Video games, especially the bigger budget ones, have it tough. Not only do they have to provide hours of entertainment, but need to keep you engaged throughout. This is most apparent in the openings for certain games. Many are unskippable and important for introducing you to the story, gameplay and setting.
A lot are brilliant, but when you’re looking to replay a game, whether it’s for the second or tenth time, not being able to skip those opening bits can get a little tiring. Of course, when the opening is annoying, it’s much more agonizing.
Here are 14 unskippable parts in video games that probably dissuade you from replaying them.
Episode 0: Prologue: Awakening – Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
The opening hour of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is a doozy, but instrumental in setting up the entire story. It sees Venom Snake waking up in a hospital and falling in and out of consciousness. Of course, it’s not long before his enemies find him, first sending Quiet to assassinate him. Fortunately, a mysterious individual named Ishmael saves him, and Venom Snake crawls slowly through the hallways as chaos erupts in the hospital.
After encountering the Third Child and the Man on Fire, Venom Snake slowly finds his footing and proceeds to sneak around, evading detection from the enemy. They flee the hospital, securing an ambulance to escape the Man on Fire but are assailed by an attack helicopter and enemy soldiers before crashing. When things seem dire, they’re saved by the Third Child and a flaming whale (no, seriously).
Before the Third Child and the Man on Fire can attack Venom Snake (while riding their sweet flaming pegasus), he’s rescued by Ocelot and given a shotgun to stop their pursuers. The chase runs for a while, and the two fall off a crumbling cliff to end the episode.
Even as an example of deft pacing and mixing exhilarating action with tense stealth, the prologue is one long cinematic set piece. You’re not given complete control until the next episode to experiment with the new mechanics and sandbox elements. Jumping straight into Episode 1 on a new playthrough would have been appreciated.
The Tram Ride – Half-Life
Half-Life is both legendary and notorious for its opening. It sees Gordon Freeman riding the tram into Black Mesa. Back in the day, when most first-person shooters couldn’t wait to throw you into the action, story be darned, Half-Life took its time setting the atmosphere. It immersed you, making Black Mesa feel like a lived-in world in its own right.
Not only that, but it provided a quick peek at some of the environments that Gordon would traverse as he fought his way out. Truly one of the best intro sequences of all time. However, it takes about eight minutes before you can step off and follow a semi-guided path to your first objective. Revisiting this every few years is fine, but having to go through the tram ride again, even after clearing the game so many times, can get tedious.
“Hey, You. You’re Finally Awake” – Skyrim
Of course, you can’t mention iconic opening sequences without The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. Ralof’s “Hey, you. You’re finally awake” is still the stuff of legends. Even while prepping for your execution, you’re learning more about the world and its factions. Once it’s finally time, Alduin, the World-Eater, suddenly appears and sets everything ablaze, prompting your escape. From there, you can go with the Stormcloaks or the Imperial Legion.
It’s a memorable intro that players have likely seen dozens of times as they restart Skyrim, remake their characters and go with different builds (before inevitably settling on Stealth Archer, yet again). Naturally, it wouldn’t take long for even diehard fans to get tired of the same start. Various mods are available to let you skip it, while others go even further, providing different starting points. It’s certainly helped keep things fresh.
“Hey! You’re Not Dead!” – Borderlands 2
Ralof’s opening lines in Skyrim are still endearing, even if we’d much rather skip the intro. Borderlands’ Claptrap is just exhausting. Borderlands 2 was the peak of this because, as the best game in the series, it was replayed for years and years before any hint of Borderlands 3. As a result, everyone who played would have to hear “Hey! You’re not dead!” and other annoying dialogue while going through the entire tutorial section in Windshear Waste at least twice.
That’s because it’s unskippable in Normal and True Vault Hunter Mode. Ultimate Vault Hunter at least lets you skip past all that to “Cleaning up the Berg.” But if you don’t want to bother with its Slag-heavy gameplay, the first two modes are the go-to. Regardless, if you’re revisiting Borderlands 2 after years to experience a Gearbox Software title with halfway decent comedy, there’s sadly no escaping from Claptrap.
Prologue – Fallout 4
As much as many like to bag on Fallout 4 (myself included), the intro did have some redeeming qualities. The character creation tool felt fresh and intuitive, and meeting someone from Vault-Tec (or slamming the door in their face) was pretty neat. Of course, the panic that ensued once the nukes started dropping was also palpable, as the Sole Survivor and their family struggled to the nearest Vault.
From there, they’re put into cryosleep and awaken to see their significant other killed and their child, Shaun, kidnapped by some bandits. Upon waking next, the Sole Survivor ventures into the Commonwealth, meets Codsworth, their old Mr Handy bot, and eventually goes to Concord to fight some Raiders before donning Power Armor to battle a Deathclaw. From there, you meet Preston Garvey and the Minutemen and start building a settlement.
You could skip everything after emerging from the Vault, not even bothering with Garvey (especially if you don’t want to hear that another settlement needs your help ad nauseam through the game). However, the opening up to that point, like Skyrim, is mandatory, no matter how many times you’ve finished the game. Also, as neat as it may be, it doesn’t compare to the opening dialogue in Skyrim, the tension of waiting for your execution or encountering Alduin for the first time.
The Intro – Redfall
It’s no secret that Redfall isn’t a great game, whether it’s the controls, the visuals, the UI, the loot, the AI, etc. However, assuming you can find some enjoyment, you’ll need to deal with the boring opening. Why? Because there is no post-game. Once you defeat the final boss, that’s it – you’ve saved Redfall and go back to the start. No free roam, nothing, even if you have any pending collectibles or side quests.
Want to choose a different character in the middle of the campaign? You can’t do that without starting a new one. One way or another, you’re going back to the same ferry, fighting the same boring bad guys and venturing once more to the fire station to listen to all the NPCs you don’t care about. Joy.
Twilight Town Prologue – Kingdom Hearts 2
Don’t get me wrong – I like the Twilight Town section in Kingdom Hearts 2. It has that element of mystery where you were unsure of Roxas while things slowly unraveled over each day. It was also good for teaching the different mechanics, culminating in the big reveal and finally returning to Sora to properly begin the game. That was all fine. Would I do it again, pushing through all those hours to get to the actual meat and potatoes of the game? Heck no.
The sheer size of this opening segment means that even if there was an option on New Game Plus to skip it, you shouldn’t because of collectibles. It’s too late to go back and change any of this with a patch (at least on consoles), so you’ll have to go through the motions again on each playthrough. Got it memorized?
The Great Plateau – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of my favorite games of all time, perhaps surpassed only by Tears of the Kingdom. I also maintain that its opening sequence in The Great Plateau is one of the best in gaming. You’re introduced to many core mechanics, from cooking, climbing and combat to Shrines, Sheikah Towers and Koroks in a fairly well-paced space. Also, getting your hands on the different Runes and trying them out, from lifting chests at the bottom of a lake with Magnesis to hitting boulders at enemies with some help from Stasis, is great.
However, by the fourth or fifth playthrough, it gets old, especially since it’s a tutorial and preparation stage for the bigger journey ahead. Yet the premise of going anywhere in any order or straight to Hyrule Castle to face Calamity Ganon kind of wears thin when you’re always starting in the same place every time.
Hilariously enough, you can unintentionally leave the Great Plateau with Magnesis, Stasis and clever use of a door to go flying out. The downside is that you won’t have the Paraglider and must return for the other Runes (unless you’re bold enough to manage without any of them).