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Top 7... Painfully slow beginnings to great games

Some games kick off with an almighty bang. God of War, for example, let's the dog (the player) see the rabbit (colossus-sized boss) before the pad has even had time to warm in the hands. But not all games commence with such lightning speed and dramatic gusto.

Some games choose to take their time, easing us in gently and deciding to keep their best bits well hidden until many hours have been invested. We're not saying it's a bad thing, it's just that sometimes it can feel a bit... slow. Like painfully slow. These are seven great games that we have enjoyed immensely, despite them taking longer to get going than a bonfire made of snow.


7. Okami

There aren't many things to moan about when it comes to Okami. Connoisseurs will appreciate that it's a damn fine sexy game. But if we had to moan about one thing (besides the fact no one bloody well bought it), it would be that the start of the game drags like a wet sock full of moderately-sized pebbles.

Ploddy in the extreme, it could turn players with an impatient constitution off the game completely. Maybe that's why it sank faster than, funnily enough, a wet sock full of moderately sized pebbles.


Above: Amaterasu is saying "Just get on with it, for f***'s saaaaaaaaake"

The first 15 minutes is all story-telling, soothing lute music and pretty-looking Japanese painting. And it's all narrated by Okami's not-really-talking talking noise. Which is kind of cute when you get into the game, but when it's being used to retell a long-winded legend in its entirety, it just comes off as irritating.

And things take a while to improve when the game does finally begin. It's all meaningless getting-to-know-you gameplay. Headbutt some pots. Learn how to use a paint brush. Eat a few dumplings. It's a generous couple of hours before any sign of Okami's true brilliance begins to shine through like a celestial sun beam of joy. But then its good times all the way. (Cheap, naughty boss run at the end notwithstanding.)


6. Batman: Arkham Asylum

I might be on my own with this one, but it's my list. So shit off. After countless disappointments, only the most desperately optimistic comic fan could've been expecting developer Rocksteady Studios to finally make a game worthy of wearing Batman underpants. It was approached tentatively, with professional, cautious cynicism.

On first play, I had this one pegged as a better produced re-run of the 2005 game, Batman Begins and nothing more. It was just Batman doing the same old Batman stuff. Observe:

Yes. It was awesome to be up against the Joker. Yes. It was awesome to be inside Gotham's premier psychiatric institution. But the initial corridor plodding, straightforward stealth set-pieces and learn-through-repetition scuffles against identi-kit buzz-cut thugs was decidedly sub-awesome.

But then... Scarecrow joins the party with some of his trademark psychotropic mischief and things finally begin to kick into gear. In an instant the experience is no longer a by-the-numbers Batman adventure, but a master class in how to do a superhero game right. It was deserving of GamesRadar's most coveted 'Game of the Year' Platinum Chalice Award. And there's no higher acclaim than that.

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91 comments

  • silentmusic16 - June 28, 2010 2:49 a.m.

    the only thing i'm gonna say is kingdom hearts 2. i love the game (and the series in general) but until about an hour and a half in, the game is freaking boring!
  • FunkSoulBrother - June 24, 2010 11:34 a.m.

    I wanted to shoot myself for the first 10 hours of Final Fantasy screw that game and it's stupid face
  • Hendetta - June 1, 2010 12:41 a.m.

    Notably absent - Persona 4. The game spends about 3 hours setting up the STORY before it even begins to put you in combat, then it takes quite a while longer to really begin playing the main part of the game. Still, pretty much my favorite game of all time.
  • darkdispatch523 - May 1, 2010 11 a.m.

    For the TRUTH go to:: http://www.sovereigntimes.com/
  • WayByWind - May 1, 2010 4:07 a.m.

    I noticed someone else mentioned Kingdom Hearts 2. I completely agree.
  • Ravenbom - April 30, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    I'd put Twilight Princess up there too, especially since it forces you to play as the wolf with no items to use (when Zelda games are about solving puzzles with items) before the each of the first couple dungeons. Also, MGS4, but that's to be expected from the franchise.
  • TheWebSwinger - April 30, 2010 10:24 p.m.

    THANK you. I couldn't f*cking stand the beginning of AC2, and frankly it really soured me to the whole experience. I also agree with FO3 - it was pretty awesome the first time around, but on the repeat play throughs that the game demands, it was a chore.
  • AElli - April 30, 2010 8:16 a.m.

    Where is GoW III..
  • Time4Tiddy - April 29, 2010 10:10 p.m.

    Have to agree about FFXIII - the first four hours especially I found so boring I almost stopped playing. But it does pick up quite a bit shortly after that and by 10 hours or so the gameplay is mostly laid out for you. I wouldn't say it's a 20 hour investment before you have fun, but it's definitely more than one evening's playtime.
  • DesROWRoku - April 29, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    Heavy Rains beginning wasnt that painful, mainly because it wasnt all that long.
  • zaldar - April 29, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    I have to disagree with the whole concept. what makes a game good is the story. The best games are like playing a book. Having an engrossing story in the begining makes the gameplay have meaning. The begining of Fallout three for example is what provides the nessecary contrast to going outside. It isn't about gameplay it is about story. But then I like RPG's and not shooters and I am a pc player who despises consoles so I'm obviously insane.
  • Clovin64 - April 29, 2010 4:58 p.m.

    Okami, Silent Hill 2 and FF13 all on the list? Yeah, thats three of my all time faves! By the way, I dont think theres much difference between the first 20 hours of FF13 and the rest of it, aside from the fact you can switch youre characters. Theres one big giant field, but thats about it, the rest of it is just the pretty corridors we've been running through for the first 20 hours. I've finished FF13 twice now so I obviously don't have a problem with it.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - April 29, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    the first 20 hours is slow how damn long is that game most games arent that long at all. i just bought arkham asylum and ico today im playing batman and i didnt think it was slow maybe cuz i didnt play batman begins. im getting okami pretty soon and i wanna play ff13 but im not interested in assasins creed 2 i just dont really like whatever time period that game was in. i loved heavy rain but the first 3 chapters are boring and corny as hell except when jason gets hit
  • FantasticMrStarFox - April 28, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    cant level up for 2 hours? seems like a real waste of time then. epic article.
  • pin316 - April 28, 2010 12:18 p.m.

    I don't get all the hate the FFX111 keeps getting... SE tried something different. Yes, it's about 20 hours until you get to more extended open-world, loads of stuff to do a'la previous final fantasys, but in no way did they make a bad game. Perhaps more than any previous FFXIIi, they really delivered on the story front-there is so much detail in the story, and so much to setup for the entire character set... If they had not bothered with all that I reckon the game would have been all the poorer for it. I know a lot of people will disagree, just my thoughts
  • greenjoker - April 28, 2010 9:21 a.m.

    good article sir! those pictures are hillarious... from my exp. a game that was awesome in the end and deep but slow at the first 2 hrs was freakin monster hunter for ps2..to get sum of the bad ass weapons you had to mine and carve an absurd amount of things that wouldnt matter in life.
  • Reubenguy - April 28, 2010 4:44 a.m.

    What about KOTOR2? for a game that your supposed to have high replay value the tutorial is like 5 hours long!!!! seriously. it was good the first time but now its just like ARGH LET ME PLAY
  • RogueRED - April 28, 2010 3:03 a.m.

    Really? Trusted sources? YOU HAVEN"T EVEN PLAYED THE DAMN GAME., yet you render judgment.
  • Craza - April 28, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    Fallout 3's beginning was slow, but it was quite good at the same time. Though, I never really remember griping over the slow start in AC2. Maybe it's just because I was so pumped up to actually have the game and to finally play it, that I was ecstatic just looking at it. Lol.
  • GameManiac - April 28, 2010 2:16 a.m.

    I a way, I'm not surprised that an RPG would be #1 on this list. It's always slow at the start, but not all of them.

Showing 1-20 of 91 comments

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