Video game start screens are an important but underrated part of the gaming experience. They’re what give you a first impression of the title you’re about to play, and there are many that you’ll fondly remember because their presentation stuck with you so much.
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JRPGs tend to be fairly long, so you’ll be seeing their title screens quite often. Having ones that stick out in the visual or musical aspect can make you look forward to continuing the game so many times. They might even soften the blow if you’re kicked back to the start screen after getting a game over.
Persona 5 Royal emphasizes awesome style in its presentation, and that extends to menus, including its start screen. There’s a whole transition of city lights zooming by as Joker swings onto the streets of Tokyo on his grappling hook. The Phantom Thieves are silhouetted in red with their masks in white, while the crowd walking behind them fades into the background in black silhouettes.
Every option you switch to on the screen shows different Phantom Thieves showing off some of their personalities, so you get to know them a little before even starting the game. The soft instrumental version of the opening song playing fits the mood really well, too. It’s an amazing first impression of the game.
9 Kingdom Hearts Series
The title screens follow the same pattern in every Kingdom Hearts game. There’s nothing overly flashy in them; in fact, they’re pretty simple. But sometimes, less is more. There are a lot of factors that work together to make them so iconic. The slow fade into different parts of the character illustration before showing it in full, for example.
The illustrations themselves always project some kind of ethereal vibe, especially coupled with the music. Dearly Beloved is always the title screen music, with different arrangements for every game to match the different themes. It’s such a beautiful theme song that even those who don’t play Kingdom Hearts are fond of it. The unique character illustration fading in while Dearly Beloved plays is hard to forget.
8 Xenoblade Chronicles
Even if you’re not a Xenoblade Chronicles fan, its title screen can really hit you. It’s a simple visual of the Monado inserted into the ground as the grass gently sways, but it’s striking and symbolic even with no context. The orchestral music that plays makes you not want to leave the start screen just yet.
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The music is soft at first, but if you let it continue, it gets intensely emotional. And if you stay on the screen long enough, the sun eventually starts setting, and it transitions from morning to afternoon to night. The Monado changes with it, even glowing in the dark. All these little details come together to make a memorable start screen.
7 Chrono Cross
When the Square Enix we know now was still SquareSoft, they made a big impression with Chrono Cross. Its title screen has an animated background panning over sea creatures swimming underwater, and little bubbles floating towards the surface while a tranquil chorus sings. It’s quite calming, and it still holds up even today, but it’s pretty impressive when you think about it.
After all, this was all made on the original PlayStation, where graphics were usually very limited. But the ones in Chrono Cross’s title screen were definitely ahead of their time. That’s why it’s pleasant to watch even today, especially with the music.
6 Dragon Quest 8
Dragon Quest 8’s title screen is anything but boring. Instead of just bringing you to the start screen right away, it has you follow a pair of eagles sailing through the wind, even passing by Hero as he watches them soar. Eventually, one of them flies high into the sky, and that’s when you get the logo and official title screen.
It’s also when the music explodes into absolute fanfare, playing a theme that’s all too familiar if you’re a Dragon Quest fan. Thanks to it, you know you’re in for an adventure before even doing anything yet.
5 Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 Golden’s title screen is fun to watch, albeit differently than its successor. It still incorporates the use of silhouettes, though every character’s silhouette is colored differently from one another. They run across the screen, and as they do so, it spells out the game’s title every time.
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Then there are sparkly visuals and sound effects before the logo finally settles onto the screen. The visuals and music are bright and hopeful, matching the game’s theme. And it gets even better when you realize that the title screen music is an instrumental version of the ending credits song. Though it’s so cheerful, it definitely has the potential to bring a tear to your eye.
4 Chrono Trigger
Before Chrono Cross, there was Chrono Trigger. Its take on the title screen was very different. You’re immediately met with a giant pendulum swinging in front of a black background, ticking every time it swings. Twinkling music fades in, and it does well to build up your anticipation for what’s next.
The pendulum slows every time it swings. When it finally stops completely, the letter C, which is cleverly illustrated as half a clock, comes out of it. The rest of the word “Chrono” follows as the music swells, and the word “Trigger” comes swimming in to join it. It’s such a weird title screen, starting off kind of eerie only to end with a funny but cool transition. But that’s what makes it so great.
3 Final Fantasy 13
Final Fantasy 13 is a divisive game, but one thing about it that’s easy to agree on is how nicely its start screen comes together. The background is plain white, but it fits so well with the calm but melancholic music that plays as the logo slowly fades in with little sparkles.
There’s an interesting picture that comes with the logo. Even when you don’t know what it’s supposed to be, its cool color scheme and wavy patterns mixed with spiky ones make you want to stare at it for a while. All these things combined get you to stay on the title screen for longer than you expected.
2 Tales Of Berseria
The Tales of games generally have pretty nice start screens, but Tales of Berseria’s takes the cake. The first thing you hear is echoing footsteps, and then serene music plays as Velvet towards the camera. After a few steps, her silhouette is captured in pink and purple, and seamlessly joins the game’s logo.
Not only is it satisfying to let play out, but it tells you something about Velvet’s character. When characters are in the title screens of their own Tales game, they’re usually joined by someone else. But Velvet walks alone, signifying how she walks her own path in the end, even if there are those who join her for their own goals.
1 Final Fantasy 10
As soon as Final Fantasy 10’s start screen begins, you know you’re in for something special. The first thing you see is the party members’ weapons inserted into the ground. The environment is barren and full of fallen structures. Then, it slowly pans to the characters solemnly sitting around a campfire. If you’re just starting the game, you don’t know what any of this means yet, but it’s obviously not a happy time.
Tidus eventually gets up, putting a hand on Yuna’s shoulder before climbing up a platform in front of his friends. As he looks towards the horizon, you hear those two lines. Even with zero context, they sound ominous. But with context? Get ready to cry your eyes out. The teasing of what’s about to happen is more than enough to make you want to sit down and find out the details.