January 12, 2013

BOOTYs 2012: 5 or Less Best- Audio

Funfact: The audio aspect of a game is 1/3 of the experience. The other 2/3 are visuals and gameplay. In this all-important category, I'll award the five or less best games in a number of eartastic categories. Eartastic?


5. Halo 4
The music for Halo 4 was a surprise hit. At least, I didn't expect much from it. It may be occasionally inconsistant, but it has some quite brilliant moments. Below is one of my favorites that also wasn't on the soundtrak (guess that was the trend in 2012). I called Solace "The most beautiful track ever composed for a video game".

4. Darksiders 2
I fire up Darksiders 2 and this is literally the first song that plays after the intro scene. That's a hell of a way to start a game. Jesper Kyd, man. That guy is brilliant. Unfortunately, this track wasn't even on the soundtrack. The other track that plays in the tutorial level? This. Darksiders 2 also had a lot of great ambience.

3. Xenoblade Chronicles
I feel like choosing this one is cheating a little bit because the game has been out in other countries for ages. But this isn't other countries, and Xenoblade had one hell of a soundtrack. I can't even go into detail about it because it would take up way too much space. Like most sprawling JRPGs, Xenoblade has a sprawling soundtrack incorporating many composers and many generes. As with Darksiders, the music is fantastic from the start. Here's one of the earliest tracks you hear. 

2. Kid Icarus: Uprising
The most physically painful game of the year had one of the best soundtracks. I was pretty blown away by it, in fact. Like Xenoblade, it has a pretty diverse sound, and proves that Nintendo has the best composers in the biz. Probably their best work since Super Mario Galaxy 2. One of my favorite tracks can be heard below, but it's pretty damn hard to pick just one.

1. Fez
When I heard Fez had lost its composer, I got majorly worried. I'd been following the game for years and been associating the music of (one of my favorite) chiptune artist 6955 ever since. The two were inseparable to me. "If they change the music, they'll ruin the game!" I said to myself. It turns out I was wrong. His replacement, Disasterpeace, did a ridiculously amazing job with it. Now I can't imagine the game without his music. The soundtrack and the game world work in tandem to create one of the year's best experiences. Choosing a favorite here is like picking your favorite child. One thing's for certain: The Fez soundtrack will lower your blood pressure. It's like traveling through a magical, warbled dream of relaxation. And the songs changed dynamically with the game.

Here's the track Beacon, as it normally appears:

And here's how it sounds at night: 

For comparison purposes, the original version of the soundtrack. I can't help but feel that Disasterpeace was influenced by the original 


Halo 4
I can't think of another game this year that sounded as good as Halo 4. Just listen to these guns:


5. Michael Wincott as Death
Do you know why death sounds so awesome? Because he's also the Prophet of Truth from Halo 2, my all time favorite game villain voice. 

4. William Slayers as Vincent
Here's a funfact: William Slayers voices Rigby on Regular Show. Now you'll never unhear it. 

3. Michael Mando as Vaas
2012 was a good year for villains. Vass was... well, fantastic. 

2. Jen Taylor as Cortana
The voice direction in Halo 4 was significantly better than before. Maybe it was because she and Steve Downes recorded in a booth together, but this time around Cortana was packed with emotion.

1. Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack


Jazziest Soundtrack: Paper Mario Sticker Star
Best Soundtrack runner up!

Best Track From a Game I Didn't Play

2. Journey: "Apotheosis" It's the only track that's good, this soundtrack is way overrated

1. Gravity Rush: "Resistance and Extermination" It sounds like Super Mario Galaxy mixed with Kingdom Hearts.

"Exact Same Thing" Award: New Super Mario Bros. U
It sounds like the other NSMB soundtracks, which is to say not memorable.

Most Improved Soundtrack: Darksiders 2
I don't remember a damn thing about the Darksiders soundtrack, and I just played that game over the summer. But Darksiders 2 was extremely memorable. 

"I Can't Believe It's Not Deus EX" Award: Assassin's Creed 3
All things considered, the soundtrack was pretty good for not having Jesper Kyd involved (he was pretty busy this year as it was). But damn, if this track doesn't sound like Michael McCann's score of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Most Unexpectedly Good Soundtrack: Far Cry 3
I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting anything at all from the soundtrack of Far Cry 3. What I got? Well, it was pretty unique and memorable! 

Biggest Nostalgia Blast: Nintendo Land
The soundtrack to Nintendo Land obviously has a bunch of Nintendo music. But I must commend Nintendo for making some unorthodox choices. For example, they use the theme song from the original Animal Crossing! The best one! That's not the track below, which they use for Yoshi's Fruit Cart.

Worst Soundtrack: Sonic 4 Episode 2
The music for Sonic 4 Episode 1 was not so great. In fact, we didn't think it was possible for Sega to do worse. We were horribly wrong. Below is the best track. Compare to the best track from the last game.

Best Menu Screen Music: Skullgirls
Holy hotcakes, Batman! This is probably the best character select music I've heard since Melee.

"Can't Unhear" Award

2. Rigby instead of Vincent: See above.

1. Discord instead of Professor Fitz Quadrangle OR Desmond's Dad: Seriously, it's just John de Lancie. He didn't even try to change his voice. I am forever distracted.

"Copycat" Award: Dust Force and Fez
These songs sound almost identical in the beginning. What's up with that?

"Chiptastic" Award

2. Super Hexagon: This game is hard as balls, by the way. You'll never hear this whole track.

1. Adventure Time: The soundtrack for this game is kind of all of the place, genre-wise. Imagine my surprise when this song popped up. It's so awesome!

Best Remix: Adventure Time
I think that's Finn and Marceline singing with Pen Ward. Can you tell?

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