It started with a simple question: Which Dragon Quest should I play first?
It's one of my gaming shames that I've never touched Square Enix's hallowed RPG series, and I've been wanting to dig into something really meaty for many months now. Sure, I've got about 30 unplayed RPGs ready and waiting on Switch (now organised in a neat 'Backlog' folder), but 3DS games have been on my mind of late, so it seemed prudent to snap up Dragon Quest VII and VIII before they skyrocket into silly money like the DS entries.
Dragon Quest XI is available on Switch, of course, and by all accounts it's an absolute belter. Thing is, I didn't want to start with the latest entry for fear of it 'spoiling' the others down the road. Once you've had all the mod-cons and experienced the game design wisdom the devs gained through years of mainline entries — not to mention innovations from elsewhere in the industry — going backwards in the chronology feels like just that: going backwards. Even if I were to fall in love with the series, who wants the next experience to be just more of the same, but not quite as good?
There's an entire banquet of delicious JRPG treats just sitting there waiting to be tucked into! I don't want to fill up on breadsticks and dip.
It got me thinking about this precarious and preemptive dance we sometimes do (at least I do) where we try to gauge opinions and jump into a series at the absolute 'Goldilocks' point — the perfect onboarding entry that not only gives us a solid overview of the series' trademark mechanics and/or characters, but also sets us up for further delights down the road. It's not necessarily a simple case of searching for the Best Dragon Quest Games and picking the front-runner.
It should be noted that the original Dragon Quest is easily available on Switch and might seem like a logical starting point; something tells me it's not the best jumping-off point for a series noob in 2022, though. For the discerning gamer (with access to various platforms) there are various factors to consider if you want to avoid bouncing off a video gaming institution like Dragon Quest. There's an entire banquet of delicious JRPG treats just sitting there waiting to be tucked into! I don't want to fill up on breadsticks and dip.
It's something that's peculiar to long-running video game franchises thanks to the rapid evolution in technology and know-how that's come as the industry has grown. You compare it to film series, for example, and more often than not you're absolutely 'safe' to start at the beginning. Want to know if you'll like Marvel movies? Iron Man is as good as any other to test the waters with. With smaller franchises, it's even easier; you obviously watch the first Godfather or Toy Story or whatever. James Bond may be an outlier here, as the outmoded earlier movies don't have quite the thrills you'd expect from a modern action blockbuster, and sometimes it's better to stick to the early ones — hi Alien(s) — but on the whole the time investment for watching movies pales in comparison to working your way through every DQ or every Mario or every Zelda.
And time investment is only the half of it. Do you have nostalgia for 8-bit or early 3D? Are you happy to take historical context into account when you run up against dated game design, or are you just looking for a good ol' time? How patient are you, and how much time have you got on your hands? I know people who prefer to play through a series in chronological order... which is great for them — there's no 'wrong' way to play, after all — but would likely turn me off very quickly. I don't have the time for that.
There are so many long-running franchises these days. Where do people who've never played a Pokémon or a Final Fantasy or a Castlevania even start?
There are so many long-running franchises these days, too. Where the hell do people who've never played a Pokémon or a Final Fantasy or a Castlevania or a Fire Emblem even start? What's the best Zelda game to begin with? While it echoes back to past entries in certain ways, Breath of the Wild is such a departure for the series that it feels odd to recommend to series virgins: if they don't get on with the open world, that might colour their attitude towards the more traditional Zelda template; alternatively, they might think the Divine Beasts represent the series' dungeon design at its peak, which for me was the weakest part of BOTW.
Equally, there's no way I'd put The Legend of Zelda in someone's hands and say, 'Hey, if you don't like that, you don't like Zelda.' The kernel of exploration and wonder was there at the beginning, but it's unrealistic for someone playing it for the first time in the 21st century to 'get' that without a boatload of context. Likewise, Ocarina of Time has its dated elements, especially if you're not playing the 3DS remake. Majora's Mask is too multi-layered and convoluted for a series introduction. Wind Waker, maybe? It's got the timeless art style going for it — just so long as they don't get bored by the sailing.
And that's for a series with very few 'low points'. Even the 'worst' mainline Zeldas are better than most other video games. Without wanting to cast aspersions or ruffle fan feathers, I'd hazard a guess that more people would want to play Zelda II over, say, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.
In fact, the only series that popped to mind that I personally would recommend people to start at the beginning would be the Sonic games — but I'm absolutely aware that I'm totally biased in that case. I've always preferred the 2D Sonic games and have run into problems with younger extended family members when they simply don't believe that old, pixel-y Sonic 2 could possibly be better than Sonic Forces.
That the latter game will no doubt have been the introduction to the Sonic series for some younger gamers is cause of great concern for crusty old'uns such as myself. That's not to dismiss my nephew's (misguided) distaste for pixels, which seems rich coming from someone who devours voxels so ravenously. If he doesn't like 2D, no problem! But surely we can do better than Forces as an introduction to the series, right? Sonic's had some cracking 3D outings — let's get a solid foundation down with Colours or something before we start juggling caveats.
Yep, it sure is a tough one. With Dragon Quest, I asked online if I'd made the right decision and the consensus seemed to be that, yes, VIII was a fine place to start the journey. Ultimately, trying to preserve the integrity of future experiences with the series is all a bit academic — given my limited free time I'll be lucky to get through even one entry, let alone multiple. Getting stuck into the one I've got and not worrying about the future is the best approach for me right now.
So that's what I did. Last night I sat down with my new 3DS game within arm's reach and proceeded to fire up my trusty console. By which I mean the Switch. And then I took another shot at escaping Hades.
Bahhh video games!!!
Let us know below which, if any, series you think newbies would benefit from starting at the beginning. And feel free to direct Gavin towards another Dragon Quest if you think it would be a better starting point.
I'm not familiar with the term 'mod-con'. What does it mean?
My answer varies by series:
Super Mario: Yes, start with SMB1.
Zelda: For 2D, the best entry points are probably ALttP, Minish Cap, or LAHD. For 3D, Ocarina and Wind Waker best represent traditional Zelda, and BoTW is just a masterpiece that can be experienced at any time (but is better appreciated after at least experience Ocarina and Wind Waker for an introduction to the various story beats).
Metroid: Zero Mission and Prime are the best starts.
Pokemon: Literally any game other than Red/Blue/Yellow. Generally, go with an original rather than a remake, except for G/S/C, where the original and HGSS are both excellent.
Earthbound: Beginnings is the best place to start. I will die on this hill.
Brain Age: 2 is better than 1, but Concentration Training is the absolute best, and you can certainly start there.
Warioware: Gold has so many earlier microgames that you can basically ignore the GBA and DS trio of titles. Smooth Moves and Get it Together are great with friends.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Three Houses, and Shadows of Valentia are all solid starting points. I've heard excellent things about Awakening, but the top-tier complete voice acting throughout SoV and 3H are top-notch.
Smash Bros: All are fine.
Mario Kart: Any Double Dash or newer.
Star Fox: Start with 64 (but do play Star Fox 2 on every difficulty, it is brilliant)
Final Fantasy: Play VI or Chrono Trigger.
Kirby: Any platformer except Amazing Mirror. Amazing Mirror is great, but can be confusing for new players.
@nukatha "Modern convenience"
Jump in when you feel like jumping. Most long running series are not really all that connected anyways.
I'm not too bothered about stuff like this. Watching Star Wars New Hope was one of the best 'in media res' beginnings to a film. I'll happily jump in anytime. But the big thing folk recommend playing from the beginning is when they add new mechanics in later games, If you played from the beginning, they may have been welcomed, but weren't missed at the time. Playing them backwards might leave you wishing the earlier games had some features. (If you get me) so you can get more enjoyment by playing in order. Phew wrote more than I wanted to there.
I might have made this mistake of trying the first entry, by playing Earthbound Beginnings first. I hear everyone saying that the second entry is great and the first is an acquired taste, but I love seeing the series evolve from a historical point of view. This is definitely not the best approach, however.
For instance, if anyone asked me where to start playing Fire Emblem, I'd probably recommend Awakening, because it reinvented much of the series so well and made the games much more accessible to a broader audience. From there you could try older entries if you understand the game's foundation and mechanics.
It's always hard to dive into a long running series, but luckily there are quite a few with separate stories that you can just pick any if you can get your hands on them. Maybe it's best to go with the one best received as a whole
Depends on the series, as some have fairly standalone entries that don't require knowledge of previous entries - like Dragon Quest.
But imagine starting a game like Kingdom Hearts III without playing the previous entries 😬
For the named series? No way. I've been gaming for ~25 years, but I never would've got into Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda had I started with their NES games.
For most series with a loose (or non-existent) continuity, usually the latest game is the most accessible way to get into the series. If you like the latest game, then you're free to go back to the beginning to see how things were. But I think it's far too risky to start with the first game - it might put you off a series that has otherwise evolved into something you may enjoy.
i think the 3 series in the banner picture (Zelda, DQ & Pokemon) should be treated differently but i think that the overall shape and battle system of mainline Dragon Quest games have been the same fundamentally enough that it is pretty easy to start from the first game on Switch and work your way through the series. in fact, i think it helps develop a better appreciation for the series seeing how they return to similar ideas, themes and stories throughout the games and expand them/riff on them. particularly in the case of the first three games, playing them in order is so gratifying - but it definitely does come with the caveat that you need to have the patience for quite archaic NES JRPGs.
So I've done this with a few game series over the last few years. I realised I had big gaps in my knowledge and decided to go back and see how the series evolved and impacted gaming history.
I did the Zelda series (although I gave up on 2!), Tales of (more because I love them and also only the accessible games, which cuts out some of the worst), Metal Gear and God of War (actually played the most recent which made me go back and play the originals).
It's super interesting to do, but you need to have patience and know when to put a game down and move on
it really depends series to series. for something like final fantasy, there’s many right answers for where to start (as well as many wrong answers). you could go with the original especially one of the remakes of it and there’s plenty of options including the recent pixel remaster (that goes for all the original six games really tho i’d say only IV and VI are good starting points from those games). VII and IX and X are also good starting points. then there’s a series like GTA where there’s not much point in playing the older ones (and at this point V is no spring chicken itself) especially since they’ve not had any true remasters that actually improve them
If you have the time sure. When I was a teenager I went back and translated 1-6 of DQ to play (I didn’t know about the dragonwarrior games). But it isn’t required since the games have loose trilogies or aren’t related really. Same with FF. Zelda has a timeline but nothing that a wiki read can’t inform one of quickly and unless they feature the same Link they don’t overly reference each other. Skyward sword imo is the most heavy handed and you can still play that with no prior experience with Zelda. And YouTube is a thing. Usually if there is a game with story that I don’t want to play but want to know about I just watch a cutscene movie.
I constantly struggle with this very question. I actually started playing Dragon Quest because I bought both for the 3DS. Thing is, I caught DQ fatigue by Dragon Quest 6 on the DS and havent progressed much since then
There is a lot in this article that I agree with so very much. I think ultimately, it has to be treated on a case by case basis. Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog are good ones to start with as I feel the core gameplay is still present in later games (New Super Mario Bros series and Sonic Mania).
I wouldn't recommend Metroid 1 as a starting point due to how little the game tells you. I feel like Super Metroid would probably be a better starting point purely because there are lots of secrets to discover, but there is a map should you lose your way to at least guide you through the game.
If it’s a series where most of the games don’t connect directly story wise like Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy or Pokémon, just start from the one you want. I played DQXI on Switch as my first DQ game and adored it, since gone back to 8 and 7 on 3DS and had a great time with those too. I don’t think I’ll ever play the NES ones because they don’t interest me at all. I don’t think it’s necessary to play every game in a series especially when the story isn’t linked for most of the games, just play the ones you’re interested in.
As someone who has played through his first Dragon Quest game over the last month (Dragon Quest XI), I highly recommend starting there. There's no deep story connections to the past games that will spoil anything. And for me, my reasoning was that if it's my first entry into a series, I would rather play the best entry, rather than have a bad first impression on an earlier entry and lose interest in the series altogether. XI simply had all the qualities that I wanted in a first title to play of the franchise. I'm not a fan of older RPGs from the NES and SNES so the first 6 games were out. I heard VII was too long, VIII has so many random battles (and is developed by Level 5, a developer I DO NOT like), IX is a coop experience, and X is Japan and online exclusive. So XI was the most logical game for me to play. I probably won't play another entry simply because I'm falling out of long games and RPGs, but I'm glad I chose this one, as I was pleasantly surprised, and as a possible last new RPG for a very long while, it went out with a bang, and I'll fondly associate good memories with the series.
Also, I hear Dragon Quest is a very consistent series. Possibly the most consistent series of all time. The general gameplay of all of the games is this classic/antiquated gameplay style, so chances are if you like the newest entry and you want more, the older entries shouldn't be too difficult to get into (unless you're like me and the random battles of the old games seem like a dealbreaker.
At the end of the day, I wouldn't look into older entries of a series that way. It seems too much like work. Just play the entry that looks the most appealing. Chances are, that one will be your favourite of the series, but it doesn't mean that you can't appreciate other entries as well. And if you can't get into the other games, I dont believe its a fault of playing the best entries first. Chances are they wouldn't have been your type of game no matter what order you played them in.
There are a lot of instances where the first game in a decades old series is ROUGH in the year 2022.
(For example, Dragon Quest 1 and Mother 1 are tedious grindfests, Zelda 1 and Metroid 1 are unplayable without maps and guides, Kirby's Dream Land feels like a protoype, Sonic 1 feels like a demo, etc, etc.)
It's not that it's never a good idea to start from the beginning, it's more like "why would you, when there are better options available?"
Short answer, no. The stories aren't connected. Would be different with a series like Legend of Heroes or Suikoden, where the stories are continuations of one another.
For Zelda and Dragon Quest, yes, for most other series where the series had an ancient beginning no. Games like Metal Gear which starts on MSX couldn't even began to start as the series begin all the way on Microsoft's original platform and trying to find an MSX or its emulator may be complicated. For one getting a compatible working MSX is impossible and for another we're not sure if the emulator for such a platform is still supported. Sometimes it could be how complicated it is to start cause the series had a crappy beginning as well for example Street Fighter 1 and Virtua Fighter 1 both sucks so you'll think the rest sucks but their sequels actually pave the way for arcade fighting games to come.
Then there are games where if you play one you probably play the rest, these are games like Tetris, Dr. Mario, Call of Duty, Puyo Puyo, FIFA, Madden, WWE, these you don't have to play all of them or at the beginning since playing the one you got a hold of probably will already give you that satisfactory experience, even if another entry from that same franchise launch you won't feel any difference experiencing it as it's just the same mechanics, routine, and gameplay all over again.
As a gamer who can almost join AARP I am definitely not going to go back to the warchest for many old games. "Mod-Con" is important for me. I have never played any of the old DQ until the most recent one on Switch which I loved. I have no urge to go back anywhere in time before it. Obviously this will be a personal question for the party involved. Some people absolutely have to play every title in order or play a game to 100% etc.
I don’t find my self getting into new series’ very often, as I’ve been playing my favourites since I could hold a controller and just kinda absorbed everything else I could from their respective franchises that I could; My first Zelda was Wind Waker and my first Sonic was Heroes, which both thoroughly entertained me, but I also somehow had the Sonic Gems Collection and the Zelda collection, both on GameCube. Those helped me get into a bunch of different entries, and I didn’t even have a grasp at what actual time was, so I didn’t know that some of they games were really old or outdated, as they all just seemed “different” from each other and thats it.
What I’m really saying is, I think collections are a good way to go to get into something big and classic. That way even if you don’t like one, you have the chance to try quite a few different ones.
DQ in my opinion, is unique in the first 6 games as those could be considered as 2 sets of trilogies.(1-3, 4-6) After that, the remaining games are more standalone stories. If somebody wants to dip a toe, try the standalone stories first and if you like it enough, give the trilogies a shot afterwards. Just my 2 cents.
It's a case-by-case basis for me. Some franchises need it, others don't. With the Zelda and Dragon Quest, there are only "arcs" that you would need to worry about, but you don't need full knowledge of the franchise to understand one game's story.
However, that being said, it leads to some... pretty disappointing speculation. Take BotW2 for example. This game had so much emphasis on exploring through the sky that people automatically assumed it was going to have Skyloft. Why? Because they simply don't know enough about the franchise to know that we would more likely see the Wind Tribe from The Minish Cap given that they were around after Skyward Sword.
So, it really depends on the franchise, and on a situational basis. If it helps, just go with all of them so you don't go making assumptions if you don't know everything yet.
To me, I really like to start with older games in a series, not for story reasons, but to understand how the gameplay mechanics have evolved. Very often, new mechanics are added to a new game in a series not necessarily to make the game better, but to change things up. There are countless examples of this, but I'll take Pikmin as an example. The addition of new types of pikmin in Pikmin 2 is really cool if you come from the first game and have already learned how to use the yellow, blue and red pikmin. New pikmin types! Cool, right? Well, if Pikmin 2 is your first game in the series you kind of feel like the purple and white pikmin are a little lame. Starting with Pikmin 1 will make you appreciate the mechanics of Pikmin 2 so much more. And this is how it works for many other game series.
Over a 2 year span I played through all of the Zelda games in release order. I'd recommend to anyone that has the patience for it. And the games just get better and better with time. Although, if I learned one thing about doing this, it's that not only do I have zero clue how kids of the 80s beat the 2 NES Zeldas without guides, but that I'm also never going to touch Zelda 2 for the rest of my life. Absolutely brutal for all the wrong reasons.
I think with most Nintendo games it doesn't matter. Very few actually continue the story of the previous games. Black 2 and White 2 obviously did for Pokemon (but then Pokemon and story...it's not usually why that series is played).
Zelda you have a few wrinkles like Majora's Mask and Windwaker are both direct sequels to Ocarina of Time. You can enjoy them both having not played it, but I think you'd get more out of them both knowing what lead to them. And Breath of the Wild 2 will be a direct sequel to Breath of the Wild of course. But for the most part they're entirely independent. skyward Sword is canonically the first and we all got by without knowing that story for a very long time.
Even games like Metroid which very much do follow a set story, they give you a good overview of the core story at the start and can be enjoyed fully without knowing what came before anyway.
Really depends from the serie and how you want to experience it. I don't think there is one answer that is valid for every serie and every player.
Also, glad to see I wasn't the only one considering recently if playing DQ VIII on 3DS. Though personally I finally gave up and started it a few days ago (tbh I already played it on ps2, but it's one magical lovely adventure worth revisiting).
I believe that Batman doesn’t have to be introduced with issue one, or Superman for that matter—what they are now is very different than the beginning. Start with key pieces in fiction or gaming.
The only exception to this rule is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Many series, especially ones that started around the NES-era suffer from the "Aged poorly"-problem with the first installments, speaking for "Legend of Zelda" and "Super Mario bros." (Two series i have most experience with), you can see the seeds of things that came after.
But due to hardware limitations (And lack of programming experience, those being early games even for NES), there's also a lot of roughness around the edges, and i don't mean just the sprites. (For both series i'd recommend starting with the SNES instalments, you can always go back to the very originals in the knowledge that things got a lot better.)
I think that depends on if you know what you're getting yourself into.
If you have a general idea of what a NES RPG is like and do not mind some of jank that comes with it then go for it. The benefit of a series like Dragon Quest or Zelda where each game is for the most part its own thing so you can jump in anywhere you choose.
Dragon Quest in particular for me has been a really iffy series, I couldn't get into 9 or 8 because of the power-up/build-up system whereas 4 (DS) ended up becoming one of my all time favorites and 3 and 5 were really awesome too.
The true answer varies wildly depending on the series. Zelda is a fantastic example. BotW is the least "Zelda like" game in the series. I absolutely recommend this to first timers, because the most you'll miss out on is "Hey, this one mountain has the same name as that one character from way back!"
In my humble opinion, A Link Between Worlds has the highest level of "Zelda feels" and perfectly taps into that nostalgia. For THAT game, LttP should definitely be a prerequisite. And to fully appreciate LttP, original LoZ really helps flesh out how the game has evolved, and helps explain how the Zelda franchise gained the reputation that led thousands of nerdy folk to get a triforce tattoo. (I am guilty of this as well)
I've always wanted to play Majora's Musk but always felt like I should finish Ocarina of Thumb first. Unfortunately, I've tried to play that game SO MANY times in my life and just can't get past the first 30 minutes or so. Maybe I should just abandon it and buy the masky one digitally on my 3DS before I lose the chance forever.
It's funny. It took a lot of word-of-mouth with friends and classmates (some of whom had access to a magazine or maps that give hints and which direction to proceed) to beat those games back then. Same with Dragon Warrior/Quest. My copy of the game actually came with a guide. I used it as sparingly as I could. The games were thoroughly enjoyable back then. You had use a certain amount of imagination with them. I can definitely see where younger gamers today maybe would not enjoy those early games very much.
For Dragon Quest, best main games to start are either 8 or 11, maybe even 3, 4 and 5. I mean, you can start with any game really but the rest can be pretty overwhelming (7 is a beast in terms of content, maybe add 6 and 9?) or dated like 1, 2. Still all games are great JRPGs nevertheless.
Some stories need to be experienced from the beginning because they’re that good.
But usually video game stories are incomprehensible claptrap.
Hah, with Castlevania I even have that dillema with just the small selection in Advance Collection! Rondo of Blood is an antique and not really a good representation of the series, Circle is clunky and doesn't feature a Belmont, Harmony does feature a Belmont but feels like a worse version of Circle (if a bit less clunky) and while Aria is the best game in the set, it basically turns the story on its head (without knowing previous entries it will just be plain confusing for example why you need those three specific Souls to get the true ending). Even the most popular Castlevania (SotN) wouldn't be a good start because of the main character!
For the record, I went with the GBA games in release order and attempted the Richter one a few times before going "nope, too archaic".
It depends on the series. Games like Zelda and Mario are usually standalone stories that don’t rely on knowledge of past games to understand. Although there may be some references a seasoned player may notice. However games like Persona 4 Arena Ultimax and P5S rely heavily on having played the mainline games first. Same with the Trails in the Sky series. This practice is awful. If they are going to release these games they should have common decency to make access to the lore easier.
I recently dove into the Dragon Quest series for the first time and decided to play the SNES remakes. Honestly, it wasn't that much of a grindfest. I'd heard they tweaked some things to make them more palatable (even the SNES era folks thought the original was too grindy). Also, I beat the first game in about 8 hours so it wasn't that much of a commitment.
For Zelda, I recently started from the beginning, Zelda 1, on Master Quest. Honestly, I don't remember ever beating the MQ so I wanted to relive the experience of playing Zelda 1 for the first time. It was pretty brutal for difficulty but it really only took a few nights and I actually really enjoyed that I had to explore the game without a guide. But maybe I'm a weirdo on this one.
Next up is Metroid. I'll probably start with the NES Classic and work my way to the SNES Classic, then to the Wii Trilogy.
I have been gaming since the NES, and although Zelda is now my favourite franchise in all of gaming, I didn’t actually play a Zelda game until 2011 with Ocarina of Time 3D. I have since gone back, replayed and finished every Zelda game apart from the two NES entries. They are just so unplayable to me compared to what Zelda has become since alttp.
⚠️I started 'PokéMon' at Sapphire🔵 back in January 2004, even though I could've EASILY (at the time) got 🔴 or🎖
I just wanted the most-recent edition in the series as it took full advantage of the GBA, being a GBA Game (proper full colour, wider screen).
Besides, I only had to wait about a year to be able to visit Kanto and catch Johto Pkm via 🔥🔴 so I saw the GB/C Games as pointless.
On a side-ish note, I'm currently playing 🗡 and ⚫️2 but recently played 💎 and ⚫️1.
Eventually, I'll get round to the 3DS Games.
Depends on the series, sometimes it's not worth revisiting the earliest entries for any number of reasons, including remakes, remasters or ports.
As a lifelong Dragon Quest fan, I feel that for this series, there's a number of entries that lend themselves better to newcomers than the first game; when getting into a new series, it's always best to ask fans for recommendations. Unlike other talking points, it's usually one of the more agreed upon items amongst fandoms.
For Dragon Quest, VIII is a great modern starting point, while IV or V is a strong "classic" starting point. Avoid VI or VII unless you've become a fan.
@montrayjak I honestly think you’d be better off going ahead with Super Metroid. It’s the title that every other game uses as a foundation for its story, architecture, sense of exploration, etc. The original is very tough to get through today, in my view. But do you! The first game is still very original, I just preach the SNES version whenever a friend asks what to start with.
There is too many dragon quest games, I would rather start with the most popular one, each one has its own story anyways
@Picola-Wicola I'm not a fan of the NES Zelda games, I also love alttp too 👍👍
Agreed! RBGY is the worst game in the franchise!
"Talking Point: Is It Ever A Good Idea To Start At 'The Beginning' Of Series?"
Of course it is. "Ever?" c'mon. Now get off my lawn, Zoomer.
It really depends on the series. Mario, for example, you can start wherever, all of his games are different experiences with the same basic set of rules. Sonic, on the other hand, has a set point you should start at. I wouldn’t recommend someone to play 1 first, outside of Green Hill Zone it has aged rather poorly. However, likewise, I wouldn’t recommend someone start with games from the Dark Age of Sonic games or Forces, because they are just not good from a metric perspective, nor are they representative of the series. At the need of the day, it’s up to the player to make the decision for themselves, as good games are worth playing and seeking out. Other people’s opinions are a good metric, but they aren’t the be-all-end-all
It may not be necessary, but sometimes gameplay may change from one game to another so in that regard it might be better to start with earlier games so they don't come as a surprise if you decide to play earlier games later.
For example, the first Kirby game I played was Kirby Super Star, and that set the bar a little high for me on the series. Next game I played was Kirby's Dream Land 2, I was surprised Kirby couldn't do the fancy attacks he could in Super Star.
Granted back then I didn't know better, but still.
Not sure this counts as a series seeing as there's only 2 games, but I played South Park: The Fractured But Whole first and thought it was great. Then I tried The Stick of Truth and it was clear early on that they'd made big improvements with FBW and it's definitely the superior game. I stopped played SOT about quarter way through.
Depends entirely on the type of game. Kingdom Hearts - Heavily story-based, start from the beginning.
Pokemon - The original games are poor places to start if you want to like the series. Gen 4 is an excellent starting place as it was the birth of the modern style.
Legend of Zelda - The earliest game isn't a great starting point. A link to the past is a good start, but so in most of the titles.
Dragon Quest - 8 or 11 would be good starting places. 7 and below would be a no go for me.
I would tell someone to play the best game first and then tell them it only goes downhill (i did this with pokemon b/w lol) from here and if they like it then I'll let them do whatever game they want.
I’m in a similar predicament. I want to play DQ for the first time, but where should I start?
I have all the DS/3DS games (bar 10 obviously) and XI on the PS4. I’ll probably start with 4, as I really like the ‘pixel but 3D’ look of the DS games, and it’s the earliest in the series that I have. Although 5 tempts me as it just sounds like it’s one of the best, if not the best, in the series.
I just know that it will take me literal years to play through 4 to 11 and I’ll probably want breaks in between, but I owe it to myself to at least complete one of them.
@AlphaElite I did exactly that. I assumed that since KH2 was fifteen years old and a lot of the KH3 target audience wasn’t even born when KH2 was released, they would have to make it accessible to new players. Nope!
Good thing I got it on sale.
Not unless you fill out a questionnaire about the series at the beginning of each entry. If you don't pass, you are locked out of the game.
@MrGawain The Legend of Zelda gave us “go find the eight quest items and rescue the princess” and video game companies are still recycling the same plot decades later.
I try not to get involved in the storylines. It's mostly the boring part. Better to read a good book. They are games approach them that way.
@Bobb yeah, series burnout is a really important factor; i was planning to play every yakuza game in order but 90% through kiwami 2 i was starting to get exhausted
@zool I just had that same thought! It’s incredibly rare to see a game with a story worth reading. Even in Elden Ring I’ve just been skipping everything story related because it’s just so bad. Moment to moment gameplay is much more important!
As a general rule of thumb, I say loom ar some game play and. Read the story for anything NEA Era, and then start PLAYING ar the SNEA Era. NES is often too dated for me in twnra of a lot of RPG's. You often had to have the manual to make it through. But I enjoy watching a series progress in terms of story, storytelling, and game play. Even with things like the Super Giant games. Although they are in no way related aside from being by the same devoloper, its nice to see them progress as a developer, and even Bastion still holds up. But they are also a newer developer with only a few games.
Nope! For long running games like you mentioned: Zelda, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Pokemon... they are designed not to be super connected to each other! you can pick N choose and play in any order. I consider myself a pretty big fan of Dragon Quest but I played them in this order: DQ1, DQ2, DQ7 (partially), DQ8 (partially), DQ7 (finished), DQ8 (finished), DQ3 (partially), DQ4 (finished). I still have DQ5, DQ6, DQ9, and DQ11 but I don't really care what order I'll get to them in. DQ8 and DQ11 are great to start with.
Final fantasy has a huge amount of mainline entries, almost 16 now. Definitely wouldn't recommend starting at FF1, I tried playing that recently and it's pretty awful.
So if taken to the logical start, if you are new to gaming, you need to start with Spacewar (1962)
@zool Absolutely - there are some very clever interactive narrative things in a handful of video games but if a game wants to be a film or a book then maybe just better to watch a good film or read a good book. Video games are generally poorly written as a narrative form.
@GregamanX The 3DS version doesn’t have random battles (I think maybe only when you’re sailing IIRC). If you liked XI I would definitely recommend digging out your 3DS if you have one and getting it while it’s still affordable, it’s really good! (Still holding out hope that they remake/remaster it for Switch though, it deserves to look as good as XI did)
You don’t want to start with the first Zelda lol
I usually will start where a series most resembles what I already enjoy.. or where it makes sense... Been struggling with metroid series and how to approach it before playing dread.. i have played the gba games when i was in highschool but never beaten them... I fear playing the latest two entries before super Metroid so i don't taint the mechanics by going backwards... Been wanting to try out the yakuza series... since they have a refreshed 0 prequel might as well start there.. i always take it a game by game series by series basis...like for example i always tell people when they want to play uncharted to start with 2 first then 3 then 1 then 4 and lost legacy... Only play 1 if you really need more uncharted but before you play the ps4 games... Ive always wanted to play final fantasy...i do have the remake but i know i should play 7 and 9 probably...and maybe some of the other ones 1st before playing the remake... So for me it really goes by where does it make sense.... I jumped into fire emblem finally on switch because it made sense to me and it seemed like a good place to start even though everyone talks about awakening on 3ds... And some series you can jump in anywhere and have a good time like any of the mario games for every system since forever
Zelda - start with either Links Awakening (the remake) or Minish Cap. Then Wind Waker HD or alttp. They're all forgiving games (to varying extents).
Metroid - not difficult at all - start with Zero Mission (don't touch the NES original or the GameBoy Metroid II)
Dragon Quest - just start with VIII or XI - the stories aren't interconnected and the earlier games are very much of their time.
Mario - I think you can start just about anywhere. I would say however that "new" gamers typically find 2d action games of any kind incredibly difficult compared to those of us who grew up on the NES. Cheesing NES or SNES entries like Mario 3 or Mario World isn't an optimal experience. I'd probably recommend NSMBU Deluxe or Mario 3D World as the best entry points into Mario games.
Earthbound - Beginnings is a nice curio for fans but I wouldn't recommend it for a full playthrough even for fans without cheats/mods to sand down the roughest edges (in particular the caves right at the end are awful and you need to be warned before starting and investing dozens of hours into the game that they may make you quit).
Pokemon - always the most recent mainline game. Those games are designed for you to share and trade and you get that best with the "current" game.
it depend on the franchise, when you should start them, most of them don't need to have it previous games played to understand it, unless is a sequel or a story heavy franchise.
Well Dragon Quest 11 is Dragon Quest 2 with better graphics while TLoZ is the primitive model of "Haunted House" for Atari taken to it's best possible form and BOTW is a genre defining masterpiece of 3D exploration that has already been copied dozens of times ... so
It really depends on how the series has evolved. Someone who liked BOTW as their first Zelda game is extremely unlikely to find anything close to that experience in the early games while someone who liked DQ12 is going to get a pretty same-y feel from most games in the series.
Resident Evil is like Zelda, with the newest game feeling nothing like the past entries. Metal Gear is more like DQ until you go back further then Solid.
So is it EVER a good idea? Sure, sometimes. But honestly ... why look back. Gaming is so saturated with great titles that unless you already have the nostalgia, I would say keep your eyes forward.
@nukatha I will join you on that hill!
Depends on the series and on the gamer. Playing old games requires curiosity and open-mindedness. Most games are made for their own times. We don't usually have a problem with modern games because they're made for us, right now. But a game from the 1980s was made for an audience that doesn't exist anymore. For example, the 1986 Zelda expects you to read the instruction manual and in-box physical map. That's where the onboarding and item descriptions are. Today you'd get the same information in-game, within a modal window or start screen menu. So if you go back to a game like that, you have to shift your mindset a little. Otherwise you're wasting your time. I'm used to it because I've been retro gaming since college. Putting up with "dated elements" is how I've discovered most of my favorite games. But it takes a little work, sure.
All that being said, regarding the subject of this article: one useful metric would be to see when the series hit its stride. I don't think Metroid on the NES is the best starting point for its franchise. I'd probably recommend Super Metroid, instead. Mario, though, you can comfortably point a newcomer to the NES originals. They're timeless. Zelda? It's a tough one: the 1986 original is a masterpiece for me, but it's also a far more challenging affair than later Zeldas, so it's not really a good representation of the rest of the franchise. (What I kept thinking of when playing it for the first time, back in 2019, was not Breath of the Wild but actually the Souls games.) I would probably point to A Link to the Past as the best introduction. Or maybe Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild, for 3D. Majora's Mask is my favorite Zelda, but it doesn't work as an intro. (You should at least play Ocarina of Time before it or you'll miss much of the point.)
The original Legend of Zelda is a great game to this day, and it was the first Zelda I played (I'm old) but I don't recommend starting with it for any modern gamer. It's non-handholdy to the point of just being straight-up insane. If you want to start "early" with Zelda, go with A Link to the Past.
I have the advantage in cases like these of being older than the hills. I was there when video games were new, and I'm pretty good at framing 40-year-old games in the context they were originally presented. I can start up Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, for instance, and I can think back. "OK. This stuff is done to death now, but it was cutting-edge back in 1990. Look how innovative this feature was back then" and so on. This means for me, it's always best to start at the beginning because I have all that context, even if I wasn't playing it back in the day.
I can imagine for younger gamers, going back to the old stuff is probably painful. The games back then didn't teach you how to play or tell you what to do. The way action is represented today just wasn't there then. To them, old games are always going to be old games. There are reasons to try to push past that, of course. They're good games. We swear! But the foundations they created have been built on for 40 years, and it's hard to go back to that.
I would have been deprived of many of my greatest video game experiences if I had only "looked forward."
The issue I have with the "foundation" metaphor is that it doesn't quite mirror my own experience of the medium.
When I played Doom 1993 for the first time a few years ago I didn't think, "Wow, this is like Titanfall 2, but more basic." Rather, I found a very specific game doing very specific things that aren't done that way anymore. There was a brief window of time in the 90s when the market was saturated with Doom-clones, but then, around the time of Half-Life, the entire genre — now first-person shooters — diverged from the "foundation" and went elsewhere. So going back to Doom was more of a revelation. What I was actually thinking was, "Wait, this is basically a series of Zelda temples but with shotguns. I love it."
It's not so much that new games are built on top of the old. It's more like they're visiting the old house, picking up a bunch of bricks from it, and then building something different, somewhere else. I think that's great! More innovation! But it also means old games have their own unique flavor that isn't really replicated.
If your first zelda was botw, and you fell in love with the series and want to play them all, then why not start at the beginning. But don’t stop after 2 games and think that is all the series has to offer. Each one is its own adventure and some are some of the best games you will ever play.
@Pak-Man Not gonna lie, I don’t envy the experience younger gamers have as compared to us old timers. Many of us that have been around since the NES or earlier got to grow up with the evolution. For a new gamer, it must be overwhelming to want to backtrack through the steps we took. I have a deep appreciation while playing modern masterpieces like Elden Ring or Cyber Shadow because of the culmination of experiences gained from 30+ years of watching the industry grow, and growing with it. Like older music, much of the past came out as a result of the culture of the time, so it’s always wonderful to revisit older titles. Gives the medium a depth it lacked when we were all 80’s kids.
@kerplunk Zelda 2 was my first Zelda as a kid. I never finished it, because some of the clues were so obtuse that kid me couldn’t figure it out! Same thing with Dragon Warrior 2! Revisited both when I was older and figured them out, but holy cow those were hard games without internet/guides!
The correct answer is, "It depends on the series." But I think, for a consistently great series, it's often best to start with what's most convenient and return to older entries later, so long as you play them at some point.
I'm a Dragon Quest Mega Fan and I would say most of them or easy to start with but I would usually recommend DQXI or DQVIII and if your more of a classic gamer DQV is an excellent place to start and an absolute classic every gamer should play.
A lot of people are just dismissing DQX and I understand why it's not too appealing to start playing a Japanese MMORPG but DQX is an amazing entry in the series that is definitely worth setting up and playing. It has fan translation mixed with machine translation tools to enjoy one of the greatest story's gaming has to offer as well as menu translation.
The first three games of the series are a trilogy so you should play them in release order or canonical order which would be III>I>II but it's definitely worth playing some of the most influential games ever that pioneered the JRPG genre.
DQIV DQV and DQVI are in a trilogy too but they aren't very connected like the first three are so you don't have to worry about it but I think every gamer should play at least DQV.
DQVI and DQVII are the weakest games in the series and I would not recommend starting with them but they are still good games worth picking up if you enjoyed other games in the series.
Series like that are so huge, I think it's perfectly acceptable to just pick and choose from them.
With any series, really.
@-Lily- i've thought VII has had a wonderful sense of whimsy/discovery even if the plot isn't quite as straightforward as other entries (i.e.: each island has its own plot) and relatively standard gameplay in line with all the rest so far, what makes you say it's one of the weakest?
thank you to markdown autoformatting for making it impossible to @ this person
@HeadPirate Dragon Quest 11 is not Dragon Quest 2 with better graphics. the games are completely separate and have very little related to each other and I have no idea where you got that idea from but you must have not played both the games. Dragon Quest 11 actually references Dragon Quest 3 more and calling them the same game is more than a stretch.
@BloodNinja Dude, Zelda 2 is even more difficult than the original IMO. Those early Dragon Warriors can be difficult too. The cool thing is that they were actually still pretty cool games, just required a guide!
@somebread I still enjoyed DQVII (I played the PS1 version btw) but the gameplay loop was repetitive and took a long time before it got to anything more than just small village story's. I did enjoy a lot these small story's but eventually I wanted more than just that and it took about a hundred hours before anything new actually happened. the game also adds to this repetitive nature by reusing assets a lot to extend the game, at one part of the game you even have to redo the same dungeon three times.
I don't think there are any bad Dragon Quest games but VII was the hardest one to stay interested in.
I think the level design is better in Sonic Forces than Colours. At least I know where I'm going and don't have to become a slow and annoying wisp. A lot of the levels in Sonic Colours are a hot mess.
@StuTwo That's not really true since visual novels like Steins;Gate focus more on story than gameplay. I mean, there are some games like BioShock, Xenoblade and Star Wars: The Old Republic are more story driven than others.
While I do agree that sometimes starting from the start and see how the series has evolved is a good thing but I don't hold it agains people wanting to start with the newer games.
To the people that do that and go backward they need to take into account that alot of the qol changes they have in the modern games won't be in the older games and need to understand that. If they don't like the older games that is fine but to downright dismiss it or say that is sucks then that will lose some respect you have on the series that you like.
Having played Dragon Warrior on Game Boy Color, followed by Dragon Quest XI S: Echoed of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch a year later, I feel like there is merit to playing older games first, especially when newer games tend to give nods to their roots. That said, you don't necessarily need to play Super Mario Bros. If you want to play something newer (no pun intended).
It really depends on the franchise.
For Zelda, I really think A Link to the Past is the best game to start with. Excluding Breath of the Wild it is the story, gameplay, and world design basis of all Zeldas that followed it. It’s aged gracefully and is just as fun to play now as it was in the 90s. By the time you beat it, you are ready to tackle any other Zelda game, since every Zelda game since has built upon its foundation. With the exception of BOTW, which takes its foundation from Zelda NES.
I think Sonic 3 and Knuckles is the best starting point. It’s not as… janky as Sonic 1, 2, or CD. It also has balanced mechanics; Sonic 1 and 2 had punishing difficulty spikes combined with no save system and limited continues. Sonic 3 and Knuckles flows a lot better than the other three Genesis/CD titles.
If you follow all the advice in this comments section simultaneously you will arrive at the true answer:
Don't play any video games at all.
In all seriousness the best entry point is the game you feel like playing. That's it.
Play what looks good to you. If that's the first game in the series, great. Start there. If you're interested in the new God of War, but feel bad starting on the 7th game in the series, screw the other games. Obviously they didn't have what it took to draw your attention when they came out, and you're probably going to burn out by the time you get to the game you actually want to play. Maybe by the time you finish the game you wanted to play, you'll be interested enough to want to explore those older titles.
Yeah, probably so. I haven’t played it all the way through (waiting for the collection to come out) but from what I’ve played, it definitely seems the most balanced of the Sonic games.
I'll put this here for anyone just starting a Final Fantasy journey. Play in this order:
1) Mystic Quest
That's it! No need to go earlier or later. With that you will have had your introduction to the JRPG (with an incredible soundtrack) in MQ, moved on to inspired storytelling with great character design in 4, then on to the pinnacle of the 2D JRPG art form in 6, witnessed the evolution of the series into 3D with 7, which will lay foundation for understanding how concepts evolve in FF8 (and the best love story in the franchise) and wrapped it all up with a fine celebration of the series in 9.
Around that core, everything plateaus (or falls off a cliff). If you want to taste a little more FF you could do 10 and 12. Definitely quality experiences but not at the level of what came before.
It depends, if someone has played the original Final Fantasy on the NES and enjoyed it, I think they would be able to find some enjoyment in the original Dragon Quest.
If someone had played Chrysalis on the NES and enjoyed it, then I bet they would enjoy the first Legend of Zelda.
Games are so open ended that it's really hard to answer this with a one size fits all definition. Find someone who knows the series and also knows what you like, and let them recommend an entry.
Within reason. It can be interesting to watch a series evolve from its primitive beginnings to more recent iterations. I did that with DOOM a year or two ago, and it was a cool experience.
Of course, if you want something distinctly modern, then you obviously don't start with a game that released decades ago.
When dealing with a new series that has games across multiple generations there is typically a generational limit that I will stop going back further to play from simply because I enjoy slightly more modern aesthetics than say, for example NES. I just don't enjoy the gameplay of that generation very much in terms of franchises like Dragon Quest, I would start at the very least SNES if it was me. I started with Dragon Quest VIII as my first one though. Kind of spoiled me for a while, but I quickly realized that I love Dragon Quest XI just as much. Super excited for Dragon Quest XII too!
I’m glad I essentially was “born at the right time” with gaming. I essentially got to play all the retro games as they came out and then, when I was maybe 12, I was introduced to emu… I mean, more avenues to acquire older or previously untranslated games. If it wasn’t for that “special way” of playing, I’d have missed out on a fair number of excellent games, but… I’m in my 30’s now and I’ve no interest in going back to older games, even if I loved them.
However, I am definitely supportive of anyone wanting to jump into a series from the beginning. I wouldn’t always recommend it, as someone with a ludicrous amount of gaming experience, but it can be fun as a historical exercise too. When my kids get older, if they’re nerds like I was, I will definitely encourage them and recommend series binges. I’ll be disappointed if neither of them play through Final Fantasy, Megaman, or the Kojima universe… well, provided they like games. I don’t want to pressure them. My son already loves Mario, so it’s baby steps.
The first time I played Pokémon was Pokémon Yellow on 3DS VC. I thought "Oh, it's the first game, has the only Pokémon I know on the cover and it's my favourite colour!"
Don't get me wrong, it's a good game, but the difficulty and lack of quality-of-life features made it an uncomfortable experience.
Modern RPGs have largely ditched the epic time consuming level grinding that we all somehow had plenty of patience for 20+ years ago and don’t now. For me, that’s a deal-breaker…. I go back sometimes and play these oldies still in my library and after about an hour I feel ready to launch it out my window despite how much I once loved and enjoyed the game many years ago. The evolution of these games has made them not only easier but actually more fun, and gives us more time to play a variety of games instead of having that “one game” consume every free moment we have.
Usually you want to begin with the earliest game in the series where the series starts hitting its stride and begins to show modern elements. In the case of Kirby for example, I would recommend Superstar/Superstar Ultra as the quintessential starting point.
"There's an entire banquet of delicious JRPG treats just sitting there waiting to be tucked into! I don't want to fill up on breadsticks and dip."
In answer to your question, it honestly depends on the person. I mean, what's their familiarity with video games in general? Lifetime player or (mostly) mobile-only? Are they a filthy casual or more of a "hardcore gamer"? How patient/forgiving are they with the medium; or, can they appreciate certain games both as a product of their time as well as for what-it-is in and of itself? Do they have any interest in how gaming has changed or appreciate how certain games were watershed moments in the industry?
I'm sure there's a hundred more personality factors to consider when approaching any long-running series, but we're complex creatures with strong opinions, and usually the best advice is to go for the one that grabs your attention the most, but be smart enough not to generalize an entire series based on your experience with one of it's entries. I mean, Zelda is in my top 3 franchises of all time and to this day can still get lost in a 8/16-bit adventure, yet I have no interest to ever again touch the NES original. Its just not fun. But I'm glad I've got plenty other Zelda's to choose from.
It depends a lot on the game/series. I would say if you like retro games and know you already want to play multiple games from the same series, it's not a bad idea to play the first really-well-received game in the series which has also aged well and move onward from there.
For example, zelda 1 is 'good' but has not aged wonderfully even for medium-retro-fans. zelda 2 just wasn't that good. But starting with link to the past and then playing a couple good later games and ending with BotW? That is like seeing best hits and also seeing how the game evolves so can be very fun.
DQI is still pretty awesome for some reason, in my opinion. Just a really fun, no-nonsense, grind to build your character and take on tougher challenges.
Maybe an easy answer, but it depends on the person and series.
For example, I'd easily recommend playing all 3D Marios in chronological order, but I wouldn't do so for Mother.
People like what they like, and one likely has to have some penchant for history in order to enjoy and appreciate the beginnings of a series. For example, my first Zelda games were Ocarina of Time and Link's Awakening, but when I discovered the original NES Zelda, I adored it. I still think it's quite fun to this day and I actually prefer some aspects of it to ALTTP. But some younger relatives' first system was the Switch, and they were completely disinterested in playing anything before the Switch- even Wii U games which are obviously very close in graphics and gameplay which surprised me. I remember there was a game (one of the Wii U ports, forget which) that they were quite interested in, but as soon as I mentioned that it originated on the previous system, they lost interest. But as I said, you like what you like.
For a lot of series, first is not the way to go. Zelda 1, Metroid 1, they haven't aged very well. I find that the third game in many series is very good. For example, DQ3, Mario 3, Link to the Past, Super Metroid. Usually I start close to the beginning, but not at the beginning. However, if it's a newer game, like Halo, I start at the beginning of the series because it's newer and has aged better.
@Severian While I would personally recommend starting with part 1 and going on from that in order, I think you can easily consume JoJo parts as standalones and you can probably just start from part 7 with no real issues.
I want to play all the DQ main entries. I already beat the first one.
I know if my first Zelda game had been BoTW instead of the original one all those years ago, I would have no interest in the series. Sadly since they're just going to stick with BoTW formula, Zelda is dead to me.
Witcher 3 is a good example of being able to jump in later though as 3 is the only one I've played and see no reason to go back to one or two.
May I ask why?
It’s built on the foundation of Zelda NES. They two games have a very similar flow. They don’t give you much instruction. Instead just a basic task to complete. It’s up the player to pursue it how they see fit. It was pretty refreshing for me; I felt like I was playing Zelda NES all over again for the first time.
All other Zelda’s take their core elements from A Link to the Past, which took most of the gameplay flow from Zelda NES and greatly streamlined it. It’s my favorite game in the series, but it’s where the overly linear progression later Zelda games (like Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword) became somewhat infamous for began. Especially the light world segment. That felt like a direct prototype for Ocarina of Time.
I appreciate both branches of the Zelda development tree. I think ALTTP tries to straddle the line between the two extremes. Zelda 1 and BOTW are free form adventures with almost no restrictions on how to progress. All other Zelda titles went for a more linear design, with the free form elements subdued for better plot progression and getting rid of the difficulty spikes that plagued Zelda NES and to a certain extent Breath of the Wild.
I think Zelda 1 is still a great game (by comparison Metroid was made obsolete by Super Metroid) because it forms a unique branch of the Zelda tree that wasn’t really revisited until Breath of the Wild. All other games take their progression from A Link to Past with further streamlining.
So for true open ended Zelda, you’re kind of left with just three options. Zelda NES, Breath of the Wild, and the Dark World section of ALTTP (to a lesser extent than the other two). It’s not well explored, so I think it’s still important to play the original.
My first Zelda was Ocarina of Time and I fell in love with the series. BotW has really soured me on it though.
Generally not. Those first two Zelda's on NES are just so jarring. While going retro is fine, that's too far back. Same with Metroid - never start with the NES version. Perhaps you start with Zero Mission on GBA, while Zelda on SNES might be as far retro you go. If you like that, then go to NES. If you hate it, move to 3D era of Ocarina or BOTW. Remember, you don't need to learn a story in chronological sequence to know the full story. In fact, sometimes it's more interesting knowing the middle or end first and then going back in time. It worked for Star Wars.
Depends on interest level. If I definitely think I'll like the series, yes, I'll stay from the first because I like to see that evolution of design. If it's a series I'm not sure about, then I'll start with the supposed "best." And then depending on how much I enjoyed that entry and how many entries there are, I'll either start back at the beginning or do a "best of" that series if I merely liked that first taste.
I would argue that DQXI wouldn't ruin the previous entries for you. There are a few series where I liked an older title better than the latest: e.g. I played (and loved) Bioshock and then I went back and played System Shock 2 and loved that more than Bioshock. Just as an example.
Like many others, I grew up playing 2d games so I can still enjoy the likes of zelda 1 and dragon quest 4 but let's be honest, for someone who's first ever games were breath of the wild and dragon quest 11, are they really gonna enjoy going back to the start?
My first play of zelda 1 was in 08 after I played every other zelda but that was a long time ago and games are pretty different now with how so many improvements like auto save exist.
I'd personally recommend every gamer who starts with the newest to check out the older ones but it is different to not have lived through it all as there's no way to truly appreciate games evolution but there are definitely some games that should be played matter what, eg start with link to the past over zelda 1 if you never played an old zelda
@OrtadragoonX I'm not saying it's a bad game. I'm saying that it's probably not the best to start with. Link to the Past perfected the 2D Zelda formula, and most/all later 2D Zelda games were based off of it. Zelda 1 has its charm, but it requires the player to chip at it for a long time if they don't have a manual or walkthrough.
If someone played it as their first Zelda, they might say, "man, this is lame, I'm gonna go play mario."
Because the game is so unique, someone who starts with the original might not like it, but might really enjoy Link to the Past, which most of the games are based off of.
The first game someone plays in a series has to represent that series. For example, you might not want to play Metroid Fusion first because it's linear and doesn't represent the Metroid series overall.
This is a great topic, and I've thought about it a lot as well. To start the Yakuza series, I chose to begin with 0, not because it's the first chronologically, but it's supposedly the best. For Zelda, I would absolutely recommend WW as the first game. Ocarina and LTTP are fine choices too. For Metal Gear, I would have to recommend the first Solid. Twin Snakes if possible. Because the story is absolutely critical to enjoying those games and it's fun to see the gameplay evolution. Final Fantasy VII, though VI and X are good choices too. I'd recommend starting with Super Metroid for a few reasons, one being that it is actually the best game, but also that it is somewhat dated, and I think you'd enjoy Zero Mission, Fusion, and the others having started with Super.
Some games I followed from the earlier series such Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix on PS1, Yokai Watch 1 on 3DS, Final Fantasy games I started from FF VIII PS1, Skylanders games from Spyro's Adventure, Ratchet & Clank games from Ratchet & Clank 2 Going Commando from Trilogy PS3, Sly Cooper games from Sly 2 Band Thieves on PS3, Cooking Mama games from Cooking Mama 2 NDS.
@SmaggTheSmug the only Castlevania I've played and completed is Aria. I very much enjoyed it. Then I tried Symphony. It's freaking impossible. I couldn't get past the first half hour, and I quit. For accessibility reasons alone, I would not recommend starting with Symphony.
@Anti-Matter the official Sly Cooper is possibly my favorite game. Easily top 5. It's perfect.
In the case of Pokemon, I would say to someone, "hey, start with whatever looks good. They're all good in some ways, even if the overall quality varies a bit." The bias in me also says to get a 3DS, since you can play MOST of the games on there, unless you want to specifically play Gen 3. I do wanna see someone who's never played a Pokemon game start from Gen 1 and play in order. Just to see their PoV, ideally not colored by too many opinions around the internet of "this gen sucks/no this gen sucks".
For Puyo Puyo, I once saw a tweet about which games to start with, and I pretty much agree with them. If you're interested for the Tetris gameplay, Puyo Puyo Tetris 1 is a good place to start, followed by PPT2. If you're interested in the gameplay, Puyo Puyo Champions is THE place to go. If you're interested in the characters, start with the fan translation for 20th Anniversary, although Tetris 1 isn't a bad place either.
If you have NSO, you already have a Puyo game! Super Puyo Puyo 2 is on the SNES app and is a better game than Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (and that's not me giving a hot take or being snooty; This is an actual fact) since you can actually counter garbage. Shame it's not translated, but it's fairly accessible.
I just played Zelda 1 this last weekend and enjoyed it a ton. I wouldn't recommend it to today's gamers, it's a little obtuse. It carries immense nostalgic value for me and BOTW feels like the closest game to it, which is why I love BOTW. ALTTP is a softer pill to swallow in retrospect for starters but Link between Worlds might even be better.
Metroid Zero mission has rendered the original obsolete in every way.
I try to do first games of series, but if it's a series that has gone on for ages, and perhaps the previous entries are not satisfactorily available to me, then I will just jump in-- FFIV and FFVI were my first FF's, but I went back later and played FFI, II, and III with a historian mindset and was able to enjoy them with proper expectation. FF is unique because each main installment doesn't build (storywise) on the previous game, but we're talking gameplay advancement after all, not story. Even DQ "has" continuity, but you could play each as a self contained story. I haven't gone back to DQ I, II, and III as I know I better be ready to grind and I'm losing that knack as I age, and the story is less pronounced, but I always wanted to play the "Erdrick Saga"...
I refuse to start any series unless I can start from the beginning. Seeing the evolution of the gameplay throughout the years is the thing I care about most.
To answer the article though in relation to Dragon Quest the answer is Dragon Quest V. It plays exactly like all the older ones so you shouldn't have a problem transitioning to them if you want to play them, but is also the best of all those.
I think the games new or old that are more straightforward on what you should do next stand the tests of time.
i think games where you need a guide are a pain.
I mean who would know that you have to walk 5 steps to find a flute or other craziness of Dragon Quest 1
but I had Dragon Warrior on NES and played it to the end.
I'm guess Nintendo Power helped me out as i still remember things about the game to this day. I remembered them when i played thru the excellent Gameboy Port and the nice mobile/switch ports as well.
@Gryffin Here's my issue, if I would recommend an entry point to the series I would prefer for it to be a "nominate subspecies" of the series. For Castlevania some of the main features are: vampire hunter (preferably a Belmont), uses whip and subweapons, fights Dracula at the end. Aria flips this around, as the only whip user there is an NPC and the main villain is not Dracula. It's kind of like explaining to an alien what birds are, with emphasis put on flying, and then showing them a penguin as the best example.
Complaining about the difficulties of how to choose to play a plethora of videogames... Meanwhile I'm just trying to survive in midtown "Africa" not knowing how to eat.
The difficulty of Dragon Quest I greatly depends on your experience in classic JRPG gameplay. It set up the very basic outlines of that genre but I'd argue that it is actually very playable if you know those. Dragon Quest I is perfect for a quick playthrough that won't consume your time for many weeks contrary to the rest of the series - you could even finish it in one sitting. Just talk to every single NPC, take note of every little hint, keep grinding (not much of a hassle in the remakes - I especially like the GBC version), collect gold, buy weapons and armor and visit all the places you hear about from the NPCs (mostly in the order you hear about them) - you should never get stuck.
It's very fun to play Dragon Quest III right after the first one since there a many connections (and DQ3 is one of the most popular entries).
It only matters if the series has an ongoing story that can be spoiled.
The story in Zelda games is always the same: kill enemies to get items to kill stronger enemies to get even better items to kill Ganon and save the world.
2 series I've recently been investigating are:
Atelier: There are so many games, and big expensive triple-game packs. It's generally advised to play each girl's games in order, so I've decided to start with Ryza 1.
The Legend of Heroes: Only Trails of Cold Steel III & IV are on Switch. But it's generally advised to start from at least as far back as Cold Steel I or there will be massive story spoilers, so I will get it on Gog.
Where to start can heavily depend upon the actual series. For example, you want to try and play each Kingdom Hearts game before KH3 in a particular order. And the crazy part is that it's not the order they get released in. I don't feel like listing 10 games in order. But if you have a Switch or PS4 and get Kingdom Hearts The Story So Far and finish everything in it, your ready for Kingdom Hearts 3.
However, I advise starting with the original Kingdom Hearts game so you begin with Sora's adventure and discover why it is lovedby so many fans. While Birth By Sleep is before the first game's events, the mechanics might upset people and choosing 3 characters to play the same worlds with different events could confuse people and have them stop playing the series.
Meanwhile, before the Playstation games, Final Fantasy had no sequels and it never mattered what order you play it in. So I recommend starting with either 4 or 6.
In my opinion, some of the best Sonic games are on the Genesis so play everything on that in order of release and then try the Dreamcast games. For the very cheapest way to do this, get a Gamecube. The remakes and ports of Dreamcast, Gamegear, Genesis and Saturn games can all be found on the GameCube.
With stuff like Zelda it can be a tough call. But the Hyrule time-line is not the order the games were released in. So don't start on NES, SNES or Gameboy. And Zelda franchise contains more than one possible time-line thus making it harder.
Ultimately, many franchises have sequels and prequels.
It's not the same answer for where to start.
Fortunately, the first Sonic game has no prequels and you can play it in order of release.
With Pokémon everything is usually someplace different and each game stars a different character.
Orderly binges are always best as long as you're interested in the series as a whole - it's a lot more exciting to see its evolution unfold before your eyes. Naturally, there are no purist obligations here either - I'd be a hypocrite to say otherwise after playing the Gran Pulse saga ahead of FFX and FFXII or eschewing the first three Fire Emblems in favour of their respective dual screen remakes (partly for all the new stuff in the latter, but I won't pretend I didn't balk at the prospect of playing OG Shadow Dragon with not even the slightest semblance of a movement grid) - but I still try to stick to entry order where I can. Besides, going backwards later can be tougher once you get used to the QoL stuff in later entries first; I somehow ended up beating Resident Revelations first of the whole series, and boy, did that make it all the tougher to move to RE1 (even, yet again, in its own remake incarnation with many QoL changes already in place!) and face the true survival horror of its limited saves which make each session a gamble between wasting your save opportunities far ahead of the anticipated endgame fudgery and the risk of losing hours of progress to a clumsy death (in an environment where my generally clumsy posterior could easily end up replaying those hours with MORE ammo/health expenses, which means the added fear of ultimately limping to the final boss underequipped). 😵😅
But still, it's all done at everyone's own discretion, and never necessarily as an "in for a franchise, in for the whole backlog" kind of signup. I cherish the experience enough to recommend it, warts and all, but in the end, let's not forget Switch-chan's words from that Merryweather comic - "it's about having fun!"
I think it honestly depends on the era your used to. Im mid 30s so SNES/Genesis/GB was my era and Im used to that style and it means I tend to be fine playing unfaimiliar games from that era.
I struggle to play NES anything. I enjoy Super Mario (tho prefer all stars) and felt original Zelda had its moments but was overall frustrating more than fun by end.
I would say that I really enjoyed the mobile remakes of DQ1-3 (hate most remakes). I found the gameplay to have a timeless feel and mobile convenience meant I could save any time and grind on the train. I go so far as to say I prefer those to more modern DQ.
If the entire franchise is good yes. But if not, and it has lots of games and you little time to spare. Best to find what's worth playing from other users recs in the series.
May as well start at the beginning. Games take so long to get made now. There seems a pretty standard 6 year gap between Zelda titles, and there were 8 years between DQ 9 and 11.
This is a pretty common gamer quandary. Good article and topic!
It's different to movies and TV shows, as those media are heavily reliant on a narrative throughline. Videogames, even big RPGs like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, didn't really have a massively rich, in-game lore that was imperative to follow between games, especially when the series were in their infancy. And even the ones that did have a pretty wonky chronology (Zelda in particular), so unless you're approaching it from a completionist, or a "historian" point of view, then I don't think it's necessary to play everything in order.
An excellent question. I've been playing games since before the NES. I would have no issue going back and finishing the older games. I have no idea how a more modern gamer would approach older games in a series. It could turn them off to the whole series. But if they play it after playing a more modern game they may have a different view of the franchise and it's roots.
@Mikey_205 Are you me? I’m in my late 30s and the NES was my first console, though I racked up the most hours on the SNES. But like you, it takes a particular shade of rose for me to be able to go back and play a good chunk of the NES library, though I generally do not mind the 16-bit-ness of the SNES (and Genesis) lineup.
That said, like some others here, I am definitely at a point where I don’t go far too back into a long-running series anymore. I did play the remade FF1 and 2 on the GBA, as well as SMB1-3 in both NES and SNES versions…but that really is about it.
...it would be a bad idea to try to get your friend into Persona by pointing them to the first Revelations: Persona when you could just let them play Persona 5.
I think playing an earlier game is good, but the first game is often very flawed.
A series like Pokémon is pretty much always good, just because it's a good monster-catching premise. The story and basic mechanics don't have to change for it to be good. But bleh, the quality-of-life changes over time and the general lack of a cohesive arc to the games don't make it necessary.
And playing the first Legend of Zelda could make you hate the series before it got started.
For example, I had played and beaten Link to the Past twice, but I just did it, because I wanted to complete the game. I disliked it, and even playing it a third time after becoming a fan, it was just okay. And I even beat Phantom Hourglass and played Link's Awakening (my favorite of the ones I first played) and Spirit Tracks, because I loved even bad DS games.
But I didn't become a fan and start marathoning the games until I played Ocarina of Time in 2011. So maybe before you just randomly suggest a game that's widely considered one of the best in the series (e.g., LttP), consider what you think your friend might like in the game and pick a game that might suit them best over chronological order.
Honestly, I say just stick to the best stuff. Life's too short to waste on games that are outdated and age poorly. Like, I've been working through the SMT series over the past couple years, but as far as I'm concerned, the first two games don't exist. I can appreciate what they did for establishing the series, but it's now gone so far beyond those that it's not worth the time to go back to such simplistic and antiquated games.
@Medic_Alert To throw two pennies in here, I will say that (of the four Kingdom Hearts titles I have played) the first one is easily my favourite. The complexity level is so much lower, the story is actually relatively easy to follow compared to the cluster of lore you need for following entries, and it's the one I had the most genuine unadulterated fun with. Also, with the Remix version, it's more accessible than ever.
I will say, to play devil's advocate, that it certainly is dated in certain aspects. That's true of basically any game older than, like, five years lol
I could barely get through Dragon Quest XIs so I don't think I'll have the patience to start from the beginning of that series. Maybe its just not my thing. On the other hand, I've been looking to start the older mainline Shin Megami Tensei games as I really enjoyed Nocturne and V.
It all depends on the tastes of the individual person. I'd say if a series is heavily interlinked story-wise, then go back to the start of the story. If it's not, but you still want franchise history, go back as far as you feel you can stomach the oldness of the franchise and have it still be fun for you personally.
Using Dragon Quest as an example.. for me, I can go back and enjoy the first game. Particularly the easily digestible remake on modern systems, because it's a pretty fast and easy affair. Dragon Quest III on the SNES is such a great game and it's just all the better if you've played I and II, so I feel like it's worth it. Especially considering the remake of III with HD-2D is on the way.
Still, some might feel like anything before, say, the 3DS remake of VII is too old feeling. Just up to you.
I will say this, though, particularly since it seems like you haven't started Dragon Quest VIII yet. It isn't an amazing place to start with the franchise. It's not bad, it's just mostly a modest Dragon Quest experience. In the US and UK it's often hailed as "the best", but I would argue that the majority of people saying that are the same kind of people who say Tales of Symphonia is the best Tales game or Final Fantasy VII is the best Final Fantasy: people who simply played those entries first. Very much like the two aforementioned titles, Dragon Quest VIII was the first Dragon Quest to actually hold the name Dragon Quest in the US, the first on a home console outside Japan in years, the first to use the original box art with anime-style visuals and the first stick to the newer translation "bible" for the series. It was then also the first to actually get some hype, fandom and acclaim at a time when JRPGs were getting fairly popular international.
Is it a bad game? No. Not at all. It's pretty good. All the Dragon Quest games are. But nostalgia and timing are powerful tools and a lot of people who became Dragon Quest fans with VIII often never went on to play the earlier entries, as is common with any franchise that become popular deep into its life. The sales for Dragon Quest VII on the 3DS show how few people actually even gave the game a shot (VII being my favorite Dragon Quest game by far, though it was also the fifth one I played).
I'd say if you want a more accurate representation of which Dragon Quest games are the best in general or the best to start with, the Japanese polls are a little less biased toward a particular entry since they've been massive fans of the franchise since it started. And in fact, VIII frequently rates among the worst in the series there, usually only ahead of the original Dragon Quest.
oh no. big mistake trying it with Zelda 🤣 the first game might be a classic but from my perspective never having played it I just couldn't get into it at all.
Part of the fun for me was how unforgiving some of the older games were. I’d always recommend starting with the original Final Fantasy, especially if you have access to a working NES. The non-MP system, the healing item limitations, not being able to save wherever you want...it’s all part of the challenge. Playing with modern conveniences after doing that feels like easy mode. The same goes for Zelda and Dragon Warrior/Quest. Just my opinion 🤷🏼♀️
I go through this same line of thinking whenever wanting to start a new long running series, but I try to remind myself that most series of games are only loosely connected at best, and older games can be frustrating. For long running series I'm familiar with I can't honestly think of any that I'd recommend someone completely new to the series starting from the very beginning.
Mario - start with Super Mario World
Zelda - start with A Link to the Past or Wind Waker
Metroid - start with Super Metroid, Zero Mission, or Metroid Prime
Fire Emblem - start with Awakening
Shin Megami Tensei - start with 3, 4, or 5
Persona - start with 4
Famicom/Advance Wars - start with Advance Wars I guess that qualifies as a first release if you ignore Japan exclusive games
Tomb Raider - start with the new trilogy
Sonic - start with 2, 3, or Mania for 2D or Generations for 3D
With all that in mind why do I want to start series from the very beginning? I have no idea.
Interesting article. I started at Dragon Quest V and A Link to the Past in the genres mentioned. For more modern takes, you may want to start at the 3DS versions of the Zelda series and DQ series (no.8)? Loved DQXI and BOTW.
@ObeliskDrakon The first KH was legitimately fun. 2 got too weird for me. I can handle Kojima crazy but not Nomura crazy.
If the stories aren't interconnected, you can start anywhere. I started the Zelda series with Link's Awakening DX. I started Final Fantasy with VII. Castlevania is at it's core simple enough that you only need to know "Drac is back, time to attack". If there's a lot to establish ahead of time, it can be difficult without a "Previously On..."
As much as I ended up disappointed in Mass Effect, the little interactive comic you could do at the start of the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2 did a great job getting me caught up on the important story elements.
Being old enough to see the start of the explosion of all of the series games, I've always started with the oldest first in the types of games I enjoy. That generally means that I rarely jump into games that didn't interest me in their original debut. On the other hand, I have gone back and picked up games I missed when a sequel piqued my interest in order to play them sequentially. My most favorite games were ones that built upon the sequels, especially literally. Suikoden was phenomenal for allowing your character data to pass to the sequel. Some of the old SSI Dungeons and Dragons games were the same. Character investment indeed.
@Mistclan @Mistclan I believe you could import a character from a previous game all the way back in Ultima and Wizardry. Don't think Might & Magic afforded you that though, since characters aged in the first two games.
I have only played Dragon Quest 11 and have loved it.
With Zelda, start with Ocarina.
I haven't commented here in YEARS, but I like this topic and Zelda and DQ are my absolute favorite series in video games.
If there's a series that is long running that I'm just getting into, I play whatever is the most current entry in the series. It's a good indicator to me if this is a series worth becoming invested in. If it's good today, it gives me confidence to play the old ones to see how it got to where it is today. The most recent series I've done this with was Yakuza. I started with Kiwami. It was a bit rough as a remake of a PS2 game but mostly enjoyable. That gave me the confidence to play 6, which was coming soon at the time. Since then, I've been playing them in chronological order.
Anyways. You can start Dragon Quest at any point. The series intentionally stopped evolving at the SNES games. Although I feel VIII (US) and XI is the best from a QOL perspective.
If you want to jump into Zelda, I recommend any game EXCEPT BotW. BotW is so good and different from the rest of the series that it will make the other games look basic.
I don't think it really matters except for games with very tightly connected plots. Baldurs's Gate 2, for example.
As a fan of several long-running series (Metal Gear, Zelda, Resident Evil, Yakuza, etc.) I generally encourage newcomers to start with whatever game looks the most appealing to them. It's no use telling someone they'll need to wade through hours of 8-bit Metroid before they're allowed to consider starting Dread. You're just going to put them off.
The main problem is when sequels make explicit reference to earlier plot points. They can confuse new players, and take away from the experience of seeing those events occur when coming back to earlier entries. Personally, I think that geeks tend to make too much of an issue of spoilers, and knowing who Luke Skywalker's father is doesn't mean someone has had Star Wars ruined for them. It's something to be mindful of, but I don't think it should put you off trying something you think you'll like.
My DQ knowledge is limited, but I get the sense that they often play on your expectations of conventions, so something is lost if you go in totally unfamiliar of conventions, even if the modern games are made with modern audiences in mind.
For Zelda I say at the very least give LttP an honest go, it establishes everything that the series built on after, and I don't fault anyone for not having the patience for the first two.
Final Fantasy is nice cuz it's such a free for all. Start anywhere, go forward or backward in time, you'll find value and unique experience in each one.
And the idea of playing Pokemon games in chronological order feels like a joke. Maybe try out Crystal if you're curious of what a good retro Pokemon is like, but generally the answer is just play the one everyone's playing, it's a social experience.
With Dragon Quest and Pokémon, or any other series that has been consistent with its roots, you can start at the very beginning. If it's a series that's a little more standalone per game with independent stories and different mechanics in each installment, like Final Fantasy or The Legend of Zelda, you can virtually start anywhere.
I prefer Dragon Quest Builders 1 & 2 over than Dragon Quest Roman numbers games.
I still prefer Yokai Watch games than Pokemon games despite I have both of the games.
Definitely I will never touch any zelda games after I sold BOTW last year.
indeed a tough point. A new game comes out and is the 11th installment in a series? do I play it now while its new or do I try to get my hands on all previous games and spin-offs and what not? oooffff
It really depends....some long running series are a continuous story, so it makes sense for start with a good entry point. Others are pretty unconnected, so it doesn't really matter.
This is the biggest factor for me. First thing I'll check if a new game comes out in a long running series I have yet to get into is to see if it's a continuation of another game in the series.
I’ve never played a SQEX game, so I was thinking DQXI would be a good start for both DQ, and SQEX. From there I’ll probably go to the HD2D games.
I'd say no. If it is a modern series like Mass Effect or Dragon Age sure!! It makes perfect sense. But if it is anything older than N64/PlayStation Generation I'd say no and even that is stretching it. Some 8-16bit titles have not aged well mechanically and while games like Super Mario age like fine wines, stuff like the original Zelda and Final Fantasy are not indicative of the modern series.
That is my general take is play the entry you want to if that is Breath of the Wild, Ocarina of Time 3D or even Final Fantasy XV and if you enjoy those go back to the older titles. Games have advanced so much that playing early entries without the quality of life features of modern games will probably annoy modern gamers who did not grow up with them. The only exception to this is Metroid where Super Metroid is close to perfect, but even then playing the original Metroid is a chore.
To:dr no. Play what you want and if you like those go back to the older entries.
There's just no blanket answer here. I would never play Dragon Age 2 (I don't like Inquisition either), but adore the first game. I think the original Darksiders is a much better game than the rest of the series...but Genesis is pretty rad. Gotta' go with "Sure if you have the time, why not?" It's different for every series.
For me it depends on continuity. If they're all connected then yes start at the beginning and go forward. But if they're separate entries of the same franchise, I start at the end and work backwards.
Games like the Batman: Arkham series, play in release order. Origins doesn't really matter to the main trilogy anyway, but is a great game in its own right.
Zelda? Start with the newest. Botw. with the exception of Majora's Mask and now, Tears, there are no direct sequels.
I see some recommendations here that are totally convoluted, and will lead to massive burnouts for newer players.
Just thinking of the mess that is kindom hearts continuity across different platforms is the reason I'm not ever gonna play those games.
For me i ended up jumping into Mario with 64 since i grew up with master system and mega drive.
Though it was definitely a cool experience going back to the 2d games thanks to the virtual console and thinking "oh so thats where that came from" upon seeing some familiar enemies and even some mechanics (like switch palaces)
That being said i first properly played super mario world back in 2015 on wiiu VC to get hyped up for mario maker and it was still a magical experience.
The Bond comparison might be the best sample of this with movies. Like the OG Bond movies are great but coming out of what action movies are today: your Marvel movies, your Daniel Craig Bond, it can be a tough sell to go back and watch Sean Connery.
It can be a good idea, but it's never a bad idea.
The only big franchises (let's say 5+ games) I can think of where you absolutely should/need to start at the beginning are Trails, Suikoden and Yakuza, for having mostly continuous stories instead of standalone adventures.
I'm an advocate of playing the Ys games in release order as well since it went through so many different types of gameplay and seeing how it evolved over time makes it less jarring than jumping from game to game with wildly different playstyles.
I’m pro chronological order whatever the order of release may be
Why isn't there a poll option for approaching this on a case by case basis or "It depends"?
I probably would play the original Ninja Gaiden series in chronological order, but nobody should have to struggle through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before playing the inifinitely more accessible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, as they share nothing but licensing.
Street Fighter II is a chronological continuation of Street Fighter, but it's not a strong gameplay narrative, and you're not going to gain anything, other than frustration for the 'not quite ready for prime time' control scheme, by playing the original, first.
It depends what it is. Some series I think you're perfectly fine to start at the very beginning but for the longest time I couldn't get into Metroid because I kept trying to do the first one first when it's aged like a fine milk, and while I've eventually developed a BIT of fondness for it if I'd started with the first Zelda then I wouldn't be a Zelda fan.
Really it depends. For example 2D and 3D Zelda and Metroid games, yes for 2D and no for 3D. But then Mario games would be yes for both so now I don't know what to think.
I think starting with modern entries to get a taste for them is the best move to make because older games may have antiquated features that make them a turn off. For example, HMs in old Pokémon games are so tedious. I bought Persona 5 Royal and plan to start with it as my first Persona in the new year. If I like it, I'll go back to the older games.
Hardly any issue these days with every game being treated to a "remaster" cash grab.
i voted historian thinking about how i went from bloodstained to order of ecclesia and not enjoying going down a lot but... i just remembered going from ff9 to 7 and mmbn4 to 6(sf1&3) to 5 and i'm planning on getting legacy collection vol 1
so i haven't marathoned a series but i guess it depends on how one changes from entry to entry... somehow forgot i just ordered a ds version of the would ends with you before i tackle neo which is waiting for me. this topic is messing up my niarb
uh... so i guess some older entries might not be worth playing or it'll kill your interest? no, i got it. order depends on series cause some don't necessarily improve as they go on too, some are just different enough to be interesting in their own right.
i going from disgaea 1 to 5 i enjoyed them both but i liked doing item world in 1 better, eventually i'll do 4 and 6.
Honestly with me this is EXACTLY how I got into dragon quest. I had one and two on my gameboy for like 20 years but never got into them. Then one day I was bored and went back into it and played both of them.
Then I got 3 on eBay game boy
played 4-6 on ds
played 7 on ps1
played 8 on ps2
and then nine on 3ds
played them one after another couldn't stop
so dragon quest is the only game series I played in chronological order
Always start with the game that got you curious about the franchise in the first place.
I would never recommend the Genesis Sonic games, or the NES Mario and NES Zelda games as starting points.
For Sonic I think the GBA did the best job at portraying the series as a whole: action platforming with charming visuals and neat unlockables.
For Mario, you have to start with Super Mario World, it's not just a Mario game, it's the game.
For Zelda, ALTTP is right up there with being the game so I feel like I have not much to say other than OOT changed things too much so if you want a feel for what Zelda is ALTTP is the best option to start with.
Then, after playing I would suggest trying the originals. Preferably from a collection or something.
I always found Sonic Mega Collection (the GC one, not the dull "Plus" ver.) the best at creating the illusion of a time way past gone and trying desperately to hold on to it somehow. Beautiful presentation.
For Zelda, the Collector's Edition or GBA release.
For Mario, the GBA release, or to keep things interesting the Animal Crossing version which ended up being more vibrant than the VC releases, thanks Nintendo.
It really depends, some games just didn’t age well or just have way to many to go through, ff is a good example. Other the. Stuff like that, games like sonic, Mario, Metroid, I will happily play there first games.
@PinderSchloss - This. If you’re sufficiently interested afterwards to do a series playthrough, then sure, go for it, but to start with, it’s fine to start with whatever’s most interesting to you.
Depends on the person, depends on the franchise. You can jump into any Zelda and it's pretty much its own game, but you can't do so in case of Mass Effect 3 for example
It depends. Interestingly, the first Zelda is the only one I haven't played. That and the CD-i ones. On the other hand, Assassin's Creed was the first entry I played, last generation, after reading that I should start with Black Flag or Origins but no, the first game is still an awesome game worth playing, especially on Xbox One X or Series S/X. The order is not that important but skipping entries is often a mistake.
Not necessarily start with the first, but I strongly disagree that the older titles are not worth playing anymore, just because some technical aspects are outdated. I envy those who haven’t played OoT or MM… absolutely magical experiences.
As for where to start, I guess with Zelda the consensus is III. Zelda I is good but feels ancient and has no story or characters, Zelda II introduces towns and NPC’s but is a chore to play. Zelda III is where it all came together. Link’s Awakening got this amazing remake, luckily, all the newer 3D games are accessible enough anyway. Really only OoT and MM are in this unfortunate position that young people will likely skip them, which is a crying shame.
@NintendoWife Right, I played Ocarina of Time this year on Wii U at 60fps (unofficial port) and of course back in the day on N64 (many times) and it's still the best The Legend of Zelda game.
LOL yeah play -windwaker- first 🙄
Some old games aged terribly. Better leave them in the closet of good memories. The original Zelda is barely playable now. While a link to the past, windwaker and some others are good places to start.
Depends on the franchise, and how dedicated or big a fan the player is. I think someone would really have to like Zelda in order to go back and play the first two. I love those games, but I can see them being a headache to a modern gamer who is used to convenience, lots of save points, and so on...
Then again, games like Elden Ring have that old-school difficulty, and it seems to be coming back in style again.
But yeah, a franchise like Sonic The Hedgehog....the Genesis games would be great starting point. Those were great for jumping in right away.
I literally just started going through the whole ys series. Honestly, the games pre-7 are so dated at this point the bits that are fun are overshadowed by the bits that are outdated
Absolutely. Lots of the first games in franchises are still fun. Of course there are also some first games that aren't very good.
I don't know for sure.
For Mario games, yes, play them all in order, they all great to play to this day.
But for Zelda, I don't know. A Link to the Past is a huge gap from the first and second zelda on the NES.
For some people the first game of Zelda series can be a real put off.
There are also great mobile zelda games, like Minish cap for people who want to experience 2D zelda.
Also, when it comes to 3D there are lots of different experiences, there is Wind Waker, BoTW and My favorite Skyward Sword. All of them have different approaches, so to me it wouldn't make a difference to play them in different order. I think playing in order makes sense if it is a direct sequel, just like BoTW and the new Tears of the Kingdom, then sure, play BoTW first.
Last but not least: Zelda games are not in chronological order anyway, so why bother playing in order?! Play the one who you find more attractive first. I did that, and I've gone from not liking zelda to loving it.
@Bobb DQ6 was great, but holy cow there was a lot of grinding in it… 😬
Reminds me of fallout. I played new Vegas first and fell in love with it. I think playing 3 first would've been about the same reaction. But if I had started at 1? Probably never would've gotten through it. Pivotal I appreciate them now, but they're not the same games. Same thing can be said of a lot of the Nintendo series. The first metroid would be a tough sell now.
That's sort of like asking if it's a good idea to play video games. Just depends on taste and what you like in a game. Though, I know a lot of people that loved DQ11 and hated the earlier games because they actually challenge the player...
Well, depends on the series, a Mario game can really be started anywhere, same with Final Fantasy.
Some titles, while technically can be started anywhere like the Xenoblade titles, are best experienced if played in order, especially if the title is as easily available as the Xenoblade trilogy.
Meanwhile, a games series like the Legend of Heroes: Trails sub series is best played in release order due to how much each title builds upon the previous titles where the story is concerned. While you wouldn't necessarily be entirely lost with the first title in each saga, their direct sequels will definitely start to loose you as the games starts introducing story beats and characters from previous titles. Also Trails of Cold Steel has an anime currently airing as of time of writing that fills in the gap between cold steel 1-2 and 3-4.
I know this is old and then revived like 3 months ago, but it's funny those two series are mentioned because I beat both latest entries and more recently started off from the beginning.
For Zelda, beat BotW and beat 1 and 2, currently on ALttP and DQ, beat XI and then 1, 2 and 3. 4 is hard to come by legitimately so I might have to resort to "that" for the rest of them maybe except VII and VIII.
I actually bought FF VII and have had it for a couple months, waiting for the I-VI Pixel Remasters so I can play them in order. Mind you, I'm not trying to be extreme with that rule, but I want to experience QoL from title to title, plus I played some of them when I was younger so the "ugly graphics" or classic gameplay doesn't bother me.
Of course, everyone has their own opinions as the comments show and there's no right answer.
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