fantasy VI successor,
who are we to argue? Development studio Acquire’s previous title,
2012’s Bravely Default, was heavily inspired by Final Fantasy V, and even started development
as a sequel to 2009’s Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light. And 2018’s Octopath Traveler exudes more
of that Big Final Fantasy Energy with every pixel – and just look how gorgeous those
pixels are! Blending retro sprites with High Definition
lighting and effects, makes this a beautiful world that really captures the feel of an
epic journey. You follow 8 separate characters and their
story arcs, which sometimes veers into generic fantasy fare, but overall, it’s still a
cracking tribute to the old double F. Yet it still manages to reinvigorate the traditional
turn-based combat – multi-attack ‘boosts’ can be saved up over several turns, to be
unleashed on enemies weak to your specific attacks. This can break shields, skipping their turn
and leaving them vulnerable. Each battle is a fascinating exercise in tactical
timing, and also how not to make us hate random encounters quite so much. 5. Axiom Verge – Super Metroid
AND Bloodstained: Ritual of the night – Castlevania I know, I know, two entries in one, but with
the MetroidVania subgenre enjoying a renaissance period in the last few years, we can’t have
one without the other! 2015’s Axiom Verge is unashamedly Metroid,
and it doesn’t so much wear that influence on its sleeve, as it does an entire tinfoil
Samus outfit, complete with a gun arm, that it points at people, making pew-pew noises… But that’s by no means a bad thing, for
a title made by a single man, Thomas Happ, and his love for Metroid. The steady flow of unlocked abilities and
branching paths is reassuringly familiar, yet weapons and puzzles are unique enough
to feel fresh, keeping that vital spirit of discovery alive. As for our ‘Vania options, may we suggest
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night? Released in 2019, it bears more than a striking
resemblance to 1997 vintage, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and like Axiom Verge,
it’s not afraid to show its roots. Koji Igarashi, director and writer of the
Castlevania series, is the brains behind the, err, bloodstains, having set up new studio
ArtPlay and raised a staggering $5.5 million on Kickstarter for the project. The sheer amount of literally everything is
an absolute delight, whether its weapons, powers, combat styles, or cosmetic options,
and the stunning visual presentation, surprisingly varied locations, and excellent enemy designs
make this the perfect Castlevania sequel in all but name. And Igarashi even Included this slot machine
boss fight, in a wonderfully brazen dig at Konami’s casino game business model. Well played, sir. 4. Dishonoured – Thief It’s easy to look at any successful modern
sneak simulator and declare, fairly accurately, that 1998’s Thief: The Dark Project made
them all what they are today! But as far as worthy successors go, even the
2014 franchise reboot, simply named Thief (or Thief 4, if you wanna get serious about
this) can’t hold a candle to Dishonoured. Yes, there are differences – understandable,
as the first Dishonoured came out in 2012, 14 years after the original Thief – and
Corvo brings much more flexibility and mobility to his brand of stealth, able to teleport
to ledges, possess guards and even hold his own in combat. But he never forgets his heritage, which is
clear in Dishonoured’s game design that rewards patience, experimentation and exploration
of the beautifully bleak Dunwall. The always-changing mechanical layout of the
Clockwork Mansion, the masterpiece level of Dishonoured 2, is evocative of Constantine’s
Mansion, whose increasingly bizarre rooms defied all logic and expectation. And then there’s the Addermire Institute,
once a rich folk’s solarium, now a disease-ridden fortress, which is strikingly similar in tone
and general creepiness to the iconic Shalebridge Cradle in Thief: Deadly Shadows. Take a bow, Corvo – you’ve made the granddaddy
of grand larceny proud. 3. Bioshock – System Shock 2 Looking Glass Studios certainly knew how to
make ‘em back in the 90’s. Not only was there Thief, but also 1994’s
System Shock, the ground-breaking FPS/RPG hybrid that taught us never to trust creepy
artificial intelligence. And yet we still.Keep.Making.These.Mistakes! After leaving Looking Glass, Ken Levine and
several other employees later formed Irrational Studios, and made a little-known title that,
honestly, probably hasn’t even been mentioned on YouTube before… Little game called Bioshock? Anyone? It’s obscure, we know, but trust us – this
crazy underwater gene-splicing trip owes plenty to its System Shock predecessors. The Plasmids are a clear evolution of the
Psyonic abilities. The eerie pseudo-horror atmosphere is present
in both series. Even the lack of an NPC dialogue system, strangely
absent in the more RPG-like System Shock, was effective in giving each character interaction
more tension, never knowing where it would lead. Oh and there’s a plot twist in both games,
too! Who would’ve kindly thought that… It’s not an identical comparison – the
RPG mechanics of System Shock weren’t transferred to Rapture, but at least they lived on through
the Deus Ex family tree, which also counts as a semi-spiritual successor! 2. The Outer Worlds – Fallout New Vegas “It’s not the best choooice… it’s
Spacer’s Choice! ”
Except if you’re looking for that sweet New Vegas goodness, just with a modern sheen,
then yes, The Outer Worlds is absolutely the best choice! Obsidian Entertainment’s superb corporate
space adventure from 2019 made no bones about its similarities to their previous post-apocalyptic
title. The variety of high-quality dialogue options
evokes New Vegas perfectly, pulling from a more in-depth stat pool, so if you’re an
expert in say, engineering, or science, that would often lead to different outcomes. Companions are genuinely interesting, fleshed-out
characters, with plenty to say. In Outer Worlds, the faction loyalties are
represented by the corporations, as you develop unique relationships with each one. And Tactical Time Dilation is basically VATs
without the auto-aim, still allowing for precise manual shots to apply debuffs like Maim, Blind
or ‘Vaporise Entirely’ (watch out for that last one). Even tiny details like the terminals, the
looting menu, or repairing weapons give us the Fallout vibes. Throw in some truly superb writing, and a
colour palette that ventures beyond yellowy-brown, and you’ve got the perfect salve for anyone
who got burnt by the recent Fallout shenanigans. 1. PERFECT DARK – GoldenEye 007 There’s no denying the impact that Rare’s
legendary Goldeneye 007 had on the landscape. It set the groundwork for modern First-Person
console Shooters, back when 3D console gaming was still finding its feet… … AND YET… When Rare and Nintendo lost the James Bond
license, the unofficial follow-up, Perfect Dark, didn’t simply recreate the winning
formula – they improved it in almost every conceivable way. If that sounds like heresy to denounce Goldeneye
like that, just hear us out… For anyone unfamiliar with Perfect Dark, it
starred elite Carrington Institute agent, Joanna Dark, in an ambitious sci-fi plot – or,
heh, ‘Spy-Fi’, if you like – dealing with evil military contractors, conspiracies
to kill the US President, first contact with alien life, and even a full-blown interstellar
war, which somehow, despite sounding absolutely insane, actually worked. And this near-future setting meant Rare were
free to go gung-ho with gun variety, too: Laptop guns that attach to walls ;Rifles that
become land mines ;Remote-guided rocket launchers ; and the Farsight, a sniper rifle that could
shoot through walls… It speaks volumes that you could spend hours
just in the optional firing range alone. Or you could lose weeks in the vastly improved,
split-screen multiplayer, with AI bots and tons more options, OR tackle the multiplayer
challenges, OR play the campaign in co-op OR counter-operative modes… And best of all, it still holds up well today,
thanks in part to the Rare Replay and Xbox Arcade remasters with modernised controls… So, sorry Mr Bond, we’re not discounting
your contribution to the genre, but…well, Ms Dark can shoot through walls, sooo… “Witchhunt”
What, no, it’s not a- “You Suck”
Excuse me, how dare- “Roasted”
Right, who even are yo- “3…2…1…” Wait, why are you counting, stop talking over
me, what are you- “GO!” “Oh, I get it now, it’s a bonus number
1, it’s TIMESPLITTERS!” While we can, and already have, talked about
Perfect Dark until we literally make first contact with alien life, there’s an important
part of the story we’ve missed. In 1999, several Rare staff members, including
that Dr David Doak, left to form Free Radical Design, who went on to create another masterpiece
in multiplayer shooting – Timesplitters. This was the next evolution from the definitive
Rare shooters, creating an almost flawless split-screen experience. Yes, we said almost flawless. It took them until the third entry, Future
Perfect, to make controls that didn’t feel like navigating with a drunk oil tanker. That’s not to say they were bad though! Timesplitters 2 is my favourite- why are you
booing? But ignoring the dated controls, Timesplitters
was simply magnificent. The loose backdrop of time travel, told through
the trademark Rare-style humour, was the perfect excuse to try absolutely anything with maps,
characters and challenges. Electrocuting chimps on a 70’s disco dancefloor? Shooting Dinosaurs in an Aztec ruin? A Wild West shootout between Elvis, a duck
and a gingerbread man OR WOMAN? It was ridiculous, it made no sense, and it
needs to come back, why THQ Nordic, WHY haven’t you brought it back yet? Anyway, we’ve also taken massive liberties
with time and rambled long enough, so take it away Cortez:
“Yeah…Time to Split!” “I’ll get the next one…” And that’s our list of excellent not-quite-sequels-but-should-absolutely-be-sequels… But what about your favourite spiritual successors? Are there any we’ve missed? And have we finally gone too far with the
two-for-one list entries? Let us know in the comments below. You can follow myself and TripleJump on Twitter
here, and while you’re at it, why not support the things you enjoy by having a look at our
patreon. Finally, don’t for get to like the video,
share it with your friends, and subscribe to the channel. I’m Ben from TripleJump, and thanks for
watching.

31 comments

  1. Triplejump is to vidiots what octopath is to final fantasy. Octopath seriously looks good though, I’m tempted to get a switch just to play it

  2. Absolutely the moment that you guys started talking about your personal politics on Podiots was the moment I decided that I would deliver a non-sequitur about politics back at you on any channel. I don’t care about politics.Stop talking about politics. Always stop talking about politics if you’re entertainers. No one cares what or who you vote for and your content is viewed by left and right wing voters all over the world, so shut the fuck up and be entertainers.

  3. I always wanted to play Timesplitters but the thought of playing a first person shooter with a gamepad gives me a mild case of diarrhea, Dominos style 🙁

  4. Aren't you dicks just the same dicks from Whatculture gaming who were the dicks who just copied the dicks from outside xbox?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *