Why Is The Second Game In Every Naughty Dog Series The Best?

What is it with the number “2” that gets Naughty Dog to produce the finest games in their respective series?

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Think about it… When it comes to your favourite Crash Bandicoot game, you’re probably moving towards Cortex Strikes Back because the gameplay was perfectly balanced without going a bit over-the-top with new elements like Warped (seriously the motorbike levels were near-game ruiners). 

Moving up to PS2, Jak II Renegade was nothing short of a masterpiece. Beyond this, the second Uncharted proved itself to be the superior instalment - not just in personal opinion but in metacritic scores too.

So beyond what I think, this bizarre trend can be seen through statistical data also. Nothing quite beat the ridiculously over-the-top action of Uncharted 2. While Jak 3 had the same (and actually far more vast) free roaming, the atmosphere and attention to detail of Jak 2 could never be beat.

And by extension, it gives me confidence that The Last Of Us Part II is going to far exceed the expectations set by the already magnificent original (hopefully with a far better storyline than what I attempted to write).

Buy why is this? Why does it take a sequel for Naughty Dog to reach near-perfection, but further iterations feel a bit bloated?

In a few words - I don’t know, but would like to propose a theory…

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This theory includes a social media content scheduling company and (oddly) the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears. 

Buffer sums up my thoughts nicely about working ethic with their mantra “work smarter, not harder.” It’s the idea of picking your battles that will make the most impact on your work. Taking into account the sliding scale of porridge and bed satisfaction of Goldilocks, there is such a thing as getting something “just right.”

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Every second iteration of Naughty Dog games scream “just right,” as they perfect the formula and smooth the rough edges of the original. The third game always feels over-the-top, as the team (rightfully) work hard to add a wheelbarrow full of new goodies to the game, which make it feel a little bloated.

Hopefully it’s not just me who thinks this, otherwise I’m the guy who’s critiquing a company that I actually love. But allow me to mention Uncharted 3, Jak 3 and Crash Warped are not bad games whatsoever. In fact, they are incredible fun! But personally, and oddly proven through statistics too, they always seem to get it just right the second time round.