At some point in our lives, we’ve all played a game with an introductory video that has absolutely blown us away. Regardless of how many times you’ve seen it, you just can’t bring yourself to skip it and the further you advance in the game, the more meaningful and exciting that video becomes. It never fails to get you pumped about playing.
Below is a list (in no particular order and not the least bit all-inclusive) of such videos in the RPG genre. For some of you, it’ll inspire a pleasant trip down memory lane; for others, it’ll inspire a trip to your favorite online retailer.
With 108 playable characters, a lot of the fun in this video is pointing out the ones you already have. Not to mention that it perfectly captures the theme and spirit of the game. Also, Luca Blight is friggin’ crazy.
Suikoden III was a big departure for the series. The 108 Stars of Destiny are still there, but there were three main characters to choose from whose stories were broken into chapters. With an emotionally charged theme and matching imagery of war and suffering, this video is all epic.
It was difficult to choose just one and while the third volume doesn’t quite stand-up to the first two in terms of music, the visual style and cryptic feel alone was enough to earn it a spot on the list. These videos don’t differ much from one another, so rather than provide a description beneath each, let me just summarize by saying that they all possess an irresistible feeling of eeriness and grandeur – even if the gameplay didn’t quite match.
Everyone marveled at the absurdity of a Final Fantasy and Disney union (those who haven’t played still do) and even I was skeptical. But I don’t think anyone still had reservations about that prospect when they watched this. It was an assurance that while you may be playing with Mickey’s gang, there would be some adult themes and a story that would be far from goofy.
Kingdom Hearts II
I watched this a few times before I actually got into the game. It’s epic and the music has a cool haunting quality to it, but those aren’t the only reasons why I kept coming back. It was because I had no clue what the hell was going on!
I’ve got to be honest, here: I did not enjoy Chrono Cross at all. Some people were able to look past the fact that it was a direct sequel to Chrono Trigger for SNES (and one of my all-time favorite games), but I could never forgive it for involving the original story and characters in such a nonhazardous and seemingly care-free manner. Even so, this has got to be some of the best video game music to-date and the video clips really piqued my interest. Before I knew better.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga
When I first saw this trailer, I had no idea who Etro Anime (the band responsible for that catchy electro-jazz ditty known as “Danger“) were, but I’ve since become well-versed. This video blew me away simply because of the fascinating setting: Gangs of apocalypse survivors gunning each other down for dominance over the coveted Wasteland, when suddenly…. Anyway, as if that disembodied voice at the beginning wasn’t enough to grab your attention. “Warriors of Purgatory….”
Wild Arms 3
When it comes to RPGs, the Wild Arms series has always been the underdog. They’re just solid enough to establish a nice following, but not strong enough to be a heavy-hitter. Regardless, who can resist the appeal of an RPG that takes place in a fantasy western setting? The appropriate music and fitting character design drew me in quick and I wasn’t disappointed. Luckily, Wild Arms 3 is pretty different from its predecessors.
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
I don’t think I’ve ever been more in love with the setting and mood of a game. Where Fallout 3 emphasized the danger and lawlessness of a post-apocalyptic world, Fragile Dreams created an atmosphere of hope struggling to overcome loneliness and despair. The imagery in this video always makes me wonder “what if”.
Not only is this video absolutely gorgeous, but it somehow manages to capture the feeling of a World War II era epic in only a few minutes. There’s something inspiring about this video and it drops just enough hints about certain characters that make you want to get to know them. Brilliant – but what do you expect from the folks behind Skies of Arcadia?
So there you have it, folks: Some of the best introduction videos RPGs have to offer. Naturally, I’m sure there are a million more and I’ve probably missed a lot of your favorites, but we’d love to see your own opinions below! Which RPGs do you feel have the best openings and why?