Tell Us Dammit: Best Video Game Openings

I'm almost certain we've had this discussion before, but I want to have it again! What are your very favourite video game openings?

By openings I mean 'levels' or 'beginnings' or whatever word you'd like to use to describe it.

I'm struggling to think of ones that stand out here. I always like the way the very first Halo started. I'll never forget playing the first hour of Mario 64 either, but those aren't traditionally incredible openings.

Oh wait, I have one: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with the rain and the drama. So good.

I suspect I'm going to go through the comments on this one saying, "why didn't I think of that one?"


    Mass Effect 2 hands down one of the best openers ever. Brutal Legend is tops as well

    I love The Last of Us and how it contrasted Joel's old life with the new. Same deal with Heavy Rain, getting to see Ethan before and after. This is my 40,000 post. What have I done with my life?

    Last edited 18/12/14 11:22 am

      The Last Uf Us was going to be my suggestion, too. Made me bawl like a toddler.

        I thought the beauty of the Left Behind DLC was giving us something just as strong from Ellie's perspective. That could easily have been an amazing start to the game, too.

          Left Behind was fantastic, too. That whole damn package is. Every last one and zero.

        Indeed. Starts with a light exchange with a dad joke, It shows you what the world will be like, throws you in the thick of terror, then takes your heart and rips it out of your chest.

        And then the game starts.

          For a moment, I thought you were talking about commenting on Kotaku. Then I realised you probably are.

    Metroid: Fusion's opening cinematic completely blew my mind and made me fall in love with the game/series right then and there.

    The rain and drama thing there made me think of when I first played Golden Sun. Quite possibly equally mind-blowing, I don't think I'd seen anything like either of those before then.

    The GBA was a pretty cool guy.

    Chrono Trigger of course (and Zelda III, but Mark already took that). The tolling of the Millennial Bell and Chrono's fist pump before he jumps through the gate to save Marle the first time. So damn good.

    I have two favorite's

    1) Mass Effect 2, where the Normandy gets destroyed and Shep sacrifices himself to save Joker, you see Shep's lifeless body floating in space and then the credits start playing over scenes of his re-construction. Such a cool opening. Damn, makes me want to re-play that game again sometime.

    2) The Last of Us, so much emotion in that starting scene with the outbreak and the death of Joel's daughter. Actually teared up a bit at that scene. What a way to start the game.

    Last edited 18/12/14 11:24 am

      +1 for ME2. After getting so attached to the Normandy, it was a weird feeling seeing it blow up. And then even moreso when you go to the crash site.

        Dragon Age is bedda!

          Dirty confession: I never really played any of the DA games properly. :(

            Oh wat? You like ME just for the setting? Cos if no, DA is ME with swords.

              Gameplay too. I tend to like games where you play as a single protagonist (or generally just control him/her) which is probably why I never got into DA.

              Ditto with why I loved Fallout but couldn't really get into the new Wasteland 2.

                The only time you *have* to play as other party members is stuff like unlocking does with a thief etc.

                You may not like it as much, but it's so similar.

                It's like the bits they cut from Kotor to make ME

                  FINE then... FINE JIMZLES! I'll have to go out and get Inquisition.

                  You should really start with Origins :p

      +1 for both of these.

      Both very cinematic style introduction levels.

      It's strange, I always forget that part of the intro in ME2 and think waking up is the start. I think the facility being under attack and learning who you're tangled up with just sticks with me more. I mean that whole 'wait, did you just say Cerberus?' thing put me inexactly the same frame of mind as the character for the rest of the game.

    Bioshock, it's more of an interactive video than a level though so for that I'd probably say Super Mario World on the SNES, still got it and love playing it.

    EDIT: Everyone's saying Last of Us... How did I forget that one? The cover is literally on my desk next to me :P

    Last edited 18/12/14 11:28 am

    Lost Odyssey where they just drop you in the middle of a war.

    Medal of Honour: Frontline was a favorite of mine.

    Cranking up my PC speakers to full as I stormed Omaha beach, hearing artillery fire and bullets whizzing by was definitely memorable.

      Wasn't that the first level of MoH: Allied Assault?

        I think you're right.

        It was some time ago and my beer addled brain can fail me sometimes!

        It was both. I remember being blown away by this when my brother bought Frontline for the PS2.

    Fallout 3 - starting off as a child in the vault. Integrating your skill point assignment to your "growing up". Giving a reason to having a pip-boy. I remember the first time I played through that opening part...I felt claustrophobic. The enclosed and small. How could people live there?

    Then everything goes to shit. People start killing people. Then you finally get out and open that cave door entrance. The sun hurts your eyes and you finally see the post-apocalyptic world that remains.

      I have to urge to play Fallout 3 again now, damn. It really is the perfect intro :)

    Deus ex HR had a good opening level and cut scenes. Got thrown through a glass wall. 10/10

    Last edited 18/12/14 11:35 am

    Probably not the best opening level out there but one of the most iconic and recognisable would be the opening level Hanger from Doom.

      Hell yeah. Grabbed me from the instant the map screen melted away to reveal, for the first time, what should become my #1 of all time.

    Max Payne.

    Walking through your house as a psycho runs ahead, then watch helplessly as your wife and child are murdered by said psycho.... Totally fucked up, but totally set the tone for Max's emotional state for the rest of the game [and subsequent games!]

    Last edited 18/12/14 11:35 am

    I might be the odd one out here but I really enjoy the opening to REmake. I also enjoy the opening of Xenoblade Chronicles. A much older one is Mystic Quest Legend. Oh and Majora's Mask.

    Edit: Secret of Mana too!

    Last edited 18/12/14 11:38 am

    Final Fantasy 6/7/8/9/10. Always had fantastic openings, those games


      I must've played FF8's intro a few hundred times. All those cinematic clips together, hinting at a powerful drama... Intense.

        Final Fantasy 8 for me too! I came off from playing FF7 from borrowing my friend's PS1 to finally getting my own PS with FF8. I remember the opening beach scene completely blowing my 15 year old mind.

      Basically this would have been my answer, though I'd replace FF10 with Chrono Cross's.

        Oh man, dat music... Time's Scar. I actually grabbed the OST for that.

          The CC OST is magnificent. I usually don't like game OSTs outside of games but I'm always happy when any of those songs pop in my playlist.

    Oh, not the opening level or anything but the cinematic that plays when starting up Little King's Story... that was just magical.

    Resident Evil 4! From the cinematic with the Spanish cops through to "time for church". So eerie. So good.

      That sick acoustic guitar track that opens the scene in the car!

    I love many but the Last of Us is the only one to hit me so hard in the feels, so effectively & quickly.

    Special mention to Persons 4 Golden's intro song for melting my eyeballs with so much colour in Vita's glorious OLED. It also drops major plot spoilers without you realising.

    It looks like people dancing on rooftops but it's actually dead bodies hanging upside down.

    No opening to a game has ever delivered the kind of impact The Last of Us did. That game opens and ends with two of the biggest punches I've ever experienced in gaming.

    Super Metroid. The opening scene in Ceres Station not only set the theme, but did a great job of introducing you to the game mechanics and controls in an incredibly subtle way.

    I second all of The Last of Us comments.

    Mass Effect 2 and 3 are both pretty good

    Not Twilight Princess.

    Honestly it's probably Earthbound, that whole opening segment where you wake up in the middle of the night. A close second would be The Last of Us, it's impossible to not shed manly tears at that.

    Fallout 3 for me too. While not quite the start of the game, when I left the vault for them first time .... man-o-man!!!

    I'd been out of then hobby for quite some time.

    When I walked out, from the top of the rocky outcrop saw that amazing blasted landscape. It was the first time the true impact of open world gaming hit me. I suddenly realised the whole world was there for me to explore, and no one was telling me how I was to do it!

    I actually hit the crouch button, I suddenly felt exposed and small.

    It's a special memory. I've been hooked on open world RPGs in the first person perspective ever since...

    Assassins Creed 3. We all loved the 10 hour intro before Connor came in right? RIGHT??!!

      Hell, I did. I thought Hatham was the better character. And call me oblivious, but dat reveal actually took me by surprise. It was the only good thing about AC3.

      Last edited 18/12/14 12:44 pm

      I certainly wish the whole game was before Connor came in.

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