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Recommended games for newcomers or beginners ?

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If a person don't know Fire Emblem but want play one of them, what games should you highly recommended ?

 

For me :

- Blazing Blade

- Sacred Stones

- Path of Radiance

- Fates : Birthright (Very recommended)

- Echoes : Shadow of Valentia

- Three Houses : Golden Deer (Verdant Wind)

 

Not recommended :

- Mystery of the Emblem

- Genealogy of the Holy War

- Thracia 776

- Radiant Dawn

- New Mystery of the Emblem

- Fates : Conquest

- Fates : Revelation

- Three Houses : Black Eagle (Silver Snow)

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This is a pretty solid list, actually. I would add Shadow Dragon as a good game for newcomers (the DS remake, that is), because while it's simplistic, it's among the most "pure" Fire Emblem experiences. As for Three Houses, I think it's fine to trust players to follow their heart and/or gut on which house to go with.

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It would depend a lot on the person. Are they happy playing older games with outdated graphics? Do they have experience with other TRPGs or turn-based tactics games? How much do they value story in games? Are they looking for a challenge? And so on.

But if I had to pick just one game as a generic recommendation to any and all first time players, I'd probably say Awakening. It does most things at least competently, doesn't have any of the polarising elements of Fates or Three Houses, can be made easy or hard depending on taste, and is a decidedly modern game in terms of design and UI sensibilities.

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Really, every internationally released FE except Radiant Dawn makes a good entry point IMO, and I could see recommending different ones for different tastes. Also agreed that if one is going to recommend playing 3H, that just letting players make their own decisions on route is for the best.

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There's a lot of decent options, depending on what people have available, as well as what they like.

Nintendo PC users:

-I would advise Path of Radiance as a starting point for people who value stories a lot. It's extremely easy, has music that a lot of people like, and features a connection to another game in the series so as to drag people down the rabbit hole.

-Gameplay-forward people would probably want to start with Fates somewhere, I'd imagine. Depending on skill level, either Birthright or Conquest could do the trick.

-While it's a pain to get going, TearRing Saga is a very cool game that, from what I understand, isn't too hard. I'd perhaps recommend that one as well.

-People who are excellent at strategy games would probably also really enjoy Berwick Saga, though it is also really hard to get running. At least for me.

Console people:

-I would advise starting with Sacred Stones. It's really cheap on Virtual Console, it's a fairly short game, and it teaches without tutorials quite well, I'd say. I am partial to it because it was my first one, but I'm not sure that I could have picked a better spot. It's not the very best FE in terms of story or characters, but that makes it easier to go into other games; starting with the narratively very strong PoR would make pretty much anything else in the series (Barring perhaps Radiant Dawn) feel really lacking.

-Relating to the above, Shadow Dragon and Blazing Blade are also on Wii U. Apparently the Shadow Dragon port is really bad, and I don't think FE7's a particularly good starting point for the series; they could function, but I'd place Sacred Stones above 'em.

-Three Houses is an option and I'd recommend it simply on the basis that most people like it. It is really expensive, though, so starting at a cheaper spot like the virtual console games is what I'd do more readily.

-I can't say much about Awakening, as I've not played it.

-Birthright would be an OK place to start, I suppose. I've not played much of it, but it is intended as a beginner's game.

-SoV is a really weird one, but depending on who I'm talking to, I could suggest it. It's got nice presentation and a lot of cool ideas, if nothing else.

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I started with Awakening. It was a decent enough entry point, mixing both "new" and "old" FE well enough that going back to older games wasn't a hassle. That'd probably be one of my first recommendations, as it's on a console that's easy enough to still buy for or softmod, if you're so inclined.

Anything after Awakening I'd avoid, as Fates (yes, even Birthright), Echoes, and Three Houses all have mechanics that make them distinct enough from older games that I think it's best to save them for later, especially Echoes.

Pre-Awakening, Blazing Blade (literally designed for newcomers) and Sacred Stones (the easiest game in the series) are obvious choices, and Path of Radiance (if emulation is feasible) is just as good of a starting point, I'd say.

Likewise, Shadow Dragon (as others have said) is a very pure FE experience, if a tad on the blander or unimpressive side (I'm quite fond of it, but I can see why it wouldn't impress others), but nonetheless very approachable (on normal; ambush spawns would perhaps be a deterrent on difficulties above normal).

More or less, I'd say the best entry point for new FE players is one that allows them to most easily appreciate where the series has come from and where it's going, which games like Blazing, SS, and Awakening do reasonably well.

Edited by twilitfalchion

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On 2/27/2022 at 10:05 AM, drattakbowser said:

If a person don't know Fire Emblem but want play one of them, what games should you highly recommended ?

 

In my limited experience:

I'd recommend Blazing Blade/Echoes for any newcomer, Blazing Blade is what got me into the series and I have a friend who got into the series when I lent him my copy of Echoes. (Granted he did play Lyn mode before hand and enjoyed that but he got near the end of SOV before dropping it due to playing other games but he fully intends to finish it later.)

Not Recommend:

Three Houses: The Monestary is a massive time-sink and well, first impressions are everything and Three Houses introduction chapters are really bad, I honestly consider them the low-point of the game with some Awakening-Tier writing. (Yeah sure, just skip Byleth teaching the students until the mock battle so we're suddenly friends with them and skip a gradual natural buildup, that's not dumb at all and totally jarring to the player!)

Awakening: The gameplay is just worse than any FE title and the writing in general seems incredibly phoned in with an unlikable bunch of card-board cut-outs that make FE7 look like Shakesphere, it literally put me off the series as my first game and while I never asked my other friend who played it/Fates as his first games (and put him off the series) if the gameplay put him off, Awakening's writing style was a negative to him too. (And even when I did go back and finish it, I didn't enjoy it at all.)

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2 hours ago, Samz707 said:

Not Recommend:

Three Houses: The Monestary is a massive time-sink and well, first impressions are everything and Three Houses introduction chapters are really bad, I honestly consider them the low-point of the game with some Awakening-Tier writing. (Yeah sure, just skip Byleth teaching the students until the mock battle so we're suddenly friends with them and skip a gradual natural buildup, that's not dumb at all and totally jarring to the player!)

Awakening: The gameplay is just worse than any FE title and the writing in general seems incredibly phoned in with an unlikable bunch of card-board cut-outs that make FE7 look like Shakesphere, it literally put me off the series as my first game and while I never asked my other friend who played it/Fates as his first games (and put him off the series) if the gameplay put him off, Awakening's writing style was a negative to him too. (And even when I did go back and finish it, I didn't enjoy it at all.)

I would definitely have to disagree with these. Both are games that a lot of people started with, and obviously were very successful at drawing people into the series who hadn't played it before (particularly Awakening). I personally know numerous people who got into the series with 'em. They may not be your favourites, but they're good at what they do; the proof is in the pudding on this one.

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I'll echo that Awakening is a good starting point for most people, it's very player friendly. Three Houses if they just really want something on Switch, or enjoy more non-battle elements in their RPGs like Persona has. BB/SS if they really like good pixel art, lol.

Not sure I would recommend even Birthright to a new player. Fates is interesting mostly for the way it innovated on the Awakening battle system, adding some complexity to the pair-up options and weapon triangle. And interesting in a bad way for how cynical it was in grafting fan-favourites from Awakening, like children and time travel, onto its plot. Just a disaster of a story. I won't say it has no merits because I'm currently revisiting Conquest myself.

The 3DS was such a good platform for the series in hindsight, especially with the bottom screen to display all battle info. Not sure I would recommend SoV to a new player either though, even though it's my favourite. You'd have to at least stress that it's quite different from the rest of the series.

Edited by Lynsanity

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On 3/1/2022 at 3:02 AM, Dark Holy Elf said:

I would definitely have to disagree with these. Both are games that a lot of people started with, and obviously were very successful at drawing people into the series who hadn't played it before (particularly Awakening). I personally know numerous people who got into the series with 'em. They may not be your favourites, but they're good at what they do; the proof is in the pudding on this one.

In my experience me and one person I know who's played it in person bounced off it. ( I knew one other person who played it in the past and enjoyed it but have no idea if it was their first title.)

If it worked for you, good for you but for me personally it's just an awful entry, it's not fun even as an experienced fan and as a newbie I gave up on the series at the time assuming the others were like it.

(Then again, I think 3H is more like past games than Awakening but people often say the opposite is true online so what do I know.)

Edited by Samz707

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16 hours ago, Samz707 said:

If it worked for you, good for you but for me personally it's just an awful entry, it's not fun even as an experienced fan and as a newbie I gave up on the series at the time assuming the others were like it.

It didn't work for me; I started with Blazing Blade and personally don't rank Awakening that highly.

It did, however, work for a lot of people. I'm pretty sure it's the most common "first Fire Emblem" among the general fandom these days. If it had been bad for newcomers, the series would very possibly be dead, now.

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"Recommended first title" is kind of a silly concept to me. It's universally impossible for a game released after the first title to suddenly become the "better first title," because the earlier games weren't made with the later games in mind while the reverse is presumably always true. For all franchises, it's simply true that starting from the start is the "best" way because it's the way dictated by the law of time; these games were assembled in a chronological order, so the best way to gather information from the series is to start at the beginning, so you can see how subsequent entries evolve and recall past developments. I don't like to call it the "best" way because that implies others' play orders were invalid (which is wrong), but at the same time I think it's the only order that makes "objective sense," which is another really provocative term but I hope you can get my meaning.

However, I can acknowledge that "what's the recommended start to the franchise?" usually means "I want a fun game to play (that isn't a direct sequel)." There's nothing at all wrong with this approach but I don't really see the need to standardize recommended first entries, since everyone has different tastes. In this situation it's probably just best to look at pictures and promotions of the games and decide on the one that looks the coolest to you. FE8 is often given as the best start but I bounced right off of that one, FE4 was more my jam and I didn't even have a particular fondness for retro games when I played it.

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3 minutes ago, hi_scroes said:

"Recommended first title" is kind of a silly concept to me. It's universally impossible for a game released after the first title to suddenly become the "better first title," because the earlier games weren't made with the later games in mind while the reverse is presumably always true. For all franchises, it's simply true that starting from the start is the "best" way because it's the way dictated by the law of time; these games were assembled in a chronological order, so the best way to gather information from the series is to start at the beginning, so you can see how subsequent entries evolve and recall past developments. I don't like to call it the "best" way because that implies others' play orders were invalid (which is wrong), but at the same time I think it's the only order that makes "objective sense," which is another really provocative term but I hope you can get my meaning.

However, I can acknowledge that "what's the recommended start to the franchise?" usually means "I want a fun game to play (that isn't a direct sequel)." There's nothing at all wrong with this approach but I don't really see the need to standardize recommended first entries, since everyone has different tastes. In this situation it's probably just best to look at pictures and promotions of the games and decide on the one that looks the coolest to you. FE8 is often given as the best start but I bounced right off of that one, FE4 was more my jam and I didn't even have a particular fondness for retro games when I played it.

Yeah, but when the first title is a clunk NES game from 1990 that has been remade a bunch of times and a lot of people who aren't used to NES games simply won't enjoy, there's definitely sense in reccomending something else.

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2 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Yeah, but when the first title is a clunk NES game from 1990 that has been remade a bunch of times and a lot of people who aren't used to NES games simply won't enjoy, there's definitely sense in reccomending something else.

It's definitely not as bad as people make it out to be imo. It works for what the game is, if we had FE1 menus in Fates then that would be a disaster, but for FE1 everything you really need to regularly do is easy enough to do (unskippable enemy phase is the only really frustrating bit, especially when you get stuck watching ten enemy units all decide to Wait, but even then it's tolerable). Honestly, FE1's menu jank is really only that bad if you're used to modern snappy menus, which is just another reason I'd at least float the idea of playing FE1 first. It's just like Metal Gear, where if you try to go by in-universe timeline order you'll be on the world's cruelest rollercoaster of QOL, going from MGSV to Metal Gear (but Metal Gear's plot is also wayyy more reliant on release order than FE, so it's easier to recommend).

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11 minutes ago, hi_scroes said:

It's definitely not as bad as people make it out to be imo. It works for what the game is, if we had FE1 menus in Fates then that would be a disaster, but for FE1 everything you really need to regularly do is easy enough to do (unskippable enemy phase is the only really frustrating bit, especially when you get stuck watching ten enemy units all decide to Wait, but even then it's tolerable). Honestly, FE1's menu jank is really only that bad if you're used to modern snappy menus, which is just another reason I'd at least float the idea of playing FE1 first. It's just like Metal Gear, where if you try to go by in-universe timeline order you'll be on the world's cruelest rollercoaster of QOL, going from MGSV to Metal Gear (but Metal Gear's plot is also wayyy more reliant on release order than FE, so it's easier to recommend).

Well that's what I think, but I don't expect everyone else to have the same tolerance of antiquated UI as I do.

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1 hour ago, hi_scroes said:

"Recommended first title" is kind of a silly concept to me. It's universally impossible for a game released after the first title to suddenly become the "better first title," because the earlier games weren't made with the later games in mind while the reverse is presumably always true. For all franchises, it's simply true that starting from the start is the "best" way because it's the way dictated by the law of time; these games were assembled in a chronological order

I'd view it through the lens of "what game could I recommend to a newcomer that I think has the highest probability of them enjoying it and therefore seeking out more of them"? That's definitely not necessarily the first one. 

If I wanted to get someone into Mario games I definitely wouldn't recommend they start with Donkey Kong or Mario Bros (the arcade games; you can debate which one is the "first" Mario). Both because they're not as polished and IMO not as good as later games, but also because "Mario games" implies an identity that wasn't formed until Super Mario Bros., so even if someone liked Donkey Kong that wouldn't actually be a great predictor of them liking most Mario games. I don't think Fire Emblem has this problem as strongly, but I still think it's enough that FE1 would not be high on my list of recommended starting games.

Interesting that you bring up Metal Gear - it's been a while since I've paid attention to the series, but when I was younger it was definitely highly recommended that one start with Metal Gear Solid, and not the NES Metal Gear. Many other series have similar situations.

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8 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

If I wanted to get someone into Mario games I definitely wouldn't recommend they start with Donkey Kong or Mario Bros (the arcade games; you can debate which one is the "first" Mario)

Neither actually, first Mario game is Mario Game & Watch. Fight me! (no seriously, Mario Bros. the Game & Watch game came out half a month before Mario Bros. the arcade game).

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Just now, Jotari said:

Neither actually, first Mario game is Mario Game & Watch. Fight me! (no seriously, Mario Bros. the Game & Watch game came out half a month before Mario Bros. the arcade game).

Today I learned! Neat.

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9 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Interesting that you bring up Metal Gear - it's been a while since I've paid attention to the series, but when I was younger it was definitely highly recommended that one start with Metal Gear Solid, and not the NES Metal Gear. Many other series have similar situations.

Definitely still don't start with Metal Gear NES cuz it sucks!!!! It's a truncated port of the MSX2 original, developed without the input of the original creator. Metal Gear for the MSX2 is the actual starting point, available as part of one of the releases of Metal Gear Solid 3.

The reason for this is that Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 are genuinely important entries that complete the franchise; without them, you're missing context for so much in the plot, even if you don't realize it. The same isn't exactly true for FE (though I would argue the Kaga games do have this), but it definitely is true with regards to the development of gameplay mechanics and themes across the franchise. Devs always base a new game off the old one, even if the plot isn't a direct continuation, so it makes sense to also have that original in mind when you play any sort of continuation.

And yeah it's obviously true that not everyone wants to play Fire Emblem 1. But if someone wants to get into the series, I don't think they should really need to be coaxed into it with the scientifically determined optimal starting game, they should just play the games that look cool and are fun to them. If they want the easiest route to "understanding" the series, starting at the start is best, but I totally admit that I'm in the minority of people that get a lot of fun out of approaching things like that nowadays (and while I've done it for other series, I obviously didn't for FE). I guess I just kind of "don't get it" when it comes to recommended starts, I don't think they serve that many people. I tried to make use of flowcharts for bands back in the day, but I'd always get hung up on either listening to everything they made in order or just picking cool album arts and chucking the flowchart in the garbage.

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20 minutes ago, hi_scroes said:

Definitely still don't start with Metal Gear NES cuz it sucks!!!! It's a truncated port of the MSX2 original, developed without the input of the original creator. Metal Gear for the MSX2 is the actual starting point, available as part of one of the releases of Metal Gear Solid 3.

This also goes in the "today I learned" pile, but kinda proves my point. MGS was definitely the commonly recommended starting point, rather than either the NES title or a title for a system so obscure (in the English-speaking part of the world, at least) that I've never personally seen one.

It's cool that you approach this from the standpoint of seeing the entire history of the series, and I certainly agree that if that's your attitude, you should start with FE1... certainly with conversations like this, you can make better suggestions if you know the preferences and priorites of the person you're recommending to, and your example proves that FE1 may be the correct recommendation in some cases. But I think the majority of people wouldn't prioritize this as you do; they just want a fun, accessible game. If the topic of conversation was "recommend someone a good starting point to get into video games in general" you probably wouldn't see many recommendations for Spacewar or Pong.

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1 hour ago, hi_scroes said:

Definitely still don't start with Metal Gear NES cuz it sucks!!!! It's a truncated port of the MSX2 original, developed without the input of the original creator. Metal Gear for the MSX2 is the actual starting point, available as part of one of the releases of Metal Gear Solid 3.

The reason for this is that Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 are genuinely important entries that complete the franchise; without them, you're missing context for so much in the plot, even if you don't realize it. The same isn't exactly true for FE (though I would argue the Kaga games do have this), but it definitely is true with regards to the development of gameplay mechanics and themes across the franchise. Devs always base a new game off the old one, even if the plot isn't a direct continuation, so it makes sense to also have that original in mind when you play any sort of continuation.

And yeah it's obviously true that not everyone wants to play Fire Emblem 1. But if someone wants to get into the series, I don't think they should really need to be coaxed into it with the scientifically determined optimal starting game, they should just play the games that look cool and are fun to them. If they want the easiest route to "understanding" the series, starting at the start is best, but I totally admit that I'm in the minority of people that get a lot of fun out of approaching things like that nowadays (and while I've done it for other series, I obviously didn't for FE). I guess I just kind of "don't get it" when it comes to recommended starts, I don't think they serve that many people. I tried to make use of flowcharts for bands back in the day, but I'd always get hung up on either listening to everything they made in order or just picking cool album arts and chucking the flowchart in the garbage.

The events of Metal Gear 1 and 2 are important in terms of the fact that they happened, but the plots actually don't have a massive impact. Metal Gear Solid was something of a soft reboot. Practically the entire cast of Metal Gear 1 and 2 were replaced for Metal Gear Solid with the exception of Snake, and Grey Fox, who was irrevocably changed. And going forward from Metal Gear Solid the series used solid as the naming scheme with Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 etc instead of Metal Gear 3 or Metal Gear: Sons of Liberty. One could be forgiven for thinking that the series started with Metal Gear Solid, with the referenced events of Metal Gear 1 and 2 being backstory, if a character didn't show up in Metal Gear solid, then they simply weren't recurring in the series despite the likes of Holly and Dr Petrovitch still being alive in canon. There were also a tonne of retcons that started with the move to 3D, and not just new lore and stuff, but very explicit and direct alterations to the story that was told in Metal Gear 1 and 2, most notably Big Boss being Snake's father. That was in Metal Gear Solid. In universe it was revealed during the time of Metal Gear 2 but it is completely non existent in the actual game, they just bald face retconned it into existence in the sequel. I'm not sure why when they could have revealed it to Snake in Metal Gear Solid just as easily, but honestly it was dramatically revealed to the player sufficiently in the game and I kind of have to respect such a ballsy shameless retcon used like that.

Tl;DR While it is a continued story, Metal Gear Solid provides all the context it needs from the first two games in the series and even invents some new context that wasn't present. Subsequent games also based themselves far more around the plot of Metal Gear Solid and it's events than Metal Gear 1 & 2.

Edited by Jotari

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You're right that MGS isn't super reliant on the minutiae of MG, but they're still important to play for another reason: playing them makes them events and experiences for you, the player. It's one thing to hear that Solid Snake defeated Big Boss, it's another thing to have actually been the one to pull off that extremely significant feat and see it echoed throughout the franchise. This is getting into more abstract thoughts about video games but toying with the character-player barrier is of course something MGS loves to do. In terms of enjoyment, you can obviously just get by with a summary, but just about anything can be enjoyed in any way if that's all we're after.

The Metal Gears are also neat to play specifically because they're so clearly rebooted in Solid (heck MG2 is already a nigh-remake of MG1, and MGS2 continues that pattern on a different level). Seeing how things are repurposed and refashioned is part of the fun. And the games are just really good on their own, anyways! Love the soundtracks.

Tying back to FE, the idea of sequels playing with prior entries is also definitely present. FE4 is interesting in part because it's such a departure in both plot and gameplay from FE1-3; 3 Houses and even Awakening would have been 100x less interesting if I didn't have the context of FE4. It's loose, but it still all ties together in a delightful way, and it's worth at least offering that experience to newcomers, especially since there's such a strong stream of rhetoric specifically opposing this sort of play order (though again, I am not convinced that many people abide by recommended play orders).

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50 minutes ago, hi_scroes said:

You're right that MGS isn't super reliant on the minutiae of MG, but they're still important to play for another reason: playing them makes them events and experiences for you, the player. It's one thing to hear that Solid Snake defeated Big Boss, it's another thing to have actually been the one to pull off that extremely significant feat and see it echoed throughout the franchise. This is getting into more abstract thoughts about video games but toying with the character-player barrier is of course something MGS loves to do. In terms of enjoyment, you can obviously just get by with a summary, but just about anything can be enjoyed in any way if that's all we're after.

The Metal Gears are also neat to play specifically because they're so clearly rebooted in Solid (heck MG2 is already a nigh-remake of MG1, and MGS2 continues that pattern on a different level). Seeing how things are repurposed and refashioned is part of the fun. And the games are just really good on their own, anyways! Love the soundtracks.

Tying back to FE, the idea of sequels playing with prior entries is also definitely present. FE4 is interesting in part because it's such a departure in both plot and gameplay from FE1-3; 3 Houses and even Awakening would have been 100x less interesting if I didn't have the context of FE4. It's loose, but it still all ties together in a delightful way, and it's worth at least offering that experience to newcomers, especially since there's such a strong stream of rhetoric specifically opposing this sort of play order (though again, I am not convinced that many people abide by recommended play orders).

Oh yes, they're still absolutely worth playing as they're good games, but for someone to play Metal Gear Solid first and then go back to them would be quite natural and, I would expect, be the way the majority of players experience the games. Because the games themselves kind of push it that way with how much of a soft reboot Metal Gear Solid was. I would compare and contrast Metal Gear to Kingdom Hearts in this regard. Kingdom Hearts wants you to start at Kingdom Hearts 1, it expects you to have played Kingdom Hearts 1 and every preexisting title whenever a new game is released (despite the numbering system skipping over stuff like Chain of Memories that are crucial to understanding the story). You could play through them chronologically if you want, but that's not the way the developers are expecting the stories to be experienced. Metal Gear is different in that when they made Solid, they didn't expect everyone to play it to have played Metal Gear 1 and 2, even though it was a continuing story. But when they made Metal Gear Solid 2 and (to a lesser extent) MGS3, they did expect people to have played Metal Gear Solid. That's why they called the games Metal Gear Solid 2 and not Metal Gear 4 (unlike Kingdom Hearts which did do just that even though it made misleading expectations -_-). Fire Emblem is more similar to Metal Gear than Kingdom Hearts in this regard, and even less so since there is no shared storyline and even mechanically things get rebooted every now and then. A game like Blazing Blade was even created specifically to be the first game in the series for a lot of people as they knew when making it that they were going to start opening it up to new markets.

 I'd also add that the gameboy game Ghost Babel is well worth playing for continuing the gameplay legacy of the first two games as well as presenting the Metal Gear formula in a new way divorced from all the continuity baggage that Solid kind of builds up. The fact that it's not part of the main Metal Gear Solid franchise makes people over look it, but they really manage to accomplish a lot for a gameboy game.

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