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Best/Worst/Memorable Video Game Openings

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By this I mean three things. One, cinematic opening sequences that precede and or come after the title screen if you don't touch anything when you start up a game. Two, cinematic sequences that unfold once you start up a new game (e.g. Final Fantasy VIII's sequence with Rinoa and the Seifer-Squall duel). And three, an intense, brief sequence of generally linear gameplay that precedes the first moment of "calm": Final Fantasy VII's bombing run (the calm being the return to base after the mission), Xenoblade Chronicles's Sword Valley sequence (the calm being the shift to Shulk in Colony 9). Openings that start calm and then turn into crisis/intensify don't count, unless you really want to discuss one.


The first Baten Kaitos game deserves mention. The former's pre-title opening has scenes that don't actually happen and quotes taken terribly out of context- it tries to be grand, but ends up being overwrought and cheesy- a must watch.

Both Xenoblade games nail the title screen stuff. The first has a tranquil scene that gradually changes from day to night as beautiful music plays. XBCX ops to be a bit more epic, but like the former stays fairly minimal. Both games also do little tours of their various regions (that you've visited) if you wait long enough, with the opening cinematic sequences of each game also possibly playing out.

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Worst: Under conditions 1 and 2, Breath of the Wild fails because it just throws right into it. It makes up for it in spades with condition 3, though. I would say one of the worst for 3 is Lyn Normal Mode, as it drags for the better part of 90 minutes just to introduce you to the game, and is hardly relevant to the plot save Chapter 7.

Best: Elder Scrolls nails 2 very well, Mass Effect does 1 very well, and Dragon Age does 3 very well (it's meh in 2, but easily tops in Origins and Inquisition).

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I think The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask has a pretty good opening. Link starts off alone in a forest after the last game and meets with the Skull Kid, then your transported to entirely different world and are immediately aware of Termina's impending fate.

The opening of the game does well with setting up the tone Majora's Mask goes for.

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As you mentioned, Xenoblade Chronicles's first sequence really sticks out. It begins with a quick backstory of Bionis and Mechonis, before transitioning into the (almost) present day battle of Sword Valley. There, you are introduced to the story (Homs and Mechons are in a perpetual war), the Monado (specifically used to destroy Mechon), the characters (Dunban, Dickson, and Mumkar, as well as their relationship), and, once the intro is finished, a quick overview of most of Bionis. It's a good introduction for both story as well as gameplay.

If I may say so, Awakening's is rather good as well. It provides foreshadowing as to Chrom's death as well as giving basic gameplay tutorials.

Of negative note is Skyward Sword's. While I love Skyward Sword, the opening sequences are over-excessively long, and it really hurts replayability when you have to go through the Wing Ceremony and all that jazz again, when you really just want to play around.

All these are under your third definition, though I may add more from your other statements if I remember.

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Suikoden II's opening of starting off in the camp and then running away is one of my favorite starts to a game.  Shoutout to Suikoden III for the opening cinematic.

Persona 5 has a good all-around opening in my opinion, from the cinematic to what you do at the very beginning of the game.  It leaves a lot of mystery and intrigue for what's to follow.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth's opening cinematic is really nice.  The PS1 version with the anime one looks pretty cool, but very 90's and the redone one for the PSP looks really good.  I also enjoy that after you go through the initial story bits, you start off as Arngrim before taking control of Valkyrie herself.

Despite the game being a pretty lackluster JRPG, Fate/Extra's opening moments were really good since it kinda dives into how brutal the Moon Cell's Holy War is.

For worst though, I would have to go with Persona 4.  I like the overall game, don't get me wrong, but it's such a slog to get through everything.  Some can argue Persona 5 is the same way, but I feel like Persona 4 had very little intrigue at the beginning of the game.

Edited by MediocreLee
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As far as opening cinematics go, I think FFVIII's is the best/most memorable. That whole CG scene is burnt into my brain, with that music.

For best intro gameplay, if you consider everything up until


the Boss' betrayal

the opening of MGS3, then that. Otherwise, MGSV's hospital opening works, too.


As for WORST memorable opening cinematic? I'll flip it and put FFX's opening on there, purely because I think Otherworld is possibly the worst song in the FF franchise(Barring... well, you know the one. From the XIII games. Chocobos.). The whole sequence is pretty and all, but the song sounds like a mostly deaf person heard muffled sludge metal, and decided to emulate it. This one might not qualify, since there is a small stretch of gameplay where you control Tidus before the cutscene kicks off proper, but I'm putting it there, dammit.

Worst opening gameplay segment is RE6. Though it might secretly be a good opening, since it does properly give you an idea of how bad the game you're about to play is. But taken on its own, that opening sequence, where you're slowly walking around as Leon, going through interactive cutscenes at the slowest pace, followed by that awful highway scene... it's bad. Real bad. I'd rather play as Roxas for 3 hours.

Edited by Slumber
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Man, I had this amazing opening in Chess. My brother puts his king's pawn forward, then I put my king's pawn forward. Then he moves his knights, and I move my knights, and I don't remember what happened next, but it was a great opening.

Best Opening: Brave Fencer Musashi. So much excitement at the beginning of the game!

Worst Opening: Kingdom Hearts II. You literally spend an hour playing as some guy named Roxas, wondering WTF happened to the plot and characters from KHI.

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One of my favorite openings of a game is God of War 3. God of War 2 ended on a cliffhanger. God of war 3 opens with a recreation of that cutscene that occasionally goes shot for shot in demonstrating how much better the visuals have become with the change in hardware. Kratos says the same line with the Blade of Olympus in hand: "Zues! Your son has returned. I bring the destruction of Olympus" and then transitions directly into gameplay. It blew my mind when I first played the game.

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Personally, the three worst to me are: Skyrim, for having a long unskippable cutscene at the start of the game. The newer Pokémon games, for slogging you through a boring tutorial, at least Skyrim's tutorial is fun. Last is Lyn Mode, which really prompts me to download a save file.

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2 minutes ago, Purple Mage said:

Last is Lyn Mode, which really prompts me to download a save file.

If/when they remake Blazing Sword, they should at least let you pick hard mode from the start.

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Good openings-

Tales of Phantasia- The attract screen plays a cinema of the old generation sealing away the final boss (in overdramatic cheesy fashion) and then a really gravely voice  reads out "If there is evil in this world it lurks in the hearts of man" which is accompanied by imposing looking text and attributed to an Edward D Morrison. (while behind the texts you see a secret of mana-esque forest-tree). The actual scripted new game sequence of the game has you in a lazy idylic village, leave to hunt for boars, and then return to find the village on fire. 

Colony Wars - The opening cinematic, like the rest of the game, features the incredible vocal talent of Burt Caesar doing a James Earl Jones impression. Also the music is fantastic. The actual tutorial missions aren't too intense (although you capture a death star look alike in level 3)

Colony Wars: Vengeance - Everyone should see the opening to this game. It still gives me chills. The intro missions are harder in this game, but I think weaker in-level music and use of explosion models instead of white flashes makes them less intense than in the first game.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - Raziel's monologue during the opening cutscene, and the music set the game up perfectly. The appearance of the elder is dramatic and his voice is perfect, although outside of the cutscene he is kind of confusing visually. His commanding voice and some worldbuilding makes the tutorial section bearable, but it is a pretty drab cave and the game doesn't really start until you get out of it and see the ruins of the world as your character knew it.

Sonic Adventure 2- The first level has you jump out of a helicopter on a skateboard and later get in a chase sequence by a supersized truck. It is by far the most iconic level in either dreamcast sonic game. The splash screen on the title just shows clips of cut scenes or gameplay from later in the game..

Roller Coaster Tycoon- Somewhat subtle, but, roller coaster tycoon has incredible opening/title screen, since the company logos rise up slowly to the sound of a cranking roller coaster chainlift, only to later build up in (aural) excitement when it begins its descent while the riders scream out in fun. Then the main menu itself pumps out choral fairground music while challenging your creativitiely by showing a slideshow of some of the most interesting parts of the campaign theme parks. Finally, once you actually pick your first mission (assuming you start with forest gardens/leafy lakes) The music cuts out instantly, you spend a few moments surveying a vast. empty park, and you begin your journey to fill the place with sound. 

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I agree with FFVIII having the best opening. Like, ever. Liberi Fatali turns me into putty by itself. 

Rival Schools has the best anime openings ever, in my opinion.

I also always liked the US opening for Digital Devil Saga, though I suppose one could argue that it doesn't fit as well as the Japanese version. "Rend! Slaughter! Devour your enemies! There is no other way to survive! You cannot escape your hunger, warriors of Purgatory!" I swear that line gets me every time. 

Skyrim has a shitty opening gameplay sequence. I was so happy when I could install mods to skip that crap.

Also agree with Kingdom Hearts II. The entire franchise is pretty convoluted to begin with, and that whole introduction portion of did little to help in the matter.

Edited by saisymbolic
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On ‎17‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 1:40 PM, Hylian Air Force said:

Dragon Age does 3 very well (it's meh in 2, but easily tops in Origins and Inquisition).

I agree; Dragon Age Inquisition does the third scenario extremely well (although I had the misfortune of, due to not having played the first two games, not having any idea what was going on). As for scenario 1, Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are tied for 1st, though Smash Bros. Melee gets an honourable mention. For 2, the building on the title screen for Dragon Age: Inquisition blowing up was startling the first time, and the hero running from the spider-like monsters and such was interesting. But the best would be... For Honour, maybe? I'm actually not sure...

Worst: For scenario 1: any game that doesn't have one or doesn't let you skip it.

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Final Fantasy 13-2 is probably one of my favorite intro sequences in recent memory. It's just too bad you don't use Lightning for the rest of the game. But it was cool in how it introduced some of the new gameplay stuff right from the get go, and it made the game look more promising from the start. It's kinda what got me to think that it wouldn't be as bad as I thought. And I was right. I also watched the intro a lot.


Also, as far as just plain intro songs, my favorite is still Tales of Vesperia. Hated it at first, but it grew on me. Still never beat it, feel like I'm close to it though


Worst ones (as far as intro sequences) are probably Kingdom Hearts 2 and Breath of Fire IV. Oh man, I love em both, but I hate starting em over.

Edited by LOLodestar
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