There is nothing quite like firing up a new game and being treated to an amazing opening. In fact my favorite part of starting a new game is being pulled into its universe by a well crafted opening sequence. Many games try to do this well but only a few really knock it out of the park.
Here are my top opening sequences. Prepare to disagree! 🙂
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Video Courtesy of peowwTV on YouTube.
When talking about modern games and opening sequences it does not get more iconic than this. I actually like the opening sequence of the original game better, however this one I thought did such a good job of setting up the tone of the game that I picked it. It is also the first thing many people think of when talking about Uncharted in general.
I remember starting this up for the first time and getting excited for what was about to happen. I made sure to avoid any videos prior to release so I could be surprised and “Holy Shit!” I thought as the opening unfolded. What a great way to set up a game and show off just how big the world and set pieces are that you are about to explore.
The 7th Guest
Video Courtesy of ghermann3 on YouTube.
The 7th Guest was one of the first games released only on CD-ROMs. This was a big deal as CD-ROMs were just starting to become affordable for the average person to own. The 7th Guest needed it too, it would have been ridiculous to try to release on floppy disk which was the alternative back then. The game opens up with a story book that plays videos on its pages as they turn. The videos act out what the narrator is saying. It’s very creepy, nearly nightmare inducing, and at the time this game came out there was nothing like it.
The reason I included it on the list is because it was the first time I had seen full motion video used in a video game like this. I remember going into Sears, Service Merchandise and Circuit City and seeing The 7th Guest, specifically the opening, being used as the demo on the expensive computers to get people’s attention. It worked. I bought the game and a CD-ROM drive, like most people did back then, based on the opening and was thrilled to see the game had video sequences like the opening throughout the whole game.
Final Fantasy VII
Video Courtesy of keaki on YouTube.
Whenever I think of this opening one word comes to mind, Goosebumps. No not the creepy ass books. I mean full on hair-raising goosebumps. Yes its 100% due to nostalgia with the memories I have as well as this being the first time I really played a full RPG to completion. I had no idea games could be like this. FF7 was a turning point in my life. It’s when I went from a kid who loved video games, to a gamer. This game taught me that video games could have stories that rival movies. Never had a game touched me like FF7 did. No I didn’t cry when Aeris/Aerith bit the big one but the scene wasn’t lost on me. I got angry at the game. For the first time I got angry at a game, not because I was having a hard time with it but because the story had it’s hooks in me and I could not believe what I just saw. I immediately thought she would come back because it’s a game but as the scene went on I realized the finality of it all.
Granted that is its own cinematic worth talking about but it’s because of scenes like that and other instances where the game would tug at my emotions that the opening to this grand adventure, even just typing about it now, gets my goosebumps going.
Video Courtesy of ROFLSoup on YouTube.
I don’t think any game opening has captured my curiosity like Bioshock. I mention F.E.A.R. as the game that got me back into shooters but Bioshock was really the one that did it. F.E.A.R. may have sparked my interest back in them but Bioshock showed me how well they transfer to a controller. The opening sequence really set the stage for this game. Immediately you find yourself in the middle of an ocean after your plane crashes right by a lighthouse. You make your way into the lighthouse where the game pulls you along, introducing you to the main character of the game. Not you, not Andrew Ryan, but Rapture. The underwater city of Rapture feels alive and the reveal of it, while not as impressive when viewed today, was awe-inspiring when the game was released.
It’s very hard for me to watch the introduction to this game and not want to jump right in and play it again.
Red Dead Redemption
Video courtesy of fskate2 on YouTube.
Maybe it’s the setting, the music, the voice acting…I don’t know. Something about the opening to Red Dead Redemption just gets me. It’s simple. John Marsten gets escorted to a train and sits there, listening to the people around him. Rockstar captured just how out of touch with reality people could seem during that time, or at least our perception of it.
The people discuss race, religion, greed among politicians and other topics that you will come face to face with during the adventure. After a few minutes of this the train stop and the game begins. Simple but very effective.
I feel that watching the opening sequence again after playing the game just makes it that much more impactful.
Those are my top five opening sequences. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading.