The most jaw dropping openings in modern games

One hell of an introduction.

Just like the first chapter in a book or the opening scene in a movie, a video game needs to pull you in and not let go after hitting the start button. Sure, slower openings are fine and all, but let's be honest, when a game begins with a mind blowing bang, you're not going to want to let go of that controller anytime soon. So with that said, here are a few games that made my jaw drop by the time the main title scrolled passed the screen, cementing my palms firmly to my controller for countless hours. 


Mass Effect 2

Speaking of opening with a bang, this title, quite literally did just that. My eyelids were wide open as I controlled my Commander Shepard through an exploding Normandy. While patrolling a section of space, Shepard and the gang are ambushed by an unusual ship and are promptly barraged by lasers which effortlessly tear through the Normandy's hull. Chaos instantly engulfs the player as Shephard hurries the crew to the escape pods. It's shocking enough seeing your trusty Normandy blown to pieces, but then the unthinkable happens, Commander Shepard is killed! The scene closes with our hero floating through space, slowly suffocating until the screen goes black, revealing the Mass Effect 2 title. It was a bold start to an undoubtedly epic game. 

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 

Sitting in a snow-covered train car, our hero, Nathan Drake finds himself disoriented and covered in blood. He's definitely seen better days; the game's only just started and it already looks like the charming adventurer has met his end. But what looks like a situation that couldn't get any worse, things do just that as you find out the train is, in fact, dangling over a cliff. You have no choice but to escape the train before it crashes hundreds of feet down the cliff side by not only shimmying down the interior of the car, but climbing up the outside of it as well! It reintroduced us to the game's mechanics without putting us through a shoehorned tutorial, feeling much more natural and keeping in line with the franchise's cinematic feel. Eventually, we find out this whole sequence is a flashback, but what a great way to reunite us with Nathan Drake. No wonder this scene was featured on the game's box art. 


BioShock's opening combines 'HOLY CRAP!', mystery, majesty, and horror in one fell swoop. It all begins with our protagonist enjoying a cigarette while riding a seemingly normal plane, that is until the plane crashes into the freezing Atlantic below, thrusting the player into a frenzy of flame and salt water. With no other survivors in sight, you navigate your way through the burning ocean to what is the only visible sanctuary, a light house not far in the distance. Exploring the mysterious light house, you climb its soaking steps until you enter inside, greeted by a golden statue and banner stating, 'No gods or kings, only man.' If this wasn't odd enough, you eventually stumble upon a submersible that takes you deep into the ocean below. At first, all is quiet. Sharks swim past, whales' moans fill the dark water, it's all eerily serene until the unthinkable appears before you. The city of Rapture fills the vehicle's window, its 1940's art deco architecture being an unforgettable sight, albeit a foreboding one that immediately sucks the player into its unique world. 

The Last of Us

The Last of Us is the perfect example of an opening that not only makes you care for its characters within seconds of introducing them, but one that puts you into a state of depression. Right off the bat, we are introduced to our protagonist, Joel and his daughter, Sarah. Both are instantly relatable, thanks to the amazing writing and voice work that sells them as real people. At first, it seems like just another normal night as the player is, surprisingly enough, given control of Sarah, not Joel as expected. You are given free reign to explore the house while the ominous atmosphere gradually builds from alarming news reports playing on the T.V. and missed calls on your dad's phone. Inevitably, everything goes to hell when the town is attacked by ravenous creatures, sending Sarah and Joel on a horrific car ride. The mayhem occurs beyond the truck's windows until a violent car crash forces the player to continue on foot. Finally, the scene ends with a punch to the gut when Joel, who's carrying a wounded Sarah, is stopped by a soldier. He tries pleading with him, but it's no use, the man fires and Joel's daughter is tragically killed. This scene is heart wrenching and proof that video games can carry an emotional heft to rival film. 

Halo 4

At the end of Halo 3, we bid farewell to the heroic Master Chief as he drifted into an unknown fate after having been stranded in deep space. It was the end of the trilogy, but we knew that the legendary Spartan couldn't be left like this, he had to come back... And oh, boy did he. Halo 4 opens with his reawakening by his A.I. companion, Cortana. She informs you that the ship you're on is under attack by an old foe and that you must find a way off before you're outnumbered. You race to find an escape while the Forward Unto Dawn is boarded by hostile Covenant and torn to pieces by an approaching planet's gravitational pull. It was great to step back into the boots of Spartan 117 and this was one hell of a way to do it.

Do you agree with my picks? If not, please feel free to comment below and let me know what games I left out!

Click here for gaming's most depressing endings!

Video sources: Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 2, BioShock, The Last of Us, &  Halo 4

Published Aug. 19th 2015
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