Final Fantasy VII. It takes you straight into the action with a sense of purpose and direction, and you immediately get the feeling you're getting into something serious. No game has so quickly stamped it's mood and atmosphere on me as FFVII. And the countdown clock plus boss-fight combination ramps up the tension ten-fold, just fantastic game direction.
Hard to think of these but the ones that have come to mind are:
- Dead Space 1 had a good build-up
- Darksiders 2 intro was great, the music, scenery and combat just made it even more epic
- Oh shit I forgot Doom 3. The whole part before everything went to shit was great as it just did a great job of immersing me into the world
Finally, Stranglehold anyone? One of the best first levels I've ever played because it was one of those first levels where there was no messing about it just threw you right into the action within seconds of starting the game.
Yeah, playing Black Mesa reminded me of how awesome that tram ride in the beginning of Half-Life, and all the casual moments leading up to the actual start of the game, were. Half-Life 2 did something similar and a bit more interactive, but the original sticks out in my mind.
I'm having a hard time coming up with these. A lot of games I play have slow burn openings. Maybe Mass Effect? At least up until the part where you play it (only because that Eden Prime section is visually lacking and the enemy placement is boring. Also, you don't have any cool gear yet!). I love everything about that intro on the Normandy, though. Then there's Mass Effect 2. and the zero gravity/drama scene. I was already super hyped about playing that game, and emotionally scarred by the immediacy of things being destroyed. Even the opening tutorial stuff was well executed and exciting.
- Final Fantasy VII- I absolutely adore Midgar's design.
- Super Metroid- They really outdone themselves at the time capturing the eerie mood of the game from the start.
- Sonic 2- Still one of my all time favorite stages in any video game
- Mirror's Edge- Really captures the essence of the game from the get go
- Bayonetta- Just off the wall shit I didn't see coming in a good way
- Shenmue- Very immersive setting and just makes you want to explore
- Final Fantasy Tactics- That opening chapel stage still sticks out in my mind to date.
- Saga Frontier- I liked the diversity of the opening levels and how they played into each of the character's plots.
I'm" sure I could name more but those are off the dome.
(hmm, most of my favourite games don't really work for this thread... Planescape: Torment's introduction is alright, but not "great". the best parts of that game come later for sure. same with the baldur's gate games, and all of bethesda's games.)
it may not be cool to cite two of the most popular and overhyped games of all time, but these are the ones that leap to mind.
Call of Duty 4's first level (not counting the tutorial, obviously) is/was pretty damn impressive. Badass looking storm at sea seen from a chopper, and Price looking badass with his cigar, then you're rappelling down and then you're shooting enemies taken unawares through some windows a moment later. coming from cod2, in which the guns were obviously not nearly as precise, it felt super badass to be taking out guys so quickly. then you make your way across the deck, taking out a few guys as you go. then Ghost quotes Aliens, a super badass movie. Then you go inside the ship, and you get stuff like Price saying "check your corners" and other stuff cribbed from real modern military practices, which at the time felt super cool and badass. and then you're given free rein for a bit, more or less, in the firefights in the big rooms. and then you're escaping as the ship blows the fuck up, and jumping into a helicopter at the last moment and Price saves you. THEN you get the opening credits sequence. it felt amazing.
It's pretty impressive, especially for its time, and I can think of few other levels in games that get that action movie feel down better. I should also mention that it controlled super great in a simple and intuitive fashion, which is obviously really important, and something which mars a lot of other introductory levels in otherwise awesome games.
Final Fantasy 7's opening level was pretty great too. You're this gruff merc lookin dude with crazy hair and a badass lookin sword, breaking into a corporate plant to blow it up. The colour palette, the music, and the character and enemy design all were incredible (FOR THE TIME), and the combat system was super slick, for a jrpg. elements of cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic genres, fused with bits of sci-fi, and square's madness.
Even if the story was a little meh in parts (overall not nearly as good as ff6 imo), and marked the beginning of square's descent into making style over substance games crammed with ridiculous melodrama, that opening level was and is pretty fucking sweet.
I just played the opening to dead space 2 and its first level is so tense, absolutely incredible. Other good first levels, I'd say
- Bruce Wayne opening in Arkham city
- Saints Row the third
An opening to a game I think is really important as it has to grab your attention to make you want to play and if not in some cases it has an opening has put me off a game entirely. I think they're all excellent openings which set the tone for the games and get you really interested and engrossed in those games.
I'm sure there is more but I cant think of any right now.
Bioshock: I remember when my character was just floating in water and not moving for a long time, because I didn't realize that the cutscene stopped and that I was in-game.
Enslaved: The whole first level where the airship is breaking up in flight and you're traversing your way along it is awesome.
Gears of War: Just because it was the first 360 game I played.
Goldeneye: Motherfucking Dam Yo
Bioshock, all of the God of War games, Fallout 3 after you leave the vault, Crysis has an amazing sky diving sequence from the get-go, and gives you a fantastic amount of free reign to tackle objectives.
Mass Effect 2, Saints Row: The Third, Dead Space 1&2 had terrifying opening levels, especially the first game where you had no idea what you were getting into, and suddenly there are lengthy monsters indiscriminately killing your crew, and you're helplessly watching from behind a window and then you're stuck one-on-one with a monster and you have to bust your ass to get the fuck outta dodge, and what a great experience it was.
Call of Duty 4's nighttime ship level was the fucking coolest thing my twelve year old eyes had ever seen.
The first 10-15 minutes of Indigo Prophecy were amazing. And then it goes steadily downhill for the entire rest of the game.
Yes, definitely. I almost forgot about this. That opening was intense; pity you're also right about how that game went downhill :(
I remember my socks being absolutely blown off by the opening of Uncharted 2. I think in part it was an experience heightened greatly by the fact I was playing it on a 50 inch plasma with surround sound and overall the entire scene is just phenominal.
Agree completely! Can't believe it took this far in the thread for Uncharted 2 to get a mention.
Anywhoo a lot of the obvious picks have been posted (God of War games, BioShock, Dead Space games, SRTT MGS2 ect.) so I'll chime in with DMC4. I mean it opens with you fighting Dante for Christmas sake! Matter 'O fact, DMC3 has a rather bitchin' opening as well.
- I also really liked Resistance: Fall of Man's opening. For starters it was my first current game I ever played, and it was a thrill to charge in and watch as pretty much everyone else around you just gets mowed down in seconds. Very effective in putting the reality (so to speak) across that the Chimera are absolute killing machines.