The Weekly Five: Best “Post-Dreamcast” Games

When the Dreamcast breathed its last back in 2001, many thought it was for the best. “They’ll be more successful as a 3rd party publisher!” “They’ll be able to make more money since they’ll be on more systems!” But sadly, that wouldn’t be the case for a long, long time. In fact, only in the last two years has there been a big enough turnaround in quality. When Dreamcast died, much of the creativity and spark of the developers seemed to die with it, 2006 being the best example of Sega’s worst time in the industry.

But not all of it was bad. In fact, their initial outings on GameCube and X-Box were quite strong. Even during Sega’s worst times in 2003-2008, there were some diamonds in the rough. Continue on to see my top 5 favorite “post-Dreamcast” Sega titles from 2001-present.

Super Monkey Ball (Series)

Originally developed as an arcade game by Amusement Vision, Super Monkey Ball became on of Sega’s first original hit titles outside of the Dreamcast. SMB debuted in Japanese arcades in 2000 and on the GameCube in 2001. Playing similar to Marble Madness but with a lot more character, the game was a hit with both fans and critics alike. Sadly as time went on, the quality of the sequels started to deter. The problem with the Monkey Ball formula is that it didn’t leave much room for originality. When Sega tried something like Super Monkey Ball adventure, it bombed considerably. Monkeys in giant balls do not need stories. Since then, Sega has gone back to the old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” approach with mixed results. SMB on 3DS was decent, but far too easy and with poor mini games. Fortunately, SMB on Vita looks like it may be a big breath of fresh air for this franchise.

Jet Set Radio Future

It would be impossible for me not to include the sequel to my favorite Dreamcast game of all time. Released in 2002, JSRF was a great sequel to the original Jet Grind Radio. Instead of selecting maps from the GG’s hideout, you now had a more open world but with a center hub to go to. The soundtrack was even more electric and funky than the original thanks in big part to composer God  Hideki Naganuma and some other Japanese music artists like Guitar Vader and Cibo Matto.  Many argue over whether this game is better than the original. I love JSRF, but I still like the original a tiny bit better. I liked doing motions to spray huge canvases while the police were on your tail. It made it more tense than just spraying beautiful art while zooming by.

Sonic Colors

While Sonic Colors didn’t save the franchise (it was never in jeopardy due to the younger fans still buying Sonic games in droves), it did break the dreaded “Sonic Cycle”. After Sonic Adventure 2, the quality of the console Sonic games started to decline. It hit rock bottom with Sonic ’06, which killed Sonic’s reputation as a quality platformer with many fans for some time to come. In 2010, many fan’s hopes of “project needlemouse” were dashed when they saw leaked videos of Sonic 4 (although many critics still loved it). But in the middle of all the nerd rage came an unexpected surprise in Sonic Colors. No epic story, no hub worlds, no ridiculously out of control speed. Instead, we got an incredible soundtrack, a light-hearted story and a major focus on 2-D platforming. To a lot of jaded Sonic fans, this was the answer to their prayers. In my opinion, Sonic Colors is without a doubt the best Sonic game since Adventure 2 and possibly better.

 

Yakuza (Series)

With 4 games and 3 spinoffs (Black Panther 1 &2, Yakuza of the End) under its belt, the Yakuza series is Sega’s most successful post-Dreamcast franchise in Japan. Mostly following the harrowing adventures of former Yakuza boss Kazuma Kiryu (except for 4 and End which focus on three others) as he takes on thugs and other Yakuza on the streets of Kamurocho, the Yakuza series is not only a great brawler, but a wonderful open world game with many shops and arcades to explore while going through the main story. In short, Yakuza is Shenmue without the bland parts. My only beef with the series is that it can get really complicated with its plots and sub-plots. On top of that, you have to have a half-decent knowledge of how Yakuza clans work to really know what’s going on. For me, it boils down to “Bad stuff’s going down. Kazuma has to fix bad stuff…with his fists.” Works for me!

Bayonetta

One of the best deals Sega recently made was putting Platinum Games under their belt. While Madworld was a bit of a miss due to the chosen system and art style that hurt my eyes, Bayonetta was right on the mark. The game not only gives many nods to Sega’s past, the character of Bayonetta herself screams Sega attitude. She’s very sexual, defiant, stylish and brazen. Not only is the game one of the best 3-D action games of 2010 (the other would be PG’s other game Vanquish) it’s the best original Sega published title to come out in years.

Games that almost made the five.

Valkeria Chronicles: Seriously, I was very close to cutting out JSRF and Putting this one in.

Vanquish: Another awesome Platinum Games…game.

Panzer Dragoon Orta: Because it’s Panzer Dragoon. But frankly, Zwei was my favorite.

BTW, if I didn’t list your favorite Sega game, TOUGH! Deal with it. XP But you can mention it in the comments section below. 😉

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30 responses to “The Weekly Five: Best “Post-Dreamcast” Games

  1. Great “Five” Shigs! Agreed on all games, even Yakuza which I’ve yet to really play (only played most of the second game).

    JSRF, while flawed, was an amazing game. The world it creates was stunning for the time, and has yet to be outdone. I can just skate about Tokyo-to for hours.

    Sonic Colors is easily the best post-Dreamcast Sonic game, but Generations will probably beat it.

    Panzer Dragoon Orta would totally be on my top five.

  2. goldskarr says:

    You mean Yakuza has FOUR Spin Offs. Kenzan, anyone?

  3. Sega Uranus says:

    No Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, Virtua Fighter 5, Astro Boy Omega Factor or OutRun2SP? Tons of other really fantastic IPs. Different strokes for different folks, I guess…

    But Sonic Colors? LOLOLOLFOLFOSJHSKLHJKSHKSISHKSD

    No.

    If you had to say a Sonic game, Sonic Advance is easily just so much better in basically every way. There is no way Sonic Colors can compare to any of the games I just mentioned in any way, it is a good game for sure but come on… Damn, even something that just came out like Renegade Ops is more deserving of a title like this.

    I know you are a Sonic nut, but come on Shelly!

    The comment on Yakuza games is kind of weird, too. Shenmue had boring parts? I doubt any of them are more boring than the hostess stuff or managing wages in random Japanese gambling games no one who speaks English ever even heard of.

    I agree with MADWORLD though, I cannot believe people can play that game for more than a few minutes because of the awful art direction that literally causes pain to the eyes.

  4. segaismysavior says:

    The only post-Dreamcast games that I’ve fallen in love with are JSRF, Valkyria Chronicles, Vanquish, and NiGHTS: JoD (despite it’s lame over-exposition).

    I sure want to play Bayonetta and Yakuza, as I know I’d dig them.

  5. teirusu says:

    my top 5 post dreamcast games are sonic colors sonic unleashed sonic 06 it wasnt that bad and sonic rush and empire total war

  6. Crazytails says:

    I like sonic colors, but I think valkyria chonicles could’ve taken that place. Other picks are more along my line however.

  7. radrappy says:

    Putting bayonetta on this list is like saying F-Zero GX is one of nintendo’s best games.

  8. ScottishDuck says:

    Anyone remember Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg? I quite liked that game. Also House of the Dead Overkill, Nights: Journey of Dreams (WHICH I LOVED) and Phantasy Star Portable 2 (Portable 1 and Universe were kinda meh).

  9. segaismysavior says:

    radrappy: If you pay for it, and approve the final product, then you do get to claim it as yours.

  10. radrappy says:

    @segaismysavior

    not with a straight face.

  11. segaismysavior says:

    :3

  12. Shigs says:

    Platinum Games is a developer working for Sega. Sega approves all ideas and designs that Platinum does. It’s also up to Sega to publish the game. Saying that Bayonetta is not a Sega game is like saying Virtua Fighter is not a Sega game because it was developed by AM2. If Sega publishes it, it’s a Sega game. Simple as that.

  13. Oy vey! When I put this article up, I added “published” to Bayonetta’s bit to avoid all the back and forth of SEGA published titles being “true” SEGA games or not. Looks like it didn’t work. 😛

    Way I see it, even if it’s published by an external dev, if the game is made from start to finish with SEGA at the development team’s side occasionally stepping in to approve, make suggestions, share staff, port or fund, it’s a SEGA game.

    Stuff that was completed and SEGA simply published it, like the EA games published by SEGA in Japan, are the exception. Those are the sort of games you can point at and say “Not a SEGA game, only published”.

  14. radrappy says:

    @Barry & Shigs

    We’re very happy to call it a sega game because it’s of high quality. If it were a bad game, I think we’d have no problem disowning it easily. Platinum games gets the credit for Bayonetta, not Sega. As far as I know, all Sega did was develop an inferior ps3 port. You say they supervised development? Gave suggestions? To what degree we’ll never know but the fact remains that they did not develop the game. I don’t think anyone other than this website considers Bayonetta a Sega game. Elsewhere it’s rightly referred to as a Platinum Games game.

  15. Well, I consider it a Platinum Games game too. But I also consider Sonic Colors to be a Sonic Team game, JSRF to be a Smilebit Game and Virtua Fighter an AM2 game. But they all fall under the SEGA umbrella, including Bayonetta. PG may not be grouped with the internal SEGA devs, but they are still all developing games that are published by SEGA.

  16. Shigs says:

    Barry, ya took the words right out of my mouth. I also agree that any EA games that are published by Sega in Japan still count as EA games. As would any 3rd party publishing for another 3rd party in a different country.

  17. -nSega54- says:

    Yakuza=Shenmue without the bland parts? C’mon…Yakuza was at times far more bland than Shenmue.

    Kidding. You’re entitled to your opinion….no matter how misguided. :] (Shenmue >>>>>>>>>Yakuza.)

    Moving on. Good article. I personally loved Vanquish, one of my favorite games in a long time and the only one of its kind that I’ve gotten into. Bayonetta….not so much.

  18. Trippled says:

    @Sega didn’t directly made Bayonetta, they contacted a company called Next Level Games to do it.

  19. Trippled says:

    @Radrappy

    Sega didn’t exactly port Bayonetta, they contacted a company called Next Level Games to do it.

    *wish this had a editing option…*

  20. radrappy says:

    well, Next Level was working for sega. Sega approves all ideas and designs that Next Level does. It’s also up to Sega to publish the game. Oop, see what I did there?

    Sounds like the whole thing is none of Sega’s handy work. Bayonetta, and bayonetta’s flawed ps3 port.

  21. loempiavreter says:

    Worst Top 5 ever.

  22. -nSega54- says:

    Huh? Sega ported Bayonetta to the PS3 themselves, it wasn’t Next Level. I thought Sega had their internal “crack team” handle the port. Though they botched it.

  23. TaroYamada says:

    Agree with RadRappy, Bayonetta is I believe Sega’s IP, but the first title is PG’s. End of story. AM2 is not a valid comparison as Sega owns those studios.

    If sega buys PlatinumGames, or absorbs them, then they developed the game.

  24. TaroYamada says:

    My list would probably look something like, JSRF, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Virtua Fighter 4, Virtua Fighter 5, and Valkyria Chronicles.

  25. Shigs says:

    You’d want TWO Virtua Fighters?

  26. I’ve yet to play VF5: Final Showdown, but Virtua Fighter 10th Anniversary bundled with VF4: Evolution was a great package. The price was awesome too.

  27. SDreamer says:

    Wow no Valkyria Chronicles. That was like the closest thing a Skies of Arcadia fan would get to a sequel. Story was great, gameplay was great, graphics were great, music was great, I don’t know what else. Out of all the Sonic games so far, none of them have broke that terrible quality that’s arisen since Sega left the hardware biz. The closest experience was Sonic Unleashed. If they made that game minus the wearhog, it would have been a lot better imo.

  28. St. McDuck says:

    I took a chance on the Yakuza series and have since played all 4 main games and LOVED every minute of them. The combat is unrivaled in 3D open world games. You truly feel like a badass as you beat the crap out of thugs and level up the various aspects of your badassery. It’s like what a proper current-gen Streets of Rage should play like (with a lot of seedy underworld story added in, of course).
    The Yakuza series put Sega back on the map for me, following the DC’s end.

  29. Antonio says:

    NO OUTRUN2?!?!?
    NO BOARDER BREAK!?!?!

  30. homepage says:

    This is what we need now.

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