THQ's ARPG, Darksiders Genesis, launches on consoles this week, ditching the classic hack and slash gameplay for the first time in the series. This got us thinking about other franchises we'd like to get a genre-swapping spin-off.
A match made in heaven.
Sam | Cuphead
Cuphead is absolutely superb, don’t get me wrong, but its three comprising elements are all too disparate.
Side-scrolling levels are underbaked, having been shoehorned in based on player feedback instead of being planned from the start. Boss battles are incredible, but could be even more so with a preceding level to set the scene both thematically and mechanically. The world map connecting these stages is packed with interesting characters and hidden secrets, whereas in most other games it’d just be an elaborate menu.
Imagine instead that this hodgepodge was married into a more cohesive metroidvania. No longer a mixed bag of elements, Cuphead’s gameplay would flow just as beautifully as its hand-drawn animations. Ori and the Blind Forest, alongside upcoming sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps, would be given a run for their money as champions of the artisan 2D metroidvania.
The true beauty of it is that not much would need to change, in theory. All of the structural building blocks are there, as too are the suite of acquirable weapons and abilities. In addition to serving their existing combat benefits, they’d now simply need to be utilised in solving puzzles and opening up new areas as well.
Has Sam correctly predicted a change of pace for Cuphead 2?
Liam | Halo: Reach
Halo: Reach is pretty much a perfect game, but I can’t help but think that Bungie’s best would also work ridiculously well as side-scrolling shoot-‘em-up.
The Covenant, made up of Grunts, Jackals, Elites and Brutes, are perfect cannon fodder for the genre, and you’ve got a great selection of ready-made characters in the form of Noble team, with enough numbers and skill-sets (Emile for close quarters, Kat as engineer, Jorge as a heavy, Jun ranged etc.) to cater for six-player co-op sessions.
Most of the campaign’s levels would also translate rather well to the 2.5D setting, whether it’s battling through space in a Longsword interceptor, hopping between skyscrapers with a jetpack and some AI ODST’s for company, or tearing through the desert on a Mongoose.
You could even throw in some decent boss battles in the form of Covenant cruisers (for the space parts) Hunter pairs, or maybe even some of those weird giant troll things that briefly make an appearance in the mission Nightfall.
Basically, it’s perfect, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been made before. Halo: Spartan Assault comes close, but it doesn’t really count because it’s a twin-stick at heart and all the action takes place in a slightly different perspective.
There's precedent for an all-together different Halo.
James | Pokémon
While Pokémon is one of the best known entertainment franchises around the world, it's clear a change is needed. While many, myself included, enjoy the lighter-touch approach Pokémon Go presents, there's a lot more that could be done with the franchise.
There have been various spin-offs already, but what I don't think we've had so far is a side-scrolling beat-em-up, something similar to the likes of Streets of Rage or even something more 3D like Sonic Adventure, but with more battling and less platforming.
We've come close before with the fisticuffs of Pokkén Tournament and Super Smash Bros. or the roaming antics of the free-to-play Pokémon Quest, but with a world so ripe for exploration, there's a lot of potential here.
Imagine a few RPG elements to levelling up your character to provide a more active take on the EV character attributes system, letting you double-down on speed and see the benefit in combat.
Tag-teaming a couple of characters would be good, or perhaps something more like Dragon Age Inquisition's party-based combat system, switching up skills and types for the best match-ups for enemies.
Getting the balance right would be tricky, not to mention narrowing down which 'mon to make playable, but inspiration from the anime alone is enough to give some sense of the spectacle and excitement to going more hands (or paws) on.
Take note, Nintendo.
Which franchises would you change for the better?