Weekend Question: What series should you start with the sequel?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: What series should you start by skipping the first one? Maybe even the second? There are plenty of videogame series that have improved as they go one, which one do you think it's worth jumping straight to the good bit in?
 
Jan 17, 2020
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I think you probably should skip the first Witcher game, perhaps the second one too. The gameplay is very outdated and kind of a struggle to get through.

Age of Empires can be skipped straight to the sequel without missing out on anything. This is probably true for a lot of RTS games (Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth comes to mind too) and for other types of strategy games as well, as sequels usually improve on the formula and the story rarely requires knowledge of the previous game (although that does happen of course).

Actually, I think we can just make a list of genres where you can probably just get the last game without missing out on anything. For sports games, racing games, management games, MMORPGs and most multiplayer focused games you should probably just get the last game.
 

Oussebon

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Feb 17, 2020
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Deus Ex. Skip the original, go straight for Invisible War.

Kidding aside, it's probably more viable to encourage newcomers to the franchise to start with Human Revolution than Deus Ex Game of the Potato Edition.

Skipping Witcher 1 and going straight to Witcher 2, possibly straight to Witcher 3.

Strategy franchises are probably a given.
Total War - probably not worth playing the original Shogun at this point as an entry to the series!
While there's mileage in Civ 2, and Civ 4, starting with 5 or 6 probably makes most sense. Age of Empires, Age of Wonders, etc..

And perhaps other mass franchises like Assassin's Creed. I tried AC 3 and 4 and didn't get paricularly tickled (pardon my heresy) but Origins persuaded me even as it strangled my poor CPU half to death.
Divinity... perhaps starting at Divinity II or even going straight to Original Sin (II?)
Elder Scrolls. Begin at Skyrim / SSE. 2011 is already a long way to 'go back' to!

Orcs Must Die 2 - OMD2 has excellent coop, and even single player is just smoother than the first.

I wonder if another question that's harder to answer is which franchise do you really benefit playing through top to bottom, without skipping the early-and-now-potato / clunky / jank instalments?
 
Jan 16, 2020
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The first thing that comes to mind? The original doom. yes, its good and the importance of the game cannot be denied, but Doom 2 was better. Better level design, new monsters and the addition of the Super Shotgun seals the deal.
 

OsaX Nymloth

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Jan 29, 2020
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@Oussebon was about to report you for that first phrase :p

Aliens vs Predator 2 is legendary among gamers to this day and probably one of the brightest examples of sequel leaving the original in shadows. That marine campaign, still remembering being horrified of every damn beep I heard from the scanner. Brr!

Some people may disagree (me kinda included) but Baldur's Gate II was a pinnacle of cRPG back in the day. It was huge, there was no "realistic" exploration and every location was full of NPCs, quests and fight were meaningful. Not to mention the scale went from "lowly bunch of adventurers trying to not die from kobold's arrows" to "demi-gods, slayers of all that's mighty and possibly heirs to Bhaal's bloody throne". While I appreciate the different feeling BG achieved, BGII was bigger, better, stronger and nicer looking.

Carmageddon II was also "the game" that surpased the first release by a solid margin. Graphic were really good for a time and the controversy added a bit of flavour to the experience that still is rather unique. I still remember fondly as I was sneaking to neighbours house only to play on their super powerful PC (Intel Pentium and 3dfx VooDoo!) - and Carmageddon II was there. No, I didn't grow up to be a maniac killer. YET. ;)

Hand of Fate 2 follows the same principia - better, nicer and more fun to play. Shame the studio behind this series didnt' survive the test of time, as their unique take on action RPG/table-top/card game was really fun to play and offered lots of different possibilities during gameplay by just switching few cards.

Killing Floor 2? Legend of Grimrock II? Metro: Last Light? Vermintide II? All of these were significantly better than the previous ones in well, every possible aspect.

From strategy games I would add Age of Wonders II / III and Disciples II. And Heroes of Might & Magic III > all. Don't @ me!

And as a bit of a joke. Dota 2 ;)
 
Mar 9, 2020
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In truth, the first Witcher is a fine game, but it lacks the polish and accessibility of its sequels. If all the popularity of The Witcher 3 and the Netflix series has piqued your interest, I would consider The Witcher 2 a fine boarding point.
 

Oussebon

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Feb 17, 2020
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Far Cry's another. I've not played 1 and 2, but 4+5 feel ultimately like reskins of 3. You could start with 3 or move straight to 4 if you like shinier graphics or want some degree of open world coop.

I don't have a particularly strong urge to go back and explore 1+2.
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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I don't have a particularly strong urge to go back and explore 1+2.
Those are the only two I've played to any degree. I bought V not too long ago, but at the time it was too busy and I was fighting a cold at the time. I should go back to it.

As for 3, that is the only game that ever crashed my current computer in the opening five minutes. Never even got to experience gameplay for it. Now that I have a newer video card, perhaps I'll have better luck, but I still don't see why that game crashed while Witcher 3, RDR2, GTAV, FC5, and so many others were fine. *shrug* (And I never went on to 4 because I tend to go chronologically if possible.) 3 & 5 definitely feel like totally different games from the original and even FC2. The closest I got to 3 was Blood Dragon, which worked fine and was wonderful.

Having said all that, I agree 1 & 2 are skippable.
 
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I've never played the very first Warcraft, and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. (I have, however, played 2 & 3, and a couple years of WoW.)

Edit to add: Here are some more games where you can skip to the sequel(s):

- Flight Simulator
- Prince of Persia (though the original does have its charm)
- Sid Meier's Civilization
- The Need For Speed
- Caesar
- Ultima I
- NHL Hockey
- Descent
- Dead or Alive (though I don't think the original ever came to PC anyway)
- Worms (though it is still fairly playable, last I checked)
- Controversial Pick: System Shock. (Or at least play the remastered version if you're going to.)
 
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Jan 15, 2020
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Fallout 2, no doubt!! I know, this is a game heavily depends on its wonderful story & If you skip the first game and start with the 2nd one you'll be lacking the main dynamics, mythology of the whole franchise but I think if u go with F2 as your first game you'll have a much better game scenario and much more fun game in ur hands😁
 
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Zloth

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Saints Row The Third. Saints Row 2 is fairly good, too, but not as fun as 3 and 3 doesn't require a massive mod in order to play it. I don't think Saints Row 1 is even available on PC except via emulation.

The whole Final Fantasy single player series. The stories don't depend on each other from number to number so Final Fantasy X has no references to IX but Final Fantasy X-2 does reference Final Fantasy X.
 
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Jan 11, 2020
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I think you probably should skip the first Witcher game, perhaps the second one too. The gameplay is very outdated and kind of a struggle to get through.
You most certainly should not! They’re critical bits of world building!
 
Jan 17, 2020
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You most certainly should not! They’re critical bits of world building!
That's what I thought when I read someone suggesting to skip Mass Effect in the article, but after thinking about it, you probably don't lose out on much and the gameplay of the first one was, well, not that great.

I did play the first Witcher, but ended up using cheats just so I wouldn't have to deal with the crappy gameplay. I wouldn't say it was a great experience, or made me enjoy the second game that much more.

It's kinda like those series that only get good after the first (few) season(s). It's usually better to read a synopsis and just jump to the good part, especially if you don't have a ton of free time in the first place.
 
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May 6, 2020
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Red Dead Redemption 2. Not that the original is in any way “missable”, but, of course, 2 was a prequel really To the first, and I’m sure i would have got more out of chasing down the old gang if I’f has their back stories first.
 

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