10 Video Games That Were Never Better Than Their First Levels

From Resident Evil 4 and God Of War III to Super Mario 64, some games really hit the ground running!

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Sony Computer Entertainment

More often than not, video games try to ease players in gently. A tutorial level or two, a chance to familiarize oneself with the controls, blatantly obvious ‘use the right stick to move the camera’ directions. You’ve got to warm up before you take on the world, right? After all, where would Pokémon games be if your in-game rival didn’t interrupt you every seven yards with some new worthless advice?

The thing is, though, not all games are like this. Some prefer ‘hiding’ their tutorial aspects in dramatic setpieces, the action kicking off with an explosive bang. You’re still learning the basic controls and how the mechanics work, but you’re having such an incredible time that you barely notice.

There’s no hand-holding in these titles, that’s for certain. In these games, the first level (/section) is probably the best part.

10. Resident Evil 4

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Don’t get us wrong here: Resident Evil 4 is an electrifying, action-packed romp throughout. This was the title that marked the series’ paradigm shift from slow-burning survival horror to all-out, balls to the wall action. Our hero Leon S. Kennedy collects ammo like there’s no tomorrow and totes a range of weapons that past Resident Evil protagonists can only dream of. He also suplexes furious cultists so hard into the ground that their heads actually explode. Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t do half of this, not even in his heyday.

As such, it’s only fair to assume that such a high-octane game would have a suitable melodramatic opening sequence. Sure enough, Leon arrives in a rural European village believed to be the last known whereabouts of the U.S. President’s kidnapped daughter. The residents are soon found to be less than friendly, pursuing and trying to kill Leon as he barricades himself in one of their homes.

As we’re introduced to the Ganados (the intelligent and weapon-wielding enemies), Leon is besieged from all sides. Enemies climb a ladder to break in through the upstairs window and smash in through the front door. They attack with knives, scythes, their bare hands and even a chainsaw; all of this before the game’s intro screen even pops up.


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