11 Awesome Videogame Title Screens

They say first impressions are important. Though personally I hope that isn't true because I tend to look like a feral crazy, I do appreciate them in videogames. I'm not really talking about cover art or even the first missions, but the literal first thing you see when you pop a new game in and get ready to play (but not before checking the "Options" section because that's, like, a rule, man).

Start screens are like trailers in movies. They really just serve one specific purpose, but that doesn't mean some developers and artists can't use them in favor. Let me take you down the beautiful road of beautiful title screens in videogames. Here's the list, in no specific order.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

When I was making the list, I was originally going to include Ocarina of Time's screen. I love that first chord (Dm7?) and that epic feeling of exploration it gives you. But no, the real best title screen in the franchise goes to Twilight Princess. Graphically beautiful, epic in scope, with a badass backing tune, and the ultra badass reveal of the title against the wall of Twilight as Link-wolf howls. Chills.

Alien Isolation

I'll let WIGS writer Lillith Sinclair take it from here. This is the description she used for this ultra beautiful screen: Such a wonderful Start screen. The lonely, insignificant Sevastapol station hovering nearby the hulk, enormous, indifferent gas giant, with absolutely nothing else around to provide assistance or care.

You got it. Nothing else to add.

Clay Fighter

I've had the Clay Fighter theme song stuck in my head for twenty two years ("Shut up!" "Sorry!" "From the top..."). I remember seeing this game's graphics when I was a wee lad and having my mind blown. The characters' faces looked so vivid and well animated, and the song was just upbeat fun for my six year old ears.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

After so much excitement before this game, seeing this beautifully well crafted and animated title screen, returning me to the ending of Metal Gear Solid 3, was a surreal experience. I knew I was in for something special, and the game delivered. It's still my favorite in the franchise, and the microwave scene one of my top 5 favorite gaming moments of all time.

The Evil Within

I've bitched about this underwhelming game enough already, but despite all the disappointment, I can't ignore the fact that it has one hell of a title screen. I love it when the screen moves depending on your navigation of the menu, and this game does that brilliantly. It also sets you up for the kind of horrific locales you'll be exploring for many, many (. . . many, many) hours. I like Nurse Tatiana casually passing by behind the closed door.

Final Fantasy VII

Squaresoft didn't even have to bother putting the game title or company logo in here. Just the Buster Sword, the basic options with the classic Final Fantasy gloved hand. No music, nothing. This is a screen that speaks for itself and has become entirely iconic. Special mention to Final Fantasy X's, because goddamn that was incredible looking, and the music is just gorgeous. Top 5 Uematsu tracks, no contest.

Rock N' Roll Racing

Look at that fucking epic shit. It's a goddamn metal band made up of some Hulk/Slimer mix, a Terminator analog with some great pecs and some tubular dude holding an axe axe while "Bad To The Bone" plays in midi form. This was almost too rad to look at. The game itself was aces as well.

Five Nights At Freddy's 2

When I popped Freddy's 2 for the first time, and this immediately loaded to the sound of static (as it did in the first game), my first reaction was "Hooh, boy." The same simplicity is there, and the menacing image of three characters looking at you, threatening to jump at any moment, was a great way to up the ante before returning to Fazbear's. I need to say that the bridge between this and the game, when you see through Freddy's eyes, was incredibly unsettling.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

I like it when the title screen evolves into the game's main story, and the awesome Dragon Age: Inquisition does this in a very subtle, very badass way. In here we see the Templars and mages peacefully marching toward the Conclave. If you've played the start of the game, you'll know this little march really doesn't go very well at all for anybody (except for myself, Qunari Inquisitor Karras). I love how when you hit "New Game", shit hits the fan. And though the melody in the background is, ahem, heavily inspired by Return of the King's "All Shall Fade", it's a great backing song.

Portal 2

Well, it's Portal 2. This game does everything right, including the title screen. I love the feeling of devastation, the lab covered in overgrowth as if the Earth decided to ignore its existence, but with one really big threat: GLaDOS is there, and her eye is open. She's looking at us, so we pretty much know we're proper fucked.

Addendum:


Xenoblade Chronicles

I never haven't finished this game (and god knows I'm a huge fan of the Xeno franchise). Still, this title had one of the most beautiful and provocative title screens I've seen. It just shows the Monado blade and a rolling, grassy field. It's not only the fact that the music playing in the background is incredible, but how the background goes through a progression from a bright day, to a colorful sunset, to an incredibly detailed starry night. Fucking art, yo.

What are some of your favorite gaming title screens?
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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