Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
I don't know about you, but the way a game begins is nearly as important to me as how the experience resolves before the credits roll (some, even after). A solid introduction—whether that be through a gorgeous cinematic, enthralling gameplay moment, or a combination of both—not only gives the player an incredible first impression, but fuels their curiosity and desire to dive deeper into the experience.
It's not easy to craft a compelling opener, but the eleven games we've selected truly exceed in this area. NOTE: In favor of giving as many franchises as possible a moment in the spotlight, we've limited our selections to one game per series. Otherwise, this list would have likely been dominated by all of Mr. Kojima's handiwork.
Before Rocksteady took at stab at making a game starring the Dark Knight, the industry lacked a truly triple-A single-player superhero game. That all changed with Batman: Arkham Asylum, and the game's introduction sets things up in spectacular fashion. The dark and ominous tone, coupled with Mark Hamill's voice as the Joker, makes the several minutes of embedded video above some of the most entertaining Batman media I have ever seen. The first time I ever saw that opening, it became readily clear to me that Rocksteady was onto something incredible.
The original PlayStation is home to some of the best cinematics and music in all of gaming. Mash the two together and you've got Chrono Cross, an incredible role-playing game developed by the guys at Squaresoft. The trio of Final Fantasy RPGs often steal the PSone spotlight, but this engaging adventure holds its own with the rest in its genre. Watching this intro brings me back to the early days of the PlayStation and reminds me how incredible Square's music was back in the day.