Matt’s Top 10 Favorite Video Game Opening Cut Scenes/Levels
Video games can vary on so many levels. We’re talking about gameplay, theme, style, artistic design, turn-based, open world, first-person, third-person, strategy, real-time strategy, etc. The list can go on and on, but the important thing about any game is if it can captivate you throughout its entirety. Some gamers don’t like a game that takes you less than five hours to beat. Others like games that can be beaten quickly and replayed over and over again.
For me, as long as the game is good, I could care less how long it is. “The Order: 1886” can be beaten in six hours and “Alien: Isolation” takes upwards of 20 hours. Both games are different, but I’d replay each in a heartbeat because they are compelling experiences for those six and 20 hours.
Regardless of what kind of games you like to play, there’s one factor I always use to judge if I’m going to have a great experience or a lackluster one. That factor is a video game’s opening cut scene/level. Sometimes the incredible opening of a game is literally the best part of the experience, where the rest of the game becomes dull and repetitive very quickly afterwards. Sometimes it perfectly foreshadows the greatness you’re about to embark on.
We’ll be going with the latter today, where all of these opening cuts scenes and levels are just as captivating as the rest of the game.
So, here we go. These are my Top 10 Favorite Video Game Opening Cut Scenes/Levels.
#10. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
With my anticipation and excitement dripping with clarity for the release of the so-called “final piece” of the puzzle that is the Metal Gear Solid universe, this hour-long opening level gets you ready for an absolute ride of a video game. While I have my opinions about Metal Gear Solid V and how lackluster the story was, there’s no doubt about the enjoyment I received from playing it for countless hours. It all started with this level, and it really is just short of brilliant, especially if you’re a Metal Gear Solid junkie like me.
#9. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
The art of storytelling has been in video games for a long time, but over the past decade, companies have gone a step further and brought us some amazing stories that enrich the wonderful gameplay of some games. The “Uncharted” series have always been excellent games with great stories. They are no “Heavy Rain” or “Fahrenheit,” but playing any of the “Uncharted” games is like controlling your very own blockbuster experience. The beginning of “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” gets the heart racing immediately, preparing you for the fun, action-packed adventure you’re about to embark on.
#8. Sunset Overdrive
This is my sleeper pick, to be honest. I remember seeing the trailers for “Sunset Overdrive,” and I was always intrigued by the fact that it’s an M-rated game, but it looks colorful, bright, and funny, like a children’s game (somewhat). After I bought an Xbox, I totally forgot this game existed and didn’t get my reminder until I opened a box of another game, which held a $20-off coupon for “Sunset Overdrive.” I don’t think I could’ve bought the game any quicker, and after it was installed, I sat back, relaxed, and absorbed everything that was “Sunset Overdrive.” I consider it to be one of the first GREAT games of the next generation of consoles, and it all starts off with a funny, quirky, campy, creative, and excellent opening level.
#7. The Evil Within
…Yeah. Many people have their opinions about this game. Yes, it is confusing. Yes, it is VERY difficult at times. Yes, you can’t see anything during most of it. Yes, it takes a very weird “Triple A” turn after chapter 7. Yes, the DLC was better than the original game. Regardless of all that though, this game kept me playing and interested throughout its entirety. It all started with this opening level, where my jaw dropped about 26 times before I even got out of the first chapter.
#6. Metro 2033
The “Metro” series always peeked my interest, even before I played them. I loved the fact that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic Russia, and you have to travel across a barren wasteland and underground tunnels in order to destroy the threat (or so they say) that started the apocalypse in the first place. In my opinion, “Metro: 2033” is better than “Metro: Last Light” because it’s simpler, smoother, and much more interesting, especially when you don’t know the truth that’s slowly revealed throughout the story. This opening level may be mellower than the others, but its atmosphere and style prepares you for the difficult journey through the Metro.
#5. The Last of Us
One of the greatest games of my generation? Heck yes it is. I don’t droll over “The Last of Us,” like MANY people do, but I respect its simple gameplay, compelling story, and awesome creatures. In my opinion, the opening is the best part about this game. There were glimmers of the same emotion I felt during this level while I played through the rest of the game, but nothing that could be compared to it. There are very few games where I’ve gotten teary-eyed, and they usually have something that hits very close to home for me. “The Last of Us” hit my watery eyes like a truck during its initial moments, and this level will forever be on this list.
#4. Far Cry 3
Vass is one of the greatest villains to bless our consoles, computers, monitors, and television screens. His character is so fresh and charismatic that he sucks you in with his psychotic philosophy within the games first ten minutes. I briefly played the previous two games in the “Far Cry” series before this one, but neither of their openings compare to this gem. The nice touch of manipulation used in the opening moments only adds an accent to Vass’ troubled psyche and murderous nature. I love this opening scene.
I remember my brother bought “Bioshock” for Playstation 3, and I decided to play it one day, not really knowing what it was. To put it in short terms, this opening level scared me enough to turn it off. As soon as the Slicer started scratching the pod I was in, I said, “No. No. No. Goodbye.” It took me a couple of days to return to it, and after I did I finally saw why the game was being raved by critics all over the industry. There’s no denying that this opening level immediately introduces you to the strange and noir-esque underwater word of Rapture. This is one of my favorite games of all-time, not only because of its innovative gameplay and heartstring-wrenching storyline, but because this opening scene burned into my own psyche and introduced me to absolute greatness.
#2. God of War III
Usually in a video game series, the first game is always the best and the others either do very well or are kind of forgotten, never reaching the same pinnacle the first game did. This isn’t the case for the “God of War” series. Each game gets progressively better until we come to this mecca of awesomeness. Playing as Kratos, you’ve done some pretty amazing things in the world of Greek mythology. You’ve been to Hades and fought countless demons, you’ve taken down Ares and became the new God of War, and you’ve climbed the back of a Titan in order to find Pandora’s Box. All of this is great, but “God of War III” starts off with a boss fight… the best boss fight of all-time, where you’re fighting Poseidon while on the back of a Titan, who is climbing Mount Olympus… Yes, it’s that incredible; just watch the video.
#1. Halo 5
I believe I’m one of the few that actually liked Halo 5’s single player campaign. No, it wasn’t exactly what they advertised, but there’s no doubt about it being fun and refreshing. The opening cut scene takes the cake for currently being my favorite video game opening, though. Not only is the scene awesome and cinematic, but also the music itself makes the goosebumps appear all over my body. Overall, it’s just an awesome scene that I really enjoy and makes me proud for growing up with video games. People always tell me video games will never reach the same cinematic and storytelling power of Hollywood and television. While there are several examples of video games I could use to win this argument, the release of Halo 5 has added another to my repertoire and is a perfect example of how far video games have come with their cinematics and music since the days of “Pong.”
Now, I know a lot of you are probably saying that all of these games have come out in the past decade and I need to expand my horizons with going back into the 90s and 80s. I do agree with you, but there’s also the fact that I’ve played A LOT of video games, and my preferences are always changing in this medium. But, when you look at it, many of the games in the 90s and 80s don’t particularly have lavish and wonderful opening scenes. Sure, there are PLENTY of great games from back in the day, but we’re not talking about the greatest games of all-time. We’re talking about my favorite opening cut scenes/levels that currently hold my interest on the highest level. It’s all my opinion, and I’m sure this list will keep changing over the years, but for now this is what I’ve got.
I really hope you enjoyed this article.