A slow opening is not necessarily a bad thing. In the right hands, taking a slower approach to the beginning of a video game gives the player a chance to find their feet at a steadier pace. Having taken the time to master the basics of the game, a slow opening ensures a smoother ride throughout.
Another advantage is that the developers can then take the time to develop characters or the setting. Take for instance Assassin's Creed 2. The opening sees Ezio hopping about Florence, running errands for dear old mum and dad, as well as doing favours for his siblings. While not the most varied or dynamic in what it's asking you to do, the game takes the time to establish a strong emotional connection between the player and Ezio's family.
Yet, there are a plethora of games with slow openings that almost kill the game before it even has a chance of getting off the ground. In these instances, the game often forces the player to waddle through boring, linear spaces that are bookended with lengthy cutscenes.
A number of incredible video games are ashamedly carrying the baggage of a slow opening that nearly derails the entire experience.
10. Batman: Arkham Asylum
Okay, calm down. We all recognise that Batman: Arkham Asylum is incredible, it's the benchmark of how to make a great superhero video game. It is a tightly told story, set in the claustrophobic environment of Arkham Island, with at the time revolutionary combat mechanics, and a dastardly roster of characters. All sounds just about perfect. But remember the beginning? The actual opening? Not when The Joker unleashes his plan. Not when you fight the first round of thugs. Not stealthily taking out inmates. No, it's a long walk through intensive treatment.
Now, in fairness, the dawdle is used for narrative purposes. Throughout the opening crawl - which takes roughly 10 minutes by the way - hints of what is to come are sprinkled within the dialogue. Such as the fire at Blackgate penitentiary that caused all of Joker's crew to be moved to the asylum. Or even the brief encounter with Killer Croc that both alludes to the showdown with him the sewers, and sets up the notion of other villians Batman is set to face along the way.
With all that being said, though, it's still a boring trek through corridors and up lifts. While it might have been interesting and engrossing the first time around, upon further replays, it just becomes a slog for the player that you'd rather have the option of skipping.
Thinking about it, actually, all Rocksteady-developed Arkham games have fairly slow openings. Perhaps they just wanted to build up the anticipation of being the Batman.