18 Essential Game Series You Need to Get Into  | Exhibit Tech Gaming
Gaming

18 Essential Game Series You Need to Get Into 

Final Fantasy 

With a series going on as early as 1987, Final Fantasy is one of the longest-running video game franchises. The game was developed by Square Enix, and created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and the incredible art is by Tetsuya Nomura. The main characters are on a journey to battle a great evil while going through their struggles. The series overall has 16 games and is ongoing.

First release: Final Fantasy (December 18, 1987)

Latest release: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (February 29, 2024)

The various protagonists of Final Fantasy games.

Persona 

Another series with a strong history, Persona is a spin-off series of developer Atlus’ Shin Megami (a series even bigger) franchise. Persona is the more popular franchise after gaining traction worldwide with Persona 3 in 2006 and has gained a cult following since. The series always follows a silent protagonist meeting a group of people and unlocking their “true selves.” The franchise has 13 games in total so far.

First release: Revelations: Persona (September 20, 1996)

Latest release: Persona 3 Reload (February 2, 2024) 

Every protagonist in the Persona series (so far)

Related feature: The Best Games of 2024 (So Far)

Assassin’s Creed

The thrilling historical action game series by Ubisoft almost needs no introduction. Assassin’s Creed is the childhood of many gamers, especially the Ezio Trilogy. The integration of historical figures and events is one of the most narrative buildings in video game history. Moreover, the open environment, action-packed combat and stealth, and their unique parkour are the backbone of the series. 

First release: Assassin’s Creed (November 13, 2007)

Latest release: Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR (November 16, 2023)

Different characters you can play as in Assassin’s Creed.

Dark Souls 

With an entire subgenre named after them and notoriously challenging gameplay, Dark Souls has a loyal following like no other. Immersing yourself in this dark, medieval fantasy world is easy with the gorgeous yet daunting visuals of dragons, demons, and other supernatural entities. Hidetaka Miyazaki has further expanded the Dark Souls games with spiritual successors and similar Soulslike games such as Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elder Ring

First release: Dark Souls (September 22, 2011)

Latest release: Dark Souls: Remastered (May 24, 2018)

Dark Souls III

The Legend of Zelda

The long-running series began in 1986 and created a generation of open-world games. The Legend of Zelda follows the different incarnations of Link, a brave young Hylian man, and Princess Zelda, the incarnation of Goddess Hylia. Every version of Link and Zelda has different backstories but his signature left-handedness and green clothing are always retained, and Zelda is always associated with light and prophecy. It’s one of the most magical experiences in the video game industry and is available on Nintendo. 

First release: The Legend of Zelda (February 21, 1986)

Latest release: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (May 12, 2023)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Mario 

Mario is a beloved series enjoyed by both children and adults alike. While it is primarily a video game franchise, Mario has expanded beyond barriers unforeseeable (but so enjoyable). Mario has over 200 games, a theme park, several movies, TV series, etc. You can even enjoy real-life Mario Kart racing in Tokyo. With loveable characters and addictive gameplay, Mario is a surprising icon in the industry. 

First release: Donkey Kong (July 9, 1981)

Latest release: Princess Peach: Showtime! (March 22, 2024)

Mario

Resident Evil 

This is a choice for die-hard horror fans. Resident Evil, or known as Biohazard in Japan, is a terrifying survival horror series with protagonists fighting against zombies and other monsters. The game is usually played in a third-person shooter and first-person shooter. In recent years, they have focused on remaking their earliest games with better graphics and improved character development. 

First release: Resident Evil (March 22, 1996) 

Latest release: Resident Evil 4 -Remake- (March 24, 2023)

Famous playable characters and villains from Resident Evil

Ace Attorney 

Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a defence lawyer? Ace Attorney has got you covered. The series is a satire on the Japanese justice system. You primarily play Phoenix Wright, the titular protagonist, as he navigates enticing and strange cases. Your main rivals change with each instalment but you can never forget the legendary prosecutor, Miles Edgeworth. 

First release: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (October 12, 2001)

Latest release: Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy (January 25, 2024)

The main characters of the Ace Attorney series.

Hitman 

If you’re a fan of stealth and the thrill of a hunt, Hitman is the series for you. It has a good balance of challenging and fun as the game requires strategy and timing to execute your missions. You play as a cloned contract killer and get to travel around the world to assassinate your targets. It gives you the freedom to play how you want, especially if you enjoy some ridiculous ways to subdue targets. 

First release: Hitman: Codename 47 (November 21, 2000) 

Latest release: Hitman 3 (January 20, 2021)

Hitman, Agent 47

Life Is Strange 

Life Is Strange is a choice-based game revolving around life-changing events and you, as the protagonist, gaining control over your supernatural powers. Each game’s ending connects to the butterfly effect theory, where even a small decision can change your future drastically. With a unique art style and an interesting cast of characters, Life Is Strange is a great series for people who want to focus on a story. They have 3 different instalments, each with different protagonists and storylines, and are in talks for a 4th game. 

First release: Life Is Strange (January 30, 2015) 

Latest release: Life Is Strange Arcadia Bay Collection (September 27, 2022)

Every main Life Is Strange game (so far)

Yakuza

Yakuza, known as Ryū ga Gotoku in Japan, and also known as Like a Dragon in more recent games, is a big mix of RPG, beat ‘em up, and action-adventure genres in this crime drama narrative. While the overall story of the game is incredibly serious and filled with violence, the side stories are the main attraction and their mini-games are possibly the most comical in the industry. 

First release: Yakuza (December 8, 2005)

Latest release: Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (January 26, 2024)

Various protagonists and major characters of the Yakuza series.

Fallout 

Fallout is a classic series, set in a post-apocalyptic world and the far future, with elements of RPG and action. You get the freedom to create from scraps and build whole communities within the games. The series is inspired by American post-war culture from the 50s and built around the fear of nuclear annihilation. 

First release: Fallout (October 10, 1997)

Latest release: Fallout 76 (November 14, 2018)

The Fallout game series

Kingdom Hearts 

Do you love Disney and Final Fantasy? Then Kingdom Hearts by Square Enix is the series for you. This world is a blend of Disney and Final Fantasy characters, locations and lore with their original characters. It’s a heart-warming and thrilling fantasy franchise where you follow Sora and his journey but it’s more complicated than it seems. Kingdom Hearts IV was formally announced in 2022 but no known release date. 

First release: Kingdom Hearts (March 28, 2002)

Latest release: Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (November 11, 2020)

Check out the Kingdom Hearts 4 reveal trailer above!

Tekken 

Tekken, meaning “Iron Fist”, is one of the best fighting games and has been going strong since 1994. The hand-to-hand combat is competitive and energising to play. The series has raised the standard for fighting games and their main selling point is the replay value. That’s right, play as much as you want and you’ll never get bored. 

First release: Tekken (September 21, 1994) 

Latest release: Tekken 8 (January 26, 2024)

Tekken 8

God of War 

Every gamer must have heard about the God of War, even if you haven’t played it yourself. God of War is a must-play for everyone. You play and embark on the journey with the Spartan warrior Kratos who becomes the titular God of War and gets into multiple conflicts with mythological characters. Their recent games are based on Norse mythology and focused on Kratos’ redemption with his son Atreus. 

First release: God of War (March 22, 2005)

Latest release: God of War Ragnarök: Valhalla (December 12, 2023)

God of War (2018)

Grand Theft Auto 

You don’t even need to be into gaming to know this series. The infamous Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series is one of the funniest and bravest franchises to get into. With its meme-ability and crazy storylines, GTA brought out everyone’s chaotic side. After more than a decade, GTA 6 is to be released in 2025. 

First release: Grand Theft Auto (November 28, 1997)

Latest release: Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (November 11, 2021)

Check out the first GTA VI trailer above!

Pac-Man

Pac-Man is a throwback for many gamers. The Pac-Man franchise is 45 years old and still on our minds. It maintains a classic gameplay style that instils nostalgia. This is one of the longest-running series in the industry and is a huge symbol of 80s culture. 

First release: Pac-Man (May 22, 1980)

Latest release: Pac-Man World Re-Pac (August 26, 2022)

Pac-Man game screenshot.

Red Dead 

Another classic is the Red Dead series by RockStar Games. This is a Western-style game with an open-world and action-adventure setting. Red Dead has some of the best storytelling elements and character developments you will witness. Will RockStar release a Red Dead Redemption 3? The prediction is 2026 and we are keeping our hopes high! 

First release: Red Dead Revolver (May 4, 2004) 

Latest release: Red Dead Online (May 14, 2019)

Red Dead Redemption 2


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