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Starfield, Skyrim, Fallout 4 opening ranking

Introductions to video games are very important. They hook players in on the core premise of the game, set the narrative stakes, and teach players about the mechanics of the game. Openings are particularly key in massive open-world, single-player games, where the player will spend huge amounts of time with them. 

Bethesda specializes in these games, with their last three major titles, ‘Starfield’, ‘Fallout 4’ and ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’ all featuring huge and dynamic worlds for players to enjoy. Their introductions are key, though they aren’t created equally. Minor spoilers to follow.

Number 3: Fallout 4

‘Fallout 4’s’ opening, while still enjoyable, doesn’t grab the player into the narrative as much as it should. Players start the game by witnessing the world before the nuclear explosion which is interesting, though this isn’t the world they will explore. They meet their infant son, Shaun, and the main narrative of the story is built around his kidnap. 

Players are rushed into the vault when the bombs hit, and their son is taken by a mysterious mercenary. The character is distraught, but the player is indifferent. They’re supposed to care about the loss of Shaun, but there’s no urgency to find him. Players will immediately get distracted by what the rest of the world has to offer and enjoy the many side quests in the game. Not much lore is introduced in the introduction. Its saving grace is that the opening is short, allowing players to escape the vault and play the game how they like. 

Number 2: Skyrim

‘Skyrim’s’ opening is slightly longer than ‘Fallout 4’, but it’s all the better for it. Players wake up in a cart, being taken for execution for a crime. The player customization is OK, it lets players shape their species to their liking, but it’s not overly deep. The narrative hook is much stronger than ‘Fallout 4’, as the player’s execution is interrupted by an attacking dragon, from which the player must escape. 

It’s intense. And it creates a desire to destroy the dragons. The opening doesn’t stop there. Once the player escapes, they’re forced to decide if they want to ally themselves with the Imperial Legion or the Stormcloaks. They must journey through a cave, encountering dangerous foes, including a massive spider. It teaches players the basics while helping to situate the players in the world they’re in.

Number 1: Starfield

Bethesda’s newest title, ‘Starfield’, features the best introduction yet. It has players start in a mine, getting resources for a mining company. It’s there players find a mysterious artifact, which gives them an unexplained vision. This puts them into Bethesda’s most detailed character creation so far, with backgrounds and traits not only impacting gameplay but dialogue options too. The medical bay players find themselves in is home to excellent introductory lore, letting players get a handle on this new world. 

After this, players are treated to an introduction to combat and space travel. It’s a great piece of gameplay that acquaints players with what they’ll be doing, though the pirate base the players are forced to raid is a bit long and unnecessary. Finally, they arrive in New Atlantis, a major city, and can begin to find emergent quests to complete. It’s a bit long for a tutorial, but the depth and detail that can be found is great.  

Bethesda games are so much more than their openings, and they offer many quests and secrets to find. All of these games are enjoyable to play, though it’s easier to get into some more than others.

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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