Festive Feature: Top 5 Opening Cinematics of 2009
Written Monday, December 21, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Yesterday we kicked off our countdown to Christmas with the first of our festive Top 5’s, focusing on the best co-op games of the year. Today our attention shifts slightly from substance and appeal to focussing on pure eye candy. In this second Top 5 we take a look at the fanciest and slickest opening cinematics from the whole of 2009.
Whilst we did take into account substance and content, if you didn’t look good, you weren’t getting on the list. Simple as. Some people call us vain... and I’d actually agree somewhat. Let's face it though, opening cinematics should be designed to "wow" the masses. Join us as we countdown from 5 to 1, looking at each one and basking in their pixelated goodness.
Kicking off our top 5 is none other than Valve’s opening cinematic for Left 4 Dead 2. Whilst introducing us to a brand new cast of characters, Valve’s opening cinematic for their zombie-co-op-shooter not only looks sublime, but has plenty of one-liners, a shed load of blood and more zombie decapitation than you’d possibly ever need. And this is before you’ve even stepped foot in the game.
Aside from the obvious senseless violence, it does exactly what an opening cinematic should do. It introduces the new weapons, new characters, new environments, the new specials and gives us a little sunshine to stare at. Something that’s new to the series. And did we say it was gory? No? We love gore!
The DJ Hero opening cinematic is... how do I put this... bloody surreal. That’s part of its appeal though. Half of it doesn’t make sense, I mean, is that mean to be a giant needle that they’re all vying to get control of? Either way, who cares? Visually, it’s stunning. It has a fantastic soundtrack to go along with it. It’s confusing. It has break-dancing in it, and last but not least, it has Grandmaster Flash spinning up a whirlwind.
If there is ever a good advert for the game, this has got to be it. It’s one of few cinematics I actually watch every time I fire the game up... partly because I’m still trying to work it out. Seriously, I mean who the hell is that trucker and what is he doing trying to wrestle that needle from the Hobbit? Either way, uber awesome about sums the cinematic up.
Whilst Prototype the game wasn’t exactly the most amazing thing to look at – it was a sandbox game after all with the focus on gameplay – however, the same can’t be said for its opening CGI cinematic cut-scene. It’s as gory as Left 4 Dead 2’s, if not more, but with a touch more style about it. It’s definitely not one for the light-hearted – which is understandable considering the game’s 18+ rating – and actually, for an opening cinematic, it makes a few bold moves (around the 2:17 mark). It’s one of those cinematics you just can’t take your eyes off though. Alex Mercer is one shape-shifting bad-ass!
Like very few titles these days, Ensemble decided to deliver their early 2009 RTS title, Halo Wars, entirely with fancy CGI cut-scenes. Obviously being an RTS they didn’t have much choice, but the attention to detail throughout, fantastic character models and superb atmosphere meant that Halo Wars not only had one of the best opening cinematics of the year, but they had one of the best collective set of cinematics of the year also.
Throw in an epic Halo-esque musical score, depictions of the battle for Harvest and plenty of big ass spaceships, and you have sci-fi perfection. Everything about it looks spectacular and Ensemble did the Halo franchise justice with their presentation and accuracy.
Ever since we laid our eyes on the opening cinematic for The Beatles: Rock Band at E3 this year, we’ve been in love. The cinematic has two distinct art styles that meld together to form a perfect representation of everything The Beatles stood for. If The Beatles ever wanted to tell the story of their career in under 3 minutes, this cinematic would do just that.
The cinematic represents the stages of their careers, the transitions through them and treats us to some classic Beatles anthems along the way. All in under 3 minutes. Plus, a cinematic where a group of Englishmen drink tea on the back of a 200 foot elephant... you don't get better than that!
We were even nice enough to slap in the outro from the title as well because it’s equally as epic. A little shorter, but nevertheless, it still oozes the same class and style.
Join us tomorrow for our third festive top 5 focusing on the year’s best.