Cloud and Sephiroth in FFVII Rebirth
Screenshot by Destructoid via Youtube

Top 8 Best Video Game Trailers

Some of these are better than the games themselves.

Trailers are one of the few enjoyable ploys that publishers shove down our throats to sell a game. That’s because many of them actually have some serious artistry put onto them. Some trailers are so good that they’re better than the game they’re promoting. Here are the best trailers for video games, ranked.

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8. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

If you want a trailer that does everything right, look no further than the announcement trailer for Breath Of The Wild.

This trailer shows a fresh new look for Link, Zelda, but also Hyrule at its most beautiful yet. It does a great job of guaranteeing that all the things we like in the series are here while showing new awesome gameplay elements once every five seconds. It also does a great job of hyping up the game’s story without ever giving any of its plot points away.

It’s the perfect trailer for a perfect game.

7. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

This one just hit, but by now we kind of have to identify an instant classic when we see it.

The original Final Fantasy VII Remake had a great trailer. Hell, even the PS3 tech demo that erroneously hinted at a remake of Final Fantasy VII rocked, but this absolutely blows those out of the water. Why? Because it perfectly combines old and new.

Whereas the trailer for FF7 Remake hid the fact that it would feature deep story changes, this new trailer displays the story additions with pride. Is Sephiroth still going to remain evil by the end? Is he going through a Vegeta-like redemption arc where he ends up killing himself to save Aerith? I don’t know, but this had me thinking about all the possibilities. How great is that?

It also does a really great job of showing basically everything you want from the old game, like Vincent, Chocobos, Chocobo racing, G-bike racing, and, the instant new staple, the segway.

6. Resident Evil 1 Remake

It was in 2001 that Capcom permanently silenced everyone complaining about Nintendo games being too family-friendly. They did it simply by showing the trailer for the GameCube’s remake of the original Resident Evil.

The trailers for every single version of Resident Evil 4 never failed to deliver — yes, even those of the canceled versions and the remake — but this was something else.

It first surfaced in the now sadly gone, long before YouTube was a thing. The trailer for REmake showed environments no one believed possible and featured a level of seriousness that elevated the corny original to a whole new level. It was as good as any trailer for a Hollywood film at the time, and it was definitely better than the trailer for any horror movie of that era.

It helps that the final game turned out just as good.

5. Dead Island

Chances are most people know this trailer better than they know the game. That’s because the trailer for Dead Island is better than the Dead Island game. I’m not even saying that the game isn’t good, but the trailer is a marvelous(ly misleading) masterpiece.

It’s still likely the most heartbreaking piece of zombie-related media out there. It’s as if you comprise all the drama of The Last Of Us into three minutes. It quickly earned a well-deserved cult following — a pretty rare achievement for a trailer.

I’m eternally grateful that it exists and gave us the beautiful spoof that is the Goat Simulator trailer.

4. Halo 3 “Believe

Modern video game trailers are either entirely CGI-rendered or gameplay-based. The people behind this trailer were so confident in Halo 3‘s prowess that they ignored all that and just went for a near-animation-less recording of a diorama. That’s not the only risk taken here. They also traded the game’s epic soundtrack for a more somber tune that accompanies a moment where the Master Chief faces seemingly insurmountable odds.

When people talk about the famous Gears Of War trailer featuring Mad World by Gary Jules, I can’t help but think that this one pulls off the hard balance between badassery and emotion much better.

3. The unlikely Killzone PS3 trailer

A good trailer is art, but this trailer showed that it can also shift the direction of an entire industry. I believe that the E3 ’05 trailer for Killzone is the most important trailer of all time. Too bad it’s mostly for bad reasons.

It shows off unbelievable graphics, marvelous particle effects everywhere, vehicles, and two huge armies composed of soldiers who each knew their individual roles. A game capable of all this would impress even nowadays. Imagine the despair in the faces of Sony’s competitors when they saw this back in the day. They knew that they either couldn’t compete or that they couldn’t immediately prove that it wasn’t actual gameplay.

Even back then, many doubted that it was real. Still, there was no precedent of Sony presenting pre-rendered footage as if it were actual gameplay. There just was no containing the power of that “what if” factor.

We later learned that “Killzone 2” wasn’t even in production by the time Sony showed that. The footage was just an “internal vision demo” by Guerrilla Games that the company never intended the public to see.

But this footage was very real. It was amazing, and it worsened the way many companies present games. Even though it’s still a thing, many companies have since gone back to showing actual gameplay instead of pre-rendered cutscenes. Good, as those pre-renders set impossible standards for developers and players alike.

02. Elden Ring

Speaking of trailers going back to being good…

Many doubted Elden Ring could live up to expectations. Many gamers even theorized that cancellation could be in the cards after such a long period of radio silence. This marvelous trailer that features only amazing segments of actual gameplay showed up to shut everybody up.

This trailer began shifting the tide for many of the people who claimed that FromSoftware couldn’t top Dark Souls. Even though I don’t think we should put too much hope on a trailer, I can totally see why that happened.

01. The trailer that showed Metal Gear Solid to the world

I see trailers for every single mainline Metal Gear Solid game in similar lists, but I never see this one anywhere. How?!

I remember putting my Demo One CD inside my PS1, clicking on a video for this thing called Metal Gear Solid, and getting absolutely blown away. The song, the mysterious but immediately out-of-this-world cool characters, the setting, the action, the quick edits. I felt no surprise when I later learned that Hideo Kojima had wanted to be a film director all along. Perhaps he was just too ahead of the game back then.

Out of nowhere, every other game in existence started to look worse because of a video of a game I knew nothing about. They still kind of do.

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Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.