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5 Best Video Game Introductions of All Time

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They often say a work of art should possess the power to encapsulate the viewer's attention at first glance. Failing that, then what is the work but a minor effort of drawing a crowd? It seems only natural that we think of video games in the same way, to be fair. It's rare that their introductions actually capture us within the first few moments sprawled out on screen, for sure. But, like art, when they do draw our eyes to their beauty, only magic unfolds with every lick of paint we peel over.

It takes a lot to craft a captivating introduction in the gaming industry. It takes all the right ingredients to concoct the perfect location, the suitable protagonist, and even the tone that will ultimately pave the way for the rest of the journey. Mess up the brew and you'll find yourself lost, absent from the plot and the overall structure of the world you're thrown into. And that happens a lot. Perhaps even more than we'd like to admit. But on the other hand, many designers have gone on to spark beauty with a single match, without a box to burn through. Just take these five introductions, for example.


5. The Last of Us

The Last of Us Intro HIGH QUALITY - 4K HDR

Way before Naughty Dog dropped The Last of Us on our shoulders, we were toying around with the idea of boycotting zombie games altogether. The concepts were beyond stale, the clichés were almost sour-tasting from their excessive use, and the overall idea of bludgeoning brains for six hours just didn't excite us anymore. That is, until Ellie and Joel enrolled in the mix, effectively concocting a whole new brew with a much more refreshing note to sizzle on the tongue. That's when we knew that the dead, fittingly enough — had been resurrected. And they were looking flawless.

The Last of Us, unlike other zombie titles that hurl you into the action from the get-go, takes time to craft a narrative. Without the use of any overpowering dialogue or action, the scenes generally flow with ease and set the stage to a world of events that idle around the corner. Although consisting of barely fifteen minutes, everything that takes place essentially builds a story and patches the motives for the protagonist. There's a few laughs, a couple of scares — and a whole lot of emotion. And, to our amazement, Naughty Dog was able to capture that before the title card even popped. Well played.


4. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2 intro | Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection PS4

Speaking of Naughty Dog, it wouldn't seem right to discard the whole of the Uncharted timeline, what with its inventive approach to the adventure front. And Nathan Drake? Boy, now there's a well-rounded protagonist to help bolster a series of compelling introductions. Among Thieves, however, has to snag the gold in our books. Of course, being in an entirely different world to The Last of Us and its slow-paced narrative, Uncharted 2 does throw you in the deep end from the moment you hit start. And you know what? It works.

Clutching onto the edge of a train that hangs over a snow-drizzled cliff, you're quickly tossed into a spool of quick-time events and explosive drama in a desperate attempt to escape. Before any sort of context is even spread out to help paint the picture, you ascend the locomotive and fight for your life, without even understanding the consequences of your actions. Following on from that, a whole world comes crashing down on you, jam-packed full of exploits and ambition, paving the way to one heck of a journey that lingers on your mind for years to come.


3. Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3: Opening Scene/Mission 1080p

As far as opening cinematics go, Far Cry 3 pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to character building. Sort of like a cheap Hollywood B-list roster, the cast introduce themselves to you through quick-fire holiday snaps and dialogue. We get to see the personas unravel and the environment blossom, and that's all within the space of sixty seconds. But after that, however, the cheesy sitcom-like montage draws to a close, leaving us to quickly adjust to the gravity of the actual events taking place.

Out of the blue, pirate kingpin Vaas, along with his band of unruly thieves, capture you and your friends shortly after the skydiving expedition. Without any form of escape, you find yourself following your older brothers lead, desperate to flee the clutches of the roaming bandits. Through nail-biting phases of creeping between the nooks and crannies of the encampment, we're able to get a feel for the seriousness of the situation and the consequences should we place one toe out of line. And that's just one of the many reasons why we adore the Far Cry world. The chase section that follows the escape, however, is another hefty factor that contributes to the overall prominence of the opening chapter. All meshed together, you've got something truly remarkable, and probably one of the greatest introductions ever constructed.


2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim - Intro PC version in Ultra settings (1920x1080)

Elder Scrolls has been known to go big when it comes to designing the initiation sequences for their RPGs. Skyrim, however, manages to peel just slightly over its predecessors with its gloomy introduction that, if anything, forces us to greet death like an old friend. And that's something we just didn't really come to expect when booting up our epic adventure, to be honest. Rolling along in a cart, destined for the chopping block for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wow.

After crafting our ideal character and being sentences to death by beheading, we get to experience one of the biggest turn of events in gaming history. A dragon, crashing in just as we're about to meet our unfortunate demise on the block, throws us, along with every citizen into a blind panic. So what do we do? Well, we escape, of course. We slash our way through enemies, sneak under the cover of darkness, and evade the looming dragon that stalks the stone walls. Upon doing so, Skyrim unravels beneath our fist, giving us the world to do with as we please as the Dragonborn in training. Now that's one epic way to roll out the red carpet for us.


1. Tomb Raider (2013)

Tomb Raider 2013 - Intro & Mission 1 Gameplay HD

Now, there's a reason why I'm more inclined to push Tomb Raider into the top spot, mainly because of how well Crystal Dynamics was able to sever Lara's connection with her inhumane abilities that layered over earlier titles. No longer was we filling the shoes of an indestructible pistol-weilding hero, but a simple survivor, without the skills to so much as raft a few arrows together. And as far as the introduction to Tomb Raider goes, that character was portrayed beautifully.

For the first twenty minutes of gameplay, we're able to get an understanding of Lara's underlying problem of wanting to live up to the Croft name, only lacking the confidence to pursue it. But after becoming shipwrecked on the clustered network of cursed islands, that legacy is soon put to the test. Lara begins to adapt, and we get to watch from the front row every step of the way. With drama, tension, and a whole lot of island lore to boot, Tomb Raider practically gives us an entire banquet to feast over. And that's before the game even really starts, amazingly enough.


So, do any video game introductions stand out to you? Why not share them with us over on our social handle here? We'll be delving back into a few more worthy introductions over the coming weeks. Until then, let us know what your favourite is on our Facebook and Twitter links.


Had enough of introductions? Looking for more content? You could always take a look at one of these lists:

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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.