A good deal of the shock here comes from the fact that we’re talking about an Ubisoft game, but even in a vacuum, Far Cry 3’s opening is an example of how to do it well. In Far Cry 3, there is an opening montage of you and your friends partying in Bangkok and going skydiving, and then the camera zooms out and it turns out you’ve been kidnapped by pirates and Vaas is taunting you with your vacation videos. He has a really well delivered and not very long opening monologue that establishes that he is a pirate who has kidnapped you, and then your Army veteran older brother breaks you out less than thirty seconds later. Now the opening isn’t perfect because immediately after that we do have a tutorial where you just follow your older brother around for a while, but at least you can walk around, the environment is reasonably atmospheric and first tense then frantic, and it doesn’t go on for too long.
Far Cry 3 does then lose some points because it then smacks you with a second prologue and tutorial mission when you wake up in Amaniki Village and get railroaded through clearing your first radio tower. Since both prologues are relatively short, though, I’m inclined to mark this one less severely than other Ubisoft games with doubled up prologues like this, though, especially since the first one actually establishes character and setting quickly and effectively. Half-Life 2 has a whole lot of prologue, but it delivers a lot of worldbuilding with it, so I don’t mind. Far Cry 3 isn’t on that level, but it’s still good enough to cross the “this is okay, actually” threshold, which is especially shocking considering that it’s an Ubisoft game.