The Top 7... Loading screens that don't suck quite as hard as loading screens normally do


*Please wait*...

(This intro would have been much better if it had one of these loading screens to fill it)


7) Plants vs Zombies

While this is undoubtedly the most traditional loading screen on this list, there's a lot to be said for a loading screen that we actually look forward to seeing. Perhaps it's the brevity of the whole thing (it's over in a few seconds) or just the fact that it gets us in the mood for this fantastic game. Either way, while it's the most traditional loading screen you'll find on this entire list, it's a favourite.

A roll of turf starts on the left-hand side of the screen and unravels as the game loads up. As it unfurls, flowers pop up in a line behind it. But then, instead of the last one… it's a zombie head!

In fairness, I admit, that sounds crap. But look at the cute little fella:

Above: Pop, pop, pop, pop, "uuuurrgh!" Classic

The cartoon style takes all of the horror away, but preserves some B-movie atmosphere with its music. It would probably be childish to sing 'Plantses versus Zombies / Plantses / Zombies' to the tune. I mean, 'Plantses' isn't even a word, no matter how nicely it fits the tune. So we definitely don't do that. No, sir.

The intellectual analysis:
The literal interpretation of the term 'pushing up daisies' makes light of the undeniably morbid subject matter. You're seeing the emergence of the undead menace and laying down the premise for the game. For example, the roll of turf represents the track every zombie is stuck to, the flowers lie its path and the zombie is facing left. It's symbolic of the entire experience you're about to have, while drawing attention away from the necessary load time with humour and charm.

The layman's analysis:
A zombie poked his head up. Lolz.


6) Bayonetta

Our next example can sadly be completely spoiled by using Xbox 360's 'install' option. Why? It run its course in seconds, meaning the game's loaded before you can really get to grips with just how awesome this loading screen really is. How's that for a sign of a quality loading screen? It's so good, you're annoyed when it's over. Curse you, optimisation! On the PS3 version, however, it's a totally different story.

Those loooong load times translate into the perfect opportunity to learn the Wicked Weave moves or to perfect combos, displaying command strings for every move available to you.

The intellectual analysis:
This loading screen effectively acts as gaming purgatory, preparing you for the heavenly delights of the main gameplay, which cleverly complements the game's underlying subtext while offering practical and consequence-free use of the multi-faceted combat system.

The layman's analysis:
Look - I made her nekkid!


5) DiRT 2

One of the most inexplicable omissions from the otherwise exemplary DiRT 3 was Codemasters' fantastic load screens, first introduced in Race Driver GRID. They're all rendered in proper 3D, which you can view from slightly different angles by moving the stick and using the triggers to zoom in and out. But DiRT 3 does that bit. What it doesn't do is stats.

The loading screens tell you how well you're progressing through the game. How close you are to getting a certain achievement or trophy. How far you've driven. The number of flashbacks used… even your average finishing position (which, for us is always 1st, naturally).

The intellectual analysis:
The barrage of statistics offer validation, not only as subtle encouragement that you're making progress towards clearly-defined goals, but suggesting that the game is watching and indeed applauding everything you do, elevating the individual's sense of self-worth as a result. 

The layman's analysis:
Is there really an achievement called 'two cups one girl'?


Top 7


  • Its_Over_9000! - August 23, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    I used to love the loading screen for Devil May Cry 3 (or dmc 1, don't remember) ... coz you can shoot/slice up the loading bar :-3 , great stress reliever considering that the game was hard as hell
  • IPostedThis4U - June 22, 2011 5:13 a.m.

    I loved the concept of Star Wars: Battlefront's loading screen, where it zoomed in to where the battlefield you were fighting.
  • philipshaw - June 21, 2011 2:43 p.m.

    Great top 7, I would have ridge racer at number 1
  • yonderTheGreat - June 21, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Still don't understand all the whining about the Mass Effect elevators. Would you really prefer a "loading" screen instead of a "watch well-written, witty, and sometimes awesome banter between the characters, something BioWare is famous for"? Sure... the loading screens weren't quick... but changing it to "LOADING... LOADING..." wasn't exactly going to speed things up. Give me elevators any day (but make them load faster)!
  • Dondada - June 21, 2011 6:05 a.m.

    Bayonetta wins. I played Bayonetta on the PS3 after the update and loved every single second, loading and all.
  • FauxFurry - June 21, 2011 3:15 a.m.

    What about Castlevania:Symphony of the Night's loading screens? One could manipulate the games logo. One could even make it spin! It was impressive for it's time, I can assure you! That's nothing compared to Mass Effect's elevators, though. Those were on a whole other level. They not only let one witness characterization one would have otherwise missed out on in conversations sure to lift one's spirits as surely as one's character(s), the elevators gave one a chance to think over the latest bit of story information or to go over one's strategy. Why were there so many elevator haters, anyway? They need to get off their high horses, preferably by taking a nice,long ride down on one of Mass Effect's elevators so they can have time to think about how mistaken they've been all of this time.
  • V13Dragongal - June 21, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    I loved the loading screens in Okami. They were one of the most fun ways to get demon fangs
  • Robusken - June 21, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    This isnt a good example but its what come to mind first, the DBZ fighting games always had some weird mini gamewere you moved both analog sticks while loading.
  • Camoxide - June 20, 2011 11:43 p.m.

    Seriously? Non of the DBZ games?
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 20, 2011 10:53 p.m.

    Didn't The Darkness have some pretty cool loads too?
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - June 20, 2011 9:52 p.m.

    I personally like all the Assassin's Creed loading screens, at least they're interactive. I also liked most of Bioware's loading screens, especially Mass Effect 2.
  • AngryScotsman - June 20, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    I liked Okami's loading screens as each one had one of two hidden rhythm minigames. Beat the minigames, get treasure! What a system. It also helps you get used to the loading. When you start doing well in them, it's gutting for it to finish loading.
  • Kisokuiki - June 20, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    3D Dot Game Heroes should have made the list instead of Plants vs. Zombies.
  • LTS - June 20, 2011 8:01 p.m.

    I can't remember the exact title, but some EA Sports college basketball game from a few years ago let you play a game of pick up hoops on a practice court while the game was loading.
  • AntistaLovebot0069 - June 20, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    What about Test Drive for the Xbox/Playstation 2. My cousin and I reted it and ended up playing the loading screen instead of the game because it was the original Pong.
  • asspills - June 20, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    The Darkness. Each one was a monologue from Jackie, furthering the story, explaining backstory, telling a random anecdote, or sometimes, just trying to spin his guns. Until you had seen each one a few too many times, each loading screen was exciting, and really just seemed like part of the game.
  • babyhenchy1 - June 20, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    You can pause the loading screens in Bayonetta by pushing select.
  • babyhenchy1 - June 20, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    You can pause the loading screens in Bayonetta by pushing select.
  • RicePuddingUK - June 20, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    I hate interactive loading screens, just means the actual game will take longer to load because at the same time its running code for the loading screen.
  • jackthemenace - June 20, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    The Bayonetta load screens were perfect. They gave you a chance between levels to work out how to pull off the tricky combos that you couldn't while you were having your face and/or boobs smashed in by angel-birds. But, let's face it, who WOULDN'T want to see Old Snake smoking for "up to four minutes" between EVERY SINGLE ACT of MGS4?

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