Gaming’s greatest intros

Gaming's greatest intros - The Last of Us
Gaming's greatest intros - The Last of Us

The opening minutes of any game have a lot of weight resting on their shoulders. An intro often tries to capture the tone and pace of a game in a way that makes us want to keep playing. It’s definitely not easy to pull off, but when done right it creates some of the best moments in gaming.

As players, we want our introduction to the virtual world we’re entering to be exciting and memorable. The following five games all manage to achieve that and then some. There’s action, suspense, and lots of drama writ large across these fantastic openings.

The opening minutes of any game have a lot of weight resting on their shoulders. An intro often tries to capture the tone and pace of a game in a way that makes us want to keep playing. It’s definitely not easy to pull off, but when done right it creates some of the best moments in gaming.

As players, we want our introduction to the virtual world we’re entering to be exciting and memorable. The following five games all manage to achieve that and then some. There’s action, suspense, and lots of drama writ large across these fantastic openings.

The Last of Us

Gaming's Greatest Intros - The Last of Us

No one is ready for The Last of Us to rip their heart out in its first minutes. You witness the apocalypse tear up lives on both a large-scale and deeply personal level. Playing as 12-year-old Sarah, you explore your own home as scenes of destruction flicker across the TV screen and sirens wail in the distance.

Suddenly, the chaos outside is bursting in through your patio doors and the Infected are in your face. It’s a change in tone that has the impact of a car crash – in fact, a few minutes later, you’re in one. It’s at this point that you take control of Joel, fighting to survive as the infection spreads like wildfire all around him. It’s intense, dramatic, and it sets up the stakes for the rest of the game in a way that leaves you trying to catch your breath.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Gaming's Greatest Intros - Uncharted 2

The first Uncharted game established Nathan Drake as a cocksure adventurer who always manages to scrape his way out of a situation. The start of Uncharted 2 is brilliant because it drops us into a nail-biting moment that acts as a reminder of the character.

Nate is bleeding heavily while sat in a train carriage hanging precariously over a cliffedge. Welcome to Uncharted 2! He then falls towards certain death before managing to grab hold of a pole at the last second. From there you leap back up the carriage as it falls apart. You don’t get to breathe until you get to the top where the story of the game is established in flash back. Phew.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Gaming's greatest intros - Skyrim

Skyrim’s intro has been immortalised in memes but don’t let that tarnish it. You wake up in a cart with some rebels who are about to be beheaded. But when it’s time for you to meet the chopping block there’s an interruption. At first it’s a distant sound, but it quickly turns into a moment of exhilaration and panic – a dragon arrives.

The fire-breathing lizard helps you escape with your head on your shoulders but then you have to evade its attacks. You run between hot blasts and collapsing buildings while everyone around you screams and dies. From this moment on you know you’re off on an epic fantasy adventure that will eventually have you slaying the beast that gave you a second chance at life.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Gaming's Greatest Intros - Star Wars

Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has Darth Vader at the height of his power, and you get to play as him right at the start. In the opening mission, you play as Vader as he searches for Jedi on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk.

What makes it brilliant is that you have all the might of Darth Vader at your disposal. You’re able to force choke people from a distance and effortlessly fling everyone out of your way. It feels very good to be such a nasty character.

Medal of Honor: Frontline

Gaming's Greatest Intros - Medal of Honor

The intro to Medal of Honor: Frontline is so good that every military first-person shooter since has been trying to recapture its blend of action and drama. You’re a US soldier landing on Normany beach on D-Day trying to push back against the German frontline with nothing but a rifle in your hand.

Your fellow soldiers are dying all around you due to the relentless machine gun fire up ahead. It almost feels like complete luck if you make it past the first few checkpoints. Blowing up the sand dunes and taking command of the bunkers at the top of the beach is a fantastic feeling.

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