Starting a new video game series can be an incredibly exciting venture. It’s fascinating to play a new video game series from its beginning and experience how it grows and evolves as the series progresses. Despite this, there are many classic video game series in which the most common entry point is not the original game.
While most mid-series entry points work well for series where the stories are self-contained, this still occurs in narrative-heavy series where a player might find the story confusing. Popular entry points are some of the most important entries in their respective series for the number of new fans they were able to pull in. Some new fans might even go back to the earlier entries to see what they missed out on.
10 Prince Of Persia: The Sand Of Time Was A Much Needed Do-Over For The Series
The Prince of Persia series had its humble beginnings in 1989 for the Apple II operating system. The unnamed prince of the original Prince of Persia must combat a brutal dungeon full of enemies, platforms, and traps in hopes to save a princess from Grand Vizier Jaffar.
While Prince of Persia saw main sequels throughout the 1990s, it wasn’t until 2003’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time that it gained the recognition it deserved. The Sands of Time’s thrilling time-bending gameplay hooked players on the Prince of Persia series. The Sands of Time spawned three sequels, a live-action movie, and an upcoming remake.
9 Grand Theft Auto III Reinvented More Than Just The Grand Theft Auto Franchise
Sometimes, it takes a complete reinvention for a video game series to take off. That was the case for the Grand Theft Auto series. The original Grand Theft Auto, released in 1997, sported a top-down perspective that wouldn’t be seen in the GTA series again until 2009’s Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
For the third GTA entry, Rockstar Games took a more grounded approach to its design – literally. 2001’s Grand Theft Auto III featured a third-person perspective and a vast open-world environment. GTA III is often brought up as the most influential video game ever created, and its influence can be seen even today with the high number of open-world sandbox games being released.
8 Fire Emblem: Awakening Provided Prospective Players With An Accessible Entry Point
For the longest while, few players outside of Japan knew the Fire Emblem series existed. It wasn’t until Fire Emblem characters began appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series that Western players were introduced to the tactical role-playing franchise.
Even then, the Fire Emblem series remained niche and teetering on dormancy until Fire Emblem: Awakening, which was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012. Awakening featured a more accessible Fire Emblem title, which led to its great commercial and critical success. This success and growing popularity carried on into future Fire Emblem games including Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
With a narrative as deep and philosophical as the Metal Gear series, it should feel odd that its most popular entry point is its third entry, 1998’s Metal Gear Solid. By starting the Metal Gear series with MGS, fans would miss out on Solid Snake’s clashes with legendary soldier Big Boss.
Although MGS does reference previous Metal Gear installments, it also features a fresh story with complex characters, fun boss fights, and the beginning of Metal Gear’s love of lengthy cinematic cutscenes. While MGS wasn’t Solid Snake’s first mission, it was the game where he became a legend.
6 Time Flies When Playing The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game to be released with 3D visuals when it was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998. With the 3D visuals, players saw a Hyrule that felt bigger and more alive than ever before. It was easy to spend hours searching for Gold Skulltulas and Heart Pieces, making Ocarina of Time a truly special game.
5 The Fallout Series Emerged From Its Vault With The New-Look Fallout 3
Similar to Grand Theft Auto, the Fallout series saw a complete reinvention thanks to Bethesda Softworks’ release of Fallout 3 in 2008. Bethesda purchased the Fallout license from Interplay Entertainment, whose Black Isle Studios were working on their own version of Fallout 3 before Interplay’s bankruptcy.
Bethesda scrapped the original Fallout 3 and created a version from the ground up. Fallout 3 featured a first-person perspective drawing from Bethesda’s hit The Elder Scrolls series. While Fallout 3 may be a bit rough to go back to, its impact on the Fallout franchise cannot be understated.
4 Many Lives Were Changed Thanks To Persona 5
The Persona series was once nothing more and nothing less than a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei series. Like its parent series, it deviates from traditional fantasy RPG story elements, instead opting for more modern settings.
While the original Persona and the Persona 2 duology were well-received, the Persona series didn’t start to receive mainstream love until Persona 3, which added the popular social simulation elements. Persona 4 built upon this success and spawned numerous spinoffs. However, it was with Persona 5 that the Persona series became an absolute force in the gaming world. While each of these three Persona titles are popular entry points in themselves, it’s tough to deny the impact Persona 5 made on the mainstream growth of the Persona series.
3 Mass Effect 2 Was Once The Only Entry Point For PlayStation Players
The Mass Effect series told a bold and ambitious story where the player-created Commander Shepard must rally the Milky Way together to stop a looming threat. The choices players made carried over into each direct follow-up. While Mass Effect 3 did crumble under that pressure with its controversial ending, the journey to get there is an experience well worth undertaking.
On consoles, the Mass Effect series initially began in 2007 as an Xbox 360 exclusive. When Mass Effect finally reached the PlayStation 3 in 2010, only Mass Effect 2 had made the jump due to Microsoft’s publishing rights to the original Mass Effect. PlayStation players had to make their initial choices through a visual novel-like introduction. Thankfully, the original Mass Effect was later released on PS3 in 2012.
2 Street Fighter II Was More Than Just The Entry Point For Street Fighter
When anyone asks which Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat game they should start out with, the answer they often receive is the most recent entry. That’s where the player base is. But before there was an online player base, there was an arcade player base. Arcades were once the only place to play fighting games.
That changed in the early 1990s with Fatal Fury: King of Fighters and Street Fighter II. With SFII being on the more accessible Super Nintendo, as opposed to the expensive Neo Geo AES, it surged in popularity not only becoming a popular, highly-grossing entry point to the young Street Fighter series but the fighting game genre as a whole.
1 Final Fantasy VII Brought the JRPG Genre Into The Mainstream
Similar to the Zelda series, the Final Fantasy series was at the top of its game before the transition to 3D occurred. With the infatuation with 3D gaming, players were eager to play anything and everything to bordered on realistic visuals. This meant trying out series and genres they likely never had before.
For Final Fantasy, this came in the form of 1997’s Final Fantasy VII. FFVII was a massive hit whose popularity within the Final Fantasy series hasn’t come close to waning in the 25 years since. Final Fantasy fans still talk about FFVII’s fantastic characters and its shocking, iconic, moments. FFVII has since spawned multiple sequels, prequels, and spinoffs as well as a movie with a remake series in progress. Whether it’s the original version or its remake, FFVII remains one of the most perfect entry points in the Final Fantasy series.