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#1 Posted by Jeust (11489 posts) -

Here the first level is considered the first part of the game. Examples of it are the prologue, or the act that sets the background for the rest of the story.

There are some awesome first levels/chapters in games in my opinion. Games like:

  • Nier - I loved the introdutory fight. So overpowered and ridiculous!
  • Heavenly Sword - it was epic in the first chapter!
  • Dead Space 2 - tense and beautiful in its beggining!
  • Castlevania: Shymphony of the Night - it was mine, as a fan, wet dream!

But the best one for me was inFamous 2! Despite being easy, it was a great set piece! Impactful, powerful and ridiculous!

#2 Posted by BeachThunder (13152 posts) -

The best I can think of at the moment is Portal 2.

#3 Posted by two_socks (257 posts) -

After the intro to SOTC when you're told to go find the first Colossus. That was really the first big open world game I had played and it was fucking awesome.

#4 Posted by TobbRobb (5118 posts) -

Fighting monsters on the face of a giant falling clock in slow motion with pompous choirs in the background was pretty goddamn dope.

#5 Posted by HKZ (71 posts) -

I know Black Mesa was just released, but the tram intro in Half Life still holds up as amazing to this day. I've already replayed that tram ride four times and it never gets old.

#6 Posted by Mint_Kjell_Olav (84 posts) -

Mass Effect 3 with the giant reaper destroying the city was awesome, Arkham City when you play as Bruce was really cool, Portal 2 apm was great, Castlevania: lords of shadow set the tone really well with the werewolfs.

#7 Posted by Cheesebob (1285 posts) -

The first level of Asura's Wrath

#8 Posted by Gargantuan (1890 posts) -

God of War 3 has a pretty impressive first level.

#9 Posted by DeanoXD (652 posts) -

Not really sure if it counts as a level but the opening to mass effect 2 and the new Normandy revel was awesome in my opinion.

#10 Posted by Pie (7217 posts) -

The opening sections of Black Mesa are really impressive I think from the tram ride to chaos of after the accident.

Obviously Bioshock has a great opening.

The original Dead Space has a really good opening.

The Village in Resident Evil 4 might be the best, you go from investigating a little creepy house with a crazy axe man in it to barricading yourself into a house whilst being chased by a even crazier bag on head chainsaw man and about 20 other guys in the first half hour.

#11 Posted by joemarch (26 posts) -

Doom. The speed, the techno metal. Impressive back in the day.

#12 Edited by Genkkaku (755 posts) -

I really dug Dead Island's first area (well after the hotel bit), when you first start off exploring the beach/ hotel area, and you kinda inch your way forward worried about when and where a zombie can jump out from.. That game got worse as it went on but that first impression..

#13 Posted by GoofyGoober (941 posts) -

Gears of war 3

Dead space 2

Heavenly sword

Crysis 2

God of war 3

#14 Posted by Ghostiet (5598 posts) -

The opening battle of Nier made a big impact, since I had no idea that the game will open this way. Darksiders 2 also has an absolutely glorious first level, just before getting to the Forge Lands - the atmosphere is amazing.

#15 Posted by Laiv162560asse (488 posts) -

I was super impressed with the tutorial mission for Hitman: Blood Money. I don't think many of the other missions matched it in terms of atmosphere and moral awkwardness, tbh. Both of the Half Life games as well.

#16 Posted by Demoskinos (16320 posts) -

God of War the Hydra fight is the reason I finished that game. Still not my favorite game ever. Hell it wouldn't even be on a top 20 list for me but I can't deny how game changing that first level was.

#17 Posted by DeF (5216 posts) -

That BioShock opening was totally sick. That moment when you realize you're not watching a cutscene was so awesome.

#18 Posted by eskimo (495 posts) -

deus ex. That first level was one of the best in the game.

#19 Posted by StrikeALight (1128 posts) -

From recent memory, probably Bioshock. "Oh, this is actual gameplay and not CGI? Fuck me."

(or something to that effect)

#20 Posted by Sooty (8195 posts) -


You had to be there. No game in 1999 looked that good.

#21 Posted by StrikeALight (1128 posts) -

@Sooty said:


You had to be there. No game in 1999 looked that good.

Yep. It was awesomely bad. But still managed to be awesome.

#22 Posted by JacDG (2137 posts) -

Journey or Mirror's Edge for me, amazing moments for me.

#23 Posted by living4theday258 (692 posts) -

crysis 2, fallout 3(leaving vault 101), and InFamlous 1&2.

#24 Posted by Blommer4 (225 posts) -

Batman: Arkham City by far

#25 Posted by BBAlpert (1819 posts) -

The first 10-15 minutes of Indigo Prophecy were amazing. And then it goes steadily downhill for the entire rest of the game.

#26 Posted by YoungFrey (1363 posts) -

Saints Row The Third: It wasn't the the best mission of the game by any means. But they led in going "this game is going to be crazy". And they just cranked it up at every step from there.

Goldeneye 007: I know the general recollection of Goldeneye is that is was just for multiplayer. But in the world of consoles this was a revolutionary single-player experience. And that dam level showed you how it was going to work. Careful actions, mission goals beyond (find red key), great character animations, and detailed real weapons. All this before Half-Life came out I'll point out.

#28 Edited by Dixavd (1505 posts) -
  • Mirror's Edge: The first level is astounding - it is a perfect balance of set-design, enemies, atmosphere, foreshadowing and just pure speed which makes it one of my all-time favourite levels in any game ever.
  • Kingdom Hearts 1: Starting in the Dream world having to answer such odd questions and be stuck in such a dark world which is still filled with beauty like the stain glass floor is such a great opening. It contrasts instantly with the immediate player’s thoughts of what they expect to find with a game filled with Disney characters; being dark and almost existential while at the same time being very child-like. Running up those steps (with the music of "Dive into the Heart -Destati-" playing in the background) and fighting Darkside at the top will always be one of the most iconic moments in any game ever for me.
  • Final Fantasy X: The evocative feeling at the start of being in Zanarkand, such a big city, and wanting to explore and get lost in the world mirroring Tidus's feelings going into such an important Blitzball game (10 years after Jecht's disappearance, as told to us by the commentators as you run across the bridge) - then fall of Zanarkand during the game and the continuation of Player-to-Tidus mirroring as we are shown that this isn't the world we will play in along with Tidus's shock of... well... Zanarkand being destroyed by a gigantic sea monster and his effective-foster-father, Auron, seems to be talking to it like an old friend.

    Then the dreariness of Tidus in the Ruins he wakes up in filled with an unidentified language and monsters out to kill him. Then meeting the odd-but-harsh Al Bhed learning through Rikku about the world he is in (and mechanical information like gaining the ability to use the Sphere Grid. Swimming to the bottom of the ocean to fix a machine underwater (as the player starts to see the technology of Zanarkand reawaken) giving Tidus the hope that he isn’t so far away from the technology he once new.
    Until you wake up on a beach in blazing sunshine, Tidus finally happy that at least there is one thing he likes where he is - Blitzball - and the real journey can begin...

      It is so evocative to me, the use of settings, set-pieces, battles, music, back-story and mystery-for-the-future; in the prologue is so wondrous to me every time I play it.

#29 Posted by S0ndor (2718 posts) -

Saints Row the Third. It perfectly set the tone for the rest of the game, and it made me an instant believer.

#30 Posted by laserbolts (5445 posts) -

Bioshock for me. The intro to Rapture was really cool. Oh and that water looked crazy good at the time.

#31 Posted by Brodehouse (10529 posts) -

This is something I actually think about a lot.

The first ten minutes of Silent Hill are expertly done. It's all about how they relay information slowly, slowly, building to something. They get you used to tank controls, and walking towards the screen, camera angles that can change as you walk, and then hits you with it.

The tutorial area for Dead Space 2 is something that you could write essays on. It builds player knowledge in such well paced ways, it might be one of the greatest tutorial sections in games.

Mass Effect 2 has something similar, a big opening followed by a tutorial that requires you to learn and perform each action in order to progress, in universe. No combat simulator stuff here. Compare this tutorial to JRPGs or Assassin's Creed.

#32 Posted by Sploder (918 posts) -

God of War, that first level capped by the Hydra fight was the most amazing thing ever when I was 12. And God of War 3's opening was some crazy shit so that too.
Let's not forgot Vice City when you jump on the motorbike in the alleyway and Billiy Jean is playing either.

#33 Posted by ToTheNines (1028 posts) -

Crash Bandicoot back in the day.

#34 Posted by RetroVirus (1541 posts) -

I would agree with Dead Space 2. That was one hell of a wake up call.

#35 Edited by Zaccheus (1829 posts) -

Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy and Heavenly Sword comes to mind.

I also like the benign beginning of Heavy Rain where you are forced to do this normal and pleasant things knowing full well that everything is going to shit soon enough... Just something video games don't normally have the patience for.

#36 Posted by impartialgecko (1747 posts) -

All the God of War games. Say what you like about them, they know how to make an entrance

#37 Posted by Zekhariah (700 posts) -

Crysis (the first one) had a 3-hour first area that seemed completely open.

Deus Ex for the number of approaches and amount of weird conspiracy stuff that is introduced.

#38 Posted by SmilingPig (1370 posts) -

Metal gear solid 2, the demo of the first level was revolutionary; unfortunately the rest of the game was with Raiden.

#39 Posted by Zacagawea (1652 posts) -

The first Borderlands, the space western dream lives on.

#40 Edited by PSNgamesun (433 posts) -

Zelda:oot, RE4 and GOW 1,2,3 and Fallout 3.

OOT was the first game that made me realize that games where going to last forever( or just a long long time) and that dream sequence started the beginning of my favorite game ever perfectly.

RE4 was fucking intense all the way till leon says "where everybody go, bingo?" man i still remember that it is till this day my favorite opening.

The God of War series kinda set the bar for opening sequences to most games and well hydra, giant,and full on God mode is all i have to say lol.

Fallout 3 when your thrown out to the open world was just one heck of a feeling.

#41 Posted by haffy (681 posts) -

Probably Sonic for the megadrive, because it was the first time I played a game on a TV.

Dark Souls was pretty good too lol. I don't often struggle with tutorials in games.

#42 Posted by SexyToad (2939 posts) -

My top would be Skyrim of Bioshock.

#43 Posted by Schmollian (312 posts) -

Half-Life 1 - The train sequence was awesome and walking around the labs and talking to people setup the crazy disaster that came later very well. That Black Mesa mod that was just released does a really good job at recreating the feeling that the original had by bringing it up to modern day standards.

Half-Life 2 - When you first arrive in City 17 and see how truly fucked everything is. I felt a true sense of dread. How the shit did everything go so badly and how can it be put right?

Mass Effect 2 - Out of the three games in the trilogy, this one started out the strongest. Having invested a lot of time on board the Normandy in the first game, seeing it completely ripped to shreds hit me where it hurts, and walking out on into the CIC with the top completely blown out sent chills down my spine. And of course the MUSIC that plays when Shepherd is recovered. LOVE IT!

God of War 3 - Fighting across the titan and then fighting Poseidon at the end brought true meaning to the word EPIC, which is God of War's speciality.

#44 Posted by BisonHero (8452 posts) -

Metroid Prime had a really awesome opening level, as you explore this Pirate frigate where things have got really out of control. And it showed off the scanner system really well, as you could scan various corpses and it would give detailed autopsies of the way they died.

Metal Gear Solid 2's opening level is actually cool, whereas the Big Shell is just an incredibly dull setting, and nowhere near as cool as the tanker in the rain.

@BBAlpert said:

The first 10-15 minutes of Indigo Prophecy were amazing. And then it goes steadily downhill for the entire rest of the game.

Amen. They really took the supernatural stuff WAY too far. I mean, the game would've been hokey even if it was just some kind of hypnosis that made the main character kill that guy, but the fact that so much of the later plot is based around those totally absurd supernatural elements (and the fact that they had to rush through the plot because they were running out of budget) just made the game terrible. Heavy Rain is the game Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy should've been, at least as far as having a plot that isn't completely retarded.

#45 Posted by Arbie (1480 posts) -

Bioshock and . . . hey, wait. I may as well just quote !

I also liked the opening for Nier and Castlevania:LoS. I know those aren't the only ones though and it's bugging me that I can't remember which game most recently had this. I have a feeling it was one of the Batman games but they both kind of merge into one so I couldn't say which.

#46 Posted by BaneFireLord (3085 posts) -

The Force Unleashed had a pretty awesome first level. Pity the rest of the game was utter shit.

#47 Posted by gamefreak9 (2856 posts) -

Um dead space 2 was pretty insane... learn quick or die was stressing! Was fun for me since I was a dead space 1 veteran but when I brought my friend to play I kind of realized its a very shitty tutorial... since you have to wait like 2 min for the reload after you die.

#48 Posted by AjayRaz (12663 posts) -

Call of Duty 4, with the whole ship infiltration mission. blew my mind when i first played it. while not as impressive, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2's opening stage was an absolute blast.

#49 Edited by Mister_V (1627 posts) -

Storming the beaches in Medal of Honor Frontline. If that level didn't make you feel like you where in Saving Private Ryan then there is somthing wrong with you.

#50 Posted by warxsnake (2720 posts) -

Intro to Half Life back in 1998 
Intro to Homeworld in 1999