The Best Video Game Openings Of All Time
Unlike movies or books, video games have always had a special way of capturing their audiences. Being in on the action, making choices to move the narrative forward instead of being a passive observer has helped many video games etch themselves into the memories of gamers. We asked around our offices at CheckpointXP to find out which games our peers think had that best openings of all time. Be sure to share your favorite video game openings with us at CheckpointXP on Twitter.
Mass Effect 2
Easily one of the best openings of any game is Mass Effect 2. While the first game was good it was very flawed and fell into cult classic status. But Mass Effect 2 raised the stakes from literally the moment you started the game. Our hero, Commander Shepard, continues their adventure as one of top soldiers in the galaxy. Their ship, The Normandy, is filled with friends and familiar faces as they patrol the stars keeping sentient space safe from an existential threat.
But right when you think the first mission is about to begin, a mysterious enemy descends upon our heroes. The Normandy is overwhelmed, twisted steel and fire engulfs the ship as you realize Shepard cannot win this encounter. You take control of Shepard, stumbling through the ship, trying to get your crew to safety. You know they have to survive; but you just don’t know how. And at the final moment after saving Joker, your staunchest friend and ally, a larger blast. Our hero is jettisoned into space with little to no oxygen. The music hits. Commander Shepard is dead. – Norris Howard, Host of CheckpointXP On Campus and Checkpoint Daily.
Resident Evil 4
Nothing stands out to me as far as video game openings quite like the intro to Resident Evil 4. You find yourself stranded in a country of unknown safety, on a mission to rescue the President’s kidnapped daughter. Right after your first encounter with a villager that obviously has been having a bad couple of days because of the whole “trying to murder people” thing that he has going on, you make your way into a town that quickly sees you surrounded by these villagers that have a severe case of blood lust. But that’s not what sells it all.
The outside scenario is pretty cool, but really makes this stand out is the introduction of a chainsaw. After making your way inside a building, barricaded inside, you hear the roar of a chainsaw rip to life outside and you instantly knew that this was going to be a totally different Resident Evil game, and that you were in for a roller coaster ride.
While many people think that the success of Resident Evil 4 was an eventual negative in the history of the series, the game really made a choice to go a different direction than their earlier titles, and the opening of RE4 sold players so quickly that they never had a chance to think whether this was a style they could get behind. Plus, ya know, the whole “not caring about ammo, just blowing zombies away” is always an easy way to get me to buy into a zombie game. – Ric “Weird Beard” Hogerheide, Host of the Breakdown and CheckpointXP On Demand.
I spent a lot of time debating between Final Fantasy XI and XIV, but ultimately decided to go with neither of them. Bioshock has the greatest opening sequence of all time. The plane crash with people screaming in the background. A lighthouse in the distance. Andrew Ryan waxing poetic about whether or not a man is entitled to the sweat of his brow. Everything builds up to the grand reveal of the city of Rapture, giving us an inkling of some of the monsters we will face and the wonders we will see. Everything from the first look at a box asking ‘Would you kindly not open’ until the moment we exit the bathysphere is sheer perfection. – Kali Scales, Head of Content at CheckpointXP.
Transformers: War for CybertronFall of Cybertron
I know that my Nerdradio co-host Al Beck would roll his eyes at this, but the opening sequences to both Transformers War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron were fantastic. In both cases they open with complete fan service of seeing a dozen of your favorite Autobots and Decepticons shooting and punching each other before dropping you right into the fray. In the first game as Megatron leading a trio of villains after crashing a ship and in the sequel as Bumblebee trying to ward off a boarding party. Even though the games are now 2 generations old having come out on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 they are still gorgeous and a blast to play! – Chuck Bean, Host of Nerd Radio 101.
Final Fantasy 14
I have a complicated past with Final Fantasy XIV Online and despite being as popular as ever, you’ll never catch me playing it again. That being said, you cannot deny the importance of a Realm Reborn’s comeback. The fact that Square Enix was able to take the game down and did so by essentially destroying the world as players knew it and relaunching it years later. It was an impossible and amazing feat all itself.
The opening for it’s return, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn see’s the Elder Primal Bahamut released from his prison. He wrecks havoc all across the battle field. The ‘heroes’ stare in utter disbelief before being teleported forward in time and you watch various characters you knew and loved vanish into the light. Did they survive? Will we see them again? The only way to get answers was to play the game. Underscoring the entire thing is Answers with vocals done by the voice of Final Fantasy 14, Susan Calloway. It’s enchanting, it’s tragic, it’s one of the greatest opening sequences in media of all time. – Robbie Landis, Host of CheckpointXP On Demand and The Other Identity.
Screencap Feature Image: Mass Effect 2 by Bioware.