Have you ever started up a game, watched the opening cinematic, and immediately go absolutely bazonkers over the game (and yes, this is a word according to Urban Dictionary)? I know I have. Opening cutscenes are usually overlooked in review, because evidently, the reviewer has something better to talk about like how the game is equivalent to the second coming of Jesus. In my opinion, opening cutscenes are very important because they establish the foundation of the story and draw you into the game. Here are some of my favorite opening cinematics that i’ve experienced since the turn of the century.

Warcraft 3: In our industry, you can’t talk about opening cinematics without talking about a Warcraft game. Warcraft 3 is my favorite in the series, and has a great opening cutscene that is best described as (cliche comin’ right at ya) epic.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f96hKqkY_Y 425×344]

Halo: I’ve never been a huge Halo fan, but the intro cinematic in the original Halo was a great intro. Even more importantly, the next Halo game, Halo Reach, is a prequel to Halo. This means that I already know the ending, and it is this cutscene:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opYRbtw3MjU 425×344]

Watching the opening scene to Halo at the end of Halo Reach will surely make several hardcore fans crap their pants from nostalgia.

Final Fantasy X: This cutscene sets up the background and characters better than any other. I love how it establishes Tidus’ world and then you watch it crash and burn around him. It also gives you insight to who Tidus is used to being, a sports star and a celebrity.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqJYXoC1OQc 425×344]

Civilization 4: In my opinion, I’ve saved the best for last:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Bn8vjgs1Y8 425×344]

Notice how this really fits none of my criteria I have established for a good opening cinematic. You know what, I just love this because of the amazing music.  Civilization 4 has some of the best music I’ve ever heard in the game. And it has to be good, because the only time the music changes in the actual game is when you advance to the next era. In other words, you have to listen to the same 10 minute track for a long time (and I love it).

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Readers: What do you think? Do you agree with my choices? What are some of your favorite opening cinematics? Don’t be afraid to share.