Is playing a series in order overrated?

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liquiddragon

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Poll Is playing a series in order overrated? (340 votes)

Yes 25%
Yes (but I have a disease) 22%
No, it's a must 39%
Results 14%

Fairly often I see comments along the lines of "I have to play this, this, and that before I could play the latest entry" and I always want to tell those people to just go play the thing you want to play. If the game is good, it won't matter where you start, you'll naturally want to dig in and check out more of the franchise.

My first MGS was MGS2 which blew my fucking mind in 2002 and playing MGS1 became my top priority. I really like that too and the rest is history, I been a major fan of the series ever since. Another example is Yakuza 4. I beat that game this year and had a good time. I definitely want to check out another one in the future.

My point is forget about playing a series in order or that it's even a series. Pick the one you want to play, don't worry about not getting some things, enjoy it for what it is and if it's meant to be, you'll pick up another one in the entry down the line.

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TheHT

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There's something to be said for playing a series in a way that you happen to play it in. Whether by whim or circumstance, you're getting a different experience if you take something out of sequence, and that can actually be kinda cool.

Either way just make a choice and play. No good excessively thinking about it rather than actually diving in.

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Teddie

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Definitely differs between series, and even games within those series. You mentioned Yakuza 4, but that was basically a soft-reboot of the series, introducing 3 new protagonists and focusing on them, and just kinda throwing Kiryu in for the ride. I started with Yakuza 3 and was similarly fine with it, but they did have a major character at the center of the story and revelations wouldn't mean much to someone who hadn't played the first game.

I started the MGS series with 4 and it was absolutely miserable, I thought it was awful. Coming back to it after playing 1-3, I loved the shit out of it because that entire game is just amazingly crafted fanservice. In contrast, I can see someone starting with MGSV and enjoying it more than a fan of MGS because of the change in focus from story to gameplay.

But yes, there is something to be said for just playing what you want. It's a harder sell for story-driven games, obviously.

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ZolRoyce

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I seem to recall Capcoms very own Tim Turi stating he would always play a series in order if he wanted to get into one.

I've mostly been the same way, but I often realize what I'm doing is kind of stupid. I've almost ruined a good game in a series life span because I went back to the older clanky games first and was put off, but I really like getting everything in order of when it was released. Thing is when I don't do it that way, when I just jump into something, it never bugs me, games or t.v., the thought of being out of order bugs me, but when I actually do jump in out of order, it's never been a big deal. So it's a stupid mind thing I have to get over.
That being said, with all of the older games getting re-released in some form or another, it's become much easier to jump in from the start, so it's not a big deal either way.

The new God of War looks really cool to me, I might jump into that one without actually going back and playing the rest first.
Maybe.
I guess.

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Slag

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Well couple things

If you intend to play all the games in the series, I do think it's ideal to play them in order. Why? two reasons

  1. If there's a continuous story, you'll get to appreciate how it was intended to be and you'll notice more details in the later entries
  2. You'll also get to see the gameplay get better as opposed to playing a modern entry and then getting a cold shower when you go back to an older entry that may not play well today

That being said, I think in many cases you don't need to play the whole series and if you are jumping in an older franchise', you might just be better off ignoring the old ones altogether. Also while I do think it is ideal to play them in order, I also don't think it's a big deal if you don't.

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BoccKob

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#5  Edited By BoccKob

Games nowadays can't afford to not be accessible to as many people as possible, so I'd say it's not necessary to play a whole series. Witcher 3 was the only game from that series I liked, Snake Eater and Ground Zeroes are the only Metal Gear games I've liked. In Metal Gear's case, I definitely would've been much happier not knowing about fucking nanomachines or Otacon's weird pedo-incest family woes.

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FacelessVixen

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The first Metal Gear I played was Snake Eater. I tried to play the Witcher games in order but I bounced off of 1 and 2 but stuck with 3 the most. Played some of Xenosaga II without playing the first game, though none of what I played really registered. Didn't care about Bethesda until Skyrim and can only go as far back as Fallout 3. And, Persona started at 3.

I think it's pretty safe to say that I don't obsess over playing games in order. I just play the ones that I enjoy playing and YouTube the ones that I don't.

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GuitarGod

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#7  Edited By GuitarGod

Depends on the game, id so order of release is the best way, sometimes just playing then in chronological story order is the best (aside from graphics and gameplay changing over time with the series) id say games like metal gear ... in order of released, "stupid fun" games like resident evil--- doesn't even matter, independent story based games like Witcher 3 or GTAV, just play the newest release first because it will usually be the best

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NTM

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I'm not sure if it's a must always, but I certainly try to play games in order and find it very hard to want to play a promising looking sequel if I hadn't played the first one beforehand. I like the know the game that came before, the history if you will, and the whatever story is going on and how it compares. I don't like missing out on even small nods to the past games. Sometimes if a new game comes out that is a sequel and I could potentially be excited, I lose a lot of excitement if I didn't play what came before. That all said, I never really regretted playing games out of order, or heck, not playing a game that came before (I've never played the first No One Lives Forever, but have played through NOLF2). If the game is story heavy and relies heavily on the past games events, I'm definitely going to try and play the first ones first.

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nicksmi56

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I'm certainly not one to talk about playing a series in order.

My first Mario game was Galaxy, my first Sonic game was Adventure 2, my first Persona is 4, my first Disgaea will be 4, my first Fire Emblem will be Awakening, my first Zelda was Ocarina and my first Kirby was Return to Dreamland.

So no, I don't believe it's strictly necessary to start playing from the beginning of a series. I have no interest in going back to the roots of some of the series I've listed here and would rather keep up with new entries than try to track down older games for the sake of it.

At the same time, I totally agree that some games can inspire you to take on the rest of the series. Like I said, my first Sonic was Adventure 2, but after I finish Colors, which I'm currently playing, I'll have beaten every single main game in the series besides Lost World and That One That Must Not Be Named. Similarly, after Galaxy I found myself naturally playing more Mario and now I've beaten and 100%ed all of them besides Sunshine, Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 2.

So even though I see the point in starting from the beginning (seeing the gameplay/story evolve as time goes on) and I do it for certain franchises (I refuse to play Breath of the Wild until I get through Twilight Princess and Wind Waker since it's pretty obviously supposed to take place after everything else), I wouldn't say it's something you MUST do. Do it if you want, but most of the time you'll be fine regardless unless the game literally requires prior knowledge of the other games, which most don't.

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Rebel_Scum

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There should be another poll option for "No, not always" or something like that.

I do it for some games but not all. It really depends on so many things. Games that I have done it for I really have enjoyed though. Mass Effect I started with the first. MGS I had only played the first one on the PS1 so I basically decided last year to play through them all in chronological order. I'm at the Phantom Pain now and really digging it and the decision to play it this way.

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stinger061

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In my opinion 99% of the time going back is completely pointless. Most games these days attempt to hit the widest possible audience which means developers assuming a good portion of their target audience haven't played their previous games. Sure there are sometimes references or ties to previous games but very rarely to the point where a new game makes absolutely no sense to new players. In fact even many people who played early games in a series will often come to a sequel only remembering vague details of a previous game as it's often years between games in a series.

In many cases I think going back can actually have a detrimental impact on your enjoyment of a series. Even games which were critically acclaimed at the time may seem dated if you go back now, leading to you bouncing away before getting to the latest game and therefore missing out entirely on what may be a great game.

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gamb1t

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I would say depends on the game?

God of War? 1 is a forever playable game that should not be missed along side with metal gear solid 1

Assassins Creed 1? Thats a 100% skip to 2 or hell even 3

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PassiveSpiral

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@gamb1t said:

I would say depends on the game?

God of War? 1 is a forever playable game that should not be missed along side with metal gear solid 1

Assassins Creed 1? Thats a 100% skip to 2 or hell even 3

I actually just played AC1 a few weeks ago, finished AC2 this weekend, and would advise against skipping them. If you're interested in the story of the series, you should play the first games. It's interesting to look back 10 years and see how that series started and then be able to compare it to Origins later this years. Besides, you can mainline those in 6 to 8 hrs if you decide you want to skip the side content.

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glots

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Like some have said, it depends. I'd rather play the Uncharted series in order because of the character build-up throughout the series.

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Sahalarious

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the idea of playing a series with a continuous story out of order intentionally is absolutely insane to me. My mom would rent random discs of random seasons of The Sopranos, and i still have nightmares over it. That's just not how characters work. Witcher is a tough one, because 1 is borderline awful at this point, feels like a product of the bygone era of pure clunk, like vampire the masquerade and stuff. So i watched a synopsis video and went straight into witcher 2. Obviously it doesn't matter what order you play a call of duty game in though. Metal gear 1-4 are all perfect and should always and only be played in order though.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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I have this problem and like others have mentioned, when I do jump into the newest games of a series, there's not problem. It's a different form of fear of missing out. I worry that some references will go over my head and that's worsened by reviews, or user posts, mentioning that fans of older games will recognize some references. In reality, these are usually just small nods that aren't that big of a deal and are just as inneffective when the earlier games are powered through, for the sake of powering through.

My problem is worsened by my inability to drop a game I'm not having fun with if I'm playing it with a purpose in mind, like wanting to play a sequel. I have a problem dropping games, anyways, though. But yeah, powering through usually makes me burned out on a series before enhancing the experience of newer games. Mechanics and settings get old. I wholeheartedly regret playing through Witcher 1 and 2 just before 3 came out. Completely burned out on it and have only played about two hours of it.

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LawGamer

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@gamb1t said:

I would say depends on the game?

God of War? 1 is a forever playable game that should not be missed along side with metal gear solid 1

Assassins Creed 1? Thats a 100% skip to 2 or hell even 3

I actually just played AC1 a few weeks ago, finished AC2 this weekend, and would advise against skipping them. If you're interested in the story of the series, you should play the first games. It's interesting to look back 10 years and see how that series started and then be able to compare it to Origins later this years. Besides, you can mainline those in 6 to 8 hrs if you decide you want to skip the side content.

Plus, those two are by far the best games in the series.

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ATastySlurpee

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#19  Edited By ATastySlurpee

For the most part, I think its absolutely preferred, but you have weird instances like the new Wolfenstein where New Order came out first, then Old Blood, which is a prequel to New Order. Same with the Arkham series, Origins is chronologically first, but was released 3rd. I think the games should be played by release, not necessarily chronological. Sometimes it can be hard to play a prequel that came out years later, then jump back to a dated game.

But then you have Witcher 1 & 2 which both are basically unplayable and awful, but 3 is so so so much better.

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Zevvion

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It depends if you intend to play all the games in that series. If you do, then I don't really see a point to starting with anything other than the first game in that series. You'll likely have to do without the fine tuning, refinement, accessibility, additional mechanics etc. which appeared in the later games. Not to mention graphical upgrades and story progression.

If you don't though, then I think it would probably be best to just play the most refined and competent game, which is usually the last entry. Not always though (Dark Souls II) and sometimes sequels are straight up disappointing or worse than the first game, even post-release (Mercenaries 2).

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ArtisanBreads

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#21  Edited By ArtisanBreads

There really are not that many games that warrant it. I am not someone hating on all game stories or something saying that but really there are few series where the long term story actually matters over more than 2-3 games back to back.

@lawgamer said:
@passivespiral said:
@gamb1t said:

I would say depends on the game?

God of War? 1 is a forever playable game that should not be missed along side with metal gear solid 1

Assassins Creed 1? Thats a 100% skip to 2 or hell even 3

I actually just played AC1 a few weeks ago, finished AC2 this weekend, and would advise against skipping them. If you're interested in the story of the series, you should play the first games. It's interesting to look back 10 years and see how that series started and then be able to compare it to Origins later this years. Besides, you can mainline those in 6 to 8 hrs if you decide you want to skip the side content.

Plus, those two are by far the best games in the series.

That's just telling people to play a good game. AC 2 is the best in the series by a big margin I think.

It doesn't really matter to Origins I'm sure. I really doubt it feels much like it is addressing AC 1 or 2. The thing tying those games together was the Desmond story and that could only really last 3 games before going away. That's exactly what I mean. It's rare to see anything go on like that for so long.

It's part of why I love MGS so much and why I love 4 because it's unique in how it is playing with the legacy of the series so openly. No other games have really had the opportunity or ability to do that with the weight it has in that game.

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deactivated-5f90eabee6bba

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Since Final Fantasy is built off of references to other games in its series, playing them in order still matters. You're going to miss out on so many call backs.

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Justin258

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It depends on the series, although in most cases you can jump into whichever entry you like.

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alistercat

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Overrated is overrated.

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GundamGuru

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Sometimes it really doesn't matter, but I think there are definitely cases where going in-order can be beneficial. There are the story cases, like Mass Effect or Uncharted, where part of the attraction is continuing an ongoing narrative in a universe you really like.

On the other hand, there are definitely series where there are game mechanics reasons to play in-order. I find it really had to go back to games in franchises that have had huge quality-of-life improvements or gameplay tweaks (like Fire Emblem or Pokemon). If you really want to see where a series has come from, or how it has evolved over the years, playing them in production order is the only way to get that. Playing the older titles also the only way to improve your street cred in some of the older, more fractured fanbases. Helps understand where longtime fan gripes are coming from.

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BoOzak

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Overrated is overrated.

Yeah that word doesnt really fit here. (or anywhere really, since it relies on someones opinion being wrong) 'Necessary' would make more sense.

Anyway, I think it depends on how much you value story in games, and whether the series in question has much continuity.

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nnickers

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Impossible to answer in a poll like this: it depends entirely on the series, genre, etc.

Playing Metal Gear Solid 4 without knowledge of the previous games will greatly reduce that game's value.

Playing Super Mario World before Super Mario Brothers will be totally fine.

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Zeik

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People definitely make a bigger deal out of it than necessary. Story is often the most important thing in a game for me, and I will try to play games in order if possible, but it should rarely be a reason to not play a game at all. I played Suikoden 2 before 1 and it still became my favorite JRPG of all time. I played MGS3 before any of the others and that still became my favorite MGS game. I skipped The Witcher 2 because I didn't have a way to play it and 3 was still an amazing game.

I understand the sentiment, but there's only a handful of games out there where I would strongly recommend against playing them out of order. Essentially anything heavily episodic that tries to tell one story in multiple parts. (Different than a sequel that simply continues some plot threads.)

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monkeyking1969

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It depend son the series. However, I will say that for many games the order doesn't matter, and often the older the game even doing teh story isn't important.

Sometimes the continuity of a story is nice to see all the way through, but I think time and effort is a consideration. I would never tell some to play Morrowind and then Oblivion before you get to Skyrim. SUre, there is a ton of lore to be gleaned from teh first two games...but the average person will not give a shit.

Now if you said, "Oh, I want to play Uncharted...where shoudl I start?" "Sure, start form teh beginning" because even play each game is at most 12 hours if you look for everything and eight hours is you just take it at a comfortable pace. If you play each game over a week your play the entire collection is a month and see the story from start to finish. I think you could so that same thing for CoD Modern Warfare. Oh, you might feel like caressing an American flag and doggy-styling an Apple pie afterward, but the story holds some sort of sense to it - the Soap & Price continuity.

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Humanity

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You can watch movies out of order or read books out of sequence; whether you want to do that is up to you really. I wouldn't recommend it unless in the case of games there is a significant time gap or if it's a reboot of some sort - but it's really a case by case situation.

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moregrammarplz

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I always try to play games that are part of a series in the order they came out, especially if they're heavy on story. Sometimes I end up having a really amazing experience, like when I played through all of the Metal Gear series. Other times, I stall out with the first installment of a series that started off kind of rough before garnering acclaim - I've started and then abandoned Assassin's Creed 1 about four times now. I don't think I'll ever see Ezio.

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GERALTITUDE

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#32  Edited By GERALTITUDE

It depends on the series, and what you want out of it. To think that there is a black/white rule about this is far from the truth. That, really, is the most important thing to say I think: there is not a right or wrong way to play games, old or new.

For me, I really enjoy the historical aspect of seeing where a series came from and how it evolved over time. This is in general, and I apply this method to many series that I play. However, if I am not particularly interested in the historical changes of a series or an attempt to feel its change over time, I have no problem jumping around. So, for me, history trumps narrative chronology.

If I was talking to someone about a series they were interested in, I would first try to gauge their perspective on this topic, for example: Do they usually play old games? Do they have any sort of history with the genre? Why are they interest in the series now? Is it to quickly catch up on the next release? See how the story started? Are they a faux-game-historian like yours truly?

Once I had this under my belt I could give recommendations based on their current setup (consoles / pc available) and budget. This may sound too granular and specific towards the person asking... but... it should be. There aren't easy answers to this question and we shouldn't be looking for them. I won't deny that I have an agenda when it comes to promoting historical gaming, but, I try to keep an open mind and suggest a method that will actually allow for, you know, fun to take place!

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warcat777

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I would say yes. But I still can't stop doing it.
Haven't played any Metal Gears except Metal Gear Solid. it's not beaten yet, so I can't move on.
I have quite a bunch of complete game series here where I haven't beaten the first one, and thus cannot continue on.

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BrainScratch

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I don't think it's a must, but I also don't think it's overrated. It depends on the series.

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deactivated-630479c20dfaa

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Depends on the series. If you want to play final fantasy chronologically, then.. good luck!

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stordoff

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#36  Edited By stordoff

It depends. Take something like Persona (3-5 at least). You lose almost nothing by jumping in where ever - the games are loosely connected (callbacks to 3 in 4, 4 in P3P, 4 in 5) and exist in the same world, but are essentially standalone.

On the other hand, take something like Steins;Gate 0. It's essentially the story of how the true end in the original game happens, so playing it first is absolutely the wrong thing to do (IIRC, it would barely hold up as a standalone story - even having played the original, there are a couple of puzzling moments because they tie into stuff like the drama CDs).

It really depends how much the game relies on its story, and whether or not the games are distinct chapters that stand alone or are intertwined with the previous games. I don't really think you can give a definitive answer either way.

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berniesbc

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Its a must if you have absolutely unlimited free time. Most grown ups do not. At some point if you're that interested in a series' lore, you can watch some youtube videos or hit up Wikipedia.

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korwin

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#38  Edited By korwin

Is the endless use of the word "overrated" overrated?

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lylebot

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Yes. I feel "watching/playing all the old things in order before I watch/play the new thing" is generally overrated, and most of the time you can just jump in anywhere and be fine. Yes, you may be confused at first, but you'll catch up.

The thing is, as human beings, we have people jumping into and out of our lives frequently, we jump in and out of others' lives, and we seldom get to go back and see or show everything that happened beforehand. We figure it out. We're humans, we're social animals, we're "designed" (by evolution) to fill in the gaps in peoples' stories. Most of us can handle being tossed into a new group of people without having to be caught up on all their history; it's my opinion that we are capable of doing the same with narrative fiction and games.

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Dixavd

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Most game sequels are developed with an expectation that they'll have a larger player-base than the first new IP game (a result of player good will and word-of-mouth escalating the audience size). So the vast majority of games don't require that you play the previous ones to enjoy or understand them. It can sometimes lead to problems when jumping in later (or just playing all of them is objectively better: e.g. mechanical changes due to previous saves such as Pokemon Black/White to Black2/White2 or the Mass Effect trilogy). But usually it's fine to go straight to the one that interests you.

Nevertheless, I always feel bad if I don't start at the beginning.

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capshot

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After a few years of hesitation, I started playing The Witcher 3 and, while I'm enjoying it, I frequently feel like I'm missing information because I never got around to the first two games. I've had a good time so far but l have this nagging sensation that I'd be liking it more if I had played the others.

That being said, I played through the Metal Gear series in a very unconventional order recently (initially due to a series of inconvenient life events, as well as a desire to maintain a sort of consistency once I'd started) and it still became one of my favorite gaming franchises. I played the two MSX games, the first half of Metal Gear Solid, Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid 3, the second half of Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid 4, Ground Zeroes (again), and Metal Gear Solid V. I doubt this was the order Kojima wanted people to play the games in, yet I enjoyed them all the same.

So, sure, maybe playing a series in order is "overrated".

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TheHT

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I'll say this: I actively want to play The Evil Within 2 without playing Evil Within 1. That game seems the right kind of bonkers for me to appreciate diving right in without suffering through what by most accounts is not a great debut.

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RonGalaxy

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Depends on the series. You don't need to play Super Mario Bros to enjoy Super Mario Bros World. It is neat to see how a series progressed over time, but not a necessity.

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deactivated-5e6e407163fd7

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Yes, because it depends on the series. Sometimes the story is so involved with the previous game you should play the first entry before hand, but like you say, you started on the second (or arguably 4th entry) of the most involved story in video games. Sometimes the controls change so much from game to game you want to play the first entry so it doesn't feel super clunky compared to the more streamlined entries.

All in all I don't think it matters as long as you are enjoying yourself, which means different things for different people.

My first MGS was 3, and I loved it and got really into the series afterwards. 2's camera was so restricting compared to Subsistence's that I ended up just using a guide to finish the game.

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deactivated-5e6e407163fd7

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With Uncharted I played 4 with only having beat 1, stopping 2 at the blue dudes, and stopping 3 at the boat graveyard. So I guess I've played most of the original 3 then, but I enjoyed 4 because it acknowledged one of the main reasons I stopped playing those games: Drake is a shitty one dimensional character throughout the original trilogy. It's like Naughty Dog said, "ya we know the writing and characterization in those original games were as bad as you've always said they were SloppyDetective, this one's for you."

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vasta_narada

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#46  Edited By vasta_narada

If it's a series, I will usually start from the beginning where I can. I'm definitely not above starting in the middle (began with Yakuza 4, for example), nor am I above starting the sequel before I've finished the previous game (.hack Infection).

I've got a friend of mine that I talked into playing Dark Souls 3 who had never played a game in the series before and now we're playing them co-op in reverse order (DkS3, BB, DkS2 Scholars, DkS). Similarly talked him into playing FF15 as his first and now he's going backwards, and after that Persona 5. At least with Persona 5 he's playing P3 next.

The only time I'm adamant about playing in order is when I know the gameplay is largely improving or has a continuous story (the Witcher series on both counts).

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FLStyle

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I have not played any Witcher games because I have yet to get around to starting the 1st game. I'll stick to it even if it means I don't play The Witcher 3 until 2025.

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WynnDuffy

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Only crazy people think you should play DMC2 before DMC3, oh boy...that game.

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OurSin_360

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It depends on how important the story is, whether they connect between each game, and how sensitive you are to spoilers. In games it usually doesnt matter, but i still tend to play games (or never play them) in order because they put a sequence of numbers behind them...

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Sinusoidal

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@flstyle: Duder, The Witcher 1 is really not worth it these days. I finally got through it a few months back and it is a slog. The story is decent, everything else is awful. Bloody awful. There is almost zero connection between it and 2 anyway. It does serve as an introduction to characters you'll be spending more and more time with later, but I had read all the books before I played the first game, and it was a bit lame having to go through introductions to characters I already knew very well. I feel like I wouldn't have missed anything giving W1 a miss.

My first Ratchet & Clank game was Deadlocked. It's the dark horse of the series, yet it remains my favorite of them all to this day. The guns are balanced very well and they're all useful. Unlike other games in the series that have 30+ weapons and half of them are crap, yet you feel compelled to use them to level everything anyway. Ratchet & Clank games are mostly episodic in nature anyway, so it doesn't really matter where you dive in.