Which game of a series to play

Like many of you I’m sure, I have several series of games in my library/backlog, and often become paralyzed by indecision when trying to select one to try, especially as time goes by between the original and the sequels.

I want to try some of these in the coming year and would value some opinions from the QT3 Hivemind. Yes I realize it’s just opinions and different peoples’ MMV. That’s all good.

I guess what I am interested in is if subsequent games have innovated/improved the original(s) to such an extent that there is not really anything to be gained by playing the earlier ones. Especially when considered against the backdrop of limited available gaming time.

Here are the contenders:

  • XCom (and related) series. I have the originals, UFO Extraterrestrials, Xenonauts, XCom Enemy Unknown, XCom 2. This is the one I have the most trouble with. I have no clue. Have fiddled about with one or two but no serious play attempts.

  • The Witcher Series. I imagine they are all worth playing in order???

  • Age of Wonders series - have all(?) 4 and did play Shadow Magic, which was ok. Vaguely recall trying the original many years ago and finding the combat agonizingly slow to play out. Any point trying this one again or trying 2? Or straight to 3?

  • Crusader Kings 1 & 2 - haven’t tried either. Most people seem to advocate not bothering with the original.

  • Europa Universalis - have 1, 3 & 4. Used to go to sleep (literally) playing 1 but that was in the era of less sleep, much longer work hours and babies. I imagine 4 is the immediate goto now.

  • Fallout. Have 1 & 2 and New Vegas, which I understand is very different to the other 2. Worth playing 1 or straight to 2?

Thanks

Regarding XCom and Witcher, I would suggest diving straight into the latest games: The Witcher 3 and/or XCom 2. They’re not true sequels, they stand on their own and incorporate improvements in every nuance - design, graphics, controls, story, etc.

I would only recommend playing previous versions or tackling release order if you really liked the latest.

Witcher 1 and Witcher 2 were worth playing when they came out but they look a bit ridiculous compared to Witcher 3 now. I am still bamboozled as to how that game came out so good given the jankiness of the previous two games.

No need to play Crusader Kings 1 at all if you have CK2.

Same applies to Europa Universalis. Though I am in the same boat with EUIV as I was with EU1. Fire it up for 5 minutes, get overwhelmed, quit.

Yeah, I’d just skip to Witcher 3, though 1 & 2 aren’t without their merits.

Fallout 1/2 are essentially ‘retro games’ at this point, whereas NV is still much more modern in feel. I’d say Fallout 1 and 2 are absolutely worth playing if you are in a retro mood – otherwise move on.

Witcher 3. It’s really good, and it catches you up on what you need to know about the series.
XCom Enemy Unknown. It looks good, and it’s a fun game. Hard game though, every time I played, I always lost to the aliens.

I watched over the shoulder of a friend when he tried to play Fallout 1 in 2005. It was really painful. I’d forgotten how if you piss off Ian in the first town you run across, the whole town turns against you, and to get out of combat mode while in town, you’re forced to kill every man woman and child in town. Only then can you get out of combat mode. And you’re branded a child killer, of course.

Y’all are crazy. The Witcher series is an ongoing story that starts in 1. (Well, the books really, but that’s outside the scope of this query.) And they’re all good. Just start with the first one.

(IMO it also has the best combat in the series but then I really hate reflex-intensive combat in RPGs and found the alchemy system to be much more important and immersive in the first game.)

If you’re okay with the aspects of Fallout 1 and 2 that are a bit aged by now, you should absolutely start with the first one. They’re both great and there’s not a huge gap in playability etc between the two. If not, yeah, New Vegas.

With most strategy series there’s not a ton of reason to play older entries (aside from Civilization, where Civ 4 is still the best game in the series). Certainly not with Paradox games, probably not with Age of Wonders. With Xcom…the originals are really finicky and ancient and difficult to get to grips with but they also do a bunch of things that the shiny Firaxis remakes left by the wayside. YMMV. Also even with Firaxis, the first XCOM is a fairly different premise than the second, so there might be room for both. If you’re interested in classic X-Com gameplay (or some facsimile thereof) maybe try Open X-Com or Xenonauts before trying to run the originals.

To me this is very backwards. Series often feature substantial graphical and quality of life improvements as they go on that make it extremely difficult to get into older entries if you start at the latest. It can certainly be worth skipping early installments altogether but I wouldn’t skip if you ever plan to go back to them.

This. /thread

Edit: Specifically XCOM 2 and DLC.

It depends a lot of personal preference on how you like mechanics and your patience for old issues, but here’s my take.

They’re all fairly different. The reboots are a bit too gamey in how much can happen in a turn and how the pod system works, but they’re much more approachable. I’d probably pick them as they end up a little less repetitive as you’re always getting new stuff.

They’re janky, it depends on your willingness to put up with it for a different experience and story - there’s always easy difficulty, although being lengthy it might still be an issue.

If you find AoW:DM just ok, skip straight to 3, as SW is widely regarded as the best of the old ones. And probably skip the campaign.

The older ones have some interesting differences, but don’t bother. The interface changes alone make them obsolete.

Same as The Witcher, but much more so.

There is a sense of wonderment in the EU2 black box that the sequels kind of ruined, with their nice interface!

I liked the first Fallout the best, but it was about the discovery, which is ridiculous nowadays, unless you lived in a… shelter, ho hoho. I also have the sense there was an harsh maturity that went away, but it’s more probable that I simply grew more mature and annoyed with the later games.

You’re missing out if you skip over The Witcher 2’s tight little bundle of awesome in favor of The Witcher 3’s ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.

I mean there are things that make it so EU IV is not just replacing EU III, they can live alongside perfectly fine.

But the UI improvements are so massive, I have a hard time recommending the older games. The only reason to go older is to play the time period starting with the ascendant Golden Horde and with a still viable Byzantium. 1444 really makes Eastern Europe much more predictable/ stable than in EU III.

I would definitely play Fallout 1, 2 and then New Vegas in that order. That would be awesome. (skipping Fallout 3 because you actually don’t even need it)

I would also play Witcher 1, Witcher 2, and Witcher 3 because I enjoyed all of them.

Witcher 1 is fairly long, with lots of political turmoil trying to corrupt our neutral witcher with amnesia (the cliche!).
Witcher 2 is fairly short, and compact, and pretty difficult right out of the gate…but totally sweet: Witcher vs Witcher fights!
Witcher 3 is the bloated beast with a huge scope and has all the things.

I hope you have a few hundred hours to burn…

I found myself more easily drawn into the first Witcher than the second. I might have finished it but I ran into an apparently game-breaking quest bug along the way.

Oof, definitely skip the first one. It’s aged in all the bad ways and the story (such as it is) is gone over in the third anyway.

You can safely skip the first one, for sure. In fact, just play New Vegas. It’s the high point of the series, and you’re not gonna live forever and that’s like 200 hours of content.

Interesting, I find that playing the first Witcher felt just like playing Neverwinter Nights, which I just found completely boring. Combine that with a plot that didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and I’ve now had three unsuccessful attempts to actually complete the first Witcher.

Witcher 2 looked great, something just blocked me on it. And I found the combat hardest to learn of the three, although, full disclosure, I have never been a fan of any of the Witchers’ combat.

I’ve tried to play the original XCom fairly recently (within a couple years I think) and just couldn’t with the graphics. I think the units were just too tiny and pixelated. Maybe there is a way to improve that. I imagine the game itself is still good.

If you have the time, I think you get the most out of The Witcher by playing them all. I imagine the first one would feel very janky. I plan on replaying the entire series one after the other so I can remember the story better. Witcher 2 should still be perfectly fine to play and was one of my favorite games that year. Witcher 3 is great and can enjoy it as the starting point or in a series.

I found the original Age of Wonders a little tedious.The battlefields were pretty large and it seemed like it took forever just to engage the enemy. AoW3 has best in class tactical battles and should definitely be played if you’re a fan of that type of game.

I couldn’t get into either Crusader Kings, but if you have to try one of them, go straight to two.

Even though I’ve just dabbled in Europe Universalis I’ve played them all. The series did change through the series. I would jump straight to four since they have improved the usability of it. You can get a lot of hours out of it, just ask @KevinC or @CraigM!

I may have a passing familiarity with the game!

I would skip Witcher 1 and go straight to 2. D3 is correct in that the first one feels way too much like playing Neverwinter Nights, and shares much of its jankiness. (I forgot the story, so can’t say if it’s necessary to play before the sequels.)

If you’ve never played a Fallout game, I would start with the first. It is the most tight, narratively, though Fallout 2 is bigger and maybe the better RPG. The series also starts getting pretty dorky after FO1. New Vegas is not bad, but the presentation is kind of drab, and the combat is not very good. And, honestly, with all the DLC, I was just waiting for the game to finally end. For Fallout 1 & 2, make sure you install the fan-made patches and maybe the widescreen patches, unless you own an old CRT (recommended).

As for the X-COMs, the first two feel kind of sterile, IMO. And I prefer true RPGs, whereas the X-COMs only feature a few RPG elements. Can’t comment on the nu-XCOMs, I haven’t played them.

I do have to say definitely don’t listen to anyone that tells you to skip Fallout 1. They are full of shit.

Best Fallout: It is foundational to the franchise which all the sequels muck up in some way or another to varying degrees. There is almost nothing bad about Fallout 1. (with the caveat that it is old/dated by today’s standards)