Sometimes the opening of a game is all you need to decide if you want to continue playing. It's the first impression you get for the game, and if it doesn't capture you right away, then all may be lost. Before games started having cinematics, they didn't need them. But now that videogames are becoming more and more of a creative medium for storytelling, the importance on a game's opening can't be overstated.
The way I decided to do this one is by starting from the first moment of actual player control. So if a game starts with an amazing opening cutscene and just plops you into the game with nothing special going on, that's not going to make it on here.
Before we begin, I should stress that there are SPOILERS for the upcoming games if you wish to avoid them.
Having the Joker taunting you the whole time he's on his way to his cell leaves you with an unsettling feeling. It's almost like he has an ace up his sleeve.
Simply put, this is how you begin your epic adventure game. I remember playing and being really bummed it was only a flashback. I couldn't wait to figure out how Nathan Drake got himself into such a predicament.
A game's opening doesn't always have to be thrilling, sometimes it just needs to put a smile on your face.
And now that we've got the honorable mentions out of the way, let's get to my top 5.
The opening to the original Resident Evil was dripping with tension. After the initial (corny) opening scene, you walk through the first few rooms of the Spencer mansion bracing for the worst.
Resident Evil 2 took an entirely different approach. Instead of letting you sweat a little while, this time Capcom opted to throw you right into the middle of a zombie minefield. When I first played these games in the late 90s, I was never able to beat them because I was playing them entirely wrong. I didn't like the idea of having to run away from enemies, so I tried killing everything and would soon find myself with no ammo had sealed my inevitable gruesome fate.
With Resident Evil 2, you have to run away lest you get overwhelmed by the zombie horde shambling toward you. You may not like this opening better than the originals, but it's definitely a better way of showing you the proper way to play the game, which is to avoid conflict at all costs if you can.
This was also our first glimpse of Raccoon City outside of the mansion, and after finding what we presume to be a safe haven in the Raccoon City Police Department, we soon come to find just how wrong we are.
If there's one thing that the God of War series gets right, it's that they always open with a bang. In fact, with both the original and with this particular entry, my favorite part of the game is the first 30 minutes.
While the hydra battle that kicks off the original God of War is my favorite boss battle in the series, the opening of GoW3 takes the word 'epic' to a whole new level. You have titans climbing up Mount Olympus, the Greek gods convening together, and a giant, angry hippocampus trying to take you out before the come face to face with the sea god, Poseidon.
Rip my heart out, why don't you? This is the most recent game on the list, and I'm sure there are some out there who haven't had a chance to play it yet but want to, so, again, heavy spoilers after the video.
The Last of Us may be a post-apocalyptic game, which is way overdone, but one of the things that makes it stand out is the fact that instead of being dropped into the middle of an apocalypse, you actually get to experience the very beginning of the outbreak. You get to see the panic and hysteria that comes an unknown force ravaging the area.
Then, once you meet someone that you think is there to help you, things only get worse, and leads to one of the most heartbreaking deaths you'll ever experience in gaming.
The original Dead Space did a great job of conveying a sense of hopelessness. Even after you beat the game, you couldn't really celebrate, as you knew that things were only going to get worse for Isaac Clarke. And get worse, they did. The reason early survival horror games worked as well as they did was because even though you had some means of defense, you were hesitant to use them for fear of running out of ammo that you would need in future battles. What could be scarier? Well, how about not being able to defend yourself at all? Which is exactly what Dead Space 2 did.
While Dead Space 2 definitely took a step away from horror in favor of a more action oriented game, the opening scene left me on the edge of my seat with sweaty palms and white knuckles. After seeing a young man (rather gruesomely) transform into a necromorph before your very eyes, you're then tasked with escaping a mental hospital crawling with the alien undead, all while confined to a straight jacket.
I've always been a huge history buff, especially when it comes to wars. Put a war movie in front of me and I'm glued to my seat. World War II I've always found particularly fascinating, particularly the storming of the beach at Normandy. June 6th, 1944 will forever be known as D-Day, and when I saw a commercial for Medal of Honor Frontline that showed this particular battle, that was enough to convince me to buy the game.
I've always wondered what was going through those solider's heads as they approached the beach. They knew that even though they were conducting a surprise attack, they were still going to be out in the open once the enemy soldiers spotted them. Most of them probably went into the battle knowing their chance of survival was slim, but their duty to defend their country was a greater priority than even their own lives.
While the game doesn't depict the violence that took place during this battle, it's still a great depiction of one of the most important moments in military history.
I know that I missed some really good opening sequences, so what are some of your favorites?