10 Boring Opening Levels That Nearly Sent Us to Sleep
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Chapter 1
A strong start to a game is majorly important. If it fumbles out of the gate, it better have a damn good middle and end section to make up for it. Luckily, in the case of Red Dead Redemption 2, its later sections do make up for its lackluster opening, but that doesn’t excuse them. It’s especially sad to see a Rockstar game with such a slow start seeing as a lot of people gain enjoyment from the company’s games by roaming free in their open worlds. Red Dead Redemption 2 halts you right out of the gate with hours of snow trudging and tutorials. In a game about freedom, its opening is strangely limiting.
Driver – Tutorial
At least with Red Dead Redemption 2, its tutorials are a breeze to get through. The same definitely can’t be said about Driver —which contains the tutorial from Hell. It’s hardly a tutorial at all. driver essentially asks you to master the game before you’re allowed to play it. You have nine minutes to pull off nine driving maneuvers perfectly. God forbid this ‘tutorial’ would actually tell you how to do any of them. I have no doubt that there were people out there who couldn’t muster the skill to even start the game proper. This has got to be the first opening level of any video game ever made, no exaggeration.
Fallout 3 – Vault Dweller
Playing as a baby in games like Among the Sleep, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, and Bio-Miracle Bokutte Upa is pretty fun. In an open-world RPG, though? Ehhh, not so much. That’s how Fallout 3 begins. It tries to show you what it’s like growing up as a vault dweller, which, as it turns out, isn’t that fun. Before you’re allowed to go out and explore, there isn’t much to do except watch your life go by. It’s not a bad way to set up the story, but it feels painfully slow on repeat playthroughs.
Final Fantasy XIII – Chapter 1
There’s nothing inherently wrong with long cutscenes nor long strings of cutscenes. But in the opening level of Final Fantasy XIII, even when you’re not in a cutscene, you feel like you’re in a cutscene. Final Fantasy XIII gets a lot of flack for its linearity, and it’s on full display in the opening hours. Its battle system, however, is quite good. There’s a constant need to shift your party’s jobs around the ever changing tides of battle. Unfortunately, the full potential of the battle system isn’t really unlocked until waaaaay later. So in Chapter 1, all you do is watch a cutscene, walk forward, hit the auto-battle command, rinse and repeat. The opening level of Final Fantasy XIII is in desperate need of a haste spell.
Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon – Opening Sections
Somehow, Game Freak managed to make the opening sections of Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon even more boring than that of the originals, which were damn slow to begin with. Ultra Sun & Moon’s opening is chock-full of cutscenes and tutorials. Undoubtedly, there was a good number of people who had already played Sun & Moon a year prior, so forcing them to sit through even more text boxes really wasn’t the smartest move.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Awakening
Metal Gear Solid V has a deep story full of mystery; that is evident right from the opening level. Unfortunately, while the initial story is interesting and exciting, the pace slows to a crawl —literally— as soon as you gain control of your character. Snake has just awakened from a coma, and the opening level nearly sent me into one. There’s stealth, sure, but it feels very automated. There’s only one way to clear this linear level, which is a bizarre way to begin the first open-world Metal Gear game.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – Forsaken Fortress
The Forsaken Fortress isn’t the very first level of The Wind Waker, but once you leave Offset Island, you’ll wish you never did. Nintendo thought it would be a good idea to make one of your first missions in The Wind Waker a stealth mission. It doesn’t work very well, but that’s not the main issue with the Forsaken Fortress —it’s the fortress itself. It’s so damn easy to get lost. The fortress is massive and every area looks the same. I still get lost on repeat playthroughs and sometimes give up on the game at this early instance. Running around in circles is only fun for so long—actually, no, it’s never fun.
Wolfenstein: The New Order – Deathshead’s Compound
Wolfenstien: The New Order was a major turning point for the series. Whereas the recent title was another generic shooter, The New Order stood out from the rest with its deep, varied gameplay and solid story. Now, you wouldn’t have known this had you given up during the game’s dull opening level. It starts off with an on-rails turret section, something which was fun the first thirty times we’d done it in shooters past but is just tedious nowadays. Follow this up with a couple mindless hallways of nazis, and you’ve got the makings of a very boring opening level. Stick with it, though. It gets good.
Kingdom Hearts II – Prologue
Kingdom Hearts II’s opening section where you play as Roxas has a big emotional payoff if you’ve played Roxas’ story in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. The problem is that 358/2 Days was an interquel released three years after Kingdom Hearts II. So if you played the game when it released in 2005, the opening just amounted to pure boredom. The first few hours of the Disney/Square Enix crossover features hardly any meaningful action. Instead, you have to play a few tedious mini-games over and over again, some of which are actual jobs. Stick it out through the painfully slow opening level, though, and you have one of the best PS2-era action RPGs.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Ordon Village
A Link to the Past opens with Link storming Hyrule Castle. Ocarina of Time opens with the Deku Tree dungeon. Twilight Princess opens with sheep herding and cat feeding. Yeah, it doesn’t quite have the immediate satisfaction of some previous entries. The Ordon Village opening level of Twilight Princess plods along at a snail’s pace. Instead of practicing with your sword and slingshot on enemies, you’re forced to partake in annoying training sessions. We get it, Link’s a rancher with humble beginnings, but Nintendo really could have reduced the amount of trivial activities the player is forced to do. The thought of replaying Twilight Princess becomes much less appealing from the moment of starting a new save file.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - Chapter 1
It's especially sad to see a Rockstar game with such a slow start seeing as a lot of people gain enjoyment from the company's games by roaming free in their open worlds. Red Dead Redemption 2 halts you right out of the gate with hours of snow trudging and tutorials. In a game about freedom, its opening is strangely limiting.