Features & News
Team Talk: Favourite Game Opening
November 11, 2015, Author: Andy Buick
Much as with films, the opening sequence can make or break a game. It may wow you into getting stuck in, or bore you into indifference. We’re here today to discuss the opening sequences that have amazed and inspired us the most, plenty come to mind straight away but which really stood out for the TIMJ team?
WARNING: Opening sequence spoilers ahoy (obviously…)
Jonn Blanchard (Staff Writer) – Fallout 3
My favourite start to a game is Fallout 3. Loading to a fake CRT screen, with the final image showing a member of the Brotherhood and a stirring tune (still one of the best). You watch as your character is brought into the world (literally), then all the standard RPG chores – choosing how you look, setting your initial stats – simply become part of the process of early life.
This opening made for an incredibly well crafted series of tutorials, teaching you about moving around the world and giving you a taste of combat and dialogue options. Then when done, you exit the vault to the blinding light of the outside world and Fallout 3 begins proper.
This opening was so important for Bethesda as fans of the original games had a lot of scepticism about the move to a 3D world, but they absolutely nailed it.
James Swinbanks – (Staff Writer) – Lost Odyssey
Losy Odyssey was a JRPG developed by Mistwalker and Feelplus that was released on the Xbox 360 back in 2007. and it features one of my most memorable opening sequences. It opens with a shot of a puddle that is soon parted by a fleet of large troop transporters that look like something out of a sci-fi/steampunk epic.
Troops pile out of the transporters and charge towards the battlefield, flanked by large moving support vehicles. It soon becomes apparent, though, that they are up against a powerful foe that won’t be felled with any great ease. After a minute or two of watching soldiers get turned into man meat, our hero comes charging into shot, and swiftly we realise that he is clearly the person for the job of taking down this army of foes.
The action is swift and ferocious, with just the right mix of magic, fantasy and sword-flipping excellence. The highlight, though, is when it cuts from the action directly into the combat system; this is where the player is brought bang into the action.
The first game that comes to mind is Half Life 2. I’m sure this is going to be a popular answer but few games managed to illustrate a harsh dystopia in such a short space of time. With only a mysterious introduction from G-Man, Gordon is led through a series of turnstiles and forced to obey the will of the Combine guards, even being forced to pick up their litter or face a beating as punishment.
Quietly walking through City 17 and seeing everyone wearing the same boiler suits and a disheartened expression on their face was a very powerful moment, especially as all of this is being watched over by the mysterious Wallace Breen, who would make even Big Brother feel violated. You’re forced to be a tourist in this city during this brief stint and it’s only the intervention from Alyx that makes you feel wanted… for all the wrong reasons.
Andy Buick (Features Editor) – The Last Of Us
Whilst mulling this over, my first instinct was to pick The Last Of Us. This is a wonderful game throughout, but somehow the opening had been kept a total secret so starting up and playing as Joel’s teenage daughter Sarah came as a total surprise. Knowing at least that it was an apocalyptic story about Joel and Ellie, a sense of foreboding kicked in straight away, as you saw a snippet of Joel and Sarah’s life together, but I soon realised that something terrible was happening.
Even knowing that this sequence was unlikely to end well didn’t prepare me for Sarah’s death though, which is without doubt the most emotional and gut-wrenching opening to a game I’ve seen yet.
Thinking further on this topic, I have to give honourable mentions to both Half Life games (would it be fair to say the first introduced us to the jaw-dropping opener?), Final Fantasy VII‘s swoop and dive into Midgar, and bringing things much more into the present day, the opening of Batman: Arkham Knight is another shocker. Last but by no means least, the Bioshock series deserves a mention, as does Mass Effect 2. Yes, that’s a lot more than one choice, and I’ve gone on too long, but it is my article…
Simon Weatherall (Site Manager) – Onimusha 3
My all-time favourite game opening to this day is still Onimusha 3. While a large number of people may not have even heard of it, it’s a great classic staring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Jean Reno. Continuing where the first game left off, the opening has to be one of the greatest cinematic experiences I have ever seen.
A masked ninja sneaks on board a creature that houses hordes of demons. He battles through like something out of a Jet Li movie. The motion is fluid and fast-paced, and the enemies fall one after another. Like a true ninja he sneaks away, and begins looking for his real target. He comes across two stronger enemies and the real battle begins. He fights, eventually clashing with a general of the demon army. The climax happens after he turns into a demon-hybrid himself after consuming the souls of his enemies.
What I really love about this intro is how, even if you had never played an Onimusha game before, it draws you in to with some fine choreographed Japanese cinematography. It’s the first time I have watched the opening of a game and wished someone had turned it into a movie. Sadly, this has never happened but still worth the watch all the same.
Matt Parker (News Editor) – Final Fantasy VII
There is so much to FFVII’s opening that I remember clear as day. FFVII has an amazing soundtrack and it immediately sets the tone as the camera pans the night sky, looking at the stars. We cut to a girl selling flowers who stands out from the grime, dressed in red and pink she walks down the street.
The streets of Midgar don’t look too welcoming but you don’t have time to soak it in. Again the camera cuts to another scene – a speeding train. As it pulls into the station a series of crude blocks jump out. These crude blocks are what you’ll be looking at for the next ninety hours and not the amazing (at the time) 3D models you’ve just witnessed.
You don’t care though. The crude blocks forward flip off the train, wield a ridiculously large sword and start fighting. You then proceed to blow up a power plant and battle a robot scorpion all in the space of thirty minutes. It’s pretty great.