Super Metroid astounded gamers in 1994 when it debuted on the SNES. It’s a testament to the overall quality of the game that it manages to hold up incredibly well even after all these years. But it’s the opening scenes to Super Metroid that leaves a memorable lasting impression. After a brief recap of the events of the original Metroid and Metroid II, players assume the role of Samus as she answers a distress call from a distant space colony. There she finds an isolated and creepy space station and an unexpected appearance by Ridley. To make matters worse, a self-destruct sequence is triggered, resulting in an intense escape back to her ship. While future Metroid games have used this opening structure in more grander scenarios, it was Super Metroid that did it first. It’s a memorable opening to a game that cemented the series as a key franchise for Nintendo.
Final Fantasy VII
How do you quash fan fears that the jump to 3D won’t spell doom for your long-running RPG series? How about one of the most unforgettable opening scenes that is right up their with the best of the best. The anticipation for Final Fantasy VII couldn’t have been higher when it was released on the original PlayStation but no one could’ve prepared for its amazing opening when they first booted it up. The beautiful CGI opening, the badass music, the entire opening mission, it’s some of Final Fantasy’s best moments all crammed into an epic 15 minutes. It’s going to be very interested to see how SquareEnix intends to recreate this moment in the FF7 Remake, whenever that decides to release.
It’s always a tough task launching a new IP, but for Gearbox Software they made it look easy with their 2009 breakout hit, Borderlands. Thanks to eye-catching cel-shaded graphics, a perfect song choice from the band Cage the Elephant, and a spunky personality, it was hard not to get caught up in the huge sandbox that was Pandora. It’s an awesome opening and does a great job of setting the tone and humor of the series. Man, anyone else getting an itch to play some Borderlands all of a sudden?
Batman: Arkham Asylum
It’s odd that a Batman story opens up with the capture of the Dark Knight’s central villain, the Joker. But it’s this exact narrative trickery that sets off the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Even Batman himself isn’t confident in bringing Joker in, and he is right to trust his gut because not long after, the Joker’s real motivations are revealed in an explosive way. Arkham Asylum’s opening is notable for its restraint, choosing to establish a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty. Instead of having Batman face off against a bunch of baddies, developer Rocksteady is more interested in getting players invested in its story and the relationship between Batman and Joker.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild begins quite abruptly. Our hero Link is, as usual, awoken from a deep slumber before stepping out in a gorgeous but defeated and broken Hyrule. In a matter of minutes, players are in control of Link with nothing but some raggedy clothes and a stick for a weapon. The next hour or so is classic Nintendo, gradually introducing new mechanics while allowing the player to explore The Great Plateau and feel like they’re discovering it all organically. It can be a bit long, but Nintendo accomplishes what many game makers can’t: a tutorial that doesn’t feel like a tutorial. Only after you’ve left the beginning area do you understand its purpose. It’s a slice of the game’s fantastic and wonderful game design that teases the epic adventure ahead.
So there you have it! Do you agree with our list of the 10 best opening scenes ever in games? We’re anxious to hear what you have to say, so why not share your thoughts in our comment section below.