People say they played EA and they only mean one time.
One time EA is like only reading headlines only in a Newspaper.
You will never know what really is the news about.
The difference is, that if playing through a video game once does NOT give you enough understanding to feel like you know the story and understand what is going on, then it is an abject failure of game design.
Other play throughs and different branches can definitely add to understanding and a feeling of depth etc., but if multiple play throughs and seeing multiple different branches are *Required* for the game to make coherent sense, then it will have failed, utterly, and needs to be re-thought.