A Simple Question: Sequel Before Prequel

Mass Effect 3 isn’t the first game to do it (not by a long shot), but one of the more interesting features it will have is the ability to import your character save file from prior Mass Effect games. This means that, for players who have journeyed through space with Commander Shephard, they will be able to see the consequences and benefits of actions in prior games. To many, this will probably give the feeling of a sense of ownership over the decisions they made (and continue to make).  You can really start to feel like you are part of the universe that is created when you know your actions will have consequences.  You understand the worlds, the characters, the situations.  You get the inside jokes. You know how your crew behaves.

But what about for people who haven’t played any of the prior games? Are you missing out by not playing previous entries in a series? Does playing Halo 3 before Halo make it less of a game? Saints Row: The Third? Gears of War 3?  It made me wonder:

If previous games of a series that you haven’t had an interest in (until the latest version) are available on your current console, what do you play first? 

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For the sake of argument, assume that the story in this series progresses from one game to the next. I’ll be honest; I got Gears of War 3 for Christmas this year, and before I even bothered opening it, I replayed the first, and played (for the first time) the second one.  I didn’t want to feel like I was missing out on something by not knowing the full backstory.  Yeah, most games today will feature primers, or do a good job through exposition to get you caught up on what’s happening, but can that 15 minutes really make up for the hours spent beating a game.  Putting your personal time and energy into the story makes the next iteration mean that much more to you.  So I guess I would say that I’d play the games in order of what’s available, rather than the latest. But then I think about a game like Assassin’s Creed. The series is incredible, and while I feel the first game lays some pretty serious groundwork for the other games in the series, it’s also the worst of the bunch by far. Most would say skip it (or play a small bit and then skip it).

Give us your take – vote above, and drop a comment below.

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A Simple Question (ASQ) is a weekly segment for Platform Nation.  Give a response and let the world know what you think; there is no right or wrong answer here. If you have a suggestion for a question, hit me up on twitter @vttym.

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  • Personally, I definitely play the earliest game in a series, when possible.  In my case, this happened with Dragon Age.  I saw the first trailer of Dragon Age 2 and was hooked so immediately I started to play Origins.  Fantastic game, and then DA2 came out… and the rest is history.

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  • If it’s a continuing story, then most definitely play the first one before the newest.