No video game is perfect. Critics and fans should always have an open mind when booting up a game for the first time and exercise patience during a title’s opening hours. As evidenced in the great games with bad openings below, some hits may start out a bit rough, but ultimately end up being quite awesome by the time their credits begin to roll. Be warned that each entry in this list does contain mild spoilers, so continue at your own risk.
Great Games With Bad Openings – Metal Gear Solid V
Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid games have always had strange elements mixed into them for good measure. With the recent Metal Gear Solid V, Kojima teetered on what should be acceptable for an introductory level. As an injured Big Boss, players must crawl through a hospital that’s being overrun by a mess of strange occurrences which includes a dude who can control fire with his mind.
For the first hour of the experience, fans have to follow closely behind a man with a semi-exposed ass. It’s hilarious on paper, but a bit irritating in practice, considering the game’s promise of a huge open world lingering in the distance. Players will be relived when they finally ride away from the hospital. It means that they’ll finally be able to make horses poop on command in the Afghan desert.
Great Games With Bad Openings – Fallout 2
Fallout 2‘s Temple of Trials brutally tests fans of the franchise right after they finish choosing stats for their customizable character. Players must use a specific set of skills to complete the tutorial, which immediately defeats the player choices the game prides itself on. The title doesn’t notify users about these feats beforehand nor does it guide them on how to tackle these initial obstacles. They’re almost literally thrown down into the gauntlet.
The Temple’s guard won’t let fans pass unless they complete each and every trial, no matter how painstakingly difficult it may be for those who chose anything outside of a melee build. Sure, players can blow up doors instead of picking locks and can negotiate with the level’s boss to avoid fighting him, but there’s little other variety to be found here. It’s surprising, especially considering the vast array of options available to users when they encounter most other obstacles in Fallout 2 going forward.
Great Games With Bad Openings – Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts II builds on the excellent action JRPG mechanics that made first game great and introduces fans to even more Disney properties like Pirates of the Caribbean, Tron, and Mulan. Though it follows Sora, Donald, and Goofy on a quest to track down the elusive Organization XIII, it begins with a much different cast of characters. For a while, it seems as though another spiky haired boy named Roxas is the main hero of Kingdom Hearts II—a disappointment, considering how fans had waited three years to play as Sora again.
For the first couple of hours, players are left wondering who Roxas really is as they help him and his friends complete chores around Twilight Town and sneak into deserted alleyways. At the end of this long tutorial, fans discover that the character is actually Sora’s Nobody, an enemy species similar to the Heartless. Roxas isn’t explored a lot further in Kingdom Hearts II, making the game’s introductory sequence feel a bit unnecessary in hindsight.
Great Games With Bad Openings – God Hand
God Hand is a PlayStation 2 exclusive that has players run around a Western-inspired world in order to beat up opponents with an array of fighting techniques. Though not for everyone, the title is a treat for fans of over-the-top humor and purposefully nonsensical story lines. It does take some time to get used to, as its opening level does nothing to suggest what buttons players have to press to execute combos or what exactly is going on from a narrative perspective. The main menu helps a little, though fighting several buff dudes at once seems a bit unfair for newbies.
Great Games With Bad Openings – Okami
Okami has received many ports since its debut on the PlayStation 2 in 2006 for good reason. It’s one of the best games of the sixth console generation, seamlessly melding a unique art style with an interesting world filled with depth and branching side quests. Despite the praise Okami has gotten throughout the years across hardware, this classic doesn’t begin as gracefully as one might think.
The tutorial of the game jumps back and forth between gameplay segments and lines of exposition-heavy dialogue. While neither is terrible on its own, the constant stopping, reading, and starting again can become a bit frustrating, especially after longer paragraphs of text. This introduction is useful in explaining the game’s controls and story, though it ultimately feels as if developer Clover Studio could have restricted the narrative elements to one segment rather than separating them out.
Sometimes a slow build-up can work to a game’s advantage, enticing eager fans to learn more about a title’s world. On the other hand, drawn-out introductory sequences can frustrate people who just want to pick up a controller and play. None of the titles above are bad by any stretch of the imagination. However, each does serve as a reminder that falling in love with video games isn’t always as immediate as one may think.