Some people believe that no video game should have a slow opening, while others believe that it’s important to learn about a new world in an unhurried and natural way. Whatever opinion you hold on the best video game openings, it is often hard to argue against a game that expertly throws you into the thick of things with an immaculately crafted opening segment.
Sometimes, there’s no helping it, things just go wrong. Scrambling around to survive or simply get your bearings is tough when it seems like the entire world is ending around you. Some of the best games of all time throw you into the heat of a conflict in a matter of minutes, passing up on that often sought after slow build.
10 Mass Effect 2
There likely isn’t any explanation needed for Mass Effect 2’s inclusion here, especially if you’re a huge fan of the series. The opening to the second game shocked and continues to shock people picking up the title for the first time to this day.
Rather than some upbeat space hijinks to get reacquainted with the crew of the Normandy, everything goes horribly wrong and you pretty much die at the beginning of the game. It’s a shocking decision, but one that makes a lot of sense in hindsight.
9 Resident Evil 2 Remake
Something truly beautiful about most of the Resident Evil series is that things tend to go seriously wrong right from the start. Being trapped in a mansion, hunted by a fierce creature, attacked by local villagers, and in Resident Evil 2’s case, unwittingly winding up trapped in a zombie-filled city.
While none of the games start with the heroes in great shape, Resident Evil 2 Remake really goes the extra mile. Rather than starting with a big crash and zombies in the streets, you get a more claustrophobic gas station to start, before then being dumped into that whole mess.
It’s easy to forget about just how hopeless your situation actually is at the beginning of Skyrim. You’re being transported to your execution, and you even watch one take place before things get even worse: a random dragon appears.
Sure, it all ends up working out for you, but that doesn’t mean the situation isn’t horrible. You narrowly avoid a beheading to nearly being roasted alive by a dragon, a situation that most wouldn’t exactly call ideal. Still, it was all necessary to set out on one of the grandest adventures in gaming.
7 A Link To The Past
Zelda A Link To The Past Master Sword
For those that somehow haven’t played it, A Link To The Past is a deceptively dark game. Prior to even entering the first real dungeon of the game, the entire kingdom is turned upside down, and you narrowly escape with the princess.
Before you can even do that, the only family you have, your uncle, is killed and left alone in the sewers of Hyrule Castle. Even worse, you’re just a kid that has to experience all of that. Luckily, Link is a hero who will always press forward no matter the staggering odds that are ahead of him — even if he doesn’t have a trusty companion.
6 The Last Of Us
Anyone who’s played The Last Of Us will likely never forget just how impactful and heartbreaking its opening segment is. It’s a kind of fakeout, letting you believe the game will start out slowly, but a sudden outbreak finds its way into Joel and Sarah’s home.
Attempting to flee, you come across waves of infected people as they attack innocent civilians just trying to escape the violence. The entire segment is punctuated by initially being separated from Tommy and then the gut-punch that is the tragic death of Joel’s daughter Sarah.
5 Dead Space 2
Few games really kick things off the way that Dead Space 2 does. For a moment, it looks like Isaac might get the much-needed help he deserves, but that takes a quick turn when he starts seeing his dead girlfriend.
Only minutes later, Isaac is woken up by someone attempting to rescue him, but that’s when things get really bad. With his arms still bound, you have to get Isaac to safety as Necromorphs rush toward him from every direction. It’s a shocking start, but one that gave the series the legendary status it once held.
While many games allow the events of the story to go bad in a cinematic sense, Bloodborne was never going to be the kind of title to do that. Often regarded as one of the toughest Souls games, Bloodborne gives players a reality check right from the start.
As you stumble out into the world, still gripping with the somewhat new controls, you come across a werewolf-like beast. The issue is that you have no good way to defend yourself and it can take you out in a few swings. Everyone died to it on their first try, but it’s intentional so that’s okay.
3 Uncharted 2
It should be said that things go wrong right from the start of Uncharted 2 in a bit of a cheap way since the opening is really more of a flash-forward in the story. Despite that, the opening to this sequel is still one of the most harrowing experiences in gaming.
Who needs to start a game having a nice conversation in a car when you could be dangling over an astounding height in a train? The entire segment is one that sends most people’s bodies into an involuntary clench, especially as the train seems to fall apart around you.
2 Fallout 4
The Fallout series as a whole starts out in a pretty dire situation. The game takes place in a post-nuclear wasteland, something that puts the entire world in a significant bit of trouble. Still, Fallout 4 arguably starts out with everything going wrong immediately.
Rather than growing up below the surface, you have to flee from impending nuclear strikes to take cover in a vault. Once there, you enter a kind of cryostasis, but you wake up just in time to watch your child get abducted and your wife shot.
1 Super Mario Odyssey
Most Mario games are pretty simple, but Mario Odyssey managed to pack a few surprises into the classic formula. Right from the get-go, Mario is battling Bowser, but things don’t exactly go his way. Using his mighty top hat, Bowser actually bests Mario.
He actually fails to save Princess Peach initially and has to enlist the help of Cappy in order to make the save. Beaten, tossed off of a ship, and failing to save the girl puts Mario in a pretty bad spot right from the start of the game.