The Big Question: What’s The Best Threequel?
Splatoon 3 launched this week, and is a hit with fans so far. This third instalment solidifies Splatoon's place among Nintendo's other elite franchises, having not missed a step so far. This got us thinking about all the other threequels that have brought a series of games together.
Having two games to live up to, pulling off the third game is no small feat, and one that can make or break a trilogy's legacy (looking at you Mass Effect). So with that in mind, this week's Big Question is: what is the best threequel?
Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon
Rhiannon Bevan, News Editor
The general consensus is that Spyro 2 is the purple dragon’s best outing, but you’re actually all wrong. The third game, Year of the Dragon, is full of that classic Spyro charm we all adore, bringing together the best of the first two games, and adding a ridiculous amount onto that. Yes, I know the controls in Sgt. Byrd’s levels are ass, and Bentley is frankly, pretty boring, but when you were a kid, it was the best thing ever. FIVE characters to play as? Holy shit. And you also get to beat up Money Bags at the end of the game, taking back all of the gems he conned you out of over the trilogy. Beautiful stuff. Also also, Hunter gets a girlfriend, and we love that for him.
Grand Theft Auto 3
Lu-Hai Liang, News Editor
Moving successfully from 2D to 3D is no small feat. No one could imagine GTA 3 until it arrived. But Rockstar designed a 3D open world that would go on to become super influential. Not only that, GTA 3 has one of the most entertaining and funniest soundtracks ever produced (those radio stations are still hilarious). It created countless playthrough videos and Easter Egg moments before YouTube became a thing. Gaming would be forever different had GTA 3 been of a less winning design, but the third Grand Theft Auto is one of the medium’s most important creations.
Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse
James Kennedy, Specialist
When it comes to iterative design, I can’t think of a game that has done it better Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. After the wildly ambitious, but ultimately uneven, Simon’s Quest, Dracula’s Curse looked to return to the roots of the first title in the series and just do everything better. The branching pathways allow you to explore a number of alternate stages, which makes the game extremely replayable. And that element of replayability is only further enhanced by the recruitable character system, which allows you to rescue one of three comrades—each coming locked and loaded with their own wholly unique playstyle. Oh, and it just so happens to have an incredible soundtrack. Dracula’s Curse is 8-bit chiptune nirvana! You quite simply cannot do it better than Dracula’s Curse.
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
James Troughton, News & Photo Editor
Going Commando was what shaped the future of Ratchet & Clank, and is often hailed as the best in the series for just that. It added strafing, introduced James Arnold Taylor as Ratchet, and turned Qwark from a secondary villain into the primary antagonist. I get it. It did a lot right and it did it well, but Up Your Arsenal took it even further. The Galactic Rangers that we fight side-by-side with on Veldin are hilarious and personable despite all sharing one voice, while the mothership hub adds some familiarity for us to routinely return to with a whole host of previous characters returning to work together. Al and Skid McMarx on the same team is comedic genius. Qwark meanwhile thinks he’s a monkey – it’s great! And it has the best levels, arenas, platforming, and side quests. The 2D Qwark levels? FANTASTIC. Chuck in Courtney Gears and Dr. Nefarious and you have a recipe for a platformer all-timer.
Dragon Quest 3
Adam Carr, Specialist
The first two Dragon Quest titles are legendary achievements that not only innovated on the bloated western RPGs of the time, but birthed their own subgenre. You can still feel Dragon Quest's tendrils working their magic to this day. The thing is, none of that comes close to the monumental achievement that is Dragon Quest 3. Dragon Quest 3 has been heralded as one of the greatest JRPGS of all time, and for good reason. Mechanically, it is the JRPG perfected. Narratively, it blows every game before it out of the water. It subverts tropes so young, they could barely be considered tropes at the time. It beautifully pulls its predecessors into an unexpected trilogy with a twist so damn good, that it gives me shivers just thinking about it. With a 2DHD Remake on the horizon, I am beyond excited to play this game for a 10th time – only with prettier graphics.
Amanda Hurych, Evergreen Content Lead
If we’re talking greatest threequel of all time, no question, it’s Halo 3. What can I even say that hasn’t been said before about this masterpiece of gaming. The campaign doubled down on co-op (literally), allowing up to four friends to play through the epic finale of Master Chief’s adventure. The set piece moments during the game were unforgettable (like when those Scarabs, I repeat, two Scarabs, plonked down onto the battlefield). And the multiplayer? Chef’s kiss. Halo 3 is one of the greatest video games of all time, so of course by merit of being the third game in its series, it is also one of the greatest threequels.
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